New mothers should read this great article, and then share it with their husbands, who have a few things to learn when their first baby is born.
This article was originally published on De Mãe para Mamãe’s blog , and republished here with permission.
Leaving the hospital with a baby in their arms, all new parents try to find somewhere the instruction manual to learn how to handle that little guy they just won. Unfortunately, there is no such a desirable manual. And yet, while the need for an instruction manual for the baby is obvious, it may be a long time before a husband realizes that he needs an instruction manual to learn how to cope with the “new” wife.
There will be no shortage of people who do not realize that when a baby is born, a new woman is born together with him. No matter how long you have been married, you are a new partner. And she will never be the same again! Everything changes and our husbands are often lost in the midst of such change. Let’s look at the list of 10 things that all new parents should know before the “arrival” of the new mother.
Thinking about it, I decided to make a list of things that every husband should know after his wife becomes a mother:
1. As a woman you feel ugly
There are so many mixed feelings about how you feel about your body at the moment, as no one would ever think. For one thing, she truly believes that she is one of the most amazing creatures in the world, as she has spawned a human. But on the other hand, she feels very bad about the result of all this. The situation is complex, I know! She sees that her belly (one of the parts of the body where women pay the most attention) was stretched and only God made it not break, but now it is distended. If he also gained stretch marks, the case is more serious. She has gained weight, something that no woman likes. Even, probably, in the final part of the pregnancy she swelled up and got a couple of spots on her face. What woman would like to feel marked and puffy? The size of your breasts is relative, some will be happy to have more breasts (those with little) but for others it will imply an overload of the spine, especially if you already had too much before getting pregnant. So you see: the physical part of your wife, which I present to you here in a very subtle way, makes any woman get out of bed crying for a long time.
What you can do about it : Never stop praising her. But be cautious: she is not blind and knows what is happening to her body. When you praise her, look into her eyes. Play it, but with love. Never stop looking at it. When she asks you a question about her body, if she is prudent and wise, answer truthfully, but cautiously. If she’s overweight, tell her that she’ll be back to normal soon. Her body is like this because she gave the greatest gift that she could have given, and that for you, at this moment, does not matter at all.
Relee: Say goodbye to postpartum tummy! 3 guaranteed tips and a secret.
2. She is obsessed with the baby
That simple Despite the fact that she is still in the process of assimilating everything that is happening with her life because of that baby – and this causes her to frequently have crying spells (the famous postpartum depression, caused by those irreversible changes suffered in her life ) – the truth is that she is completely obsessed with him. What you will see her doing most often is taking photos of the baby to post on social media, and her goal is none other, but literally the baby!
What you can do : Wait patiently for this phase to pass. This part of the obsession with the adaptation process. It is also that her maternal instinct speaks louder than ever. She just can’t control it.
3. Your wife is afraid
This is a new experience. You already know that. But to her, everything is so extraordinarily new, as to be terrified. At this point, what she wants most is not to make mistakes! It’s like the worst test of your life. She spent nine months studying and preparing, and now the moment of truth has come. Every new mother feels at all times that she is being evaluated by herself, by everything and before everyone, and carries that with her all the time. Allowing yourself mistakes is completely out of the question. On the other hand, she has around her a whole world of people giving opinions, with the desire to help. This may be good, but for her it is suffocating. Especially for people with whom she has a delicate relationship (usually her mother). The presence of people is very intimidating and, apart from being a relief, it leaves her more stressed.
What you can do : Pretend this is hormonal, it just isn’t going to help you… By the way, it’s going to make things worse! Do not be one more burden, another one who analyzes, judges and does not help. You must know that she is giving the best that she can and you must learn to give that support, love and understanding that she needs. Since she does not fully understand what is happening, and it becomes very again, again, to know what to do or what to expect. Try to give her confidence in herself. Tell her that making mistakes is normal, and that what really matters is that you two are in this together and that you are sure that she is being the best mother you could have chosen for your child. And don’t forget: always say it by looking into her eyes and -if you can- caressing her with affection. At this time in your life, a hug and good words of encouragement are very useful.
4. She is always on the defensive
Imagine how this woman’s head is. Everyone you know has an opinion to give. Her mother thinks she must return to work soon; your aunt thinks you are not breastfeeding properly; her friend, who has a five-week-old baby, is always ready to give an opinion for “having more experience”; her mother-in-law also wants to be the mother of the baby… her situation is not easy and her defense is to be on the defensive.
What you can do : Stay by his side [laughs] is the best thing you can do. And then when she calms down, subtly show that everyone is trying to help her and that she doesn’t have to be so defensive, but make sure to do it when she’s already calm, or you are ten feet out of her reach [more laughs] . Which brings us to the next point.
Relee: Newborn at home? Nine ways not to go crazy.
5. Your wife can’t be mad at the baby
Logically, the new mother knows that the main culprit does not sleep. That her needs don’t matter to him. What’s more, she can’t even socialize with the baby and yet she can’t “take out” her anger on him. He is just a baby! We all know! So who is closer, usually pays for everything, and is the perfect victim? Yes, you guessed it: those things touch you.
What you can do : Unfortunately, the advice I have to give is not something that is going to help much [laughs]. But it’s the only one I know that actually works. You have to be a punching bag for your son and your wife’s sanity [laughs]. This phase also passes. Imagining that you are exercising, for example, helps.
6. The new mom has nothing to wear
This point is more frustration than sadness. She was already tired of wearing maternity clothes – which usually aren’t in a great deal of variety and robbed her of a bit of female glamor. You don’t want to keep wearing pregnancy clothes. But you just had the baby and you don’t have any pre-pregnancy clothes that fit, or still work for you. And to make matters worse, she refuses to buy clothes, because in her mind, she soon returned to normal.
What you can do : In fact, there isn’t much you can do. Compliment her and try to divert her attention. Encourage her to eat a good diet, drink plenty of water, and feed the baby, as that is what will make her lose weight very fast.
7. Your wife needs protection
I think women always want their men to be their protectors, but I think this need goes further, when she becomes a mother. She needs you to be the barrier between her and the outside world. If she is not ready to receive guests, then you have to be the one who diplomatically rejects this visit, for example. The things that she solved before, now you have to be solving.
What you can do : In the event that something unforeseen happens that makes her more tense, the ideal is that she hears the following from your mouth: “Let me take care of it!”
8. She needs to rest
Most women who just join the ranks of first-time motherhood truly believe they can do it all. All the other mothers with dirty houses and nasty, irritating babies are doing something wrong. The perfect mother complex leads to rapid burnout. The worst part is that most mothers refuse to admit it when they are reaching their limits.
What you can do : “Give her permission” for your wife to rest. Show her that she needs to take a nap or watch TV to relax every time the baby sleeps. If she tries to argue, remind her that she is simply protecting herself …
Relee: Help! My baby won’t sleep!
9. Have you asked her if she needs anything?
I say this because I have been a mother and I know how important this is. People may have had experiences with other mothers, but each mother has her own rhythm and way of being, and most likely she would like it more if you ask her what she really needs, rather than invading “her life” without asking.
10. She wants a close father figure
She likes to see that you also became a father. She loves hearing from your mouth how this new human being is changing you too. She loves when you talk about how you perceive that little human being, who has her ears and her feet.
What can you do? : It may not seem logical to you, but every time you interact with that little baby, at the same time you get closer and closer to her. Seeing how you transform into a great father, in the front row of the movie of her life, is priceless for her. And trust me: after the first six to eight weeks, things will start to get better.
Relee: Your children have a need for correct models.
_Translated and adapted from Portuguese by Óscar Pech, from 10 things that you homens need to know depois que a mulher vira mãe, by Mirela Acioly.