We had talked about kids before marriage, agreeing it was in our future, but never set a concrete date to start trying.
To be honest I was enjoying life. We were happy, traveled spontaneously, drank a little more than we should have at times, and hell, I loved sleeping in on the weekends. It was great and we were in love.
The Double Whammy
There are two events that all people in their twenties get hit by. Weddings are the first wave to smack you. They almost seem contagious because once they start, they seem to spread throughout your entire group.
Contagious, only a man like myself would describe an act of love like weddings as though it was a disease.
But before you can even catch your breath, the second wave hits and it’s even more intense.
Baby fever is no joke. Women fall into a sort of cuteness overload and it’s almost like there’s an unstoppable force working against your “free” life. Just as the wedding outbreak starts to subside, this new contagion emerges.
The question will soon follow, “When do you want to start trying?”
Our relationship during pregnancy
Pregnancy affects the body differently so it’s impossible to tell how the 9 months will go. My wife had mostly good days. Her second pregnancy left her feeling more nauseous than the first.
As a testament to her, she is a tough woman who doesn’t complain much. So maybe that had to do with the perception of her “easy” time during pregnancy, but whatever the reason, our relationship did not change much for us during that 9 months.
However, many women struggle through the process. The body goes through many changes which may leave them feeling tired, ill, uncomfortable, and in a lot of pain.
If this is your situation, the relationship you’re used to may be more stressful than usual.
My only advice is to be supportive and help cater to her needs. Carrying a child is no easy feat, she doesn’t need you telling her to “suck it up.” Be supportive physically and emotionally.
Both births of our children were sort of a nightmare. I won’t go into a lot of detail, so here’s the gist of it.
The first one was an emergency C-Section 3 weeks early. I was traveling for work and didn’t make it home in time. For the second one I managed to be there, but she experienced a uterine rupture with my daughter’s arm getting stuck outside along with the cord wrapped around her neck.
Both were far from smooth, but we have two happy healthy kids and I couldn’t be more grateful to the doctors.
The moral of the story is it can be an emotional and stressful event for everyone involved.
Scary fact: PTSD affects almost 10% of women after childbirth.
There are support systems and groups if you fall into that statistic. Social media groups can be a great release for these emotions. Writing this blog happens to be my chance to vent my feelings which I find extremely therapeutic.
Child’s Health: It’s not all happily ever after
We dealt will a few scares during my son’s first couple of weeks, but I can thankfully say we have two healthy children.
It’s horrible to think about what some parents go through with sick children, but unfortunately, it’s a reality for some. It’s not fair, but neither is life and we must play the hand we get dealt.
Disabilities and diseases can happen and you need to be fully aware there is that chance. Down Syndrome statistics increase dramatically with a woman’s age.
Caring for a sick child can consume your life and identity. I know, because I watched it happen to a family we were extremely close with growing up. It was sad, and their lifestyle had to change forever due to their daughter’s severe disability.
Look into the statistics for yourself, weigh your risk tolerance, and decide from there.
I’m an engineer, a numbers guy, those statistics scared the shit out of me, but we were willing to take those odds. This is a subject that should be talked about between you and your partner.
Free time and Me time?
I want to be as honest as I can with you. The free time and me-time that most of us enjoy so much will get eroded. It does not have to disappear entirely, in fact, for your sanity, it’s important to focus on your own mental health during this life-altering event.
Face it, in the eyes of your child, you are their everything. They rely on you for every waking second of the day(and night, unfortunately). You can’t just drop your child to play a round of 18 holes, life will be different now.
I consider myself a “hands-on dad” and I try pulling my fair share of the weight in regards to baby responsibilities.
Being a support system for each other is such a game-changer. Raising a child is a mentally draining experience, so when you have two willing adults to split the burden, a weight is lifted.
Let your spouse blow off steam by volunteering to watch the little ones. Give each other the chance to stay connected with past friends and hobbies. Allowing the baby to consume every aspect of your life is an easy trap new parents fall into.
Making time for hobbies and old friends can still happen, you just have different priorities now.
The Bad and The Good
Since my kids were born I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been able to sleep in on the weekends.
Our spontaneous travel trips have been put on hold.
There’s little time to focus on my hobbies, woodworking, and golf.
I have left stores halfway through my shopping trip due to the “terrible two” meltdowns.
My health insurance costs are significantly more.
Our grocery bills and credit card statements are much higher.
Schedules, routines, and habits will take a backseat in order to cater to the new kid in town. Hell, my daughter didn’t get the nickname “boss baby” for being flexible and easygoing.
And my list of negatives could go on for another page.
The Truth About Having Kids
“Will having kids ruin my life?”
Absolutely NOT. It has been such an incredible journey. Challenging and bumpy at times, but I would not want it any other way.
Getting the opportunity to teach and mold such a delicate being is so fun. They make me laugh and smile every day and I try to do the same to them..
The way your child will love you unconditionally at that age is unreal. They look at you as their whole world and that level of responsibility is a rewarding and humbling experience.
Yes, your life will be entirely different from what it was before kids. It doesn’t mean you can’t retain your identity. It doesn’t mean you can’t do all the things you love.
It just means you have to sacrifice a small portion of your “free” life to experience one of the most awesome feelings I have ever felt in my life.
No, having kids will not “ruin” your life, in fact, it will likely have the opposite effect.