Helping a New Mom Article
New Moms Can be Tough on New Dads
Her body, emotions, identity, sense of worth; her very being gets wrapped around her baby, who alternately enthralls and exhausts her for months, even years. How much energy and attention will your sweetheart have left over for you? And your love life?
The doctors say six weeks and she is good to go. Actually, she will be good to go when she feels like it, which means when she is feeling rested, attractive, good about her baby, good about her life and good about you. This could take a while.
You go for super husband, dive in and read the books, paint the nursery (twice), rub her back, go to all the appointments, and what do you get? No matter how good you are, it may not be good enough.
Her appreciation may be limited by the fact that her needs, and by extension her expectations of you, can be overwhelming, incomprehensible, and virtually impossible for you to meet. And whose fault do you think this is? You are supposed to be partners, right?
One time I dumped on my wife due to frustration over the baby. It wasn't going to work, because she definitely had the harder part in this.
But other times, it's true. I do need to stand my ground, because there are times when my wife is tired and doesn't know what she's saying or doing.
- Veteran dad
Except she is the one who is getting dumped on, while you worry about your golf game (her view). While she is feeling bloated, tired and nauseated, you go out for a run like your life has not changed. Which, of course, relative to hers, it has not.
Evolving expectations about the roles that fathers and mothers play have also set you up. You are supposed to share equally in the care of your child, which is very tough during the first months for guys who work and do not breast feed.
Her friends may expect you to lag, and she may focus on what you don't do and ignore your contributions. It can get to the point where you wonder why you bother. Be careful it does not become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Finally, something that you can be good at: she needs to exorcise her frustrations in some way, and you make a convenient target. Being her punching bag is part of the deal. It is just the way it is. This too will pass.
Keep in mind you are getting a child, and a mom who will unconditionally love and care for him from conception. And if you hang in there, you will get your sweetheart back. Stress Debilitates Kids Happy marriages are beneficial to children, conflict distresses them.
Even at three months, babies of parents who enjoy each other have a higher capacity for joy, concentration and self-soothing. Research in Germany found that preschoolers raised in homes with "great marital" hostility had seriously higher levels of stress hormones.
At fifteen, the kids of troubled marriages had significantly higher levels of truancy, depression, peer rejection, low school achievement, behavior problems, anger and aggression.
Apparently when children are raised in homes where they feel safe instead of stressed, they are better able to handle stress themselves and approach the world in a more positive manner.
"Children of happily married couples are simply happier. They have more advanced social skills, do better in school, aren't as likely to succumb to depression during stressful times and act out less."
- Pamela Jordan, Ph.D., co-author of Becoming Parents: How to Strengthen Your Marriage as Your Family Grows
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