Before I had Firstborn, I had dumb notions fixed in my (admittedly pregnancy-impaired) brain.
NOTION 1: Alpha Male and I, leaning over the side of the cot, gazing upon our pink and chubby baby, sunlight streaming through the window bathing everything with a magical glow. Alpha Male looks at me, smiles tenderly, and says, "Thank you darling. Thank you for making my life complete."
THE REALITY: Alpha Male and I standing on opposite sides of the room, our ears vibrating from the noise emenating from our Munch-mouthed red-faced baby. The streetlamps outside cast a urine-yellow glow. Alpha Male glares at me, hollow-eyed, and says, "I have to get some sleep! Can't you f*cking well do something?"
NOTION 2: Alpha Male and I, our relationship taken to a new and glorious level by the merging of our genes, go out for a romantic dinner while a family member babysits. We have a wonderful evening, flirt madly with each other, then walk home hand-in-hand feeling satisfied that even though we are now parents we can still find the time to be lovers too.
THE REALITY: Alpha Male forgets to book the restaurant and we end up at Bella Pasta. Alpha Male flirts with the Swedish waitress and then launches into a long story about a Swedish girl he dated, ending with the never-to-be-forgotten phrase "Swedish girls are up for anything. They're brilliant." A long period of silence is broken by Alpha Male saying, "What's up with you? You're so moody these days." Then my right breast starts leaking milk and we have to go home.
NOTION 3: Alpha Male and I on holiday, strolling down an exotic beach, tanned and gorgeous, our gurgling baby clasped to Alpha Male's manly chest.
THE REALITY: Alpha Male signs up for water-skiiing, windsurfing, sailing and diving on the first day, in addition to insisting on his daily run. I spend the holiday sitting in the shade trying to sooth a crotchety baby suffering from heat rash, thinking evil thoughts and trying to avoid looking at my ghost-white thighs.
Upon reflection, it's probably a good thing that nobody warns you in advance about how much a baby changes your relationship. If they did, who'd do it?
And that would be a shame, because whatever the changes it brings to you, your life and your relationship, there is nothing better than waking up to a wet toddler kiss and a heartfelt "I love you, Mummy".