It is known to be the most highly anticipated moment in a married couple’s life—and ironically, a stressful period as well. When a baby makes an entrance, it brings much joy, love and happiness. At the same time, it typically upsets the physiological makeup of the parents. Sleep is no longer a luxury, noise is constant and life is intertwined with diaper changes and feeds.
When managed properly—with great care and effort—the transition to life with a child can result in a satisfying marriage with a contented Daddy, a fulfilled Mummy and a happy bub. Here are some suggestions …
1. Enjoy the little things
We don’t have to adopt the “do-it-all” approach. Sometimes you may see your closest friends doing it, and gushing about it on Facebook or Instagram; but it is okay to not do it all. It takes a lot of courage to say we can’t do it all and there is no shame in taking care of ourselves.
Factor in a weekly date night and try to do it consistently. Often with the first child, you may feel a drastic change in your body. You might not want to leave your baby for even a second. But as days go by, you will start to crave a bit of time apart from your baby. A 2-hour dinner is a good start to feeling normal again without having to think of different strategies to burp your baby or keep time on when the next feed is. Have a trusted family member or friend to watch the bub for you because chances are, they are more than willing and are just waiting for you to ask.
I remember hopping to the hawker center for my favorite fishball noodles followed by a quick visit to the library. Doing those routine things provided a brief respite made me feel normal again.
2. Back to basics – Talk! Talk! Talk!
Talk to your spouse—and not just about the weather, or where to go, or what to do. Most couples fail to talk on a deeper level, such as addressing your feelings, your expectations, your goals, dreams and visions. This should still go on when you have a child. In fact, your visions and dreams should get larger because there is a little one to think about and include. Communicate with your better half.
I always thought that I needed to have one dominant dream. But really, I can have so many dreams in different capacities—my personal walk with God, my marriage, my family life, my children, my career, etc. Don’t stop dreaming! Keep pursuing it because it costs you nothing to dream. When your dreams do come true, all glory goes to God!
3. It’s ok to embrace change
Sometimes we can be so stuck in our ways that we think it weird to change our priorities when the baby comes. We feel guity to put our couple-goals on hold (e.g. travel to a certain country across the continent).
It is okay to embrace change. When you are just the two of you, you think for just the two of you. When there’s three of you, the fiercely independent woman becomes a nurturing Mum or the pro-recreation Dad starts to taper down his activities. Things that used to matter to you begins to matter less now that you have a little bub. It’s ok. We go through seasons and this season of adjustment will not last forever. Take each day as it comes and treasure the moments, even the bad ones, because it will be a blip in your memory soon.
It is crucial to remember that the advent of a child heralds a greater urgency to protect the marriage even more because the little ones need a stable and thriving family environment to grow. Your marriage is always the foundation, the rock upon which the family grows. Thus the reverse is actually true—the smaller they are, the more care your marriage needs because the challenges will keep coming. But when you keep a strong foundation and remember the importance of connecting with each other, rest assured that you are on the right track!