When people get married one of the things that takes a lot of time and thought, is the importance of the vows. You could spend days if not weeks or months thinking about them. You are about to commit your love to your partner and you want to tell them what they mean to you and how you will be by their side always. You think about your relationship, how you fell in love and the memories you have made so far. Any challenges you had, your thoughts go to them and how you worked together to get through them. Marriage vows are a big deal and very important, it is your way of saying how you plan to move forward in your life together, united.

These vows include words of commitment to each other. A promise to stick together through thick and thin. To share your innermost fears. To lift each other up and encourage one another in all you do. You promise to laugh and to laugh often. You aspire to be the best of yourself and to share that with your partner. You say you will be by their side as a shoulder to cry on and a buddy on road trips. You vow not to have secrets and to always support one another in all you do be it together or apart. You promise to lift each other up, to be a participant in this relationship not a  bystander.   

You are each other’s person. 

When you as a couple decide to add children to your little family, things will change. The focus now turns to the pregnancy or adoption/surrogacy. Suddenly all conversations are focused on the baby. You now have every Tom, Dick and Harry interested in your life and how you plan on caring for the baby. You are bombarded with images and information on products that you HAVE to get or you will fail as a parent. Social media groups are full of advice, must do’s and must haves. There are more books to read than you studied for the leaving cert and you have no idea how to remember it all. You may book into some classes, maybe alone or as a couple and Dr Google is always at your fingertips.  

When your baby arrives that’s when you realise that this is a whole different ball game. Nothing has prepared you for this. No job, night shifts or late night study sessions. No book, no person, nothing. It is a different world. Both of you are now completely exhausted.  At times you can feel overwhelmed and possibly a little disconnected from your partner. Maybe you feel your partner has a better connection with your baby, possibly because they are breastfeeding or your out at work all day. Maybe you’re jealous of your partner  getting to go to work, to meet others and feel human again. Day runs into night and weeks go buy in an exhausted blur. You doubt yourself as a parent and maybe your partner too. You may start to doubt your relationship. What’s happened to you both? There are tears, misunderstandings, regretted words. It is hard to find time for me and you with 24/7 care for your baby. 

 You both may be asking the questions. How did this happen, how did we get here, was this a mistake?

Can you imagine if you did vows to share with each other when a baby was joining your family. Think about this for a minute. You take the time like you would if you were getting married and think about the things that are important to you as you grow as a family. Time to reflect on what changes and challenges will come with a baby. How you as an individual and also your relationship will be impacted. 

 What kind of vows would you make to your partner? 

Think about the commitments you would like to make to your partner and your baby. Would they include supporting each other’s parenting choices. Sharing roles in the home and caring for your  baby jointly. How about plans on how to best support one another. Would you promise to stay connected and come up with a plan on how to do that. Maybe add that you will talk through any issues and find a solution together, united. When it comes to outside influences like extended family and friends maybe giving “advice”, will you committee to stand by each other and back each other’s decisions up?  Family vows can include anything you think will help you on this new journey. Joining and attending classes together. Discussing any fears you may have. Bringing in others supports to make life easier. Supports that are on the same page as you. The main aim is you become aware of your needs at this time and how to stick together

To be each other’s person.

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