An altered relationship is one of the side effects of having a baby. TV Parents are not depicted as being forever entwined together with a physical lust and all-encompassing love. Parents are parents, pure and simple. And anything else is a side accompaniment to the main dish of parenthood. Whatever your interests, job or personality traits prior to being a parent these are no longer top of the bill. The first question everyone will ask is how the baby is, your own well being added as an afterthought, but there is no doubt that it is the baby who reigns in the relationship.
Before Ebony existed, Laurie was the most wonderful person I had ever known (I say person because at a push, I’m pretty sure my rabbits would beat him to my heart. They are just so sweet and fluffy). I thought I loved him as much as a person could ever love. But I was wrong. The love I feel for Ebony is different. I love Laurie so much that I cannot imagine life without him. I love Ebony so much that I know I could not live without her. She is an extension of me. She is a fifth limb. Or a first, because I would much rather lose one of my other limbs than risk being separated from her. Nothing in the world is as important as what Ebony is doing right now.
Everyone warns you, when you’re pregnant, that your relationship will change. Make the most of your remaining time together, they advise. Have a babymoon, enjoy being alone as a couple. Once the baby’s here you’ll have no time together. This advice went round and round in my head during the later months. I was having an internal battle, should we go away together and enjoy some quiet time, or was it ok for me to just watch TV and moan about the constant feeling that I had just been kicked very hard in the vajayjay by a very strong legged man wearing steel toe boots? In the end I opted for the crotch moan, naturally. We didn’t have a babymoon, and during the last few weeks I started to panic about it.
Would our relationship change that much? Would the baby come between us, creating a jealous rivalry? Would the constant stress put too much strain on our relationship?
I’d been warned that bickering was to be accepted during those first few months. That there would be no respite from the sleepless nights, and that this would put us both in bad moods. I was warned to expect to snap at my husband. Nothing new there then. But I worried that I would become a monster, unrecognisable even to those who accepted the pre-pregnancy bad mood me. I was worried we might never have any time to ourselves, to just be us.
I’m not going to lie. There have been times of exhaustion when I have wept and screeched about seemingly unimportant things such as washing up sponges, misplaced pillows and pillows. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Ebony sleeps well, and so we’ve always managed to make time for each other. We still get to cuddle in front of the TV, and it’s extra nice when Ebony joins us. We still have time to have fun together, in fact we can spend hours doing (what we feel to be) hilarious impressions of Ebony’s many facial expressions (my personal favourite is ‘the turtle’ from her first weeks of life). We still talk about the big issues and current affairs, although admittedly I am usually at least a few days behind now.This week Laurie is off work. It’s really nice to have him home during the day. But, and I have to be honest here, it’s a bit of a shock to see how much Pointless one person can actually watch. Catch Up TV might very well be the death of my marriage. As I walk through the living room I am met with cries of “Come on, whoever gets a pointless answer doesn’t have to change the next nappy” and other similar challenges. Today we have used Pointless to determine nappy changes, shop visits and domestic chores. This is not OK. I definitely don’t remember this being mentioned in my vows.
It could very well get to the point where an intervention is necessary. I mean, it was acceptable pre-Ebony to spend empty days watching TV. But now, every hour in front of the box feels like wasted time. Especially if that box is playing Pointless. God I hate that show.
Pre-Ebony, we would work our way through boxsets at lightening speed. We could spend whole weekends watching ER or The Sopranos, only stopping to order take away or buy some more wine. But things are different now. Time is precious.
Ebony changes so much every week, and I don’t want to look back on this time and regret things I missed because I was partaking in another Peacock Pointless Challenge. I want to look back on this time and remember all the special memories we made as a family. Tomorrow we are taking Ebony swimming for the first time, and I cannot wait. I am determined to make sure this week off does not become a pointless one.