Dear Future Daddies
Congratulations! This is going to be such a soul-stretching, exciting time in your life. Your relationship will be tested and strengthened. You’ll learn more about yourself in these months than your whole life combined.
I have a request for you. Please, please, please be your partner’s champion.
Support her in her pregnancy. You’ll never know the pain and energy drain that pregnancy is. But try to be compassionate.
Be her rock in the delivery. She will be in the worst pain imaginable. You need to be the safety in her storm. There will be decisions to make and there may be people you need to remove from the room. Do your homework, solidify your partner’s wishes beforehand and try to help her stick to them (unless it’s her who wants to change!).
In the first few weeks at home with your precious, potentially persistently crying bundle, be your wife’s superhero. She is recovering from delivery, she is learning to feed, she is beyond exhausted and there will be a deluge of well-meaning advice.
Be the guard dog. Limit visitors. Avoid them in the first two weeks if you can. And limit their time while they’re there. Watch your partner. If she seems tired or like she just wants to deal with the baby without prying eyes, send them off.
Be her advocate. No matter how you choose to feed your baby, advocate for her. Support this. Yes, breast milk is best. But there are many options and it is a two person relationship – mama and baby are equally important here.
If breast feeding doesn’t work or your wife hates it or your baby doesn’t take to it – whatever reason, then you support the formula route too.
It is your job to protect her from the people that would give their two cents worth. Choose your people to listen to and help your wife say, “we’re following the advice of…(gp, midwife, plunket nurse, mother etc)”
Your attitude and your support will be vital for your new mama. If she must fight you too, it will be the hardest time in the world for her. She won’t enjoy it. She won’t feel loved. She’ll feel alone. There will be some fluctuating hormones, this is the time to support her and honour her feelings. If she cries, hold her. If she feels bombarded, fix it. If she feels happy, celebrate with her.
Of course, you’re important too. I’m just offering the perspective of a new mama with fibromyalgia. What I wished for myself and didn’t always get.