Nothing can prepare you for the changes that come with a baby. Period. I’m not sure you can ever be entirely prepared for a baby, I know I sure as hell wasn’t, and neither was our relationship. Whenever I pictured motherhood, I always saw it as part of the plan, in a stable relationship – preferably with a ring on my finger. First comes love, second comes a baby in the golden carriage. Ha. For myself and Jordan, the baby came before the love. We had a surprise pregnancy neither of us were expecting, nor ready for and while we may be stronger than ever, it’s not always been easy. Far from it. A baby changes the dynamic of a relationship entirely, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t resigned myself to be writing future blog posts titled ’10 Reasons To Start Senior Online Dating’ at times. In the early days I felt really embarassed by our story – I dreaded people questioning how long we had been together, scared that everyone would judge our situation. A good few did, but it’s been over three years now and I’ve not kicked him out yet, so I thought it was finally time to share my three top tips for having a baby when your relationship isn’t ready (or is non-existant).
This post is not a preach, because I can assure you I probably didn’t do any of these things. Let’s think of it as a do as I say, not as I do kind of learning moment.
1Time Apart It’s not normal to spend 24/7 with each other in the early days of a relationship. Under normal circumstances, you get to leave them, to miss them and to actually want to return to them. For us, by month three of our facebook official relationship, I was seven months pregnant and we really had no option but to move in together. We’d known each other for years, don’t get me wrong – but you never know someone truly until you live with them, and I quickly fell into a routine of not seeing anyone bar him. Time apart is a god send, and whether you have a child or not, breathing space is necessary.
2Get Real Whether you’ve been together for 10 years or 10 minutes, having a baby together will not always be shiny and happen. There will be difficult moments, there will be bickering and there will be lapses in judgement. We all say things we don’t mean when we are tired, and we’ll probably never be as tired as we are in the first few months post partum – realising that the bickering was simply the sleep deprivation, rather than our incompatibility, made a big difference to how I felt in the first few months. We still bicker, he still leaves his pants on the floor and it still riles me up, but now that I get (marginally) more than 4 hours sleep per night it’s easier to rationalise the fact that it’s not a make or break argument. Being realistic and not expecting an easy ride means everything else goes ten times smoother.
3Do The Little Things Every so often, Jordan would bring home flowers. Or chocolate. Or a mug, because those are without a doubt the way to my heart. Every single time without fail I would cry, and although I would blame it on the uncontrollable postpartum hormones, it was mainly down to just feeling appreciated again. It goes without saying that when you become a parent every single second of your day is focused on your child. If your not feeding, changing or playing with them, your probably thinking about when your going to have to feed, change or play. It’s no real surprise that everything else can fall by the wayside. Relationships included. In a new relationship, it’s just not that easy. Making a special effort to do the little things to make each other feel appreciated can make a huge difference.