How having a baby broke our relationship bubble
This week on The Mommy Memos...
by Dezi Hall
Routines are important for babies. Anyone will tell you that. That's never been a problem for my husband, Charlie, and me. Charlie and I cherished our routines long before our daughter, Luna came around. And though I wanted a baby more than anything, sometimes I would worry about what having a baby would do to us, to our relationship.
"You know how some people have a baby as a bandaid for a bad relationship?" I'd say to my girlfriends over some sparkling drink. "Well, I'm worried about having a baby for the exact opposite reason. We're just so happy. What if a baby changes everything?" They'd politely roll their eyes and try to hide their borderline contempt for my braggy "problem."
But the truth was, I really was concerned about what a new little person would do to the relationship bubble Charlie and I had built around ourselves. We already had a routine, and a really good one at that. Friday night happy hour (mostly for the food), always in bed by 10pm to get a robust 8-9 hours of sleep. Saturday morning run together at the beach followed by a bagel at our favorite spot where we'd discuss what dinner reservations we should make for the evening. A leisurely Sunday morning coffee before the farmer's market. Even our work week had a breezy ease to it. We'd eat dinner at home most nights, watch our favorite shows and indulge in some Spinkles cupcakes.
But more than the routine, what we really had was freedom. Our lives were our own. Every morning we'd wake up and ask each other what we felt like doing that day. And then that's what we would do. Whatever we felt like. A sunrise 6-mile hike? Sure, we've got nowhere to be. A five-course meal at a pop up tasting kitchen? Of course! We've got both hands free and plenty of disposable income. Waking up late and just eating our bowls of cereal together in a quiet, comfortable silence… all these things hung in the balance when I thought about mashing our DNA together and creating a tiny creature.
But, of course, the desire to see what a combination of our faces would look like won out, and we had our little girl. In fact, my hesitation subsided so much that after 5 months without birth control I screamed at my husband, tears flooding my eyes, in a totally inappropriate fit of rage that he had better go see a fertility doctor because I was going to freak the freak out if I didn't get pregnant next month. Turns out my momentary insanity was due to the fact that I was, actually, already pregnant and the baby hormones were ravaging my system and my otherwise taken for granted ability to be a rational human being.
Here's the part where I tell you that after she came, all my fears were unfounded. That our relationship bubble didn't burst- it just stretched a bit to make room for our new mutual soul mate. And I want to tell you that, I do. But, I just can't. Our relationship bubble burst. Oh boy, did it burst. It exploded like a newborn diaper blowout.
No more dinners out. No more leisurely coffee dates. No more 9 hours of sleep. Gone are the days of worrying only about ourselves and each other's needs. We still ask one another the question "What do you feel like doing today?" but the answers are no longer "Let's go for a 45 minute drive to the new gourmet brownie place in Pasadena just to see what the fuss is about." Now the answers are more like "Well, we need to go to Target to pick up more Perrier…"
But it's okay. Do I love my husband any less? No. Not one little bit. In fact, I love him even more. He is the most amazing father I've ever seen (more on that in another article), and he has become even more supportive as a husband than he was before. He's turned into the type of man I used to dream about being married to and raising a child with. The three of us are the perfect team. We spend our days laughing and playing, and Luna, our moon, is the daughter we were almost too nervous to let ourselves imagine we could have.
Still, I miss us sometimes. We both had to give up part of ourselves to become the parents we wanted to be. And I'm okay with letting those parts go to make room for Mom and Dad. It's necessary, and it's the way it should be. But, there are moments, when I long to cocoon myself in the little bubble that was us, that no longer exists.
Before our daughter, we would lay in bed before falling asleep, entangled in each other's arms talking about our day. We would discuss our hopes for our careers, what restaurants were opening, what vacation we wanted to take next, and how we would spend our money if one of us won the Powerball. Now, after putting Luna to bed, we are usually too exhausted from the day to spend an hour chatting about nothing before we sleep. Instead, Charlie will usually pull out his cell phone and show me a video he took of Luna that day. And then I'll show him one of mine. We'll marvel at her smile and how smart she is (Did you hear that? She knows what sound a bee makes!), our faces glowing from the light of our iPhones. And I'm happy. Happier maybe than I ever have been before. More complete and at peace with my life than I imagined I could be.
Still, I miss us sometimes.
Dezi Hall is a married stay at home mother to her daughter Luna. She and her husband moved from Los Angeles to a small beach town in the South to be near all of her crazy family, for better or worse. She spent a lot of money on her Masters degree and can not get a refund even though she doesn't use it now that she's momming fulltime.