Remember those Johnson and Johnson commercials from a few years ago? Well, they're right:
Having a baby changes everything
I knew that once I got pregnant I would have to prepare myself for some major changes; a healthier diet, saving more money, etc. I even acknowledged the fact that my friendships would be affected in some way (my own best friend suggested I look for new "mommy friends"). It's overwhelming enough to experience the changes that come with having a baby but realizing that our relationships will change too is one that most new moms don't want to worry about.
But they do and they will. I realized very quickly that there's a huge divide between moms and non-moms. And just like I experienced changes in my friendships after I got married (turns out things change between your friends when you get hitched, too), I was prepared for them after getting pregnant. But facing the changes that would affect my marriage... let's just say that I, like most women, was in denial.
But my husband and I wanted to start our family more than anything so of course, once we had our baby we would be running through fields of lavender, right? Not necessarily.
During my pregnancy I told myself that I wouldn't become one of those parents that has to schedule date nights or worse, sex, as a result of being a sleep-deprived new parent. But just last night, through my I'm-a-new-mom-I-can't-remember-the last-time-I-took-a-shower induced stress I begged my husband to take me out on a date so I could have something to look forward to outside of a night spent with a wailing newborn (and a reason to wear a bra again, oh yeah, and a shower).
When my husband gets home from work and asks me what I've done all day, I want to throw a dirty diaper at his head. When he complains that the baby disturbs his sleep at night, I want to permanently send him to the couch and when he makes fun of me for feeling guilty about leaving the baby for a few hours, I feel like he just doesn't understand. But then something sweet happens. We'll go out, to try and have somewhat of a social life, and all we can do is talk about the baby. We've become those parents. It feels good.
Having a baby definitely means changing your priorities but my husband and I have each others' backs now more than ever. He defends my choice not to breastfeed. I listen to his reasons on why we should co-sleep. When he gets home from work he takes over parenting duties so I can get some much-needed relief. We're a team. I never get tired of watching our daughter as she sleeps, giving him a nudge to look at the beautiful little baby we created together. Or telling her how much she looks like her daddy.
And that's how relationships change after you have a baby. You can choose to fall in love again or you can let the stresses of parenthood pull you apart. We're creating the family we've always wanted. If that means skipping a shower here and there or losing a few hours of sleep, it's all worth it.
This blog post originally appeared on Not Without My Coffee.