My Postpartum Marriage
If there's a way to put it lightly, having a baby is like pressing a giant pause button on your relationship. As I've said in previous posts, people often think the first year of marriage is the hardest but in my opinion it doesn't compare to adding a tiny human into the picture. In my marriage, things are pretty easy-going and calm. We're not the arguing type probably because of my cool temper. Our "arguments" usually center around minuscule things like laundry or cleaning to which we end up laughing at how unimportant these things are. When there is trust, loyalty, and respect there really isn't much left to fight about. When you have a baby, things change. However, change should not always be looked at negatively because good things can manifest from change but they will be in fact different.
I first noticed that my relationship was taking a different turn during my pregnancy. For those that know me personally know that I enjoyed hanging out with friends, drinking and eating those bacon-egg-and-cheeses at a 24 hour diner after a long night of intoxication. When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing to change was my life and my priorities. One day you go from a care-free individual to the next day becoming a mother. It actually is quite that quick seeing as the day you take a pregnancy test or find out from a doctor you are pregnant BOOM! You have been instantly promoted to a parent. For men, the change isn't that dramatic nor that sudden. I was happy about my pregnancy after the initial shock weared off but I soon started having different feelings. I was resentful towards my husband. Resentful wasn't an emotion I was familiar with because we both lived similar lives. I can't say exactly when it happened but I know that I envied him because there was no evidence that his life had changed. I felt like I had given up some of the things I enjoyed doing because now we were having a baby but what was he giving up? He didn't have to turn away a drink, avoid smoke at bars or casinos or even stay away from clubs because he didn't have a giant belly sticking out from under his shirt. As I became more pregnant, my resentment grew. My husband soon learned how to appease me by spending some extra time at home making sure I felt attended to while I carried our baby. I was partially satisfied knowing that once the baby came, he will know what it felt like to give up a piece of his life.
There's a couple of things I've realized when it comes to being a mother. I now know that being a mother is single handedly the hardest job that I have ever had. In addition to that, no one will ever have as much meaning to you as your child. A role of a father (if you are reading this, you too are important but in different ways) is difficult to compare to that of a mother. We grow this small baby, share our bodies with them and as soon as they are born into the world half of our hearts now walk the earth. The connection between a mother and child is unexplainable. Fathers, you are essential, the foundation for a great family and home, but please understand that we handed over our lives that very moment that baby's heart began to beat inside of our bodies.
Over the past few months, I've come to recognize the change in my marriage since we've become parents. In the years beforehand, most of our time spent together centered around us. The conversations, centered around us. The things we liked to do, centered around us. It's very simple to spend time together when its just the two of you. When Miles was born, our time together changed in a way that was unfamiliar to me. The time spent lounging around, going out together, or even being spontaneous wasn't happening anymore. Our focus changed to taking care of our new baby; feeding, changing, napping, repeat. Sleep deprivation also isn't a great ingredient for a happy marriage. Crankiness and moodiness set in during the first few months and still happens from time to time but we understand where it stems from. The put together, made up wife I once was went nonexistent because life was about comfy pajamas, robes, and messy buns. Though things were and still are different, I manage to see the beauty in this change. David is no longer just my husband, but the father to my little love. I watch them play and laugh and it warms my heart to see the two people that mean so much to me come together. As for us, we find the time to hug and kiss whenever theres a chance though not as frequently as before. Those moments we do find time for affection are special to me though they may not be as blatant as they once were. I may feel a hand hold mine in the middle of the night when I sleepily get back into bed after nursing Miles at 2am assuring me that we're in this together. Though it may not be as romantic and exhilarating as it once was, I can appreciate the simplicity of a hug from behind while I scrub bottles or even those sleepy kisses I get before he goes to work when I fall asleep nursing on our sofa. Our love evolved into a different stage and we're both learning how to love each other in the new roles we have. Becoming a parent pushes you to new levels, helps you to understand how deeply you can love and worry but also changes you as a person. Being a witness to David's growth as a father is an experience I will never forget. Even though we are not the same as we once were, we are changing, growing, and evolving together. There's those times when we hold Miles in between us, both kissing him on his chubby cheeks while he squeals with laughter that I truly appreciate and treasure how different our love has come to be.