Stuff that has everyone all agog with excitement
I am no longer the person I was when my husband and I got married. After I gave birth, I did not recognise myself. My body had changed, yes, but what felt deformed was my mind. I could not think straight. Nothing felt right.
Even though I wanted to run several miles from my child, he was my magnet, luring me against my will. I could not think of anyone other than him. My husband was a mirage. I knew he was there. He held my hand when I needed him to, but to be honest, my entire being was focused on our child. There was little to no space for the marriage and all the trimmings and expectations that come with it.
This. Is. Okay.
Postpartum is not just difficult for us women. Men suffer too: Added responsibility, a lack of connection with the baby and a sudden loss of comfort and intimacy with their partners.
This. Is. Okay.
Life after we have children stands in stark contrast to the one we had before. The resentment that creeps in with our partners, clouds the love we have for each other. For women, there is resentment because men are so much better at drawing boundaries and honouring their needs, than we are. We feel guilty for doing anything that remotely prioritises our needs over our baby’s. For men, there is escape, from the heaviness that has taken over the home all of a sudden: A preoccupied wife, a mountain of chores and an incessantly demanding child who leaves no space for being.
This. Is. New.
People speak about the joys that children bring into their parents’ lives. But perhaps out of guilt or shame, we do not speak often enough of the heaviness of the responsibility and the changes that involve making space for a new being.
So, what is your marriage like after you had a baby? Is there intimacy? Is there time? Is there resentment? Guilt? Anger? Abandonment? What is the nature of these mixed feelings? Where do they come from? What is the underlying message?
We become aliens after we have children. We are reborn as well, you see. And what we need, just like newborns do, is tenderness, presence, nurture and cooing words of comfort to get us through this time.
We are newborns, entering a world we never knew existed. Out of the blue, into the light we emerge, finding sturdy ground on wobbly knees. The only thing that can get us through this is to accept this change and NOT try to spark the old flame in the marriage. That flame has been extinguished to make way for a new kind of love, one that includes your new family. Accept the change. Accept the resentment, anger and every other dark emotion. Welcome the joy. And then, as you look into each other’s eyes, just say this: “We made life. You and me. I am here and I am not the same. But let’s get to know each other. You and me. But first, I need help. I need you to see me. I need you to see you. Where do you need me? Where do I need you?”
And then begin.
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