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Dad to Newborn Feels Lost










QUESTION:

Our baby girl is just a couple weeks old. She is already the apple of my eye! My wife doesn't feel like I am engaged; I feel like I do a ton, though I also don't think I am doing enough.

Right now, I feel lost.

Anybody have this problem, or do I just need to "man up" and push my feelings aside?




ANSWER:

The majority of new dads run into this; it is almost like no matter how good you are, you are not good enough.

New moms are under terrific pressure because of their hormones and that everybody and everything around them pushes them to be perfect mothers. And then sleep deprivation sets in, which multiplies the stress on her. You are the only solution, but she may want more done for "her" baby than is possible from two people

As for feeling you don't do enough, welcome to new fatherhood today. You want to do more (work/life balance is a huge issue with the guys) but it is tough to figure out what to do.

Suggestions:

Keep in mind the initial months are very trying for all new families, and extremely tough on moms. Especially at six weeks, when the sleep deprivation is taking its toll, which greatly adds to her stress. This often translates into a long-term relationship decline, which is the last thing your new family needs. Think about the big picture: Your best move is to talk to her to understand her needs, tell her what you are feeling, and emphasize you want to do this as a team. And then bust your ass for the next two months, as things will be getting better by then. Having a newborn is a situation that breeds conflict, and learning to deal with it together will pay huge dividends all around.

As for doing more for your baby, at six weeks I imagine you are figuring this out. The big suggestion is to get out alone with your baby; this actually starts with you booting mom out of the house (if necessary) so you learn to handle your baby on your own, and then taking your baby with you when you go to the hardware store, where she will be fascinated as you show her the tools (or anything else like the leaves on a tree). If you went to Boot Camp for New Dads, schedule your return as a Vet Dad. Three hours at Boot Camp with your baby is a great test of your skills and a boost to your confidence.

It used to be that most dads would withdraw from the baby under this pressure from mom. When equipped with an understanding of what is actually going on, dads are able to talk to mom constructively and they can both support each other in becoming great parents.

Good luck with your new family!

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