Sunday, September 16, 2007

Can a Baby Make You Fall Out of Love?

I wanted to be a full-time mother . . .
. . . Having a baby made me suddenly understand, with acid-sharp clarity, why the divorce rate is so high. I had always blamed poor staying power and selfishness. Now I understood. Having children drives an enormous, invisible wedge between the sexes.

What it does – unless you have a full-time nanny, cleaner and personal shopper – is propel you backwards into the gender stereotypes of the 1950s. Jamie and I went from absolute equality to living on different planets. He went to work: he schmoozed important people, he ate out, he bought new suits. I stayed at home: I cleaned, I washed, I cooked, I shopped, I washed again and I thought about our Oxford degrees a lot. I was profoundly shocked to discover that this was the deal; that there was no other way of continuing the human race. I mean, I wanted to be a full-time mother, but I hadn’t reckoned on falling out of love with my husband as a result.

Little chores that used to be acts of love (pairing his socks, preparing him a nice supper) became venom-loaded. As for the physical act of love, it just didn’t happen. Aside from the exhaustion, neither of us felt loving enough. All the kissing was for chunky-thighed, gap-toothed Oscar.
Scroll down to the comments, which include numerous people who experienced the same thing, sometimes ending in divorce.

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