First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes waiting at least a year before trying for baby in the baby carriage, right?
Babies are a natural end of marriage. It’s right there in the rhyme most of us know from childhood, but when it came time to actually face this fact during the planning of my own wedding, I was scared. The fear of the unknown, fear of change, and fear of how hard pregnancy, birth, and raising children would be made me want to just delay that part of the equation. Instead of delaying, we took a leap of faith on our wedding day and ended up with a honeymoon baby. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me, my husband, and our brand new marriage — despite the myths I’d believed prior to getting hitched.
Myth 1: You should take time to get to know each other first.
My husband and I had a whirlwind romance by today’s standards: dated for eleven months, engaged for seven. If there were anyone for whom it would make sense to “be married” for a while before getting pregnant, it would be us. But we agreed before our wedding day that, although timid, we had no real reason to delay the possibility of a pregnancy.
We trusted our decision and each other and I got my positive pregnancy test just six days after returning from our honeymoon. We were shocked and excited, but very quickly we both said “now what?” Not much was immediately different, except we could no longer split bottles of wine together.
Turns out, nine months is quite a long time to “get to know each other” and “be married” before baby comes. More importantly, we are still getting to know each other. We never stopped. We are humans, dynamic and changing, and at the altar I signed on for a lifetime of getting to know my husband. In year one I had the joy of getting to know who he is with a pregnant wife, and later with a newborn son, and I was blown away. It only made me more excited to get to know him for the rest of our marriage.
Plus, when you are newly postpartum and everything is hard and both of you are sleep deprived, it doesn’t hurt to still be in the honeymoon stage with your spouse: you speak a little sweeter, forgive a little easier, and even amidst the stress you have just that much more energy to be kind and gentle with your spouse. That is never a bad thing.
Myth 2: Babies will drive a wedge between you and your spouse.
Not necessarily. This may be the case for some, but we found quite the opposite. Sure, when baby first arrived there was a huge adjustment period. I definitely had the newly postpartum thoughts like “what did we do?” and “I miss the good thing we had going.” The postpartum phase is just really, really hard regardless of when it happens, either one year or ten years into marriage.
Despite how hard it is (or maybe because of it), my husband and I have to rely on each other. Because of that interdependence, we are usually anchored together these days, whereas before our son was born we could be more independent and too easily slip into just “coexisting.” Rather than being a wedge, our son has acted a lot more like glue for us, uniting us closer than we were before.
There’s nothing quite like seeing your spouse rise to the occasion in times of difficulty, give of himself for your sake, and grow stronger for it. Seeing your husband become a father is like that. And seeing him love our son? Be still my hormonal heart.
Myth 3: Children? Bye bye, intimacy.
Again, not necessarily. Without going into TMI territory, we have certainly not found that to be the case. When we had unlimited free time together, our intimacy wasn’t necessarily better, since we took it for granted. Sure, now alone time is harder to come by, especially date nights, but that means that when they happen we treasure every minute.
Believing all these myths before I got married, I was pleasantly surprised that they were not true for us, and that our son was not, in fact, the end of all happiness in our new marriage.
The truth is: I love that our baby is a honeymoon baby.
At the end of the day, regardless of how hard being a mom can be, I know that I am extremely lucky to have gotten pregnant right away, when we weren’t even “trying”. I have too many friends whose first years of marriage involved trying, waiting, seeing specialists, and mourning the loss of a pregnancy (or multiple pregnancies) to think that my husband and I are anything but extremely lucky to have a healthy, growing boy to call our own.
Everyone’s struggles are different. Some people who get pregnant right away have a very hard time in ways that I didn’t. And heck, we are only a year and a few months into our marriage. I don’t pretend to think that we’ve got it all figured out. But the truth is that marriage is about love, and love is self-sacrificing. When we said ‘I do,’ my husband and I vowed that, while we had no idea what the future had in store, we would give our all for the sake of each other. That started with day one, not after we’d had responsibility-free fun for a while.
We took that leap of faith knowing it might mean some hard times, but when our son was born, he brought with him the opportunity for more joy, respect, interdependence, and gratitude than we could have known without him. He is the best souvenir we could have ever gotten from our honeymoon.