This is part three in my fatherhood series. If you missed part one where fathers tell us and future dads their favorite parts about fatherhood, click here. If you missed part two where fathers tell us what they wish they knew before embarking on fatherhood, click here. This is part three where fathers tell future dads how they can best support their wives post-pregnancy. PS dads, if you have any fatherhood advice or comments for future dads, comment below!
“Help your wife just as much (if not more) than you did with their pregnancy. Understand that while the pregnancy is over, it’s not over. Help her body heal from childbirth by being gentle and kind. Similar to pregnancy when you learned about her changes and the things she needed, post-delivery you need to have the same learning attitude with her. Be understanding that her outlook on life has changed, and allow her to lead you into that new outlook. Physically help her, even with breastfeeding (yes…even breastfeeding). It can be so special to help mom and baby and be a part of that connection, whether that means holding the baby, mom’s arm, or even helping with lactation. Most importantly, understand how much harder post-pregnancy has been on her than it has been on you. Give it your 100%.”
“Pray for them often and take the baby away from mum for at least one night feed so that mum can SLEEP!”
“It’s a massively emotional time for wives before, during, and after the kids are born. For most, they have enjoyed nine months of the little one growing inside of them. They have protected them, fed them, felt them – have a massive connection, and suddenly they are going through one of the most traumatic processes in life-giving birth. After the pain and tears, drugs, breathing and pushing, for most there is a tiny baby – and a million different things are going through a wife’s mind – is this what I expected? Do they look as I imagined, why isn’t the baby crying more? Why is the baby crying so much? Is the baby’s color ok? They have forgotten the birthing process instantly on arrival. There’s a period of calm, then the baby needs food, and there is a new set of feelings.
Bottle v breast. Can I breastfeed? I don’t think I can breastfeed well? After nine months of looking after their child, a whole load of inadequacies is felt – with WAY more emotion. Then if everything is ok, you are sent home for your wife and husband to fend for yourself – trying to interpret their every cry (the baby and your wife), dealing with lack of sleep. Then, your wife starts processing what happened in the hospital, and basically, there is a wave of unpredictable emotions that crops up that could last several weeks and months. THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO FIX THIS! Therefore listen, reassure and encourage – “you’re doing great love” “what can I get you” ”the baby is doing well” “thank you for caring for our child.” All of that.”
“Reassure and encourage. Reassure and encourage. Again, reassure and encourage.”
“Be her protective shield from a barrage of post-pregnancy advice! If you are fortunate to have supportive family on both sides, there will be a whole host of advice from mothers and mothers-in-law, family traditions, and cultural ways of doing things. There are a massive amount of books, info on the internet, blogs, and friends having kids next to you. And you will get lots of advice, some of it good, some of it, not so good. There is a danger that it could make your head spin, and your wife doubts herself. Ensure that you reassure her. Politely receive all advice but behind the scenes only use what is useful. Every family is a little different, and everyone does it differently.”
“Ensure she’s not looking to the left or right. It’s tempting to look at friends and family with kids and either feel smug at how well you are doing or feel wholly inadequate when you look at how well others are doing. things change quickly with kids – when you think you’ve got things sorted, throw in a growth spurt, some teething and some sickness and watch your routine go out the window!
Take a well-natured child’s adherence to a routine with great thankfulness to God, knowing all good things come from Him, with humility leaning on God, knowing it may not always be the case. Secondly, as I said, every baby is different, what works for others may not work for you. And when you see a family with a good routine externally, you have no idea what is happening behind the scenes. The chances are that that family are facing post-pregnancy challenges in another way.”
“Change. The. Diaper.”
“There are times when you want to provide feedback to your wife, about the way she’s caring for the child, and in some cases (not many) you are right. Ensure feedback at the right time. For example, improvement feedback is never good in the middle of the night, when everyone is tired or when you are hungry!”
“Move away from the baby being at the center of your life. Of course, enjoy the baby. And yes for a while the baby will be the center of attention. Just ensure that as the months go by, your family doesn’t turn too inward-looking. It is tempting for all conversations as a couple to be baby focused. Make some time to serve others. Don’t withdraw from your church community. Get into a routine of consistent date nights. So future dads, for the first few months, that may mean home date nights and banning baby talk.”
“Get involved! Do nappies, do the burping, do the settling. If your wife wants you to read something and tell her what you think, do it! Be servant-hearted. There will be times when you don’t feel like that you may even feel a little neglected. But don’t stand on the sidelines. Let your wife know that you are both in it together.”
“If mom is getting quite agitated with baby, step in or ask how you can help before she even has a chance to sin.”
“The most important job for a husband is the spiritual welfare of his wife. So even with the post-pregnancy sleepless nights, ensure she is getting some time to read her Bible and pray. If she’s struggling, read her the Bible yourself while she’s feeding. Agree to embark on a book of the Bible together. Do whatever you need to do to ensure her soul is protected from drifting away from the Lord.”
I hope you enjoyed part three in my fatherhood series! Share it with any future dads who are about to walk through post-pregnancy with their wives if you’d like!
Title Image by Allison Turpen Photography