Excerpted with permission from Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less, and Communicate Better as Your Family Grows by Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O'Neill, Julia Stone.
Welcome to the Foxhole
It’s been said that having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage. A hand grenade? Why the violent metaphor for such a precious, peaceful little thing? They’re so beautiful. How could anyone defame such a cutie? But it’s true. Those little babies just explode right into our hearts and lives.
Do you have a new baby? Congratulations! Do you have one or more small -people running amuck in your home? How wonderful. Does that home now more closely resemble a bomb crater than it does a dwelling place fit for human beings? Are you picking your way through the debris—the rubble of strollers, bottles, dirty clothes, and talking plastic gizmos—that now litters your domestic landscape?
Welcome to the foxhole, friend. Here’s a helmet.
We know the feeling. The three (make that six) of us have endured seven major diaper-bomb assaults in the last five years and lived to tell the tale. Parenthood changed us, and our relationships, in the most unexpected ways. This is what they meant with the whole for better or for worse business at our weddings. Parenthood fills us with awe and humility and gratitude. It is also a soggy, uncomfortable, life-altering trial by fire. Babies are the great levelers. Like a drill sergeant who tears down his weak new recruits so he can rebuild them into soldiers, babies break us down and rebuild us into parents. They flatten everything in sight, and then make us better, stronger, and hopefully, wiser than we were before
The Paradoxical Passage to Parenthood
It’s the ultimate paradox, having a baby. It is at once the happiest, most breathtaking moment of our lives and the biggest mess we have ever gotten ourselves into (and been responsible for cleaning up).
The Best of Times
Once that baby is placed in our arms, we pass over to the other side. Becoming a parent is, without parallel, the single most beautiful moment in life (even if we are too busy throwing up, cursing, fainting, or just enjoying the drugs to notice at the time). We know that our lives will be richer because of this little person. We can feel it in an instant. And we can never go back.