I remember when I got engaged and I was on the verge of marriage...I knew very much then it was like “joining a club.” A married club, if you will. Even if you aren’t married, you know that this club exists because it’s likely that one or more of your married friends at one time or another has said something along the lines of, “Well, it’s different when you are married.”
Try and get them to describe the difference and it’s hard....it’s just different. It’s as though everything and nothing has all changed at once. There is also this phenomenon that married people are always trying to recruit others to get married too, and it starts right at the wedding with the bouquet and garter tosses.
This, to me, is strange. My husband and I didn’t do either a garter or bouquet toss...and we don’t try to recruit. I am always happy for people when they get engaged, but seriously, I don’t go around recommending marriage as an institution. It’s not that I don’t like being married--I love it, I think it’s great. It’s also a hell of a lot of work, a huge commitment and a serious dance when it comes to compromise. Even though I knew these things going into the marriage, I could have NEVER anticipated just how hard it would be at times.
That, my friends, is why I say that you must be madly, deeply in love with your partner before marriage. Because if that love isn’t there, when the going gets tough, god help you. And if you think I’m just trying to be a downer or whatever, just ask one of your divorced friends (yeah, we’re at that age now)--they will be all to happy to confirm for you what I am saying.
Now why I am bringing this all up? Well, folks, it’s called pregnancy. You see one of my best friend’s boyfriends (who, by the way was totally kidding) joked with me saying, “Great, thanks a lot, now my girlfriend wants a baby.” I laughed because it was hilarious, but it also got me thinking: I haven’t even had this kid yet, but I know already that I feel the same way about parenthood that I do about marriage. I’m not recruiting anyone!
I have had friends who have wanted me to join this parenting club for years. And then I have friends with kids who have said consistently not to do it unless I’m totally ready (if I choose to do it at all.) That ladder group is where I’m a-falling.
Just being pregnant has shed some serious light on the whole marital communication thing....there is a ton of stuff you have to talk about. Where is the baby going to sleep? How do we feel about co-sleeping? Where are we financially? Who’s responsible for what once the baby gets here? Is being a stay at home parent ‘work’? Not to mention you have to agree on a name! And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Luckily for us, after ten years of togetherness which includes three plus years of marriage, we’re (knock on wood) starting to get this communication thing down. Still, as committed as we are to having a little family, we see this murky grey road ahead and we know that it’ll be filled with a lot of uncertainty. We know it’ll be worth it, and we know we can’t imagine the tests it’ll throw us, but we’re going to be as prepared as we can be as we go forward.
Even still, we’re not recruiting anyone.
So guys, if you find your girlfriends with a case of baby belly envy, send them my way. I will give them all the glorious details of being pregnant, and I will squeal with them in delight about nursery plans, etc. And then I will caution them amply, and scare the ever-loving shit out of them and send them back to you and your quiet, peaceful, non-hormonal home where they can bliss out on the fact that there is no pitter-patter of little feet on the horizon...at least not yet.