Announcements, Challenges, Love, Time

We had a baby! What we’re learning about marriage in the first week of being parents

We’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately, and for good reason. We had a little girl on December 1st!

I wanted to take some time and share explicitly with you (because we love our FM community), and to process through a few things we’re already learning about what it means to be married and parents simultaneously.

Many of our readers have been parents for years, so my revelations will seem rudimentary at best… so please feel free to weigh in via the comments below, we’re taking all the advice we can get!

The quick skinny

Selena’s mom was visiting for Thanksgiving. We had an incredible time, filled with food, memories, and quality time together. All in all it was a pretty uneventful Thanksgiving, just the three of us and a small but complete traditional dinner.

On Saturday morning Selena and her mom went for a semi-routine walk around the block (3 miles). Selena, though 39 weeks pregnant, didn’t think much of the exercise – it’s a walk she’s done dozens of times. I stayed home and did a little work.

That evening, I drove Selena’s mom to the airport (an hour away) and came straight home. I got home around 9pm and we watched our latest Netflix kick and started heading to bed around 11pm. I was browsing some feeds on my phone quickly before turning in when Selena sheepishly approached me, “I don’t want you to freak out, but I think my water broke.”…. WHAT??

As it turned out, she was right! Her earlier 3 mile walk had apparently had some “side-effects”. We headed to the hospital and 11 hours later, Adelaide Grace Rae was born! Here’s a Facebook post with some details and a pic!

In case you missed it in the post above, here’s the meaning behind her name:

  • Adelaide: “of noble kind”, she being the heavenly daughter of the greatest King, and my earthly daughter (Ryan means “little king”), it is my primary charge as her earthly father to steward her heart into the arms of Jesus.
  • Grace: an undeserved, unfathomable gift from God.
  • Rae: the middle name of my mother; a brilliant, godly, loving, and selfless woman.

So what are we learning so far?

This is just to help me flesh out some of the things we’re starting to learn about child-rearing within a marriage:

1: Patience x 1000

There is nothing like a new child to test the boundaries of your patience. We’re in a weird time… Adelaide is in her first week and still very docile.

She pretty much just sleeps, squeaks, and leaks.

I know this will change quickly and things will get more strenuous, so I’m hoping my patience skills grow quicker than her motor skills! Selena and I have been pretty patient with each other, until last night: we had a bit of a fight, with loud arguing and some tears.

Chalk it up to hormones, tiredness, and stress, but it just goes to show we have some growing to do! This actually leads me to my next supremely keen (sense the sarcasm there??) observation…

2: You’re going to mess up

When you’re dreaming of having a child together, you idealize everything. You want to keep things tidy, behave excellently, and teach them all the right things at the perfectly right time… you want things to be perfect.

Five days in, I’m giving up on perfect.

I’ve already had to apologize to our little girl for using words I shouldn’t have. I’ve had to make up with Selena for the same reason. I’ve also already made priority mistakes ALREADY. (sigh)

Bottom line, I know we’re not going to be perfect parents, and we’re not going to be perfect spouses – we never were. What I do know is that I will be quick to apologize and fast to forgive when mistakes happen; I also know that we serve a gracious, loving, and compassionate Savior who will walk by our sides through every dumb mistake and over every victorious mountain (or molehill-turned-mountain for that matter).

3: Just BE

Thirdly, I’ve keenly realized (again) the importance of just BEING present with my family. My favorite moments are when the TV is off, music is off, my phone is somewhere (anywhere) else, and I’m just experiencing the in-between moments with Selena and Adelaide.

I’m learning to cherish those moments dearly, and fight for them fiercely. How do I fight for them? By just letting them happen, uninhibited, and being there to experience them fully.

4: She must grow up

I don’t want Adelaide to grow up. She’s so snuggly, cute, and easy to be around! I want to be able to hold her forever, and kiss her head way too much just because she smells so good.

Yes, I don’t want her to grow up… but if I love her, I realize she must grow up.

She must become who she was created to be, which includes learning to walk, getting out of diapers, and eventually marrying a young man. As she grows, I intend to soak in each precious season, not wishing it away or wishing it to stay. I hope to simply experience each season of her development, and guide her into the arms of her ultimate Father, and her ultimate husband: Jesus.

More to come…

There are many other lessons I’m (we’re) learning as parents, but I’ll have to share them another time. Fierce Marriage will remain solely a marriage blog, but be on the lookout for those posts with lessons we learn when parenthood overlaps into married life – they’re bound to happen!

Question: For parents, what have you learned about your marriage through raising your children?

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  • Ryan, I appreciate the humility and transparency (and that you took time to post)! Having children is not so much about training them as it is God training us! I can tell you that through the great, good, and not so wonderful times, it is all worth it!

  • Tiffany Ahern

    Congratulations! We have a 5 mo old little girl (our first). And yes those first few weeks are very tough. We finally seemed to get back to “normal” (which in this case “normal” now included our bundle of joy) at around the 3 mo mark. Thats when sleeping started to regulate, we could decipher her different cries, we both knew when the other was just plain out of paitence, etc. Dont be afraid to ask for help from any of your friends. They will be more than happy to help with the dishes, bring u a meal, watch the baby while you get a quick shower or nap, or date in. And dont forget to simply enjoy this time. Bc you will never get these precious minutes back. Oh sure you will have similar ones with future kids, but every child is different. And you also hit the nail on the head about not being perfect. That was a hard one for me to learn. That sometimes dusting or laundry or whatever can wait. Family is more important. :) Have fun being new parents! :)

  • Beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us old parents who tend to forget those firsts.

  • Sudea

    thanks for being transparent and sharing. A friend of mine recommended “And Baby Makes Three” by Gottman. It was good. I learned that we are on the same team and we couldn’t believe how much love MULTIPIES! Love for God, one another and our children! :) Blessings!!

  • Sudea

    oh-and I recommend “the Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. A good read: about babies, brain, body, development and so on. Good stuff! I have used the soothing techniques for my babes and others! :)

  • Jenny

    My husband and I have been married for 13 years now. We waited to have kids; but then we finally decided to take the plunge into parenthood. Our two boys are 6 and 4. Being a parent adds a totally new dimension to a marriage that neither one of us ever expected. We love our kids with all our hearts; but also miss the quiet moments we often used to share together…just the two of us. If there is any advice I can give you…it’s to always make quality time for just the two of you. When children come into the picture it is easy to include them in everything, and do everything as a family; but as a couple…it is VERY important to take the extra time for each other as well. These times may be few and far between now and in the coming years; but don’t ever forget to make time for them.

  • Jessica

    Congratulations! What a beautiful blessing from above!

  • Ashlie @ adillightfuladventure

    congratulations on your precious little one! My husband is coming home from deployment soon, and we are hoping to start a family, God willing. It’s good to hear of these first little moments and lesson you and your wife are learning. I particularly the love just BEING present – so simple, yet so difficult to do sometimes. Thank you for sharing, and may God bless your growing family.

  • Debbie Blumenthal

    What fun to share in the first week of adelaide’s life. Parenting is a work in progress and you two will be great. We need more pictures…Guess Jeffrey will have to send some along, when he gets down there

  • Teresa R

    Congratulations! What a pretty girl! I love the meaning of her name

  • Leslie Semperwife

    Thanks for your transparency! My husband and I have been married for 7 years, and currently waiting on the Lord to bless us, at His time with an addition to our family. This was a great true glimpse of what is to come for us. Thank you, Leslie

  • LynetteTucker

    Congratulations, thank for sharing, I know people are recommending books, I do have a favorite as well, mainly because it stresses importance of a strong marriage to before parenting, no marriage is not perfect, it is a work in progress, so is parenting, and I think this book is a great resource, it’s called “Babywise”. Also others have commented, and I agree, try to make time with you and your wife, even if it’s at the end of the day, watching Netflix, playing Uno and winner get s a foot rub, or simply talking about the day’s events. Some people really stress a date night, but realistically it is not always possible, and that’s okay, just those few minutes alone, when baby is sleeping really make a difference. One more thing everybody has an opinion on parenting, and just because you listen to an opinion does not mean you are obligated to follow their advice, being obedient to what God has laid on your heart on parenting is more important than anything else, enjoy your new blessing and Congratulations again to you the both of you!!

  • Congratulations! And right after the awe of “We made a human!” is the awe of realizing how much more you love your spouse now. I will admit that the glow fades fast :p

  • Rich

    Congratulations. Enjoy. Make mistakes. Love covers a multitude of them.

  • Lady p

    My fiance and I have a 1yr daughter its funny watching a new parent but it has made us grow even stronger and closer. We are more aware of each other thoughts and feeling and communicate better.

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  • Katherine Taylor

    I once had a friend tell me right before my husband and I got married that when we had children to make sure we still put each other first. I am pregnant with our first, we are due May 2014 and we are super excited.I hope that we do remember to keep each other first, because I have said this same thing to many couples who don’t have a very loving or together relationship and the women often say no way, “my children come first”. How can you have a cohesive marriage, and a loving marriage at that if you do not put each first? Parents must parent together or a family will break apart, and kids are very smart and keenly aware of what their parents do and say to each other. I’m not saying that it’ll be easy to make sure my husband comes first, but it makes sense. My parents have been together for 30 yrs, my mom was divorced before she married my dad, who had never once called me his step daughter and who raised me as his own and I’ll always be his little girl. They never fought in front of us, nor even raised their voice at each other that I can recall, so I also feel like I had a great example while I was growing up.

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  • Meg lovers

    My husband and I have been married for two years now. Our anniv. Is on the 22. Of sept. Jus two weeks away!!! Our son will be 1 in October. We always wanted children early in our marriage. It has proved very challenging to be newly weds ,pregnant ,and now new parents. So many changes has happened in us as a couple and as individuals. Communication proves it self important everyday. Forgiveness is so important because neither one of you has ever been a parent before to the little person God has blessed you with. Babies kno when you guys fuss, when u guys are happy, and when someone is crying inside and out.
    I think of how patient our baby has to b with us as we learn him ( his name is Zephaniah ) and it strengthens me to be patient with his father as I now learn this awesome man who is now a husband and a new dad.