When you’re in a relationship, really is no bigger game-changer than having a baby. Life as you know it will change forever. This, despite what you might have heard, isn’t always such a bad thing. I mean, who really needs to sleep in every weekend, right? That’s what I keep telling myself, at least. But honestly, not all of the changes that having kids introduces to your life are bad. Some of them are actually really wonderful.
I remember back when I was unmarried and most assuredly not a parent, I ran into an old friend who had met her partner later in life, and had just had two children. She referred to the fact that she was co-sleeping with her children in one bed, while her husband slept in another room. I responded politely, but my inner jaw dropped. I totally judged her. In my head, I thought, “There is no way my children will ever come before my partner! My marriage will not suffer if I have kids!” Looking back, I can see how naive my viewpoint was.
The truth is, despite the worst fears that will undoubtedly creep into your mind over the course of your pregnancy and the first months of parenthood, your life with your partner isn’t over just because a baby is in the picture. In fact, the birth of a kid is, in fact, the beginning of a whole new phase of your relationship. And like every other phase of your relationship, there will surely be new challenges, and you’ll probably learn about flaws each other has that you never knew about before. Sure, some of that can be hard. But it can also be exquisite and romantic. You’ll also learn new strengths, and experience new joys, and explore new depths and dimensions of your partnership that were previously unknown. The dynamics can change, there’s no doubt of that, but who you are together as a unit takes on so much more meaning. There is a whole new level of intimacy that opens up, when that tiny human comes into your lives. And in so many ways, parenting together does the opposite of ruining your relationship—it makes it endlessly stronger. Here’s how:
Moving From “Couple” To “Family” Is A Big Deal
You and your significant other committed to each other long ago. (I mean, maybe you did; I don’t know your life.) Neither of you were planning on going anywhere, but now that there’s someone else in the equation, your feelings of protectiveness for your family unit will grow exponentially. The feeling of parenting together has made my partner and I closer than I ever thought possible.
Watching Your Partner With Your Baby Will Make You Fall In Love All Over Again
If you thought you loved your significant other before you had kids, you really have no idea what you’re in for now. The tender way they lift your little girl out of the bath, or sing your son to sleep, will melt your heart. There is nothing in the world I love more than watching my partner play with our children.
Sharing Hilarious Moments Of Disgusting Bodily Functions Together
OK, this might be a newsflash if you haven’t yet had a baby, but you are going to be witnessing and cleaning up all kinds of mess. You will get peed on, you will get puked on, you will end up with poop on your hands and your clothes. At a certain point, you will find yourself laughing at your partner because he was the one the poopy diaper leaked onto this time. I know I did. It’s fine, don’t feel bad; Next time, it will be you and your significant other will be laughing.
You Have To Solve New And More Complex Emotional Problems Together
I still remember the long, drawn-out discussions my husband and I had, when our daughter was struggling with adjusting to daycare. We had so many conflicting emotions, and as we shared them with one another, and came to a decision together, it felt like we knew each other better. Sharing your fears and your thoughts in those moments will only strengthen your bond.
Leaning On Each Other During The Difficult Moments
The endless nights, problems with breastfeeding, an unexpected fever. Things get more challenging when you have a baby, and sharing in those hard times can add a new layer of respect and love for one another. For me, sometimes it’s as simple as my partner taking over the dinner prep on a day when I feel particularly zombie-like. Feeling like you’re in it together makes the hard times seem a little less hard.
Seeing Your Partner In Your Child’s Features Or Mannerisms
Even if your partner isn’t biologically connected to your kids, if you’re raising them together, they’re bound to pick up so many of your beloved’s habits and mannerisms, and it never stops being awesome to watch. It almost feels like a game, as your baby grows! “She totally gets that smirk from you,” or, “His eyebrows are YOURS, wow!” It’s one of my favorite parts of being a parent, actually. Seeing my partner’s smile on my son’s face just makes me love him more. It’s cheesy, but it’s true.
You Fight Harder To Make Time For Each Other, Which Was More Effortless Before Kids
Spontaneity is really difficult to achieve with any level of success, when you’re a parent. Naps, unexpected illness, teething, meltdowns, pretty much anything you can possibly imagine will find a way of getting in between you and your partner. Months can go by without any sort of intimacy, if you’re not careful. So you learn to fight for it. My favorite birthday in recent memory was this year, when my husband planned a full day of child-free activities, just the two of us.
Being Sleep Deprived Shows You Who Each Other Really Is, And Learning To Love That Person Makes You Way Stronger
I’m not going to mince words here: I am a total monster when I haven’t had enough sleep for a long enough period of time. The fact that my husband is still around, and still expresses his love for me, despite these moments I have, is a true testament to his love for me.
Planning For Your Baby’s Future
Maybe it’s the sports you’re imagining your son learning, or talking about who will take your daughter to swimming lessons, or even just discussing the type of daycare you want to send your child to. Sharing those plans and ideas with my partner and making decisions together have only added new layers to our relationship. There have been times when it felt like I’d never share those special, intimate moments again with my partner, once we had our children. And there’s definitely been a shift. They may not be exactly the same, but the intimacy is there, and it is beautiful. And instead of pulling us apart and taking away the incredible connection we had before we had kids, navigating parenthood together has only made us stronger.
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