The new-born-baby marriage

Isn’t marriage a funny thing?

You’ve found someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with, which is great.

But why does it feel like as soon as your significant other pops the question your great relationship suddenly becomes fair game for everybody else to comment on?

There’s the all-to-frequent “So when’s the wedding?” question, the “it’s about time” comment, and the “Never poop with the door open” advice (that’s a thing, right?). The most annoying comments, however, are the ones that seem to persistently come from other, older married couples.

“Once you’re married, everything changes”, “Get ready to be tied down”, and “She’ll let herself go now”

The romance leaves you, they say, as does the spark. We’re told that you fall out of love and into a mortgage.

Marriage is hard it turns out - much harder than dating – and everyone is very quick to make sure you’ve figured that out well before the honeymoon ends. You have to work to love that other person, it no longer comes naturally.

I thought the comments would end there; I wished the comments would end there!

Suddenly I’m pregnant and my husband and I are over the moon - but the comments start back up.

“Sleep while you can”, “Say goodbye to sex” and my favourite: “Things will never be the same in your marriage, ever again”.

I get it. A baby changes everything.

In fact at just twelve weeks in utero this baby had already changed my mood, my skin, my appetite, my eating habits, my drinking habits and my inclination to eat breakfast in the morning.

Our plans had started to change too. We had planned to visit Asia in mid-2017, but expecting a baby around the same time meant that the trip was put on hold indefinitely.

Suddenly we were always home much earlier, we stopped gym-ing together, we started to watch our savings a little more carefully and we started to talk about how we wanted to raise our future family. We took parenting classes, we went to midwife appointments and we got ridiculously excited whenever we came across a nursery sale.

My point is that we’d already said goodbye to our old, less-responsible lives. We’d changed big time.

When my little son finally did arrive - despite everyone’s comments - we felt ready (we totally weren’t - but hey, that’s a whole other blog post).

Yes, all the negative comments we heard were true. You do lose a lot of sleep, you can’t “get romantic” whenever you like anymore, and yes, your marriage is not at all the same, it’s completely different.

Your marriage gets BETTER, although no one seemed to tell me that.

It sounds cheesy, and unattainable, and a little BS, so here’s a disclaimer: No, having a new born baby does not make marriage easy. Yes, you still fight. Yes, you still can’t stand each other at times. Yes, sleep deprivation does make everyone crankier (in my case, waaay crankier).

But I have never been more proud of my husband for giving me such a beautiful baby boy. He also changes a nappy faster than I can, his swaddles are impossible to break out of (although my son does put up a good fight) and whenever I just need a good old-fashioned break, he’s there to look after the baby with no complaints.

Seeing him become a father has been one of my highlights of our seven year relationship and watching us become parents together is one of the most exciting things I think I have gone through in my lifetime. It’s been better than our two years of marriage put together (and hey, we have had a great two years).

I think being realistic about having a new born baby is important and I understand why others want to constantly inform you; you do have low moments and we all need to remember that. But wow, when I look at the bigger picture, those low moments are swallowed up by big, ginormous, high points.

They’re big enough to fill up a dimly lit room at 3am, when that baby is awake and your eyes are so sore and tired that you can’t even see straight. They’re big enough to cover up all the poo-splosions and all the arguments about whose turn it is to change the nappy. They sure are big enough to forget about the wash-your-hair-every-second-day life you lived once upon a time.

Above all, they’re 10 billion times bigger than any negative comments that could ever get thrown your way, take my word for it.

If you are expecting your first baby, or when you do, be prepared for those negative comments. Be prepared for the hard times and be prepared for your old life to be nothing but a distant memory you wish you could relive. But above all, be prepared to grow with your partner and anticipate all those gritty challenges together.

You’ll rock at it.

Rachel Chen