Dear Pre-Baby Me:
When you and your spouse bring your newborn home from the hospital, you’ll be prepared for your world to change.
What you won’t be expecting, though, is how your marriage will change after you have a baby.
After several years with your spouse, you’ll feel as though you have a pretty solid foundation. Although no marriage is perfect, yours is pretty dang good. You respect one another. You trust one another. You communicate. You know each other’s hopes, dreams, pet peeves, quirks, and everything in between. Like so many couples, you even share a secret code — call it marriage shorthand — which you’ve developed over the years. You speak the same language.
Most of all, you love each other. This will never change.
What better time to introduce a tiny human into the equation?
Pre-Baby Me, no matter how rock solid your marriage is now, you should know that a tectonic shift is coming. Because as much as you believe you know everything about one another, and as much as you think you can present a united front in any situation … Babies. Change. Everything.
Here’s how a baby will change your marriage:
You will love each other more.
I know you think you love each other the most you possibly could, but there’ll be something about those moments when you see your husband and daughter together, playing silly games, giggling, or quietly reading a book, that will make room for you to love him even more. She will bring out a side of him that you didn’t know existed, and you’ll be completely smitten all over again.
You will hate each other more.
All that brand new gloppy love I just mentioned will fly out the window and be replaced with blind hatred the second your child gets hurt on your husband’s watch. In these moments, you should take a deep breath and try to remember all the times she’s hurt herself under your supervision — because trust me, there will be plenty of those too.
You will resent each other more.
You and your husband have different roles to play in this new family, and although each is valuable, you’ll both find yourself jealous of the other from time to time. You’ll wish you could stay in bed all night, and he’ll wish he could stay home all day. He’ll wish he had more time off work to spend with the baby, and you’ll wish you could take a break from parenting once in a while. You’ll wish you could be the fun parent, and he’ll wish he could be the one with the boobs. On those days when you resent him for having it so easy, keep in mind that he’s probably feeling the same way about you.
You will prioritize sleep over everything.
Yes, even that.
You will argue over parenting decisions.
You think you’re on the same page, but you’ll soon discover you’ve been reading different editions. He’ll think you worry too much. You’ll think he’s too cavalier about safety. He’ll think it’s time to wean her. You’ll want to keep breastfeeding as long as possible because it is the magical solution to all of your child’s problems. He’ll let her climb the big slide at the park. You’ll have to leave the park to avoid having an anxiety attack while watching her climb the big slide. And so on, ad nauseam.
You will band together when times get tough.
There’s a strange camaraderie that comes with many months of human-feces-encrusted sleep deprivation. The word “team” will take on a new meaning.
You will fall apart when times get tough.
Even though you’re in this together, there will be times when you’re both so exhausted from grappling with your individual parenting challenges that you’ll each feel utterly alone.
You will have a whole new set of inside jokes.
Babies are hilarious. From facial expressions to sounds to gestures, your secret couple language will gain a whole new lexicon. Given all the time you’ll spend doing ridiculous impressions of your baby … let’s just say sexy time will get verrry weird.
You will have to work harder at your marriage.
For the first time ever, being married will feel like work. Right now, showing affection is autonomic — like breathing, it just happens. Once your child arrives, it will take conscious effort, and there will be far too many evenings when you’ll realize you forgot to kiss each other good morning. I’d like to tell you not to let this happen, but it’s inevitable. Don’t sweat it too much, but do remember to try. You chose each other for a reason, so keep choosing each other, every single day. I promise it’ll be worth it.
After all, you love each other. This will never change.