“Everything’s going to change.”
People seemed delighted to tell us this when they found out we were expecting for the first time. To my husband, Kevin, and me, these words seemed more like an ominous warning than a wondrous prediction The idea of such life-altering change stirred up resistance in my spirit. I knew things would change a little, of course, but certainly everything wouldn’t change.
One thing I was confident would not change was my relationship with Kevin. He and I met in a fairy-tale fashion one Sunday evening (as he made my latte at Starbucks), and our courtship and marriage swiftly followed suit.
We both love children and were hoping to have a family, so six months into marriage, when we learned a baby would be joining us, we were overjoyed. We were also still solidly in the honeymoon phase. Though we had heard stories about how a baby changes things, I stubbornly refused to believe that pregnancy and the birth of a child would disturb our “perfect” marriage.
While not every couple starts a family as soon after marriage as we did, every couple will face their own relational adjustments as they negotiate the season of pregnancy and the one following the baby’s arrival. Although God’s plan for each couple and family is different, my belief that absolutely nothing would change in our marriage was . . . well, mistaken.
Not only were others intent on telling us that everything would change, but they also were fond of telling us their parental “horror stories.” For example, they would recount the chilling tale of their 38-hour labor experience or Junior’s epic blowout on the airplane.
Sleep in, they would tell us. Go to the late movie. Look deeply into one another’s eyes, because those days are coming to an end . . . forever (or at least the next 18 years). Soon the most interesting thing in your life is going to be the bodily fluids emerging from your newborn. And before you know it, your greatest desire won’t be for a tropical vacation or a new car but for an hour of uninterrupted sleep . . . or even just a shower.
Mercifully, those days will pass, they would continue, only to be replaced by years on end when you’ll completely lose your own identity (particularly in the eyes of the child’s grandparents, formerly known as your parents), your days will revolve around naptime (Baby’s, not yours, unfortunately), and all your worldly goods will be systematically destroyed by your little “blessing” and/or permeated by Cheerios, raisins, or unidentifiable crumbs.
It’s enough to panic any expectant couple. Like us, you may begin to wonder if all your former happiness as a couple is about to slip away.
What those well-meaning naysayers neglect to tell you is that it’s worth it.
Let that sink in for a minute. It’s worth it.
And as you follow the development of your little one inside the womb and plan for the joys of welcoming him or her, you are likely more in tune with the miraculous nature of parenthood than those in the throes of child rearing.
Ashley, a mother of two, says: “There is absolutely no way –zero– that you can understand how much you will love your child until you have a child.”
So while things are going to change, let me assure you that entering into the adventure of parenthood is not the end; it’s only the beginning. And it is so worth it.