Momma Had A Baby

Brad said…

Kate’s post, “Then Comes Baby in a Baby Carriage” encouraged new moms to remember to keep their husbands a priority even when they bring that new bundle of joy home. I wanted to address the unique realities of the new baby from the dad’s perspective.

When Kate first told me she we were pregnant I was thrilled! Even though you can never feel completely ready for the reality of a first baby, I was excited. I knew things were going to change, that we would have new responsibilities and priorities, yet I was looking forward to turning our 2 of us into 3.

After the roller coaster of pregnancy, came that amazing day when our pink and perfect little man popped into this world. Then it happened…. Our little angel came home and . . .

Everything Changed

Sleep Disappeared

New babies are exhausting! Very exhausting! The first few months of interrupted sleep take a toll on every new parent. It doesn’t take long till “adorable” turns to “ug” at 4:00 am.  Exhaustion leads to frayed nerves. Remember that everyone in the family will be a bit on edge and can be quick to anger. If you hear that tone entering new mom’s voice, make sure to notice and give her a well deserved break. I’m sure most couples will have at least one argument in the first few weeks baby is home. Try to remember that sleep deprivation is probably at the root of it!

Breasts Took On a New Function

We are supposed to think “ahh isn’t that cute” seeing our little one breast feeding.  Yet most of you are really thinking, “hey those are mine!” We’re smart enough not to say that at the time, but the thought was there. It’s true that baby gets priority for a time. Don’t worry too much, once the baby’s done they will come back to you!

Stuff and More Stuff

Now it wasn’t just the two of us, it was us, baby, and lots and lots of baby stuff. Who knew babies came with tons of equipment? Not only was there stuff everywhere, everything took more time. Simply going to church became a trek with more luggage than most men take on an overnight business trip.  This is actually one area that husbands can excel and really help in. Get to know your baby’s accessories! Getting ready to go somewhere? Start packing the baby bag(s). Mom and baby not quite ready to leave on time? Get the car loaded up with all the stuff.

Shifting Priorities

In all of the changes baby and mommy naturally take the lead. All the sudden there is a real physical barrier between you and your wife. As a husband who wanted to still be the priority in his wife’s life it was difficult to adjust to this new reality. I quickly discovered that if I wanted to be apart of my new family I needed to act. Kate might naturally take the lead in the feeding, bathing, rocking, changing, and all the other new baby skills; but that did not mean that I was off the hook.  Mom’s seem to immediately become super mom and jump to do it all. It is easy to let them, it is easy to roll over when the baby wants food, or to ignore the smelly diaper, or pass off as soon as they start to cry.

Get In the Game

It is easy to see the little one creeping in on your territory, but how you respond now sets the tone for a very long time. Either you get in the game, or you get to be on the sideline. If you would like to get connected with your new baby, and remain a priority in your wife’s eyes then you need to take every opportunity to do something.

Don’t roll over at 4:00 am. Get up first, go and change little jr’s diaper while mom is getting ready for feeding. Don’t just ignore the odor emanating from your little bundle of joy, get in there and change it! Don’t ignore the piles of dirty laundry, (how something so small could accumulate so much laundry I’ll never understand) figure out how to run that washing machine and get moving!  Baby needs burped after mommy’s done? Great it’s your chance to jump in and give mom a rest!

Unless you jump in she will do it all. If you sit on the sidelines you will be forcing her to do everything with the baby and around the house. That is going to quickly lead your exhausted wife to frustration and push her away. If you sit on the sidelines a gap is created between the two of you that could end up lasting until your kids eventually move out of the house.

Want to Have Sex Again? Ever?

There are 2 barriers to having sex after baby comes home.  First, mommies have to be physically ready, which often takes a bit of time. Second, and frankly more importantly, unless you are helping out she won’t have the time to even think about getting busy with you, she is too busy with all of the other new responsibilities! I don’t care if this is your 1st or your 5th if you want to start “practicing” to make another you better get in the game!

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11 Responses to Momma Had A Baby

  1. “Unless you jump in she will do it all. If you sit on the sidelines you will be forcing her to do everything with the baby and around the house.”

    SOOO true. This is a special time to get in there and show that you are a team. I have no idea how my wife can take care of our two little ones (the youngest being 5 weeks old) and still be thinking about the shape of the house – she really is Superwoman in my eyes. Most of our conversations center around her letting me be part of her process (thinking, planning, prioritizing, etc) so that we can tackle that laundry list TOGETHER rather than her trying to take it all on herself.

    • James,
      Mommies some how manage to kick it into high gear when it comes to bringing new baby home and getting everything accomplished. I’m not sure how they do it, but it happens. It would be easy to just watch and not participate. She’s good at it, she will probably tell you “you’re not doing that right”. But if you let her take it all the amount of time you find together will be kicked into low gear! I think you are wise to keep talking to her about ways that you can tackle the mommy list together! Part of the problem is she probably feels the “I can do it faster myself then teaching him to do it” mentality that happens. Keep pushing to be included, it is the only way to make sure a gap doesn’t form between the two of you, that “baby” fills!
      Thanks for your comment james!

  2. Great advice. Helping out at this stage will make everything go better.

    Just consider the washing machine the largest power tool you currently own and learn to master it.

  3. I’ll never forget when my husband made it clear that he had gotten “in the game.”

    He was changing our 2-day-old’s diaper when I started to tell him that he was doing it wrong (a primary reason, I now suspect, many men sty/get out of the game!)

    He looked me square in the eye and asked, with just a hint of irony, “And how much longer have you been a parent than I?”

    I shut up and “let” him finish changing the diaper any way he wanted!

    • Hi Cheri! That is AWESOME!! Thank you so much for sharing that. So true! Blessings to you and your hubby! Kate

    • Cheri,
      That’s awesome! I’m glad you had the sense to let him figure out just how those diaper tabs actually work. (the darn things should at least come with an instruction manual, not that men ever read the manual, but at least it would be there). The best thing you did for your husband, and your new child is that you stepped back and let him do!

  4. This was brilliant! I would add one thing – watch your new mom’s mood. I know too many women who sank into some level of post-partum depression, and a husband can be a good barometer for knowing when it has passed exhaustion and become depression. Hubby can encourage his wife to get help and recover herself before it gets too overwhelming. Thanks, Brad!

    • Hey J! This is so true! Definitely another post all about post-partum depression! The husband can play an important part in helping his wife recognize this and helping her through it. It is one of those things that I think often scares the husbands as well as the wife who is going through it. Getting help is a critical and nothing to be scared or ashamed of! So important! Thanks, J!

  5. After the birth of our 2nd child, my wife’s interest in sex completely evaporated. If sex happened, it was her accommodating my physical needs but was never into it herself. And this lasted for probably a year, followed by a very slow and gradual recovery to what sex was like before. I was not ready for this. During those dark days felt so unloved and undesired that I contemplated suicide. I helped out extra around the house and with the kids, thinking this would take pressure off my wife and allow her to feel more sexual. I asked her what I was doing wrong, why she did not desire me, but she said I was doing a great job as a husband. I read lots of books on sex in marriage, but nothing helped. In the following months we had intense fights about sex. I got into porn and masturbation,(at least those women appeared eager to have me: to me that was the most alluring and entrapping lies that porn portrays). This made me feel better, then brought terrible guilt and shame and did not fix my problems. It became a problem all it’s own, even though I have not told my wife about it.

    Anyway, no body told me about how your sex life can be radically changed by the birth of a child, so I’m glad this post addresses some of the changes. Gradually things got better for us. By my son’s 3rd birthday things were decent again, and it has been been several months since I have looked at porn. My confidence is still not what it was.

    I did learn a couple of things though. One is that many (maybe most) women do not often have spontaneous sexual desire; they desire sex after they become aroused through foreplay. This is normal.

    A second lesson was how much my self-esteem depended on my wife’s response to my advances. This is why it was such a crippling blow when she would turn me down. I am still learning to be more secure in myself without needing her to prop up my sense of self.

    • Hi N! Thanks so much for sharing from your story. You have hit on so many important points. The one that is really so vital to remembering is that women (many times) do NOT experience desire until after arousal. So when she is plugging along all day with the baby and her mind is on everything else, she most likely will not be thinking about sex. It is completely normal and how women were made. It is also completely confusing to both the women who experiences it and the hubby in her life. Wives being aware of this fact and having tools to help them is vital as well as hubby’s knowing best how to handle arousing their wives, so the desire will follow. Great point!

      You are not alone in turning to porn, it is a part of many husbands stories. The porn industry is hoping that men (and women) will believe the lies it sells! Please know that you are not alone in the shame and suffering-Jesus can heal all of those burdens. Keep leaning on Him and giving it to him every time you struggle. Also remember that he will never leave you alone and always provide a way out when you are tempted!

      You are also right in that so much of a husbands self esteem is wrapped up in how his wife responds to him sexually! It took me a long time to learn this and am truly sorry for the pain I caused Brad when I was not attentive to this. I think you are awesome for working on being secure otherwise-in Christ! Yet God truly wants it to be this way, that you would feel good about who you are as a man through intimate time with your wife. So it is ok, yet when your marriage is hurting, you will have to find your strength in Christ!

      Thank you so much for sharing! Know that we are praying for you! Blessings, Kate