My name is Bradley and my name is Linda.
Do you want kids…how many?
That’s not exactly how our first date went, but it’s not too far from the truth. Bradley and I had already been married and divorced before we ever met. He had just finished walking 2300 miles, completing the Appalachian Trail thru-hike. And I was a couple of years out from recovering from brain surgery that left me learning how to walk again.
We met three years ago. Our first date was surprisingly easy. We met for coffee and talked about all kinds of things-our past, what we wanted in our future, and yes, we even talked about how many kids we wanted. We dated for a little over a year when he proposed Christmas of 2016. We got married April of 2017 in Jamaica. It was the perfect wedding for us. We both love the outdoors. The outdoors made for a good bit of our dates…camping, hiking, cycling.
Bradley and I had an eventful first year of marriage. Three months after we got married, Bradley had a pretty bad cycling crash. He ended up with a broken shoulder and some deep road rash on his back and down his arm. We put the “FOR BETTER OR WORSE-THROUGH SICKNESS AND HEALTH” vows into practice pretty quickly. We relocated our sleeping quarters to the living room where he would sleep on the couch and I would sleep on the recliner. Bradley wasn’t able to sleep in the bed because of the broken shoulder & road rash. For the next three weeks, every morning before I would leave for work and every afternoon when I got home, we would deep scrub the road rash (doctor’s orders) and change out the bandages. The doctor wanted the road rash healed before he would do the shoulder surgery. Looking back, Bradley and I took a hard time, changed our perspective, and turned it into a date time. Roughly a month later we found out that we were pregnant and now here we are, with a beautiful, 10-month-old, baby girl, Evie Bradley
You can tell from our story, we didn’t have much of a newlywed period before some big changes took place.
Before we start talking about being newlyweds with a newborn, I think it is important to say:
Marriage is hard, being parents is hard, but hard doesn’t mean bad. The things you have to work the hardest at are the most rewarding. So both require you to be intentional with your time, your actions, and your words. You have to always be willing to grow and learn.
Google is Great, Prayer is Better!
During our pregnancy, we did tons of research (okay, I did tons of research). Google is great and all, but sometimes you just need to close the computer and open up the only book or app that matters-your Bible. I would get myself so worried and Bradley would have to reign me back in. God promises to take care of us.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We had covered this child in so much prayer already and we still do today. That is something we both find extremely important, covering her in prayer and with positive affirmations.
My favorite “prayer mantra” for her is- “Evie can do all things through Christ who gives her strength.”
Work Together and Use All Your Resources
Our parenting styles don’t always fall in line with one another and it has taken both of us working together to get to a place of understanding. We’re still learning and growing from each other. Sometimes its enlightening and other times it is very challenging. By work I mean-
- learning to openly communicate about our feelings
- learning to manage our expectations of one another
- turning to God in prayer
- reaching for outside resources
Get a Schedule and Be Intentional With Your Time
When Evie was born, Bradley’s and my relationship changed. We didn’t have as much time for each other and it was very rare for us to have alone time. Evie is breastfed so that meant for us, that she would get almost all of my time. As far as date nights go or alone time, we make sure to include those things in our schedule. We find that it is important for us to have quality time together. Fortunately for us, we have a great support system, from the greatest grandparents ever, to aunts, and to friends that are pretty much like family. We gladly accept the help and appreciate it just as much. But in the beginning, it took us a little time to figure out what type of schedule would work for us.
We couldn’t base it off what worked for another family or what an internet site said we should do-we had to work at it and figure out what worked best for our family. And that is what we did and still, do.
Things are always changing and we are keeping open minds and adapting. It has worked well for us to manage our expectations and we have learned very quickly to take that list of “this is what and how I am going to do things with my baby” and throw it out the window.
We Are A Team
Bradley and I have realized now more than ever, that we are a team. I am on his side and he is on my side. This was crucial for us especially the first few months into having a newborn. Working as a team is making this adventure way more enjoyable for both of us.
As new parents, you are flooded with a lot of opinions and a lot of advice…some really great advice and some advice you maybe could do without. We put prayer into every decision we make, that way at the end of the day, we know we have done our best.
You can do this! We are praying for you!