By Akirah Robinson, Glamour
Many of my friends are getting pregnant these days. Between that and the fact that my third wedding anniversary is coming up, I've been thinking about babies a lot lately.
As my husband and I discuss the logistics of growing our family, it's hard not to worry about everything -- money, my career, childcare, lack of sleep, and our marriage in general. After all, we've heard plenty about how having a baby can add stress to a relationship, but not so much about the rewarding ways in which things can change.
In order to give the positive relationship changes some airtime, I spoke to 10 women about how having a baby impacted their relationships...for the better.
Here's what I learned:
You become a tighter unit.
"Before our first child, my husband wanted to take care of both me and his parents, which resulted in him being pulled in two different directions. After our daughter was born, he realized that she was fully dependent on him and he began making decisions based on what benefited his new family. It was no longer 'us' versus 'them;' it was more about prioritizing the needs of his child." --Rachel
You try to address conflict in a healthier way.
"I grew up with parents who fought all the time. It gave me such anxiety because they never apologized and forgave each other where we could see it. Because of that, my husband and I try to argue 'well' in front of our kids. If we get mad in front of them, we apologize in front of them." --Kim
You don't take quality time for granted.
"Since having children, we don't have unlimited time for each other, so we really treasure the time we do have. We've realized that we sort of took how easy marriage was before parenthood for granted. After having our son, we have to make time to really protect and work on our marriage, so that we can be great parents." --Heather
You get to see your partner mature and flourish as a parent.
"Having my sons has turned my once-selfish and, at times, childish husband into the man he wants his boys to be. He actually taught me how to be a better person when he changed his attitude toward life for our kids." --Dayna
You share moments only you two can understand.
"When our daughter does something sweet, and it moves me in a way I can't express verbally, I will look at my husband in a certain way and he'll say 'I know' with a similar look back at me. Then I know that emotionally, he is exactly where I am, even though we can't verbally express that emotional space." --Ashley
Enduring a tough labor can bring you closer together.
"Having a child reinforced my deep adoration for my husband. Our baby came via emergency C-section almost two months early. He was there with her in the hospital room when I couldn't read her books or snuggle...he held my hand until I fell asleep when sadness and nervousness tried to take me over. He was our Superman and still is." --Marci
Your communication might improve.
"When the baby was born, I just assumed my husband would know that I needed more help with preparing meals and stuff, but he assumed if I needed help I would ask. When I finally asked him why he wasn't helping out more, he stated that he was in awe of how I handled everything, but if I needed help to ask him since he couldn't read my mind. From that day on we have had amazing communication about how we can best help and support each other." --Autumn
Partnership becomes more of a reality.
"'Partner' isn't just a word we use now, it's our daily reality. For example, before having a baby, we'd each set our alarms in the morning and get ready when and as we needed to. The only thing we needed to negotiate was who would shower first if we had to wake up around the same time. Now, we tag-team the whole morning. We're learning to function as a family rather than as individuals, even in small things like making coffee." --Laura
It helps confirm that you're with the right person.
"I think having a baby brings out the true personality and colors of a man. You really get to see who they are and how they react to tough (and I mean tough!) situations. But when I saw my husband hold our son for the very first time...that was the moment that confirmed for me that he's my true soulmate." --Ashley
You may tap into deeper intimacy.
"Having a baby changed the way I feel about myself and my body and has positively impacted the way that I intimately and sexually connect with my partner. I feel like I better understand my body and its power -- and I instantly felt more comfortable and authentic as a mama." --Jennifer
Akirah Robinson is a writer, therapist, and breakup coach living in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her at akirahrobinson.com, and check out her book, Respected.
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