The first months and years of a marriage can be quite romantic. You are young, idealistic, tender and together, the two of you pursue your dreams. Walking hand-in-hand, traveling to new places, trying new cuisines, merry nights with friends… and then, you decide to have a baby.
To begin with, spontaneous romantic love-making gives way to scheduled sessions that coincide with what you hope are your days of ovulation. How one figures out those days is a whole different matter. Calendars, calculations, cycles- and you hope you’ve guessed right. So you have conversations that go something like, “Umm.. baby… I think today is a good day to try!” I know of so many couples who spent months trying like this and when they finally gave up, they conceived! That’s God having fun at your expense.
Anyway, so we move on to this joyous moment when the couple gets to know they’ve hit the jackpot. A baby! The delight and sense of achievement soon give way to the first trimester. The Mommy-to-be finds herself nauseous, irritable, tired and the very last thing on her mind, is romance. Forget elaborate romantic evenings, a simple kiss becomes too much to bear!
The pregnancy progresses and the girth of the lady progresses exponentially. The focus has gone from romance to nutritious diet, aches and pains, pre-natal visits. Top this up with a woman’s hormones going crazy so that she may laugh cheerfully one moment and break down emotionally the next. The husband meanwhile is trying merely to cope with this roller-coaster ride he’s gotten himself into.
And then, the D-day arrives. Your baby is here. Your size returns from that of an inflated balloon to something vaguely closer to normal human proportions. Hope blossoms, and then dies. Because whatever teeny-weeny little romance was left in your life, now goes completely out of the window. Your new love life now constitutes staying awake together all night, sharing in poop-cleaning sessions and passing the baby back and forth in the hope that the other will manage to quieten him.
40 days, the Doctor says. Wait for 40 days before you “resume relations”. At first, it sounds like a long time. But one barely registers when 40 turns to 60. Just getting a few godly hours of sleep is the new parents’ only ambition. Sleeping in the same room as the child means both Mommy and Daddy function like zombies the following day. With a heavy heart, the couple decides to be practical and sleep in different rooms so that at least one parent is sane the next day.
For the mother, feeling sexy is a thing of the past. Now she feels more like a Mother Dairy milk counter. For the father, feeling chivalrous is a thing of the past. Now he feels barely competent to handle this bawling ‘bundle of joy’ in his arms.
When once you always had one hand free to hold your partner’s, now even four hands seem less. When once you took care of your clothes, your nails and your appearances, now you’d be glad if you just managed to be in an outfit that hadn’t been peed on. When once “baby” was how you lovingly addressed your spouse, now the word has been righteously claimed by the new entrant.
Romance, you say? It will just have to wait.
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.