The great stress of having small humans on a relationship comes with the territory.
Nobody with small children should be allowed to get divorced.
Nope, you need to band together and forge straight on through.
Because it’s tough even for the best couples.
Both parties are adjusting to new responsibilities and how to share them and deal with them.
I love my husband that is no secret.
When we got together the PDA was excessive.
He has kind eyes.
He works harder than anyone I know and he is the most generous person I have ever met.
Alas, no one in exempt.
It doesn’t matter how much I love that man.
When you are both sleep deprived and being awoken in the middle of the night by a baby screaming, sometimes you are NOT your best self.
These are just the facts.
You know these days will pass, but it doesn’t make them any less bat crap crazy when you are in them.
This morning someone smacked me in the head with a Tonka truck while I was changing a poopy diaper of another dude and it made my hand go into a bad territory of the poo zone.
Life is currently a beautiful disaster.
Now in this magical natural disaster, here comes the million question…
What you just went through…to birth a human?
He was right there every step of the way.
Holding your hand and debating baby names with you.
Telling you that you were pretty even tho you shared pajama pants at this point.
Here it is.
Here is the age old difference between the Mom and Dad’s role in becoming a parent.
During the greatest moment of both your lives, was someone ripping open his man-part, jumping out and then a team of other people throwing some stitches on it while you held your son for the first time?
Cause um, that’s MY story x2.
What I have gained in the past two years is worth it a million times over, but I have lost things along the way as well.
That doesn’t change.
People are always like, “Ohhhh Britt. You will get your body back! You look great! Don’t you worry! You JUST had TWO babies!”
Well, maybe I will someday say goodbye to my muffin top but my old body is gone baby, gone.
Believe me, it’s never coming back.
This body was a machine.
A human making machine.
It paid it’s dues and it has scars.
I am still healing everyday.
So at this current point in time dear husband, our children are a year apart.
I can’t retire my card yet.
My ace in the hole.
I think it’s fair to be cut some serious slack during this transition period of our lives.
Because my card says, I just birthed two 10 lb babies and made a family for us.
I’m hearing your frustration about my forgetfulness.
I bet it has been tough at times to live with me lately.
But do you remember that time that I was having a baby so fast that my body was shaking so much that the nurse stabbed me incorrectly and bruised my entire forearm and there was blood running everywhere?
…yet, I didn’t think much of that cause simultaneously I relieved myself on the hospital floor mid conTRACtion?
Of course, I had no control over the matter…
The nurse said, “Hey! Maybe your water broke! That’s good.”
I said, “Keep your voice down lady, I just peed on the floor.”
Don’t worry, when you leave the hospital the healing doesn’t stop there.
For example: If one day you got hemorrhoids it would be because of lack of fiber in your diet causing strain.
If I ever got them.. (Uhhh…) IF.. Okay whatever.
When I got them it was because I was a human hotel for your giant man-children and I pushed Smudgy out in two pushes.
I mean, pushing two 10 lb man babies out of my vagina back to back summers DID prove to me that my sneaky suspicion I was a bad ass was indeed accurate.
It was the best thing I ever have done in my life!
That’s the truth.
But the other truth is that they savaged my body, emotions, and mind.
Feeling love stronger than I could have imagined…yet simultaneously hurting.
Running on fumes.
Becoming a parent is a giant paradox.
I may not have always been the best wife in the months after the birth of our boys.
Did it ever cross your mind that maybe I just had to lean on you?
Maybe I was experiencing more first hand…but what if your job is to hold us all together, even if you didn’t understand it.
Marriage is NOT a competition….
But just for shits and giggles if we did add up the last two years the abridged version would look like this:
- I got pregnant.
- Went to a zillion doctors appointments. Literally, one zillion.
- He was a week and half past my due date and it was 90 degrees in July.
- I had to sit on a frozen bag of peas for the last three weeks because the pressure was so painful. So don’t eat the peas if I invite you over for dinner.
- I was in labor for 30 hours. At 9 cm and no drugs because the anesthesiologist wasn’t too keen on shoving an epidural up my spine because of the metal rods I have in my back. So I was just yelling… “I want a c section. Someone just knock me out. HELPPPPPPP!“
- I BIRTHED a 10 lb baby out my lady business. I got one stitch. (I know that feel like a super overshare, even for me. Yet, it still feel necessary to include that my vagina might be a wizard.
- I had my boobs get infected, couldn’t breastfeed my child. Side note: Not being able to breastfeed your kid when you planned on it is a HUGE leading trigger for postpartum depression.
- Definitely had the baby blues (SO much crying). A bright-eyed brand new midwife lovingly said, “This is what we refer to as ‘the letdown.” Thought I was a failure because I couldn’t feed my kid. Wore the same tie-dyed shirt every day. Called my Dad and cried every day.
- Rallied. Got myself together.
- Took care of our first homie like a champ.
- Went back to work. Took care of an infant all day and then worked 2-10 at night.
- Got pregnant again. Puked almost every day at work in secret. Walked around the campus at night and just puke in some bushes and keep walking. Had a travel toothbrush at all times.
- Took care of an infant, worked full time, and was pregnant for 5 months
- Searched for and bought a home.
- Packed up our entire house while being pregnant and taking care of an infant.
- Became a certifiable crazy person. So jacked up on hormones.
- Had a panic attack when I was 9 months pregnant. Our 11-month-old baby was asleep upstairs in our house. I was being dive bombed by a bat that had gotten into our house in the living room. I’m laughing out loud right now as I write that. Just picturing the scene. But at the time I was like…”Ohhhh my god, I’m going to get bitten by a bat and my baby is going to come out with rabies. Dear lord. This is the end. ” I called my Mother in law and she said the following to me. “Oh I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I know a woman that her husband died by getting bit by a bat.” Not the best story for me to hear at this point in time. Again, not rational. Not composed. Two years of pregnancy hormones just flowing red. I sat outside on our deck for hours in the dark because I refused to go back inside. Husband sat on the couch inside and watched Game of Thrones. I shouted things into the screen door to Josh like, “I’m not in the mood to be a single Mother. People say “Oh is there a Mr. Burbank?” and I’d have to be like, “Uhhh no. He died by bat bite because he doesn’t like to miss Game of Thrones.” He ended up catching the bat in the end (Don’t want to leave you hanging.)
- Delivered another 10 lb. baby. Did this one in two pushes. Did not receive a t-shirt for being the best at childbirth.
- More crying. More doctors.
- Rallied again.
- Did not bat an eye when said husband went to Maine for 9 days when baby #2 was two months old. (Cause I freaking LOVE you, you silly man. You work too hard. And if you don’t take a little bit of time off, you will have a heart attack. Okay? Good. Now go.)
- Start seeing a counselor to dig through the postpartum depression party remains.
- Back to work full time.
- I average 5 hours of sleep a night.
- My feet are bigger, my skin is bumpy on my arms, I’ve lost weight, but my skin is not tight. Worst thing ever.
- I haven’t been to the yoga studio in 2 months. I do yoga at home but it’s not the same! That place is my church. Where I clear my mind. Where I make myself present again.
- Our baby has pulled out countless chunks of my hair and when it grew back I found my first gray hair.
- I injure myself often while trying to catch them, carry them, pin them down and clothe them.
- You impregnated me. (Sorry you had to take that bullet. *sarcasm noted*)
- You had to be in the room while I had a pap smear. You pretended to be reading Women’s fitness, but I saw you look up. Can’t unSEE that man.
- Searched for and bought a home.
- You had to listen to me complain, A LOT.
- You have to work your ass off to provide for this family.
- Spent all day working and then all night working at the house to get it move in ready.
Now you see, I have a logical brain.
A lot of this craziness was predetermined for us just by our gender and procreation capabilities.
I already told my husband we could have a 3rd if he carried it.
I’ll be the one holding his leg up while he pushed.
My point is, I’m the woman.
I was happy to play this role.
I felt privileged to play this role.
It is a momentous role.
Which like any momentous role, it takes all the time and energy that you can give.
So all I ask for is a little understanding.
If the house is full of clutter, please please don’t be shocked when you tell me “the mess frustrates you,” and I proceed to stab you with a fork in the leg.
Alright, so now we all are on the same page that couples share different roles in creating a family.
Everyone’s list is different.
The couple themselves just has to be okay with the way they operate.
Mostly, because stress is an unavoidable beast that sneaks into your marriage when you have small children.
Everyone is stretched a little too thin.
You love those kids with all your heart, but man they ask a lot of questions.
I work at a school for teenagers with complex cognitive disabilities.
At the school, we regularly use a beaker to demonstrate this with the kids visually.
Some days I’m a lousy wife.
Some days I’m an amazing wife.
Some days you come home to a Martha Stewart special and some days you come home to the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.
So you have to just go with it.
Be the rock that holds us down.
…because maybe you didn’t birth our kids.
…maybe your contribution list is shorter than mine when it comes to the amount of stitches you got in your genitals in order to bring our boys into this world.
But here is the secret.
What you CAN do is much greater.
You can do the most important thing on any spouses list, which is BEING THE CALM in the hormonal storm.
This is your starring role!
It’s the only way to survive babies.
Maybe your reading this and your like, “Uh, Brit. My pregnancy was beautiful, I was practicing stripper aerobics 6 weeks postpartum, and my husband is MY BEST FRIEND. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Well, in the words of the great poet Stephanie Tanner, “Well pin a rose on your nose.”
Middle children unite.
That’s cool that your husband is your best friend.
My only question and concern is who do you call to say swear words about your husband?
While you cry in your Jeep in the driveway.
Cause I’m pretty sure that is the role of your best girlfriend.
AGAIN… It’s not a competition.
That’s silly business.
Don’t misinterpret my frustration.
I just want to be understood like anyone else.
If we were being honest:
One of us did wake up this morning, take a shower, feed the dog, walk out the door, go to Dunkin Donuts, and then go his/her job.
And the other one of us woke up to crying.
Changed two poopy diapers.
Burned 1000 calories trying to change and dress our children.
Fed them breakfast.
Changed them again because they are foul beasts when they eat.
Made Ben’s daycare lunch.
Packed a bag for each of them.
Brought Ben to daycare.
Brought Jack home.
Brought Jack to Nana’s house and then went to work.
That’s basically the same morning?
I won’t disclose who’s morning looks like what.
Is there really any way around our schedules being like this at this very point in time?
So it’s no one’s fault.
Spouses just need to remember to walk in each other’s shoes from time to time.
Which you would think would be easy for husband and I considering my feet just keep getting bigger every time I get pregnant.
One day I will retire my card.
I won’t be that Mom who spends their kids entire teen years being like, “Hey mister, I spent 30 hours in labor with you. blah blah blah.”
But that day isn’t today.
Today I will go on feminist rants about the ordeal that is pregnancy.
Today I will navigate the unknown waters of being a New Mom.
Today I will remind everyone in my household that I love them and I’m trying harder than I ever thought I could at anything in my life.
So please just believe that.