Once you take the plunge and make the decision to start a family you don’t think about much changing. You don’t realise how much your relationship will change, in my head I pictured us as a couple, plus a baby (I laugh at my naïve self sometimes). It wasn’t quite as straight forward as that, well nowhere near as straight forward as that in fact. We were morphed into a family, we were no longer a couple. A child bonds you to your partner for life (Mr Firstooth, the lucky bugger) and here’s how our relationship changed overnight, once our first child was born.
- Our intimacy and closeness and I don’t mean ‘that kind’ of intimacy, nobody has time for that anymore! When you give birth, your partner sees you in all kinds of undignified ways, mainly legs akimbo, forcing a human out of your body. He sees you in an emotional and physical state he’s (hopefully) never seen you in before, he also sees how strong you’re being and fully admires you, even though he feels helpless and hasn’t a clue what to do. Once he’s seen a baby emerge from your body, one way or another, you lose any kind of self-confidence barrier that you had before. You don’t care that he sees all of your wobbly bits and unshaven legs. I regularly asked him to check my stitches ‘down below’ because every time I sat down or stood up I was convinced I had torn them all. Before I gave birth I couldn’t imagine asking him to do something so gruesome, but now we are a fairly liberal couple, I feel like I can share everything with him now without a second thought.
- You do argue a lot more, you will snap and you will disagree. This is nothing personal, you’re both extremely tired and overwhelmed. You’re so comfortable with each other that you know any bickering is only for a short, stressful period and you trust each other to survive it.
- Every time you plan to go out you will revolve it solely around your children. Even if they aren’t present. If we manage to go for a meal child-free they still manage to dominate every sodding conversation we have. We even whip out our phones and laugh at all the funny pictures we’ve taken of them lately.
- We make the most of our alone time once we’ve successfully ditched them at bedtime. We spend our evenings either sitting in the garden chatting or watching something on TV. This time really is a luxury now.
- Seeing him in a fatherly light makes me love him so much more than I could imagine. He’s the father of my children and no matter what, we are in mutual agreement that we will survive any relationship issues (not that there are any, apart from the occasional pee on the seat) because we’re a family. It’s not just about us anymore.
- You’ll never know how your partner will take to fatherhood just as much as they’re unsure of how you will take to motherhood (I’m still finding my feet two years later). They will surprise you at how well they take to it and how equally the role is shared between you.
- Chances are there are a few parenting decisions that bring you to blows along the way. If you’ve both been brought up differently then you will see parenting differently. The art of compromise and discussions will now play a huge part in your relationship. For example, he thinks biscuits are a staple breakfast, I think they are a bloody stupid thing to give a child for breakfast and if you give them one I will throw the entire shitting jar away. Sometimes there isn’t a compromise because some decisions are just reckless, biscuits for breakfast? We’re not competing for the ‘favourite parent award’.
- No matter what, children do bring you together. As long as you’re a strong unit, the stresses of the first few years will only make you stronger, as you survive each difficult time and live to tell the tale.