I feel blessed to have a husband who is very hands on with our baby girl.
He genuinely enjoys feeding, bathing, and playing with her. He walks in the door from work and wants to feed and bath her, whichever is still needed, despite me saying no, and telling him to relax.
I have however, been surprised by how many people have commented on how lucky I am to have a husband who feeds, bathes, and when needed, even does the overnight feed. When our daughter cries, he too will respond. When our daughter needs feeding, he is happy to feed her. When our daughter needs an evening bath, he is happy to bathe her. Why though, am I lucky? Why am I lucky that my husband, the father of my daughter, is happy to do these things? The decision to have a baby was a joint one. We both decided we wanted to have a child and knew all that this entailed (or at least what we thought it entailed!!). We both knew it would be hard and would take some sacrifice (sleep, for example!), therefore why am I lucky? Why is my husband praised for feeding and looking after his daughter, yet for me, it is simply expected and without recognition? I understand my husband goes to work each day, however, there have been many days where I have honestly felt that going into an office versus staying home, was the easy option. I’m curious, when I return to work in the coming months, and still need to feed my baby girl over night and attend to all her needs, will I then receive such praise? Will I be praised for looking after my daughter? I think not.
Therefore, I ask again, why am I lucky that my husband, who chose to become a father, is happy to help look after his daughter? Why are mothers not receiving the same recognition and praise that these so called helping fathers are?
My beautiful little girl is 16 weeks old and what a 16 weeks it has been!
I did a lot of ready prior to my daughters arrival; baby books, magazines, websites, anything baby related, I read it. Despite all my reading, I was immensely ill prepared for all that motherhood brought to my life. None of the books prepare you for how overwhelming the whole experience is. From labour, to the intense feeling of love you feel for this little person that you barely know. The fear of not knowing what to do or how to look after this tiny human who is solely dependent on you. The pressure you feel to be a breastfeeding goddess because according to many, breast is best, and anything else is subpar. The impact that hormones still play on your body and emotions, even though your baby has arrived. And then comes the almighty impact that sleep deprivation plays on, well, quite frankly, everything! I have experienced tiredness in my life, particularly during pregnancy with all those middle of the night toilet runs, but nothing quite compares to what happens once bub arrives. Sleep deprivation has left me feeling all kinds of emotions from sad to angry, and everything inbetween. It’s made me do things that I ordinarily wouldn’t have done, it’s made me grumpy, teary, histerical, and simply hard to live with, just ask my husband!
I wish the other side of motherhood was discussed more openly and freely; the honest and realistic side. The side that says it’s okay to not want to parent some days, to wish more than anything that your little one would stop crying or sleep a little longer just so you can have some quiet time to yourself (or a shower!), to reassure you that it’s okay to miss the freedom you had prior to your little ones arrival, and to simply feel a little lost. I’ve only been a mother for 16 weeks and I can honestly say, it is hard work! Rewarding yes, but hard nonetheless. Having my daughter has brought so much love and light to my life, however it has also changed my life in ways I didn’t expect.
If more women spoke about the less glamourous side of motherhood, perhaps women would feel more prepaed, and a little less alone on their journey.