How Pregnancy Changes Love
The truth about how having a baby will affect your relationship
My husband, Alex, and I were just out of college when we hooked up -- our first "date" was a night out dancing with friends. When we married five years later, the romance still felt young. We took picnics to the beach near our rented house in Venice, California, and shared barbecue dinners with friends. Being married was fun.
Then, a little over a year after our wedding, my mother died. We moved back East to be nearer to our families and bought our first home, in rural New Jersey. Away from our friends, living in the middle of nowhere, having dinner discussions about the mortgage and broken things around the house that we had no idea how to fix, our sweet affair seemed to vanish. I wasn't a kid anymore. Suddenly, I was a grown-up woman with a husband.
And then I got pregnant.
From the moment I saw that blue line on the stick (which I greeted with the rather immature exclamation "Holy crap -- I'm pregnant!"), romance was in the air again. The knowledge that we'd been successful in this bizarre science experiment with our bodies excited us, and the strange novelty of being pregnant brought a lovely newness to the relationship. I was sick as a dog during the first trimester -- I'd burst into tears each morning before work, wondering how I could possibly make it through another day of intense nausea. But emotionally I was walking on air. I was one of those lucky women who have a great response to pregnancy hormones, and I felt calmer and more content than I had since I was a little girl. My good mood was contagious, and even throughout the sickness, Alex and I joked and teased and flirted like we had in the good old days.
During the second trimester, with the sickness gone and good hormones raging through me as if I were a teenager, our mutual crush was revived. That time felt like the months between our engagement and our wedding. Giddy with anticipation and thrilled with the commitment we'd made to each other, we began a nightly tradition of lying together on the couch after dinner so Alex could place his hand firmly on my belly and enjoy what we dubbed the baby's "after-dinner dance." Snuggled up close to him, I could feel the three of us becoming a family.
Finding out we were having a boy threw us for a loop. While we were both overjoyed at the ultrasound, a few days later during a candlelit dinner, I admitted to Alex that I was completely freaked out to know I had a penis living inside my body. I'd always thought I wanted a boy, but when the time came the idea seemed so foreign. My sister and my sister-in-law both had girls. I was a girl. I wondered if I'd know what to do with a boy. Alex cleared his throat, and I waited for his reassuring words.