It all happened really fast for us. We eloped in April, had an awesome wedding reception with family and friends in August, and I was pregnant by September. I always assumed I'd have fertility problems because of my unhealthy past, my age and general bad luck, but we conceived within the first three weeks of trying. We were shocked! My heart absolutely breaks for couples who struggle with infertility and I felt so blessed, so incredibly lucky. Soon after, I read some blog -- "What They Don't Tell You" about becoming parents. I read only bullet point out loud to Brian with a smirk, "You will fight. Even if you and your partner never fought before you had a baby, you WILL fight."
"Well," I thought to myself, "I'm not naive. I know having kids will change things."
And that's when things started to change more than I ever could have expected. Brian found black mold in our home and came to terms with the fact that he'd have to gut out the entire house (think, no walls. no floors, no ceilings) and renovate it. It wasn't safe for me to be around the fumes and our home was essentially a construction zone, so we had to move in with my parents and sisters while Brian renovated. He didn't have time to work a full-time job because he was spending the bulk of his time rebuilding our house. So, we went broke. Literally and completely fucking BROKE. Savings account totally washed out. Nothing in the bank. Zero. Brian worked part time at his job and full time at our house. We qualified for WIC. We qualified for Medicaid. Dire straights, we were poor.
Brian took on the financial stress because he was the only one bringing in an income and supporting the family. I took on the baby stress because I was the only one waking up with her at night and doing the heavy lifting in terms of researching her special needs. The constant money anxiety brought out the worst in Brian and the constant sleep deprivation brought out the worst in me. At my worst, I'm panicky, childish, unreasonably sensitive and full of rage. At Brian's worst, he's selfish, distant, overly critical and insensitive.
When I was three months postpartum, I realized I hadn't once been away from the baby for more than an hour or two. And even then, I was in the same house as her. I was just napping while a family member was kind enough to babysit. I was also still about 30 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I had gained more than half my body weight during my pregnancy and it had been a really long time since I felt pretty. I decided it was time to get my hair done. I have long thick Mediterranean hair and it's always quite the ordeal when I see my stylist. It takes a long time. Brian had never been alone with the baby for more than two hours. I warned him this hair appointment would take quite a while. I explained exactly why it meant so much to me and I asked him to please not mention how it had inconvenienced him. I was gone a little over four hours total and the very first thing Brian said to me when I got back was, "If I knew you were going to take so long, I would have finished my cigarette this morning when you interrupted me."
Well, I flipped out.
I flipped the fuck OUT. I screamed at him at the top of my lungs. I told him he was a selfish asshole and an inconsiderate dick, With every fiber of my being, I wanted to punch him in the face. I wanted to wail on him. I wanted to lunge at him and hurt him. I felt crazy and mentally unstable. He saw the fire in my eyes and thankfully he is a mellow guy so it didn't escalate much further, but in my mind, some real damage had been done. I used to have horrific fights with my ex-boyfriends and I didn't ever want to bring that kind of rage into our marriage.
There have been plenty more fights. Brian getting in the car and driving around at 4 am to blow off steam while I cry my eyes out, me raging at him for not helping out at night, ridiculous banter about why he's so useless in the mornings or why I take everything way too personally.
We've worked a lot of shit out, though. Brian and I split the nighttime responsibilities now. He quit smoking cigarettes and is much more present and alert in the mornings. I took on two more yoga classes to bring in some extra money. I learned to voice exactly what I need and part of that has been more alone time and more time with friends.
But even on our worst days, we still laugh. And I mean, belly laugh. The kind of laugh that starts in the back of your throat and rises up. Every day, we still kiss slowly, hug like we mean it and snuggle up together. Every day, he still grabs my ass and I still smell his chest and his neck and his head. And every single day, we marvel at this tiny little girl we made.
I'm so blessed.
I'm so blessed.
I'm so blessed.
This life with him is an adventure, I thought. I never know what's around the next bend...