After nine gruelling months, your family finally grew with the addition of one! All throughout that journey you’ve been by your wife’s side constantly supporting.
But, remember, that’s only the beginning of a lifelong path of mutual support. There will only be a series of changes moving forward and it’s up to you to support your wife throughout these adjustments. Be it physical, emotional, mental, or a messy mix of all of them, you should always be there with her, every step of the way.
As a man, you may not completely understand what she is going through, but there are many ways you can still show solidarity and love. Here’s how dads can support new mums!
What Husbands Need To Know About Postpartum
The whirlwind of hormonal changes doesn’t stop at the nine-month mark. Pregnancy is one thing but postpartum is another that partners should deal with together.
One of the major changes that women will go through is postpartum depression. It’s called the persisting “baby blues” where mums will feel empty or sad after childbirth. Usually, these will go away a few days after giving birth. However, if it lasts longer than two weeks, it’s considered postpartum depression.
Read More: Your Guide To Postpartum Care
Postpartum depression is a serious mental illness that adversely affects the mum’s behaviour and physical health. The feeling of emptiness can handicap them from performing daily routines. For a new mum, they might feel disconnected from their baby and might even feel that they don’t love their baby enough.
Here are some of the signs of postpartum depression:
- Feeling moody or restless
- Feeling hopeless
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Having thoughts of self-harm or harm to the baby
- Inability to focus or make decisions
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or like a bad mother
- Isolating from friends and family
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
All of these could add to other changes she’s going through such as anxiety, body image issues, exhaustion, and more. Postpartum depression is one of the major underlying issues behind all of these so you must understand what it is and where she is coming from first.
Read more: What Husband Support During Pregnancy Is All About
How Dads Can Support New Mums
1. Reassure Her
Your wife’s head will be filled with so much noise that it will cloud her judgment. She may think that she is ugly with how much her body has changed, that she’s a bad mum or even a bad wife. This is where you step in. As her husband and the father of the house, give her the reassurance that she is not alone in her journey.
Below are some ways you can offer reassurance:
- Compliment her physical appearance
- Praise her for her hard work
- Offer physical affection such as a hug and a kiss on the cheek occasionally
- Listen to her when she’s talking i.e. no phones, gadgets, or other distractions
- Check on her through a call when you’re out
- Say “thank you” to her often
2. Help With Chores
Having a newborn is a ton of work, especially for a mum. She’ll be busy with breastfeeding, keeping the baby entertained, and consoling them when they’re in need. Given all of these responsibilities, it’s most likely that the housework won’t be given as much attention.
When you see your wife busy taking care of the baby, take it upon yourself to finish the rest of the housework, such as washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, tidying up around the house, and the like. It may be a small thing, but to her, it will be one of the biggest acts of kindness.
3. Encourage Her To Talk About Her Feelings
As mentioned earlier, postpartum depression might make your wife withdraw from you and her friends. When you notice her exhibiting these symptoms, reach out to her and say that you are all ears. Doing so would help her air out the anxieties that she has and reassure her that she is not alone in her journey.
Moreover, make sure that you will do active listening. This means that you are listening to understand her disposition and not just to fix her problems for her. Put all your attention to your partner, be present in the conversation, and give responses appropriate to her needs.
4. Take Her Out On Dates
Just because there’s an addition to the family doesn’t mean you can’t have time together anymore. Marriage is still a partnership between two people that you should work on flourishing continuously. Not only will this strengthen your relationship, but it will also offer stress relief to your wife after days of exhaustion.
Although there is a confinement period of one month after giving birth, there are still ways you can treat her. Buying her flowers, watching television with her, or even just spending the day with her will improve her well-being. This shows that you are present with her in her journey to recovery!
Afterwards, you can hire a babysitter for the time being or you can even take your baby with you on your dates. It doesn’t have to be grand and expensive. A simple walk in the park, movie night or dinner outside could offer a breath of fresh air from the stress at home.
5. Help With Baby Care
This may seem obvious but not many husbands partake in baby care. There are many ways you can involve yourself in taking care of the baby that not only mums can do.
Here are some ways you can help your spouse:
- Learn techniques to soothe your baby such as singing songs, making silly faces, and more creative ways
- Sanitise the baby bottles, pacifiers, and others
- Help your wife when breastfeeding such as making adjustments to their position
- Take your baby with you while doing housework such as wearing them in a sling or carrier or using a bouncer chair in the bathroom
- Play with your baby to also give your spouse some time for themselves
In A Nutshell…
Change doesn’t stop at childbirth. Building a family means going through several adjustment periods over time. As a husband and a dad, it’s also your responsibility to make these transitions as smooth as possible for your family.
It’s not just your wife who’s going through a huge adjustment phase. You are, too. Be patient with yourself every time you are faced with something unfamiliar.
The scope of your responsibilities will expand not only from yourself but to your new family as well. Whether it be fixing a faucet, trying out a recipe, or opening up to your spouse, these are things that can’t be mastered overnight. Take it easy and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
How have you supported your wife after pregnancy? Share your stories with us!