“I f-ing hate my mom body,” I thought as I tossed aside the third dress in a row. Finally selecting a black skirt and loose fitting black shirt I could hide a little bit in, I was some semblance of date night acceptable. Sweating, I put on wedges—the first time I’d worn anything over half an inch since the first trimester. I put my ID in my purse, just in case I could relax enough to have a drink with dinner, also the first time since the start of the first trimester. I looked in the mirror. Good enough. You look beautiful, my wonderful husband told me. I kissed Baby T goodbye; he was already quite comfortable in his grandma’s arms.
“Okay. Let’s go.”
Going on our first date postpartum had been more anxiety inducing that I had imagined. Not only could I not find something to wear since my body had changed so much with pregnancy, I felt kind of nervous. I also felt silly for feeling nervous, but there I was, anxious to go on a date with my husband of five years. Our lives had shifted so dramatically since having a baby a few months prior, that it almost felt awkward to just be alone with ourselves again. I had even debated cancelling our date, saying I was too tired to even go. My husband held firm, though, and we walked hand in hand into the restaurant. We started talking, and found our rhythm easily. I felt myself relaxing into the booth and my nerves disappearing as fast as the appetizer. I don’t know why I had been so nervous. Maybe because I was secretly afraid having a baby would change our marriage for the worse.
Quite the contrary, it turns out. J was feeling the same things I was. Not only did we feel a deep-rooted, primal love for our child, but we also felt closer and more bonded than ever to each other. Blessing after blessing. These days I feel awash in love and obsession for our family of three. Turns out he does, too.
Going on a date was the best thing we could have done. Once you become a mom, it is so easy to slip into baby blinders and start to neglect your relationship. This is definitely the worst thing that you can let happen. Between the diaper changes and late night feedings, there is often little time for anything else, though. Going on a date and talking about other things non-baby allowed my husband and I to reconnect and fan our flame. The importance of maintaining the bond with your partner goes beyond keeping your relationship healthy. It models appropriate and loving relationships for your children. It helps them to see you as one unit—which goes a long way for being a united front when it comes to discipline. None of this bad mom vs. fun dad shit.
Find the time daily to reconnect in some small way with your partner. It can be as simple as asking how his/her day was, and then really listening for the answer. Instead of falling asleep right away, take some time for some hanky panky. Offer to cook dinner, or better yet, bring in a cocktail. Few things feel as good as being appreciated, and showing your partner that you care helps keep your bond strong.
And yes, by the way, I did have that cocktail. Three actually. I had to pump and dump which always breaks mama’s heart, but as my mom friends keep reminding me, it’s okay to do you. So go ahead mama, you do you, too.