I got pregnant 3 short months after I married my husband. We married hoping and praying I would conceive right away because I had numerous complications that could potentially prevent me from getting pregnant. Thus, when our doctor confirmed that we were indeed expecting, we were overcome with joy and gratitude. It was a miracle, and my dreams of motherhood would finally be fulfilled. This also meant that we would be parents even before our first anniversary.
At a time when most couples opt to wait a year or two (for whatever reason) before they have children, our situation was quite unique, but also so full of blessings. Our time “alone” together was limited, and our focus and energies were immediately directed towards preparing for the arrival of our baby. However, three years of marriage and two babies later, I can honestly say that having babies right away has been nothing but fruitful for our marriage. Here’s why.
1. Having babies teaches you to forget yourself. There’s nothing quite like the experience of caring for a newborn to test one’s emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological capacities. There is hardly any time to think about one’s own tiredness between the lack of sleep, the feeding, and the changing diapers of a wailing baby. While I was on my maternity leave, I found it incredibly heroic to watch my husband leave home early to go to work everyday after waking up every hour the night before. And never once did he complain or feel sorry for himself. Even if he was exhausted at the end of the day, he would relieve me of my mom duties and rock our baby to sleep. ANd through the night, each time my baby would wake up, he would get out of bed, pick her up and carry her over to me so that I could nurse comfortably while lying down. He also took most of the night time diaper changes as well. His selflessness during that challenging time was so inspiring, and he continues to live the same way today.
2. Having babies teaches you to work together as a team. When we had one baby, we would take turns changing diapers, giving baths, feeding, etc. Now that we have 2 babies, we assign ourselves to one child each, and swap whenever necessary. While I don’t know what will happen when baby number 3 comes along, I do know that we will manage, simply because we will be working together. My husband and I have learned a lot about one another during our last 3 years of marriage. We’ve learned through trial and error, through the milestones and the small moments, about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and temperaments. Having babies has deepened our marriage because it has shown us how important our partnership has been to not merely surviving, but thriving in life.
3. Having babies unites the two families. While I was in labor for my firstborn, both sets of parents and siblings waited patiently together for our baby to be born. The younger ones entertained themselves by making paper cranes, while our parents chatted and prayed together. It was so heartwarming to see our two families gather together to welcome our little one, and today, birthdays and milestones continue to be a reason for our families to spend time together.
4. Having baby is one more opportunity for you to show how much you love each other. If showing love may have looked a lot like giving flowers during date night or watching basketball games before, marriage and having children certainly changes the dynamic. Love may now look a lot more like taking the night shift to care for the baby while your spouse sleeps, or like offering to change a diaper or prepare the meal of the child even if it is actually your spouse’s turn. Having children provides numerous opportunities to do acts of service, deepening the mutual appreciation you have for one another.
5. Having babies allows you to experience God’s love and providence in a deeper way. There’s nothing quite like the challenge of providing for and raising children to bring any self sufficient person to her knees. Our first three years of marriage certainly came with its fair share of challenges…and strengthening our faith through all has only solidified our conviction that God loves us and that we can trust in his plans. While our first baby was certainly an answered prayer, our second baby was definitely a surprise but we are learning that “when you do your best, God will do the rest.” We were amazed to find that he was always giving us opportunities for work in order to provide for our growing family. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but our shared joys and triumphs as a young family of four have made all of our challenges worth it.