New life is indescribably exciting. Babies are like a breath of fresh air in our world, a great hope for our future. Their journey, from creation to birth (and even after) is truly miraculous.
When each of my kids was born, it was like the world stopped. All of our focus was centered on them, and rightfully so. With each day we evolved as individuals...we just overlooked our own changes because we were so focused on the squishy little love we had swaddled in our arms.
Those changes, the ones that occur between every husband and wife when they become a father and mother, shouldn't be overlooked.
They should be celebrated.
In our marriages, we learn how to love someone we chose, we learn how to forgive, we learn how to walk hand-in-hand through life. We are completely and thoroughly vulnerable with this person that we met and fell head-over-heels in love with.
We experience a different type of vulnerability when we have children. They grab ahold of our hearts before they even enter the world, and they never let them go. We weep when they're hurt, we rejoice in their milestones before they even realize they're advancing, we celebrate their accomplishments, we anticipate their struggles (and weep through those, too).
Our relationships with our children mimic that of our relationships with our spouses in that we open ourselves completely to them.
Thankfully, our spouses are subject to the same vulnerability as we are. In sharing that new vulnerability, we learn a new level of support, a new type of love, a new method of caring.
It was such a blessing to see this transformation occur in the couple photographed below.
When it came to bath time, Mom's heart was breaking before it even began. Anticipating the (incredibly sweet-sounding) wails of her new daughter, she was soothing Sophie before she had even begun to cry. A change that women experience when they become mothers, anticipating the needs of our babies and meeting them (despite our own emotional reactions) becomes second-nature. It's something we never experienced so naturally before having children.
When men become fathers, there is a change that I don't think all of them realize is coming: their hearts soften so much. Women are wired to be emotional beings, but most men aren't as emotional as we women are. They're problem-solvers. Rescuers. Knights in shining armor. So when they hear their baby crying during bath time and see how it is upsetting their wife, they swoop in and rescue.
And rescue is exactly what Mark did.
He got Sophie ready while Rebecca comforted her, making sure to assure his wife that their daughter was okay along the way. Together, they took care of their baby and supported one another...and all of it was seamless and came so naturally to them.
It is truly incredible how, despite not having a rulebook or any idea what it actually takes to be a mother or a father, we dive into our new roles and we just...do it. And we do it well, because we all do it with our hearts.
I think that that new level of vulnerability that we experience helps us fall into those roles, because we relate to what our spouses are experiencing, as we experience it along with them. When our children are born, each of us change not only into mothers and fathers, but also co-parents and teammates, and we advance to a new level of partnership. We continue to grow, move, and change together, but we also grow, move, and change for our children, because of our children, and alongside our children. It's an entire new world, one that we (thankfully) have someone (our spouse) to help us hold the reigns of.
Despite all of the changes that take place, at the core we are who we were before children...just a little better, I think, and a little more complex. This is true for Rebecca and Mark. The same joy and laughter that was ever present during their maternity session was just as present during their newborn session. The only difference is that now, they can experience that joy and laughter on a completely different level. A deeper level.