Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Being Number One

I got ridiculously upset today over something that makes me feel incredibly guilty. You see, I've had the hub to myself for something like seven years. Sure, he has friends and family, but I'm his number one chica. It suddenly struck me that there will soon be this compelling little individual around which his world may begin to revolve. Some people are like that with their kids -- utterly entranced -- and there's no telling whether he'll be one of them.

A long time ago, I read an article written by a woman who adopted a baby girl from China. She experiences a revelation while walking through a cold wind with her husband and child. He's carrying the baby and sprints off toward home without saying a word. He was afraid, it turns out, that it was too cold for the wee one, and picked up the pace without warning his woman. She said in the article that she knew at that moment she had "lost," that if it came down to the choice between her and the baby, she would lose, and if she had to choose between her husband and her child, the child would win.

Maybe the fact that I didn't grow up in that sort of atmosphere -- the sort where the baby or child is the automatic winner -- has influenced me more than I thought. I have always been of the opinion that unless matters of welfare are concerned, spouses should put each other first because that contributes an atmosphere of stability to a family that makes children feel secure. I have gone from being the hub's girlfriend to being the hub's wife to bearing our children always assuming that we'd forever be each others' number ones.

I can hear the responses now... Blah blah love doesn't work that way blah. Yeah, I know, and this ain't Sophie's Choice all up in my neck of the woods, so the likelihood of anyone local having to choose between a spouse and a child is pretty slim. But when you're worrying about something as bizarre as whether you'll maintain the same degree of connectivity with your hub when the kidlet comes along, you don't spend a lot of time reasoning things out.

6 comments:

  1. I don't think it's bizarre, it's perfectly valid to wonder how relationships are going to change in this sort of situation because they do, to some extent or another.

    Otherwise you end up with circumstances like my grandparents whose complete and utter focus on each other has meant that relationship with their kids has always been choppy at best.

    Answers to these things always seem trite, but that's because we've heard them a million times from all the other people that have been there before us. It's a question of balance, and like any other aspect of a committed relationship, a willingness to take the steps to maintain that relationship too.

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  2. Chris made me promise I wouldn't love the potential offspring more than him before we started trying to get pregnant. Then when I was pregnant and was about 5 months along or more he got upset because my whole world seemed to revolve around this unborn being. Now my whole world revolves around Everett and I put him first. I sort of got a little shock when I realized that behaviors Chris had exhibited which are unacceptable but I silently bear I can no longer bear because as unacceptable as they are for me, his wife, to endure they are doubly so for our innocent offspring who I've chosen to bring into this relationship. Chris has come to accept that I put Ev first. Although I think he still puts himself or me first and Ev last.

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  3. It's not weird. Several times, just after our baby was born, I'd ask my husband, "Who do you love more?" I was always the answer, but you could tell he couldn't decide if that was right or wrong.

    I was torn between being sad that he didn't love the baby more and being scared that some day he might love me less.

    Then, a few weeks ago, the child was being incredibly adorable and my husband giggled like a school girl and, grinning wildly, said, "Ohhh, honey, I think he wins now."

    And you know, I'm okay with that. Because he wins for me, too. Something happened, but I've come to want so much for my child (including the most love possible) that I'd gladly sacrifice mine for his.

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  4. While I can totally agree with the comments above that one can love the baby more and you know I adore all three of my kids I can also state for sure that the parents can put themselves and their relationship first most of the time. The kids benefit from the stable parents. This doesn't mean not caring for the kid/s, it is the love multiples thing too.

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  5. I'm of the very firm opinion that love cannot be quantified in a way that allows comparison. It's often said that every time you fall in love with someone else, it's different. The only quantifiable metric is the strength of the feeling, but that changes all the time depending on mood, and what's going on in your mind. It ebbs and flows and surges. So you can answer the question correctly at any given time, but that answer is only correct at the time you give it. In five minutes time you might answer differently. Particularly with children, that's also driven by circumstance and necessity, which again changes all the time.

    In the example cited, the child may have "won" the father's choice at that point in time, in that instance, but that doesn't indicate anything about what will happen the next time there's a choice to be made.

    I will, however, also say this: any man who sprints off, child in arms, without a word to his wife, is a dickwad.

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  6. Thanks for all the reassurance, guys! I think I was worrying about something that I really ought not worry about. After all, loving my parents or brothers and sisters doesn't lessen my love for the hub!

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