Jude, 33. One child, 17 months

“This is a bit of a tricky topic. Who really would want to admit that their baby has affected their relationship? Is that a marker as having failed as a mother? Not being able to manage both? I get the feeling it is. Certainly no-one I know with children talks about it.

I’ll admit that it has affected Joe and I more than I would have thought. Things are really not helped by having a child that does not sleep. The tiredness puts both people on edge. Quick to judge, quick to react, quick to cry. I find we are permanently on the edge, afraid of waking the baby and the repercussions of that. That certainly ruins any evening plans.

However, whilst sometimes being a sleep-deprived judgemental dictator, I can see that having a child has enriched our relationship, too. Seeing your partner love and care for your child is really something special. They have an amazing bond and I love seeing them together. You find yourself looking for similarities between them: he’s a great eater – like you; he’s very tall – like you. And of course: he’s a terrible sleeper – must be from your side of the family…

When I think back to the early days, it’s not really the lack of sleep I remember, it’s Joe. He was the one who looked after me after my operation, gave me injections every day, and did all fetching and carrying for me. We had no family support nearby, and Joe cooked every meal (he still does). Above all, he was the most supportive person I have ever met.

Joe allayed all doubts I had about myself as a mother, especially when I wasn’t able to breastfeed, and wiped away more tears than I care to remember over my many perceived failures.

He does like to balance all that positive stuff out by going out drinking and accidentally waking our son when he comes home. (Worse still, he doesn’t abide by the ‘you wake him, you take him’ mantra.)

Still, having a child has given us a deeper love for each other. We both step up when we need to, to let each other get through what we need to. But it’s bloody hard on a relationship!”

More in Regulars

Writers Bloc #1 Val McDermid

By , 25th September 2018
Features, Regulars
From imposter syndrome to plotting, in a new series for Marie Claire authors give me chapter and verse on how the writing process works for them - starting with multi award-winning crime writer Val McDermid, who has written 32 books in as many years

The Lives of Others #6

By , 23rd July 2018
Education, Features, Regulars, Travel
Georgie Higginson moved from the UK to Uganda 14 years ago. After losing their daughter to stillbirth, she and her husband were inspired to build a lodge on the banks of the River Nile, overlooking Murchison Falls National Park - an area once occupied by LRA rebels

Global Village #6

By , 9th July 2018
Design, Features, Regulars, Travel
Designer Kate Pietrasik lived in London, Edinburgh, New York and Byron Bay before moving to a town near Biarritz when her daughter was four years old. She reflects on life as a 'blended family', running her own business, and the joy of being rootless

Global Village #5

By , 21st May 2018
Regulars, Travel
When Rosalind Miller's daughter was born, the medical student was determined having a child wouldn't stop her moving to India to carry out her PhD field work. She reflects on swapping London for a local community in Bangalore with a toddler in tow

Global Village #4

By , 14th May 2018
Education, Regulars, Travel
From Scotland to Costa Rica (via East London, New York and Mexico). Mother-of-four Abigail Pilcher talks multiple relocations, opening – and closing – a guesthouse, and how a holiday to Turkey inspired the move of a lifetime