10 things new dads need to know about new moms

Friday, November 01, 2013

Regan & Sophie, just a few hours after she was born. 
(Disclaimer: these 10 things are unique to my experience as a new mom and also my experience dealing with a new dad. It’s different for everyone yes, but I think generally we pretty much all feel the same way once our little bundle of love joins the real word)

ONE// A new mom feels ugly: Once Sophie was born I had so many conflicting feelings towards my body. On one hand I felt amazing, like the greatest being on earth, I mean I grew a tiny human (!). On the other hand I felt gross. Like seriously gross. My body was stretched out and ill proportioned, things were saggy where they used to be pert, loose where they once were tight and oh my god let’s not even get started on the leaky body parts. Now add to that the fact that I couldn’t spend more than 2 minutes in front of the mirror and none of my clothes fitted me, I swear even my fat pants were too tight.

I felt so ugly. New dad, this is the very best time to be vocal about how you feel about your partner’s appearance. Tell her she looks like she’s losing weight (even if she isn’t), tell her that her boobs look amazing. When she’s standing in front of her open cupboard with tears in her eyes because nothing fits give her a crushing hug and say “it’s ok, those yoga pants make your bum look amazing just wear them”.  She needs to know that even though she feels gross, she isn’t. She needs to know you’d still hit it.

TWO// A new mom is quite obsessed with her baby: People used to tell me about the overwhelming sense of love I’d feel for Sophie, but no one can really describe it adequately enough. It’s almost an urgent kind of love. It’s magic. For me, it was impossible to not be around Sophie. What’s that? My hair needs washing? Oh well, I cant possibly leave her now for 20 minutes to wash my hair, I’ll do it tomorrow. New dad, you’ll feel a bit left out. Especially with the breastfeeding and the fact that most babies really need mom cuddles more than dad cuddles in the early days. It’s ok though. This is what being part of a family is, its all about the kids. By the time your baby is 6 months they will light up every time you walk into a room and your heart will melt. It will, and you wont even remember those first few days where you were kind of lonely and feeling a little forgotten. Hang in there!

THREE// A new mom is constantly terrified: One word: SIDS. It’s terrifying that you could be doing everything right and still have things go horribly wrong. Becoming a mom is the first time many women are confronted with the fact that, well, life happens. Things can go wrong despite all of your best efforts. And this isn’t just with the extreme of SIDS. It’s with expecting to sleep train your baby and finding out she has colic and only wants to be held and nursed.
It’s with expecting to breastfeed and co-sleep and cloth diaper and still not feeling that bond that you were told you’d experience.
It’s with expecting to want to be with your baby FOREVER and realizing you’d pay large amounts of money for someone to just take him away so you could read a magazine. She’s scared because things don’t always go as you expect. And when you accuse her of being irrational or hormonal, while it may be true, it certainly doesn’t help. Listen to her feelings, respect her feelings, and remind her (with your words) that you’re right there beside her. She needs to hear it.

FOUR// A new mom feels (sometimes irrationally) defensive: I’ll never forget the early days when Sophie got a nappy rash and my mom and my gran came over and they both commented on it, they weren’t being malicious or accusatory at all but all I heard was: YOU”RE FAILING AS A MOTHER!! Not healthy. People will comment on little things that will make a new mom feel really defensive, like crazy defensive. There is so much advice in this world and it’s coming from everyone. Her mom thinks she should go back to work. Your mom thinks she should breastfeed longer. Her best friend that had a baby 5 weeks earlier constantly lets her know the right way to do, well, everything. She is already scared (see #3), and feels like this advice is a testament to all of the things she’s doing wrong. New dad, be her cheerleader and remind her to listen to her gut. This baby was given to her, and no one else, after all.

FIVE// A new mom can’t get mad at her baby: So she’ll get mad at you. Logically we know the reason we can’t sleep or the reason the house looks like the aftermath of Chernobyl is because of the baby. No matter how zombie-like a new mom feels, she won’t get mad at her sweet, adorable, cherub. So she’ll take all that tiredness and frustration and point it at you. It’s totally unfair. It’s not like you’re the one waking her at 2am for cuddles and milk. New dad, this might not be the best advice, and it’s definitely not the easiest advice to heed, but take one for the team. Be her punching bag for this short period of time and you will come out better for it. Pointing at the newborn yelling, “he started it!” is not going to win friends or influence people.

SIX// A new mom has nothing to wear: This ties into #1, but is more about frustration. Her pre-baby clothes don’t quite fit. Her maternity clothes fit, but that’s just sad. And she doesn’t want to buy anything because “I’m not going to be this size forever… am I?” Go shopping with her and tell her she’s pretty.

SEVEN// A new mom needs to feel protected: I’m absolutely the kinda of girl who’s always wanted a man who is protective and assertive (I can almost hear the feminists tutting away). I think it’s safe to say that many women openly or secretly feel this way too – see the success of Fifty Shades Of Gray. This need to feel protected went into overdrive when I came home from the hospital with Sophie. I didn’t want to be the bad guy telling people they couldn’t visit. I didn’t want o be the one on the phone arguing with the medical aid about hospital excesses. I didn’t want Regan to be at work all day only to come home and zone out in front of the TV. I wanted to be protected. New dad, you need to be a sort of barrier between her her, the baby and the outside world. She may be the naturally assertive one in the relationship (like me) but I’m sure you’d win pretty significant brownie points by taking the lead and saying “I’ll handle this”

EIGHT// A new moms needs permission to rest: Most women go into motherhood truly believing they can do it all. That all those other moms with dirty houses and cranky babies just didn’t know what they were doing. This Supermom Complex leads to burnout and fast. The worst part of this unavoidable burnout is that we will keep going until we are forced to stop.New dad, take it upon yourself to point out that the baby is sleeping, that you cleaned the kitchen and that she needs to take a nap or at least enjoy a few chapters of Tina Fey’s Bossy pants (its hilarious). When she tries to argue remind her that you’re protecting her (#7)… from herself.

NINE// A new mom needs to be asked what she needs: This ties in so closely with #8. Just like we need permission to rest, we need to be asked what we need too. I don’t want to clean the kitchen, but if you don’t ask, I’ll do it, and I’ll be so angry that I had to do it. New dad, the best way to know what your new mom needs is to jus ask her..

TEN// A new mom really, really loves the shit out of her new dad:  Watching Regan fumble his way into fatherhood was one of the most amazing things to witness. Seeing how our tiny little human changed his world was so special. I loved watching him become a dad. I fell in love with him 50 more times while watching him become a dad. New dad, it might not seem logical, but every time you bond with that little baby you’re bonding with her. She is getting a front row seat to her family being born and there is no better foreplay in the world. In 6-8 weeks. Promise.


  1. Bookmarking this for future reference. Brilliant and lovely and wonderful. xx

  2. I really enjoyed this post! Constantly nodding my head while reading. Nobody can prepare you for those first couple of months. They are crazy! Looking back, I'd tell myself to chill. But damned be the person who told me that then!


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