The months that prelude the birth of a baby are often filled with anticipation and excitement for the life ahead. Most expectant parents think about all the wonderful and loving moments ahead, and have some pretty big dreams about what life with baby will be. Despite plenty of kind wishes, careful advice and insights offered by the people around you, you will create a fairy tale of sorts about the life that is ahead of you. Rocking a baby, feeding her a bottle, smelling her clean hair right after it has been washed and seeing her first smile and first steps are joyful milestones that you will feel like you have waited an eternity for. The pitter-patter of little feet in your home is sure to change your lifestyle landscape in big ways. In fact, babies change everything from the way you feel about yourself and your spouse to how you spend your time and money. All the preparation in the world can’t completely get you ready for the journey you are about to embark upon.
Your baby and family dreams will first be disrupted by lack of sleep. You might look back at your college days staying up all night cramming for tests and realize that was nothing compared to now. Even when your baby is asleep your sleep is disrupted by the constant urgings to check and make sure that your infant is okay. Not too shortly after you wished they would stay awake a little longer, they will and you will wonder if you will ever get more than 2 hours of straight, quiet, and peaceful sleep. You won’t. This is something that follows you through parenthood. Gone are the days of sleeping in as long as you want. For the next 20 years you can expect your sleep to be altered in big ways. The good news is that infancy breaks you in fast and furiously making this transition a little easier.
Babies change everything, but perhaps nothing more so than your financial picture. A couple that makes a fairly decent and average living pre-baby will suddenly realize that there nest egg isn’t big enough to support a baby. Diapers, formulas, baby wipes, the constant demand for new clothes and shoes as well as the pressures to provide your baby with all the toys and educational devices they need to be smart, will cause you to run through your pocket book and then some in a very short time. You will likely start living paycheck to paycheck. The demands of money when you have children increase the older they get and affect every single area of the household budget. Chances are you have also spent your future savings on college, tuition, and daycare, weddings – not to mention four wheelers, first cars, designer jeans, braces, and band instruments. All of which seem to hit in waves that leave you just enough time to recover before the next one knocks you done. There isn’t enough money EVER when you have a baby and the more you make, the more you will spend.
Then there is the question of your relationship. Yes, the baby making process, birth and delivery and the first few weeks after birth can bring you and your spouse closer than ever before. The two of you will now share something so concrete and meaningful that there is nothing to compare it to. Yet, you will also start realizing that the two of you are as different as day and night. You will quickly pick up on nearly every discrepancy, difference in opinion that the two of you might ever had. Hot button issues will arise that leave couples clamoring for safety on the side of a boat that is constantly rocking. With every phase in development, comes more room for disagreement. There is also the separation of household duties, the who does more wars, the stay at home versus go to work conversation that is inevitable and the resentments that come from exhausted parents who desperately need a break. In just a matter of weeks parents can feel like their life was completely taken over by a miniature creature who hasn’t even said his first words yet. And it has. And it definitely changes your relationship. One reason this occurs is quite simple. You suddenly have someone that you love more than your spouse and whether you are a mom or dad you think you know the best way to handle things. This period of babies changing everything in your life isn’t temporary. Your best bet is to come up with an action plan so that when arguments arrive, the two of you can handle them. To be honest, one easy approach may be to just flip a coin and change possessions like an NBA basketball team.
Babies do change everything. And you will notice that your sex life takes a big hit. Pregnancy was likely enough of a dry spell but even after the baby is born, feelings about sex change. Some couples become fearful of sex because they don’t want to get pregnant again. Some couples feel weird having sex with a baby in the house. Other couples sort of forget how to have sex. As the baby grows, the sex life can be reduced even more for the simple reason that the baby takes so much time and energy to care of, leaving partners exhausted at the end of the day. Grow some more, and suddenly mom and dad don’t want to be overheard or find themselves rushing through quickies that don’t leave either party very satisfied.
Yet still, if you can handle the change and roll with the punches there isn’t anything like having a baby in the house. Yes, it’s hard and it’s exhausting. It changes the way you think, feel, plan and do things in your every day life, which often is a good thing. In the beginning you will have pangs of longing for your old life, but these too shall pass, or at least be buried under a to-do list or mountain of bills that makes them seem insignificant.