When Baby Crushes Marriage

This is what we have now.


Shh, Don’t Tell! stories are meant to be heard – in the person’s own voice – as well as for the original music. Please click above and listen, if you can! The transcript is also below.

Brenna: In my mind it was my idea. I pushed for it. I was the one who wanted it.

Narrator: In this Shh don’t tell story: When baby crushes marriage.

Brenna: So I think I just naturally took all the responsibility for what it had done to my marriage during that time.

Narrator: For Brenna, “that time” came almost a decade after she married.

Brenna: It was kind of a long engagement. My husband was pretty reluctant about marriage and having a family. Like I think he had thought he just wasn’t going to do any of that really. But you know we got married and we were married for several years and my friends started having kids. And I just hit about 28 and I just – the pressure was on. I felt it from all directions. And my husband was not ready.

And so it was a good probably four more years. I got pregnant finally when I was 33.


He was on board and I was just thrilled. Elated. Cuz I was really really sure. I mean I felt it in my bones that I wanted a baby.

And then when it turned out to be something that was really difficult and traumatic for me (long sigh) I think I just questioned everything about who I thought I was and why I thought I wanted it. Was I just trying to go along with everything everybody else was doing in my circle?  Those were the moments where I just thought I had made a really big, just a really big mistake.


In terms of my mental health and my freedom. And I also felt like I had ruined my marriage. Especially because my husband hadn’t ever thought he was going to have any children.  Cuz now we had a baby who cried all the time, and I cried all the time, and I think my husband, I could just picture him standing there with this look on his face like – this is what we have now. This is what this is.

I really did want a baby. But when it was ruining, well seemingly ruining my marriage, and I couldn’t keep it together, I just, I wanted to go back to when I could only take care of myself.

I really mourned the freedom and flexibility and fun we had had. It’s like you just do whatever.  I mean do whatever. Like you have expendable income. Once you’re off work you’re just done. And I was really mourning that. And I definitely couldn’t say those words to my husband. Because I feel like if he knew that I had had all those regrets, and it had been just my life’s mission to make this baby, and produce this baby into this world, then it just, I don’t know, I think it just solidified that, you know maybe he knew something I hadn’t known. Like it wasn’t a good idea and he had known that. But I had formulated all kinds of thoughts in my head. It wasn’t based on anything he even ever said. But in my mind it’s like he can’t know that I regret this in this intense of a way.


I definitely told him eventually. And he, you know he was the person who took me to the doctor and helped me through deciding to take some anti-depressants. And was very supportive about it being okay. I think he pointed out to me that I couldn’t stop crying. And suggested that I go see my midwife. And I went and saw her. He went with me. And she kind of recognized immediately. She’s like I don’t jump to put people on medication. She’s like, but this is – it’s been ten weeks, and if you’re crying every single day, multiple times, there’s probably something else going on here than just a little bit of post-baby sadness.

Narrator: That sadness did pass, but Brenna decided once through was enough. Her son is now six. And a lot of fun. Mostly.


Special thanks to Baby Blues Connection for help with Shh, Don’t Tell! Stories, to Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists fame for our awesome theme and other music and to cellist Collin Oldham for his terrific compositions and scoring.