When Two Become Three – Part I

One of the things that scared me the most towards the end of my pregnancy wasn’t the thought of labor or even the fear of bringing a newborn baby home. (I mean, don’t get me wrong, both filled me with a healthy dose of fear on occasion). 😉 But for me, the ultimate fear (one that I kept hidden for the most part) was that that the newest addition to our family might negatively influence my marriage. I had heard the stories. I had read the books. And after spending six beautiful years with my best friend and soulmate, I ached at the thought of anything coming between us.

I ached at the thought of change.

Nate and I had traveled together… We had purchased our first home… We went on dates often and just enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. We talked, snuggled, laughed, and spent so much time together without ever getting tired of it.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing about our marriage up until that point, and I was saddened at the thought of marriage as I knew it ending.

We both faced parenthood with the realization that marriage was now going to take more work. We were going to be a family of three, not two; so time together wouldn’t be as readily available. Because of this, we made plans ahead of time to communicate. To make time for each other. To go on dates.

We faced that change head on, so that we would be okay!

And for the first few weeks, we were. In fact, we were more than okay. Nate took on this gentler, care-giving side that I hadn’t even known existed. He’s always been really sensitive to my feelings; but he’s generally a typical, clueless guy when I’m sick in bed. 😉  However, during my first few weeks home from the hospital, it’s as though he channeled my mom! He prepared all the meals, constantly made sure there were beverages and snacks by my bedside, and – when he saw that I was doing a little bit too much – he banned me to the bedroom for a day of watching television, caring for baby, and recovering from the C-section. He even insisted on changing all the diapers himself, as he knew that learning how to breastfeed was such a huge task for me.

He was so unbelievably sweet!

He was nurturing in a way that made me cry from pure relief. He was absolutely everything I needed him to be, and – quite honestly – I felt as though we had never been so much in love. We’d snuggle together with our precious bundle of joy between us; and I had to wipe tears from my face, because I was just so happy.

As weeks turned into months, however, the strain of little sleep and long, busy days began to take its toll.   Every baby comes with its own set of challenges, but even the simple task of feeding Brady was overwhelming. Around two weeks old, he had gas issues that we couldn’t figure out, and he spent hours and hours screaming inconsolably from the pain. He vomited.. a lot. He wouldn’t nap or sleep. I woke up every two hours throughout the night, sometimes more, to feed him.  To rock him.  To walk him around the room, hoping he might find some comfort.

And quite frankly, it wore at our nerves, especially since everything within us ached to help our baby feel better. But we couldn’t.

So we began to take it out on each other…

If Brady’s screams rose to a level that I emotionally couldn’t handle while Nate was holding him, I’d snap, “Nate, what are you doing?”

To which Nate would reply in frustration, “I don’t know! I don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t help him. What do you want me to do?”

We were strained, exhausted, and busy in ways we never could have imagined. It all felt so much bigger than us. And so gradually, day by day, despite our determination to not let ‘that’ happen to us, our focus began to shift to survival. We’d go days without a kiss, and – even then – the kiss would be a quick peck. I suddenly couldn’t remember the last time we had hugged… Intimacy, what was that? And since I was nursing and caring for a baby that was constantly choking on his acid reflux (in addition to getting up every two hours), that little baby soon began to sleep between us. We didn’t even have the evening hours to cuddle together.

One day, it all just seemed to come to a head… (to be continued)

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9 thoughts on “When Two Become Three – Part I”

  1. Even though I am not entirely sure what Part II entails- I can tell you, you’re certainly not alone. I think most won’t talk about just how crazy it can get those first couple months with a newborn. It tests EVERY ounce of your patience and with out knowing it we have all these crazy expectations in our minds of “what life (our partner) should be like” and when expectations don’t mesh with reality..watch out! I was the same about being nervous about the change it would be for my husband and I- and although some I could kind of expect- others I had no idea.

    1. ” It tests EVERY ounce of your patience and with out knowing it we have all these crazy expectations in our minds of “what life (our partner) should be like” and when expectations don’t mesh with reality..watch out!”
      That is SO true!

  2. Oh darling! We’ve all been there. I hope Part II brings progress towards finding the passion again. We have definitely had our struggles where suddenly we realize all we’ve done is argue and over literally everything and nothing all at once. It’s so frustrating. But catching the issue is the first step! If it helps, we had a big “come to a head” moment… Or maybe a couple… And have been doing soooo much better since. Sending happy thoughts!

    1. The same was true for us! We had that ‘come to a head’ moment (or two), and then we did so much better afterward as well. I think that the really tough moments – if we communicate during or after them – help us to finally share what we’re truly feeling instead of trying to be tough on our own.
      It really is such a learning process, that is for sure!

  3. This is one of my biggest fears about expanding our family to three! Being two is just so easy and enjoyable…most of the time:) It’s hard to imagine changing what we have going on!

    1. I’m not going to lie… A few weeks before my due date, I cried when I thought about how life was going to change. I was excited to become a mom, don’t get me wrong, but – at the same time – I didn’t want life as I knew it to change. It was just SO good! 🙂 But now that I’m a mom, I wouldn’t want to go back, because I love my little nugget so much.
      I guess it’s kind of like getting married… I mean, there’s a lot to be said for being single; but once you marry your soulmate, you wouldn’t want to go back. Sure, marriage is tough… but it’s crazy worth it! It’s an amazing adventure with your best friend.
      Becoming a parent is the same way. 🙂 It’s different than not having kids, but – well – it’s an amazing adventure too!

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