I didn't feel loveable after the birth of our son. Most days, I questioned how my husband could still want me. I wasn't the same girl that he fell in love with. I know that through the years—and now through pregnancy and childbirth—I had changed. Because I was knee-deep in an unknown tango with my former self and this new version of who I was becoming. I was on the edge of surrendering all that I thought I knew before my transition into motherhood. I was in the middle of knitting myself back together, battered and bruised from the constant doing and undoing of who I thought I was. How could anyone love this version of me?
Postpartum pushed me away from my husband, more than I like to admit at times. Moments that I used to look forward to spending with him, I wanted to be left alone. I was touched out and drowned in all the noises of the baby's crying and countless of other things.
I yelled at my husband more than I should have. He mocked me in arguments. We both said our share of unkind words and allowed our attitudes to become as cold as the long, sleepless nights.
Parenting is just as much of an "I do" as marriage.
Becoming parents took a toll on our marriage at first. This was our first child—and we had no idea what we were doing. But we were giving it our best, and I think that's what we had to realize. That we were absorbed in this newness and grace had to be extended to both parties as we figured it out. And it taught us to love each other harder.
We had to make a decision to be more patient and gentle and open and forgiving. Because parenting is just as much of an "I do" as marriage. I think we both knew we weren't just saying "I do" to the person standing in front of us in the moment we got married, but also to the many versions of ourselves that would take shape over the years to come. And so even when I'm short-tempered and passive-aggressive, my husband still does. And even when he is stubborn and closed off, I still do. And even when we're both tired and have work in the morning and it's 2 a.m. and the baby doesn't want to settle down, we both still do.
I thought that before kids I knew unconditional love, but after having our son, I’ve learned a love with no boundaries. A love that lets go of any grudges and rolls over into the next morning ready to try harder—and love even harder than the day before.
We allow each other to be imperfect, not only in our marriage but in parenting as well. Because that helps us to be the best that we can be. Love is full of sacrifices, and I think that every day we learn to be more selfless and compassionate. Parenting is the ultimate sacrifice, because we agree that it's not just about us anymore. And we weave our offspring into the decisions that we make, the way we carry ourselves and how we show each other love.
We’ve had more conversations about how to better support each other.
We’ve had longer nights full of laughter, reminiscing and Netflix movies.
We may not have as much alone time together as we used to, but we’ve learned to appreciate the time that we do get, like singing to our son during bathtime, carrying conversation around the house as we move from room to room cleaning up our mess, or those few seconds of connection felt in the morning kiss my husband always gives me before rushing out the door for work.
Because our child is watching us and depending on the love that created him to remain strong despite whatever comes our way.
Some days my husband bears most of the weight. Other days the weight will fall upon me. But every day, even though at times we may feel alone, we know we don't want to do this without each other.
Parenting has given us yet another version of ourselves to learn and explore, and though not always easy, we do the best that we can. Because our child is watching us and depending on the love that created him to remain strong despite whatever comes our way.
So even through parenting differences and disagreements, nights where we sleep on our separate sides of the bed rather than holding each other close, even when we're both fed up with each other... the love is always there.
The love is always there.