To my dear partner — our marriage feels different now.
It’s funny. No one tells you what the future has in store. You were already fast asleep the other night when I stumbled on video footage of our wedding day. That version of me — beaming at you in my gown – couldn’t look further than what I look like today. Navigating motherhood, my new role, and keeping this tiny human alive, fed, loved, and safe – I don’t look like that carefree woman who stood across from you on our wedding day.
But you know what? I finally realize that’s okay because this version brought new life into the world. And you remind me daily that messy, sleep-deprived, and far from picture-perfect can still be more beautiful. It’s true; that version of us didn’t know what challenges would come with creating a family. Our future was full of hypotheticals. Our marriage feels different now that we’re a family of three, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken – it means we’re building something we couldn’t imagine before.
We have less time for the “us” we once were, but I love the new us.
One of the most significant ways our marriage feels different now is date nights. They aren’t the same as before. Late nights with friends, stumbling into the house well after midnight, and sleeping in until past 10:00 am, that’s a thing of the past. We aren’t one of the fortunate couples with family down the street to babysit at a moment’s notice. We’re winging it in more ways than one, and at this point, even finishing an episode of our favorite TV show feels like a mini grown-up victory.
Weekends aren’t just for us anymore; they’re a hodgepodge of nap times, clean-ups, visits, laundry, and meal prep. Maybe sometimes you feel distant because we don’t have the time we once had to focus on each other. Time to pause, split a bottle (or two) of wine, or miss the last train home from the city without a care in the world. Sometimes I do too.
But “us” time isn’t gone. It’s different. It’s pure joy steeped in sleepy chaos because we’re making room in our lives for our babe. I don’t know if there is anything on the planet that can make my heart swell in my chest the way it does when I see you holding our son, practicing patience, speaking softly to him as he soaks in our universe. New us time includes me, you, and our baby. Navigating this whole “mom and dad” thing is a different chapter for our marriage, but it’s one I love watching unfold.
Intimacy looks different in this season of life, but our spark’s not gone.
My relationship with my body has changed because of motherhood. I’m learning to love this new me, the one who welcomed our son into the world. I’m fighting the “bounce-back” culture that convinces so many women that their life-sustaining bodies are less than if their postpartum reflection is different than it was before the baby. With hormones fluctuating, exhaustion robbing us of our energy, and our son making his way into our bed for the morning (and afternoon, and evening) nursing sessions, alone time can be sparse. But it’s okay because even in the craziness of the “now” – even though our bed is more crowded – it’s filled with a love we’ve never known. This season isn’t forever. It’s just a blink.
Please know that even as I learn to love this new body, I feel your admiration for me. Please know I’m still reaching for your hand, even if it’s across a baby, a bed-hogging rescue dog, and a burp cloth or two.
As we develop a routine and start trusting ourselves as parents, I know we can focus on the love that grew our family — Me and You.
Right now, we can’t lay in bed all day, spontaneously book a flight, or even go to the movies without planning and preparation. Some moments, particularly the middle-of-the-night ones, sometimes feel overwhelming, frustrating, and maddening. But you know what? It’s okay because some seasons aren’t about how fast you can reach the next destination. Some are about pausing, reflecting, and enjoying the messy, wonderful now. Every day holds a new milestone worth celebrating if we want to focus on the beauty. And the truth is, there is no one on this planet who I’d rather do that with than you.
Growth isn’t always about sunshine. It’s about weathering the storm, knowing the clouds will break, and something beautiful will bloom.
We’re not just raising our beautiful boy. We’re growing our hearts, our patience, our minds, and our love for one another as partners. We are learning to tell each other when we need a hug, a nap, a jog, or alone time. We respect each other for our honesty. When I look at our son and see you, I notice not just the physical similarities. It’s the traits I see you developing in him each time you gently brush away a tear. It’s the genuine belly laugh that bubbles up when you see our son has discovered a new way to contort his face to make you smile.
We are not the image of perfection we felt on our wedding day. We’re early mornings and rushed kisses goodbye. We’re grocery lists, stolen sleep, and bathtime coordination. It’s true that as we step into these new roles, we’re losing parts of who we once were. But what we’re gaining together? That’s more than wedding-day me could have ever wished for. I’m different. You are, too. Our marriage feels different and is different, but I hope you know that being different doesn’t mean worse. It means evolution.