Steph's Blog: From whirlwind romance to relationship counselling
On the anniversary of our one year together my partner and I sat in a cosy Italian restaurant and reflected.
In 12 short months we had met, romanced, been on opposite sides of the world for three months and pined for one another, travelled across Canada together in our tiny tent, returned to NZ, found new jobs, set up our first home and applied for his permanent residency.
But there was one more attending the dinner that evening. Perched between us, cocooned in her woolen crocheted blanket was our perfect 2-month-old daughter. It had been one heck of a year...
As our feet touched down on NZ soil, with the small amount of cash in our pockets we started our journey of uncertainty. At the tender age of 21, I introduced my partner to my parents and quickly followed this with our beautifully terrifying news of the tiny life we were growing. We found new jobs. We scraped together belongings and created a home.
As life set in we found the growing responsibilities and changing lifestyle quickly unravelled the fairy tale of freedom. My partner was in a new country, I was all he had. My body was changing and a void grew between myself and my old life. As my friends threw back jaguar shots I laundered cloth nappies in preparation for our impending arrival.
We were together and alone.
One Sunday afternoon our beautiful daughter arrived. Peacefully in our lounge we welcomed a perfect little girl into our lives and she bought with her the title of "family". I had imagined a country life. When my children arrived I would be secure, happy, married and ready. I was none of these. I was a fraud in this world of families. The pressure and the stress was expanding and we were unraveling at the seams.
When our daughter was 12-months-old we hit crisis point. We were now two different people elbowing our way down a narrow path. It was an uncomfortable and hurtful place and our baby girl deserved better.
We sought help. The NZ government it seems provides a service for parents of 6-9 free counselling sessions to work on relationship issues. As we trudged along each Thursday evening we slowly found a common ground, we could stand together, we could cry and support, we could smile and talk.
In the last seven years we have sought help for communication issues three times in total. We have relaxed our expectations of one another. We support each other's weaknesses and find solace in the fact that although the the romantic fire has cooled, our focus is on our three busy children right now. We are honest with one another. Yes we yell at times but we no longer desire to defeat. We have plummeted into some deep and dark places but we are now on a ledge looking upward.
Life and its pressures can overwhelm. It takes time and practice to find your feet and plant them firmly. Life is fluid and ever changing.
A relationship will bloom and wither at times, seek positive role models and focus on the good stuff, the rest will come.
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