For better or worse, having children changes your relationship.
I mean, for better, of course, but still, in the sleep-deprived state I am currently in with the early arrival of our fourth child, it may just do me some good to keep in mind that having a newborn can also drastically affect my relationship with my husband in a few ways I may have forgotten, such as…
1. You will become a seamless team in action.
If you could be a fly on my wall in the middle of the night, you would see a parenting routine so perfected by four children that, were we not basically in our underwear, you might be amazed. The tag-team approach begins with that first newborn cry, the one that pierces the night and shatters any semblance of sleep you were envisioning ahead of you, revs up with me passing a diaper and wipes to my husband, kicks into high gear when he swaddles the baby and hand her off to me for feeding, and ends approximately 30 minutes later when I tip-toe to the bassinette in hopes of crawling back in my own bed. (Insert satirical laughter here.)
2. You will bond over the coffee maker.
One morning, when my daughter was but a few days old, I woke up to something smelling delicious. Regrettably, I dragged my still-sore body out of bed and investigated, where my postpartum nose led me to the coffeemaker, an appliance left deserted over the past nine months. I marveled at its beauty as my husband smiled at me with bleary eyes and handed me a steaming mug. Never had the man looked so sexy to me.
3. You hurl insults at each other — and then promptly forget them.
Something happens to a couple in the middle of the night when they’re exhausted and there’s a screaming human being with chicken legs in their bedroom. You tend to get frustrated and start to say ridiculous things to each other like, “You’re putting her diaper on wrong, she doesn’t like it that way!” or “You swaddled her backwards, you idiot!” Luckily, come morning, you’ll never remember what latest hurtful comment you hurled at each other.
4. You become contestants of “Survivor: Newborn Edition” in your mind.
While you may think that your relationship will become stretched out in some shapeless form, much like the current unfortunate state of my abdomen, it may also surprise you to find that you and your partner will bond together in the toughest reality show – your life. Surviving life with a newborn is the hardest work you will ever do and in a weird way, it bonds you together when you can commiserate over the sleepless nights, poopy diaper explosions, and midnight feedings.
5. You will delight when the other one gets pooped on.
The bodily functions that may have once revolted you will now become a source of merriment when your innocent, beautiful little baby deposits an entire feeding-full of bowel movement onto your partner with no warning whatsoever. Especially, if as happened in our house a few days ago, you try to warn your partner that you really need to put the clean diaper underneath the dirty one, just in case and he doesn’t listen. Told you so, honey.
6. The sight of spit-up on your partner’s shirt will secretly delight you.
When our second daughter was born, my husband had just started a new job and was amazed when he went to work and people asked him he had a new baby at home. He came home, marveling over the extreme coincidence of it and we pondered how they had known – that is, until he turned around and I noticed the distinct newborn spit-up stain adorning both of his shoulders. The sight made me chuckle but also warmed my heart. It was his little mark of love from the family we had created.
7. You will try not to keep score — and fail miserably.
Phrases like, “Oh, did she poop again?” or “Wow, I can’t believe you’re changing her already — I just did one a few minutes ago” will have double meanings as you try valiantly not to inform your partner that you are doing your fair share. You will both try not to keep track of how many poopy diapers you are both changing, but you will fail miserably.
8. You will wonder how he can ever look at you normally again.
I mean, honestly, after what my body went through and continues to go through in the postpartum phase, I have a hard time believing that my husband doesn’t look at me like some kind of freak show. I feel like every part of me is oozing, I could probably fold my stomach over my baby like a kangaroo if I really tried, and I’m not getting any straight answers out of him if I did or did not poop on the delivery table, so my body confidence is not 100% right now, let’s just say that. But, if the fact that I have four children isn’t proof enough that eventually, the romance kicks back in, let’s just tell ourselves that he will be in awe of your body, not repulsed by it, OK?
9. Man + baby = dead sexy.
There’s just something incredibly irresistible about a man and a baby, isn’t there? And if you don’t believe me, have your man accompany you to the grocery store and then stand approximately ten feet behind him holding your baby and watch the old ladies ogle. Every single time my husband has a small child with him out in public, it’s like a freaking parade of women fawning over him. Luckily, you’re the one that gets to go home with both of them.
10. You will hate him for being a man.
It’s the sad and sorry truth, but I can almost guarantee you that in the first few weeks, months, and perhaps even years following your child’s birth, you will despise your husband, partner, or boyfriend simply for the fact that he was not the one to give birth. He will never, ever be able to understand what you have gone through and as much as you’d like to force him to undergo the morning sickness, the contraction pain, or the horror that is peeing after birth even for one minute, he won’t get it. So your relationship comes to the point of reconciling the fact that you are sorely flying solo on the fact that you have crossed a threshold he just can’t follow. Hopefully he respects you more for it and hopefully you forgive him for it, but either way, there’s no going back.
11. You are forever intertwined.
Stronger than the bonds of marriage are the bonds of parenthood. I vowed myself to my husband before we welcomed our first baby into the world, but after we first met the little being who took our breaths away (mine more so, literally, of course), there was a deeper awareness of what it meant to truly be united as a couple. No matter what happens between us, we are always parents together.
Image via j&j brusie photography
MORE BY CHAUNIE:
- 11 Things I Never Do as a Mom
- Did I Promise to Love, Honor, and Become My Husband’s Personal Shopper?
- 11 End-of-Summer Date Ideas
- An Ode To The Postpartum Partner
- My Biggest Parenting Regret Is Letting My Daughter Grow Up Too Fast