There's something about labor and delivery that brings out the best, and worst, in people. I've given birth twice and, both times, I can honestly say I became a She Beast. Let's just say the pain of pushing a human being out of my body made me a little, um, "edgy." And, if you're like me, there's likely doubts you'll have about your marriage when you're giving birth, because it's a hell of a time to dissect where your relationship is going between pushes, but what the hell else are you going to focus on? Those painful contractions? The stretching of certain body parts? The poop on the delivery table? Yeah, no thank you.
Jokes aside, both my pregnancies were challenging and riddled with complications. Both also ended in induction, so I experienced two three-day labor and deliveries. People, that is not my idea of a good time. And because my husband was by my side, he took the brunt of my pent-up discomfort which, of course, led to more than a few poorly-timed dissections of our relationship. In the midst of never-ending contractions and an insurmountable amount of pain, my brain started to focus on all the questions you ask yourself before you end up marrying a person. You know, questions like: Are we compatible? What are his core values? Will he love me after I have children? Can I trust him to handle an immense amount of responsibility? The only problem with this line of thinking, of course, is that we'd already been married for some time... and I was in the middle of giving birth.
Obviously, bringing babies into the world temporarily wrecked the rational parts of my brain. It is what it is, though. So with that in mind, here's some of the doubts I had about my marriage of multiple years as I delivered our children.
"Where Is This Relationship Headed?"
Relationships are hella complicated, so what better time to analyze your trajectory than when you're at your most physically uncomfortable? Yes, I knew we were technically married, or whatever, but in that moment, as I was pushing and in so much pain and begging for a swift death (true story), what were we, really? Where were we headed? Could our relationship handle this severe life change?
Oh, and will he still think I'm beautiful even after he has watched our baby crown?
"How Did I Get Into This Mess?"
I know how babies are made, thank you, but how exactly did I let this happen? When I gave birth with my youngest, and the epidural never kicked in, I swore I'd never have sex again. In fact, I made everyone an official witness. So, yes, I had my doubts about the future the state of our marriage, only because, at that moment, I vowed to become celibate.
"Do I Even Need This Person?"
Marriage is a big commitment. I love my husband, but during labor and delivery he was the last person I wanted to see. Why? Well, because every single time I looked up he was playing a game on his phone. So again I ask, do I even need him to raise a child? Is he really a big part of the overall plan?
P.S. The answer is yes.
"Can I Parent With This Person?"
Our relationship was relatively new when I found out I was pregnant with our daughter. We decided to continue with the pregnancy, but we had no idea how we would fare as co-parents, or just how a baby was going to change our relationship. After all, it wasn't going to be "just the two of us" anymore.
I had that "omg we're bringing another person into our lives" realization, again, when I was in labor. And in that moment I wasn't sure if this was the man I should raise children with. Luckily, once the excruciating pain was gone, so were my doubts.
"If He Can't Make Childbirth Easier, What Can He Do?"
It's a tall order, to be sure, but when I was bringing our daughter into the world I swear my partner made it easer. He exceeded my expectations, stood by my side the entire time, and even endured some pretty serious high-pitched cursing.
The second time I gave birth, however, was a disaster. I don't think I've ever felt more alone. I know he didn't intend to be less than an A+ laboring partner, but that's exactly what happened. I was left wondering how the hell we'd get through the rest of our lives if we couldn't get through the birth of a child we wanted so badly.
"Are These Feelings Of Hate & Resentment Going To Pass?"
Yes, all that hatred and resentment and guilt will go away. Did I dislike my partner, in the moment, because he could freely move around a room and eat whatever the hell he wanted and didn't have to be in immense pain? Yep. I sure did. But once that baby was in my arms, I felt an overwhelming love for the man who had helped me become a mother. Funny how that works.
"Will We Ever Be The Same Again?"
Relationships evolve over time, regardless of whether there's a baby involved or not. In my experience, labor probably isn't the best time to examine anything — especially your marriage.
But if you do find yourself wondering if a baby is going to change how your partner views you, please know that the answer is yes. After you endure labor and delivery, they will be in awe of your strength. After you hold that baby in your arms, they will see a beautiful, capable, incredible mother. I didn't understand just how much my relationship with my husband was going to change after we had children. We would never be the same again. We'd be better.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.