Carrying and having a baby is quite an adventure. The challenge is physical, emotional and nervous. We know it.
But let’s pause and go back where you were before baby arrived. You had the idyll life as a couple, and it may be your motivation to go a step forward. Or it may not but, you had it going for you anyway.
Baby’s arrival disrupts the couple balance.
No matter how arduous this is, mothers have prepared (consciously and unconsciously) for it, pretty much all their life. Nobody can deny women are (at least physically) intended to give birth. We’ve prepared for years and bonded 9 months to be ready to meet baby.
Dads do not possess the ability to build-up the same mental and emotional strength. This must be brutal for them. They are way behind us and need to catch-up very fast, what we’ve built for all this time.
Of course, the last thing we think of, after giving birth is to mollycoddle them. Yet, this is what they need the most, more than ever. Understanding their needs may help you go through this phase.
- Dad feels alone. He doesn’t know his baby yet and (temporarily of course) lost his wife.
- He loses confidence. Being a dad leads to more responsibilities for his household, which causes him to become more fearful. Seeing us being instantly maternal does not help either.
To make him feel more important, start asking yourself if you don’t tend to dictate how to handle baby.
Yes, we all do. Dad may feel judged when willing to help and risks to back off. Leading to an endless spiral where you feel helpless and supportless.
We need to consider there are many ways to do with a newborn. Not only our way.
What you can do to help:
- Let dad have alone time with baby. It may start by diaper changes, feeding sessions, skin to skin contact, cuddling times, etc. This is through those moments they will connect, learn to discover each others, and bond.
- We make the mistake of asking for help only in challenging moments. Try to involve him in other moments too. Having him to help only when baby is fussy is not fair to him.
- Invite him when having YOUR alone time with your newborn. He will feel and be considered. Being important for you and for baby.
- This is the perfect time to suggest what is more important to you as far as baby care. Doing it this way is better than telling him he does wrong when taking care of baby.
- Accept he has the right to not follow your recommendations. As far as the security is not compromised, let him do. And relax !
I tend to think it’s better to highlight our differences. You two created this bundle of joy, you two are the parents, you are a team. You cooperate together to achieve a common goal.
If you still feel more comfortable showing the way you do things, I suggest the following: try to sense when he needs to be guided. He won’t tell you. Wait until you hear his need for help. And guide him. My husband told me once, I was giving directions when he felt confident and not helping when he needed to.
Time off is necessary for them too. Allow him, minutes/hours to reconnect. He will come back to you more than ever available and rested.
Be patient mama. Try to be as patient with dad as you are with baby.
Let it go. This is absolutely normal to make mistakes, so be understandable. You too make mistakes but no one is here to judge you on a daily basis.
No matter how marvelous baby’s arrival is into our life, this is hard for moms and dads. Being more open minded to fathers is also fundamental for baby’s development and wellness.
Lighten every tense moments with patience, humility and humor, believe me: the daily life will become shinier.