In the hazy, pre-Alexandra days of our relationship when we occasionally didn’t bother to wake up until late on a Sunday or decided to pop to the pub on a whim at 10pm on a weekday evening, I don’t think I ever contemplated how much life would change with a baby. Yes, I knew my world would spin on its axis but I didn’t expect my relationship to alter at all. But the simple fact of the matter is that it did. And it’s always going to.
I’d heard all this business about a baby testing even the strongest relationship but to be honest, I didn’t think it would make a jot of difference to us and thought the only test would be if you were having a ‘band aid baby’ to try and patch up whatever problems there were between the couple. But we had no problems. I was genuinely and utterly happy (I still am…it sounds like I’m gearing up to tell you I hate Dylan now. I’m not!) and aside from the fact he’s chronically late and always messes up the cling film, I think he’s the most wonderfully perfect person. And I’m not just saying that because I know he reads these blogs.
So, I really didn’t think adding a baby into the mix would be much of a problem. I thought we’d just change up our schedules a bit and that’d be that. Oh how gloriously naïve. When you throw in bucket-loads of sick, a baby wailing for food and utter, all-consuming tiredness, it turns out a relationship is much harder. You don’t love them any less, in fact I love Dylan a whole heap more seeing how he is with our little girl and seeing how much he loves her. But we have to actually make time to cuddle now, or chat to each other about something that isn’t how many poos Alexandra has done that day. Sometimes I feel so absolutely exhausted I don’t want to talk to anyone at all and I have to remind myself that really, it’s pretty awful not to be cheerful towards a man who’s dragged himself out of bed, driven down the motorway, spent a full day working, come home and probably bathed the baby and put her to bed, all to make your life so much better.
To turn your life around from being a two to a three is such a massive adjustment and I feel like we’re still trying to get the balance right – between us having one-to-one time with Alex, us all spending time together and us actually managing to talk to each other sometimes as well! It requires planning now: not, shall we go out now? But shall we get a babysitter next week and go out? Or shall we run round the house grabbing multiple items the baby will need in the next couple of hours and then take her out too?
I know I absolutely chose to have a baby with the right person and I can’t imagine anyone else being Alexandra’s daddy – but it makes me think how awful it must be if you’re not sure and you don’t like the other person as much (or at all). To not enjoy those rare moments you do get together when one of you isn’t rushing somewhere or finishing doing some chore or another, is pretty grim. As the title of this post suggests, having a baby isn’t a relationship test, it’s like some bizarre marathon where you’ve set off never having run a metre before, the path is strewn with hurdles, challenges, and you will NEVER SLEEP SOUNDLY AGAIN. (echoey voice)
Harriet and Alexandra x