Can Reflux and Romance Coexist?
If you have just welcomed a baby with Gastroesophagaeal Reflux Disease (GERD) into your life during the past year, it is likely your lives have changed in many ways. Certainly adding a baby into a marriage brings with it the usual joys and challenges. Both parents need to adjust to new roles and the added responsibilities. When the baby has a health issue such as GERD, there is an added layer of caretaking and worry. This can affect your relationship with your spouse for better or for worse.
I talk with many parents, especially moms about their roles and their relationships. Many parents don’t want to openly admit that parenting a baby with reflux has affected their relationship.
A few brave moms did respond to my inquiries about the effect of having a baby with reflux on their relationship with their spouse.
Dealing with my daughter's reflux definitely had a negative impact on my marriage for a while.
Dealing with a prolonged stressful situation is not easy on even the best of relationships.
It brought us much closer together because we felt like we were the "in this together".
The reality is we all deal with stress and difficulties in different ways. Combined with the fierce love and devotion we feel for our children, the emotions and responses can feel intense. When one spouse reacts to the stress of an illness in a way that is different than his/her spouse, there may be conflict.
Dealing with a sick kid can either bring you together or tear you apart. Even though we were always close we had lots of sleep deprived moments of bickering and arguing. We were lucky that it made us closer in the end.
It is difficult to communicate and collaborate when emotions are running high and you don’t have a bit of energy. I hope you will take positive steps to strengthen your relationship through the hardship of caring for a baby with reflux.
I had no interest in going out for "date night" or being the slightest bit romantic, and I think my husband felt pretty abandoned. But things did improve for my marriage, and there was no lasting damage.
You may have to take small steps such as having “movie night” at home rather than going to dinner and a movie in town.
Your baby needs both parents to be working together as a team for the best outcome. And your marriage needs to be healthy to get the job done and endure long after the reflux is resolved.
We stood together to fight for our children to get the right care but it could have gone the other way very easily. I am just glad we communicated our feelings well and dealt with everything as a team! I could not have done this alone.