To: My Pregnant Self,
Congratulations on making it this far without killing anyone. REALLY. You’ve had a lot on your plate over the course of this pregnancy and even though you may have been more sensitive than usual, all of your loved ones still love you and you still love them. I could have seen this going very differently. The room is ready for baby. I think you got everything realistic that was on the checklist. You’re good to go! Only thing is Baby isn’t here yet and hubby is already worried about displacement. You laugh it off because you’ve heard so many women say it before; men feel cast aside once Baby comes. You understand why, and so you don’t give it too much clout. I know what you’re thinking, this baby is the realization of one of your biggest dreams. And, you have an idea of how all-encompassing a newborn can be. So his feelings seem a bit inevitable, albeit silly. Hubby will be fine. Plus, you said you two would make sure to go on dates once a week. So it’ll all work out.
Well, you know what they say about a road paved with good intentions? Ya. Though your relationship isn’t going straight to the inferno, you also haven’t really thought this one out. And you know what? It isn’t your fault. You haven’t walked through it yet. And neither has he. And, for that matter, neither has the baby. You don’t know if this little one will start off with his or her days and nights mixed up and if you’ll reside in a sleep-deprived haze of oblivion for the first few weeks. You don’t know if he or she will be colicky. Heck, you don’t even know what colic really is. And in terms of that weekly date? Well, remember for it to actually be a date, you kind of need a babysitter. And if grandma is keen, and Baby is good with a bottle, it may be all good.
But there could be times where a sitter would be needed and it just isn’t in the budget, or you may not know of someone good with newborns. It could be recovery from a c-section or healing from a particularly rough labour may postpone date-night. Then baby going through a fussy spell. Then teething. Then separation anxiety. Then a bad sleeping phase. It could all be fine, but life certainly can get in the way of scheduled, orchestrated fun.
But even if you do make it out of the house sans-bebe once in a while, one last factor you may not have considered is how it will feel to have a little someone almost leeching off of you. When Baby is finally in his or her bassinet, you getting distance from anyone but yourself may be the only thing on your agenda. And hubby will be left wondering where any form of intimacy has gone. Your thought may be that it is unreasonable for anyone to want anything more from you as you just. don’t. have. anything. left to give.
I’m here to tell you, acknowledging your limitations is okay. Not honouring those best-laid plans, that’s okay too. Even if you renege on every single plan you and your husband made about preserving your marriage after the arrival of Baby, I implore you to communicate what you’re feeling, let him be heard, and try.
If Baby is down for
night the next few hours. Take that breather. Have a shower. Get into clean pajamas (there is a chance you may not have changed), pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of chamomile, and then lean into him. Touch him even if you don’t want to be touched. Because even though your coupledom will have inevitably changed, your commitment to one another and strength of your relationship will more important than it’s ever been.
Your marriage is part of baby’s foundation, his or her secure base on which to build his or her development. Your marriage is the realization of many dreams including Baby. And, in truth, when Baby is grown, your marriage is still there. Try and remind yourself to put in the effort now so that it grows with your family and remains healthy throughout.
Life is about to get exponentially more beautiful and exponentially more exhausting. Don’t forget your partner in the process.
Your very sleep deprived, coffee reliant future self