Do Children Change a Relationship? Ha!
It’s Monday again. For some parts of the world, autumn has arrived with a vengeance and has even flexed its meteorological changes with a little snow. Down here on the southern tip of the U.S., we have just had record heat and are supposedly in a cold snap. Please don’t interpret that to mean we experienced anything that can be construed as frigid weather. The only thing this means is we may actually have a day that the low is lower than what our thermostat is set at. The heat and general discomfort reminds us of those wonderful days when we were pregnant and the recordable temperature meant absolutely nothing since in Babyland it was always hot and humid.
Lee says: There comes a time when a couple will decide whether they want to be parents or not. Some couples will decide this prior to amalgamating their lives (this is what CoupleDumb would strongly suggest!). So what do you discuss? Do you talk about who’s eyes the baby will have? Will you have more than one? Do you want a boy or a girl? Or are you discussing the real important things like discipline or the non-negotiable things like circumcision?
I know that you think I’m being harsh but the reality is that becoming parents, whether you adopt, use a surrogate or do it the old fashioned way, is the biggest decision you will ever make. I believe that most people understand that concept on a cognitive level but only grasp the idea on a visceral level when a child is placed in their arms. Today, we spend so much energy on the pregnancy part that we often forget the aftermath; baby. The only people that are really stuck with that are you and your partner (or you alone).
Now, being pregnant is difficult enough. I know this. Becoming pregnant was a difficult thing for us. We suffered infertility for several years. Yes, I used the word suffered because that is really the only term that encompasses the mental and physical anguish a couple goes through to get pregnant. Paul and I went through the sheer embarrassment of not being able to procreate. The single thought that would run through my head was, ‘A fucking 13 year old can do this and we can’t?!’ I was the one with the problem so I had the added layer of guilt that I was going to deny my husband a child. So for us, getting knocked up was magical; a blessing we would never take for granted.
So how does a pregnancy affect a relationship? Easy, it flips it on its head. Raging hormones, fear, expectation, grief, elation and the overwhelming worry that you will not be enough or have what it takes to parent thrusts each parent into an isolated torture chamber within their own heads (yes, both parents). The hormones are self explanatory but what are we grieving? A person with any sort of insight will realize that a pregnancy means the end to a lifestyle. Whether you were flying high as a single jet setting person or you were a young married couple fucking on the couch or eating dinner at mid-night because you were working late, life as you know it is changing. Permanently.
From the pee stick, to the sounds of the heartbeat, to the ultrasound, first kick, hiccoughs and contractions, to the moment you see that cute smooky face, you realize that your life is forever changed. Your decision to have a child has irrevocably changed you. This doesn’t change if you give that child for adoption or even miscarry. The act of having the child, in anyway, has changed you.
This is Heavy Monday and a baby is no laughing matter. Yes, celebrate and make your plans and buy the bibs and plan on being the Earth Mother and use cloth diapers and only eat organic and only listen to Tibetan Bells and chanting for the duration of the pregnancy but at some point you better get centered. Get centered in the idea that your life is changing and this child will not give a shit whether his onesie is from Target or Gap.
Paul says: I want my sperm back. If I knew that kids would change my life so much I would have worn a condom, maybe two. How was I to know that I would go from college jock to being a dad? OK, I can’t pretend anymore. I’m a big teat with children hanging off and I like it. Metaphorically speaking, of course.