One of those things no one ever tells you when you're pregnant is that having a baby will change your relationship. And not always in the ways you would think.
Most people think about the bond that forms when two people are responsible for a new little life. And it happens, certainly. There’s a beautiful little symbiosis that comes about when two people have to reformat their lives around a new, needy little human. If you’re lucky, you fall into this lovely rhythm – one doing feedings, the other diaper changes, working together to swaddle and rock and bounce that little bundle to sleep.
But sometimes the rhythm is more of a cacophony. Two people that used to work together so well, no longer mesh. And that, my friends, can be a startling reality.
There are so many changes when a new child comes home. Sleep becomes fractured and inconsistent. Needs change and become amplified. Habits need to be altered. Two people become three (or more!) and the love and comfort the two of you used to share must now be spread out – sometimes thin -- before it learns to grow and expand. It’s a process.
When I was pregnant I expected changes in my marriage, but I never expected jealousy to be a part of new parenthood, but that little green bastard reared his ugly head pretty quickly after our first baby. So many things suddenly seemed precious to each of us, and in very different ways. Money, time, space, sex, friends, family, sleep – all of these things became cause for fights upon fights upon fights.
And beyond that, we were just so tired. There was suddenly so much to get done and much less time and energy to do it all. We had to figure out how to use time differently. We had to figure out how work beyond our own needs to accomplish a goal. Together.
It’s impossible to go from a couple to a family without a certain adjustment period. I knew that, and I expected it to a point. But I didn’t expect to have to reorganize our entire relationship. I figured we’d just fall back into a rhythm same as before. And we did, but the rhythm kept skipping – a scratch in the middle of our pleasant little march.
It took a while for us to figure out where the scratch was and how we could repair it. And it wasn’t a quick fix. It took time and patience and clarity. And sleep. Oh, the miracle of sleep. But we did figure it out and we adjusted what needed to adjust. Don’t get me wrong- the needle still catches on that scratch from time to time, but it’s not as glaring anymore. We can move past it.
And that’s what you need to know. Bringing a child into your family is wonderful. There’s so much love and joy and beauty there. But you’re adding a person to your relationship. You’ll have to adjust. You’ll have to alter. Sometimes you’ll have to repair. But it’s worth it.