Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Honest Truth About Baby Daddies

I expected to love my husband even more strongly after giving birth to my daughter. This didn't happen until now, 5 months later.

I blame hormones.

I was alarmed, actually, by how much I didn't love my husband extra post-partum. I was alarmed at how he could get under my skin. Of course, there were days that he was absolutely my saving grace. (Most days, really.) He cooked me burritos that were super filling, he took care of the dogs so that I didn't have to, he's done too much to simply list. And I am grateful for all of it.

Birth was a bonding experience. But it and the days immediately following are somehow so scary that the bonding doesn't settle in right away. You're more worried—about whether baby is making the appropriate number of bowel movements a day and the right number of wet diapers and that her soft spot isn't sinking in—to fully bond over what's happened. And that's OK. It's kind of an auto-pilot time for your marriage. Not that that's ideal, but hey, it's going to happen over the course of a lifetime together. There will be pit stops and tune-ups to come. But for now, you're just on cruise control, relationship-wise.

That period might be ending for me now. Who's to say, really, though. It's hard to see things for what they are in the present. It's hard to stop and realize, my daughter is now a 5-month-old. My daughter giggles and plays now. She likes toys and sucking on her toes. She's no newborn. My love for her is just like it was when she was first born: part amazement, part fear of screwing her up, part determination NOT to screw her up. Mostly the whole wanting to be there for her through every little thing in life deal, though.

And now, it's as if it's just occurred to me, watching my husband sleep on the couch, that she looks just like him when their eyes are closed. She is half him; he is half the reason she is here. Obvious, right? And then I love him harder and in a different way than ever before. You go from wanting something (a family) with the person you love, and seeing your hopes and your future in them to having that with them. To living it. And the challenge as I see it is to live each day aware of that. Even if he forgot to take out the trash. Even if you didn't have time in the morning to feed the dogs and he has to pick up your slack and he mumbles "it's OK" when you say you're sorry and then you're not convinced at all that it's OK.

It is. It really is.

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