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New Mom Withdrawn from Dad










QUESTION:

I don’t know if you can help, but my wife and I had a gorgeous baby girl 5 weeks ago. Since then, my wife has been very withdrawn towards me. She chats with her girlfriends and mother, but she pulls away from me if I try to give her a kiss when I come home in the evening, or to give her a kiss at night. She is keen for me to be involved with the baby, and I am making sure I do everything I can to help – keep nappies stocked up/food in fridge/do the cooking/washing up/other household chores. But I don’t think she’s sharing much information with me, and right now we feel more like we are just sharing the same space. She is breastfeeding, and I try to support her with that, but her communication with me has fallen off a cliff.

Update at 4 months ====================== She’s co-sleeping with the baby, so I seem to be in the spare room pretty much permanently. She goes to bed with the baby around 8.30, and because of night-time routines we end up eating separately.

We have talked a little – I recognize that she is exhausted, and the baby is not sleeping well. I have taken the position of just doing whatever I can to help, and am hoping that at some point she’ll reach out to me.

She adores the baby (of course, we both do) but it does sometimes feel that the baby is her “project”. I guess it’s just strange that at 4 months after birth, we still have no form of relationship to speak of. The 5-10 minutes we do get to speak in the evening is always about the baby. It’s just very lonely!




ANSWER:

I would encourage you to stay focused on the baby and give your wife time. New moms can change a lot, it can be confusing to her as well, and there is a reset in terms of what she thinks and feels about dad. The big mistake guys make is to back off the baby too, and a lot of new moms push them out.

Keep adoring your baby and get out of the house alone with her as much as possible; this is when we dads develop our special relationships with our kids. Take your baby to Home Depot and show her all the tools, she'll be fascinated. Especially take her to visit your buddies, take her to the mall with them and let your single friends carry her, so when women come up to him, he says "No, she's not mine, I'm not even married, I am just taking care of her for my friend."

When you get back home, tell mom about all the new experiences your baby had, which are huge in terms of brain development for a child. Mom will come to see you as a great father (you are; most guys would have backed off the baby under your circumstances), and a partner in her "project", which provides a new route back to her heart.

Dads like you who hang in there for their family despite enormous challenges are my heroes.

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