By Danielle Christopher
“Love and Marriage. Love and Marriage go together like a horse and carriage…”
Married With Children’s theme song should have mentioned the baby in the carriage. Thirteen years of marriage with two cats, our family is getting a plus one.
I stare at the clean white tile in the shower. I think I just turned off the shower because I am dripping. I feel like I have come apart from myself. I towel off and look at my belly. There is someone in there now. The doctor confirmed it this morning. I have not told my husband. He is due home soon. I know he will be excited. I am still trying to comprehend it all.
Last summer I had walked away from the third doctor who confirmed that I would never get pregnant naturally. I was only a little sad. I had never felt the urge to be a mom.
On our thirteenth wedding anniversary, my husband announced he was ready to have kids. That was only two months ago. My brain was still trying to absorb my shock. We had been together for over fifteen years. Parenthood never found us. I was happy to not be a mom and have our freedoms.
I hear the car door slam outside. I hurry to get dressed and go downstairs to greet him. I pass by the wine rack filled with vintage wine that I will not sip for a long time. After idle chitchat, I ask him what he is doing September 6th (my due date). He got it. He picked me up and swung me around. Grabbing the camera, he recorded us minutes after we started to be a family.
Michael fills a glass of Perrier for me and cracks a bottle of wine to toast our news. I look longily at the wine. I swear I could smell it from feet away. With a tink of our cheers, our life began to change.
The rest of the pregnancy flew. I was in overdrive of work and packing up boxes. We were determined to move to a better neighborhood before our baby comes. When we were at pubs, I would indulge in a non-alcoholic beer (not the same but I pretended).
My husband’s life was still work and play. I did resent it at times. We took pre-natal classes together- got in trouble for talking. My body was so uncomfortable. In the eighth month, we settled in our new home. I went on maternity leave. All I could do was eat, sleep and pee. My sleepless nights already started before the baby was even here.
Eleven days overdue, I delivered a healthy, beautiful daughter. After the seventy hours of labour, I was euphoric to not be pregnant. The look my husband gave me after he met our daughter thrilled me. I never questioned if he would be a good dad. I worried that I would not be a good wife or mom (not necessarily in that order).
Weeks skated by. Holding my five-week-old daughter in the wee hours of the morning was exhausting and lonely. I let my husband sleep, as his job required him to be alert. I could not have him passing out on a roof.
When she turned eight weeks old, I found us in the living room again curled up on the couch, again. When I say ‘found ourselves’, it means I do not remember getting her. Sleep walking has become a norm. It is no wonder why at night when she finally sleeps, I do not want sex. I need sleep.
Michael understands, to a point. Sleep deprivation leads to my not eating well, eating junk because it is easier to find. My post partum is also heightened due to my inability to breast feed. A lot of baggage. The housework always is last on the list. I am not a great housekeeper or cook.
The next night after he came home from a guy’s night, I was so pissed off at his freedom that I picked a fight. I was ready to leave. Stay at home life is lonely.
Now, two years later, we are getting ready to go out on an actual date. My husband’s work Christmas party. Our newest baby daughter is fast asleep in her crib. Our three-year-old girl is in her pajamas waiting for her Auntie to come and baby sit. I do not know why I am so nervous. It is the first time we will have left our girls for a date. The baby should be okay for a couple of hours. Our eldest is happy her aunt is coming.
I know I owe my best friend some adult time. As soon as we left, it was as if I took a step into another world. It felt odd. Once we arrived, I place my cell phone discreetly in my lap and downed a glass of white wine. We sat in the middle of the table. I knew a few people and got in the conversations. After I talked about our girls, I was out of conversation. We sat there in comfortable silence. I still worried about the girls.
At the end of every day, I know how important it is to re-connect with my husband. We go days without any one on one time together. In the early parent days, we did fight a lot as the stress mounted.
Nowadays, we eliminate the useless small crap. It is a waste of our time. When we can not get a sitter to go outside the house for dates, we make sure we have date nights on the couch watching a show or movie, play on the Wii, sharing a bottle of wine and being cozy. Parked nearby is the baby monitor to remind us of reality. I never imagined I would be a mom. Now I can not imagine my life with out my girls or my husband.