The things you should know as a husband/partner/boyfriend before baby comes home & life after
I remember as a couple ourselves going through the baby-honey-moon period. When everyone else went about their business and reality checked in, it was us against the world! A few chats every now and then made it easier to see and recognise the other parent's needs also. It can be isolating.. but if we know how to go about it.. it makes it all worthwhile :-)
This a small list i made from my own experience and those of clients whom i am still in contact with. Sometimes all you need is a 'chat'
You are BOTH clueless. She may look so much in control but really she has to be! The fact that she babysat nieces, nephews, friends children doesn't mean she will be the same with her own. The responsibilty of a person depending on you 100% can be overwhelming. No woman is taught to be a mother. Its a task you tune into and you can meet her somewhere in the new responsibility. You can tune into your Papa role by observing and learning a few stuff along the way
Chip in - Dont wait for her to ask you for help. Be mindful, be observant, notice it and be the first to sort it out.
Avail yourself - Its very easy for you to carry on living after the birth of your child, the mother however STOPS it all together and sometimes for a long time. The birth of a child can be isolating. Avail yourself to her whinning, lighten her frustrations, know when she needs that ear to be listened to. After all, you are in this together!
Dont be too critical / Let go! - All that neat and tidy business before baby also gets a bit of a shift. If she had a minute to shower in peace, it will be a gift for her! Go easy on the criticism on how messy the house is.. there is a time for everything and at that moment and time, everything can wait
Take over sometimes - Dont watch her use her last energy, she needs to recharge sometimes. Recognise when its your turn to take over so she can breath - ALONE. Have a papa time with your baby, enjoy a giggle with your baby, sing a song
I am okay! - You will get used to seeing her teary most times than ever, especially now that hormones are all over the place and she is trying to adjust, find a balance and function at the same time. Sometimes the tears wiill flow over trivial things, sometimes over fun things, a compliment, almost everything. Just let her cry. Offer a shoulder to cry on
With the new body come self-conciousness - Say the kind words she needs to hear right now. Tell her how beautiful she is or how good motherhood really suits her, how beautifully she has blossomed since the birth of your baby. She needs you to lift her up
Go easy in sharing the joy - All the family and friends dying to come and get a glimpse of your new addition can wait a bit. Let her telll you when she is ready to receive other people in your bubble. Let her cocoon and enjoy time alone with the baby whilst she adjusts calmly. Any friends who have had children themselves will relate
Make a fuss: Treat her to her favorite stuff, connect, go out for a meal together when she is ready, the cinema together, get a babysitter in and have a moment alone as a couple again as soon as possible, before the 'isolation syndrome' kicks in. Before she becomes too concious of how so and so looked after her tenth child, before she starts comparing herself to others who 'bounced back' faster than her, because when women feel neglected, are too idle or isolated, they succumb into a pit that brings so much resentment, self-doubt and insecurities about themselves.
Enjoy parenting as you learn together and share in all the seasons, milestones, moments that parenthood brings!
Photocredit: Tim Wainaina - ChristalPictures - Kenya
Sat, 21 October