From the Heart:
Will He Be Able to Love the New Me?

This is a very personal post, but one I feel I needed to write because I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings on this subject. Never have I wished my relationship with my husband was both longer and stronger than in the last six months of pregnancy (essentially, since my body started undergoing this dramatic transformation). It’s easy to talk about the toll pregnancy has taken on my body and on my life. By now those gripes are well-known and understood courtesy of my knack for oversharing. It’s much harder to talk about the toll pregnancy has taken on my relationship. I want to be honest without assigning fault: I am not the same person that James fell in love with. Physically, that’s easy to notice. For one, I’m forty pounds heavier, which now means I’m probably heavier than my husband. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the same familiar face that has been staring back at me for decades, which means James doesn’t see that face either. But there’s so much more to dissect beyond the physical – I’m moodier than I’ve ever been; I’m not good at not complaining, which means he gets to hear me constantly complaining – let’s be honest – this is never a good look; I’m perpetually exhausted and am rarely up for anything remotely fun; and its practically impossible for me to find joy in anything, not because I’m emotionally removed from joy, but because for me, I need to feel good physically to feel happy, and I just don’t feel good physically, like ever. What worries me though, like terrifies me actually, is that I might never again be the person James fell in love with. And if that is the case, will he be able to love the new me?

This part isn’t physical. I’ll get my body back, in time. And with that, I’m sure I’ll feel sexy and desirable again too. I won’t want to lock the bathroom door while showering (in fear that he will be repulsed by my naked body). I will feel comfortable in my own skin and that confidence will make me beautiful again. But it’s so much deeper than that, isn’t it? My priorities will never be the same. Ever. I will soon be a mama bear, and with that new role, comes a new responsibility: my little cub comes first and foremost, forever. And I wonder what fun will look like now that we can’t just go out on a whim, stay out late, have all the beverages, have all the adventures? Someone has to be the responsible one and that will inevitably fall on me, partly by choice, but partly because we both can agree I’m the more mature partner. Also, I worry if he will ever be able to see me the same after he sees my push out a baby and then spend months nursing said baby. And I believe these are all real fears that for some reason we aren’t allowed to talk about. But quite frankly, it sucks to have to come to terms with a new relationship on new terms and the very real fear that it won’t work!

I have never tried to hide the fact that my relationship is far from perfect. We fell in love fast, we moved fast, and it was all butterflies until one day when it wasn’t anymore, and then we were faced with ALL the challenges of a fast relationship; ALL the conversations we should have had, but didn’t; all the differences that come from being two fully formed individuals trying to fit into each other’s lives — the differences we shouldn’t have ignored but did anyway because that’s what you do when you fall in love and allow yourself the privilege of being swept away. And now there is this extra added layer of intricacy, of hardship: how the hell will we survive with baby when we were barely surviving without him? I did not get pregnant to bring us closer together. And thank god for that, because let me clear on one point: pregnancy will not bring you closer together – if the foundation is not already strong, what exists of it will crumble. I got pregnant because I woke up 10 months ago and decided I was ready to be a mom (finally, after all these years). And part of that decision was that I had met someone who was going to be a brilliant father. This I knew from the first day I met him. This much stands true regardless of whether our marriage survives.

I will end with this: I love this man with all of my soul. His child is growing inside me – my second heart half belongs to him and my first fully does. I want nothing more than for us to be a family and I will fight for that to happen until there is no fight left in me. And if it doesn’t, it will be the biggest heartbreak of my life. I’m not afraid to be honest about my fears going forward. I don’t have to paint a picture of a perfect anything in order to convince myself or anyone else that my life is good. My life is good, in all of its imperfection. And it will continue to be good, regardless of how the future plays out. It’s been a hard fight in a short time for us to get here, James and I. It hasn’t been easy; my god, it hasn’t been easy! But all we can do is try. And keep trying.

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