So, there’s, like… another person in this equation aside from you and your baby. And, like… that person is kind of important.
This guy is called “dad”.
Yeah, don’t get me wrong, compared to what mommy goes through during pregnancy and labor, it’s easy and understandable that dads are told to shut up and go get her the ice cream with pickles like she asked (and they damn well better).
But, in all honesty… daddies are going through some emotional stresses and pressures of their own, and they try, and are expected to be, pillars of absolute strength regardless of their own fears.
Watching my husband’s adventure as a support system through my pregnancy and labor, and then as a new and incredible daddy, I wanted to write a little something in honor of all of the great daddies out there. Because even though they may not be going through what we go through physically and hormonally as moms… they still deserve some compassion and support.
I am so grateful for the strength, love, and support that my husband showed me. I mean, he sat there holding my vomit bags, encouraging me, and feeding me water and ice chips and still made me feel like a superstar.
That may not seem like a lot, but when you’ve been in labor for hours… that was as good as gold.
The strength, love, and support he showed in the face of my C-Section (even though that was the thing he was most afraid of happening), all while always wearing his goofy, way-too-cocky smile, helped keep me calm.
During these, now, almost five months as parents, my guy has been an amazing daddy and an amazing husband. In honor of him, I wanted to write this post in order to give some insight into how I have been working to show him the same support that he has shown me!
As new moms, we’re super tired, and super stressed, and super emotional, and all of the above. It’s easy to forget sometimes that our dopey dudes are feeling the same way, and might be in as much need of our validation as we are of theirs.
Tips For New Moms On How To Support Their Partner
Daddy isn’t always going to understand the physical and emotional whirlwind your hormones are putting you through. Especially in those early week, when you’re both dog-tired and all of the learning curves you’re trying to navigate are in full swing. It might be easy to get a bit frustrated with your guy if you catch him snoring when you’re waking up every single time the new baby moves- believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s okay to feel frustrated– just try not to kill them if you can.
Perhaps the most important gift you can give to a new dad is patience. Don’t feel guilty for getting frustrated, lol… I mean, no one can push our buttons like our significant others, but just bear in mind that they have no idea what they’re doing either. They’re as scared as we are, and they ARE trying.
As with any relationship, clear communication is key to its health and prosperity. Don’t be afraid to be very clear about what you need your spouse to do. They couldn’t read your mind before- and now it’s even more impossible (we know that WE hardly know what the hell is going on thanks to sleep-deprivation, ourselves).
Tell your new dad/support person EXACTLY what they can do to help make things easier on you. Sit down after you put the baby to bed and work up a plan.
For example, my husband and I decided that, since I would be working from home, and he would continue to work outside of the home(for the time being) that I would handle the “overnight” shift (as well as the time he was at work), and once he got home we would swap. I would go to my office and work, and he would put Jakey to bed and respond to his needs until it was time for OUR bedtime.
And on his day’s off, we switch roles so that I can get some MUCH- MUCH- MUCH needed sleep.
Like I said, your new dad/support person suddenly has all of this pressure to be a good daddy/parent just like you are. They might feel powerless if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, and they can feel as overwhelmed trying to figure out how to be a rock for their new mommy and baby.
Honestly, they’ll NEVER be as tired as you are. With everything that your body went through during and after pregnancy and due to the amount of energy and stress that goes into producing breast milk… it is definitely hard to compare…
But it’s STILL important to ask them once in a while how they’re feeling and reinforce how proud you are of them. They very well might be struggling with something (stuff from their past, issues with their own parental stuff- believe me, shit comes up when that perfect little human is put in your arms), but they’re too afraid to burden you with their emotions.
Be sure to tell them that they’re doing a good job. You’ll be amazed at how much that will mean to them.
As a new mommy, it’s easy to just say “let me do it” or “I’ve got it” when it comes to caring for our babies. Our protective instincts are in overdrive, and it’s absolutely INCREDIBLE how someone can literally shit and throw up on you all day long, and you still love every minute of it.
Even so, give dad/support person the chance to build their confidence and bond with the baby. Pump some breast milk so that they can have that special time of feeding.
As mentioned above, designate responsibilities between the two of you. New dad/parent needs to have that confidence as much as you do, and whether you want to admit it or not… you need a break, girl. You’re still just a human. You’ll need rest, you’ll need food- you’ll need a shower.
Give your partner the opportunity to say “I can do it”.
Honesty goes hand in hand with communication but in a slightly different way. There ARE going to be times when your support person is just… getting under your skin- or you might be feeling like you need more help than you want to admit.
You need to be frank about it. If your partner is doing something that is making you frustrated (unintentionally or not) tell them quickly so that it doesn’t build into resentment. You two are a team, and sometimes we do things that we don’t realize annoy the other person.
Give your partner the respect of expressing your issues in a clear and mature way. It’s easiest to do this BEFORE you start to get angry. Sit them down, explain what you’re feeling, and they will hear you.
Remember, you’re BOTH sleep-deprived and stressed. It doesn’t mean that you need to shut up and deal… it just means that you both need to take a deep breath and exhibit the maturity to address any frustrations before they bubble over into resentment.
All in all, the journey that is parenthood will be the most awesome thing you will ever experience.
… and watching your partner blossom as a parent will make you fall in love with them in ways you didn’t think were possible.
Your love created the life you both now take responsibility for, and your love will be the foundation for your baby’s health and happiness.
You both are doing amazing. YOU are being an amazing mommy even if you DO snap at your partner once in a while… cuz you’re gonna.
But, hopefully, you’ll keep this post in the back of your mind, and it can help you when things might get a bit frustrating… cuz they’re gonna.
After all, due to good old Corona, you two might be spending WA-A-AY more time together in the house than usual, so it’s good to try and keep things in perspective. If nothing else, this “social distancing” and “self-quarantining” is a great way to spend some quality time together and grow.
Please, please- please stay safe.
Don’t be a dick and hoard all the toilet paper and other necessities.
And wash yo damn hands.
Love ya all!