Lisa: Daddy Adjusting to Fatherhood
My husband has always had more patience & adjusted to change better than me, so when we were preparing for our daughter’s birth, we didn’t think about talking about how he would adjust to fatherhood. Our discussions were more based around preparing our home for Molly’s arrival (oh, and my fears of going through labor =) .
When we first had our daughter, I started noticing that my husband wasn’t as inclined to hold her or sing to her when she was upset. He would lose his patience very quickly when she was crying in the evening or in the middle of the night. In his defense, Molly use to cry for about 2 hours every evening and it always seemed to fall during his feeding so he really did get the worst of her for those first few months.
I remember at one point we finally sat down and had a raw and honest conversation about how we were both feeling about being parents. We admitted that we were both having difficulty adapting to parenthood. For me it was about the baby blues- my body was left in shambles after birthing this little (or big when it comes to you know where =) baby & my hormones were all over the place. For my husband it was about finding ways to bond with her. As a mother, we immediately bond with our baby because we carried them for 9 months &, for those of us who start off breastfeeding, you are literally attached to them for the first few months of life.
I never anticipated my husband having to go through challenges in bonding with our daughter, but once we started having open communication (all emotions removed, otherwise that would equal an argument) I think we both felt better about our transition into being parents.
Here are few things you can do to help your partner adapt to fatherhood:
Let him have one-on-one time with the baby…yes that means you should leave the house & let him fend for himself. Go get a pedicure or take a walk…this accomplished two things 1) allows your partner to figure out how to be a daddy to this little person on his own terms & 2) gives you a little “you time!”
Although difficult, allow him to figure out how to care for the baby in his own way…i.e. if he rocks the baby to sleep by playing heavy metal & it works, then let him do it =) It may not be your way & that’s ok!
Keep the lines of communication open, but don’t force him to talk about his challenges. Leave the door open so when he’s ready to talk, he can share how he’s feeling. And make sure when he does want to talk about it that you don’t judge or make him feel like he’s wrong…he needs to know that you’re in this together!
I hope this helps! The one thing we had to remind ourselves is that the first few months of our daughter’s life are only going to be a blip on the radar when it comes to her life & our journey through parenthood…if we can survive, then you can to =)!
Pictures: My husband with Molly. Nowadays he lights up when she says “da-da” or even enters the room! For those of you who are watching your husband’s struggle with adapting to fatherhood, never fear, it does get better & they will eventually have a deep bond with their child!