“I can’t imagine a life without kids,” my now-husband (boyfriend at the time) declared on our first date. I laughed and told him, “let’s work on your imagination!”
All jokes aside, admittedly I was hesitant about having kids, and could not imagine being a mother.
But after a whirlwind romance, we married quickly and I got pregnant on my wedding night. So much for working on my husband’s imagination! Life changed overnight, and I was forced to face a reality that I couldn’t have imagined just two years before.
“Wake up, wake up!” My husband nudged me. “Our daughter is crying.” The first few nights after we brought our first daughter home, this was a constant refrain. It became apparent that our daughter enjoyed company at night.
It also became apparent that I can sleep through anything! “I don’t hear her,” I would say, determined to get my sleep. “You heard her first, why don’t you get up?” I would add. No matter how urgently he woke me, I continued sleeping as if nothing happened.
And eventually he actually did get up! After several failed attempts to wake me at night, my husband, who is a light sleeper, took on the job himself. Whenever our daughter’s cries woke him up, he would run to feed her in the middle of the night. “By the time you get up, the whole house is awake,” he would tell me. “It is absolutely useless to try to wake you up.”
Throughout those sleepless months with our daughter, I never got up at night. Every morning, my husband would recall his night adventures, constantly surprised that I truly didn’t hear him. “Wow, you can sleep through anything,” he would say. “She was very loud! How can you sleep through that?!” But while he was always shocked, he was never bitter. He knew that just as I was growing into being a mother, he had to grow into being a father.
Being able to sleep as I was recovering from giving birth and getting used to my new role as a mother was much easier with full night of sleep. In fact, it gave me the space and ability to do what I could never have done before: imagine myself as a mother. Ironically, instead of working on his own imagination, my husband stepped up, helped me to recover, and ultimately improved my own imagination. Now, I couldn’t imagine life without our two daughters. (And yes, I stayed in bed during our second daughter’s early months, too!)