“After I gave birth to my first child Tumiso,” narrates Wahu Kagwi, “the change in the dynamics of my relationship with my hubby was almost tangible! All of a sudden, the bulk of our conversations revolved around baby…diapers, clinics, feeding, baby poop and all that good stuff…”
It’s always such a joy when there’s a new member in the family. However more often than not, baby’s arrival does affect how you relate with your partner, especially if you’re first time parents. I remember the nervousness of handling a delicate little life would sometimes cause my hubby and I to get into tiffs, ending up in thoughts like “what happened to us?” or “you’ve changed a lot of late”. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that Tumiso wasn’t the light of our lives; she definitely was and continues to be; but finding a workable rhythm after her arrival was not so seamless.
Being 2nd time parents, of course we’re a lot calmer and experienced, hence the “induction” of baby Nyakio is much smoother than that of our first time child. So am gonna point out some things that I wish I considered a lot more when my number one baby was born, and hopefully help a mom out there.
He’s a first time Dad too
Chances are, he’s more nervous than you are when it comes to nurturing the baby, and is looking to you for some kind of direction. He’ll make his mistakes and assumptions and you need to understand that his heart is in the right place. Understanding that he too has zero experience will make it easier to handle any mistakes or oversights he may make. Remember, you’re on the same team, so work as a team.
Talk, talk, talk
The first couple of weeks of baby’s life may not be as graceful as you’d like. Your body is going through hormonal changes, and getting used to feeding baby in those wee hours of the morning. This can be quite stressful, yet he may not fully understand what you’re going through. As a result he may not act/react in the way that you desire – Talk to him and explain word for word, the kind of support that you need; Remember he can’t read your mind ;-), so he may want to help, but may not know how to unless you tell him.
It’s his baby too
We usually tend to “own” the baby a lot more as mummies, right? And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s very natural for mummies to do this, so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself paying a lot of attention to the little one; You’re trying to find your rhythm and understanding your new bundle of joy. However, if you showed him how to take part in the process, how to change her diapers, burp her, swaddle her, put baby to sleep etc…you’ll be surprised at how good he can be! Empowering him to take care of the baby not only makes caring for baby a you & him “thing” but it also draws you too closer to each other, and avoids that feeling of exclusion, which you don’t want him to have. Besides, the more he’s able to handle the baby, the more free time you have to chill out and rest which you really need to by the way.
Drink lots of water and get lots of rest!
You’ll be surprised at how these two things can make you a much better mom! Water & rest naturally calm you down (pregnant, new mum or not) and seeing that you need make your life less stressful, go ahead and partake of the two! Besides, rest and water are also great for milk production, so it’s a win-win situation.
Be easy on yourself
So, there’s this theory that as a new mum, you should hurry up and get back into your bedroom action ASAP, lest your man feels ignored and, well, “strays”. I personally do not subscribe to that school of thought. For the first couple of weeks, you’re physically, hormonally and emotionally trying to adjust to nurturing this new little wonder, and in all fairness, it’s not easy on your body. Don’t give yourself pressure. Take your time to get used to the new dynamics. However, make him understand how you’re feeling and what you’re going through, so that he doesn’t draw his own conclusions. And once you’re feeling ready, go back right into action!
So these are just my few pointers. If anyone’s got anything to add, and/or discount, please feel free to share your thoughts.
Much love, Wahu.