9 Painful Things No One Knows Postpartum Dads Actually Deal With

Ad failed to load

There's no reason to sugarcoat it: recovering from childbirth sucks. I mean, growing and birthing a human being is kind of a big deal. But now that I've been at this mom thing for a while, I've realized there's something far worse than recovering from childbirth. Far, far worse. Moms, just try being a postpartum dad. I mean, they suffer and in silence. No one notices, and no one cares. You see, there are so many painful things no one knows postpartum dads experience, and it's time we — as women who have used our bodies to grow and birth babies, only to have those bodies relentlessly scrutinized — let the world know that postpartum dads who didn't have a child pushed through their bodies and/or cut from their stomachs are in pain, too. More pain than we could ever imagine, ladies.

My first husband learned this lesson first-hand. Postpartum life was so hard for him, and oh, oh so painful. Sure, I felt like a train had hit my midsection and had stitches on my labia and perineum, but that was nothing compared to the pain he felt that one time our new baby kicked him in the testicles. Not even close. Or the time when he picked up the baby without a shirt on and she tried to latch onto his nipple. Worst pain ever. He struggled to cope with sleep deprivation thanks to all those times I accidentally woke him up while I was feeding the baby three times a night. He must have been so exhausted, and hungry, because I selfishly chose to breastfeed the baby for hours instead of taking the time to cook dinner. Can you believe I did that? I mean, I have no idea how he survived.

If you think recovering from childbirth is hard for new moms, you clearly haven't been a new dad who can go back to work without anyone questioning how much he loves his children. The struggle is real for these men, and we, as mother who are supposed to be "perfect" in every possible way, can't possibly understand their plight.

Ad failed to load

Sore Nipples

Between razor-sharp baby finger nails and the tendency for newborns to root and latch onto any nipples they can get their tiny mouths on, postpartum dads can get some seriously sore nipples, too. It's so bad. I breastfed and pumped eight to 10 times a day for months, so I almost know how my ex-husband felt when our baby tried to latch on to one of his nipples that one time. Almost, you guys.

Sleep Deprivation


There's a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique. It changes you. And if there's one group of people who truly understand sleep deprivation, it's postpartum dads. From occasionally waking up when their partners are feeding and changing their baby, to having their sobbing wife wake them 10 minutes before the alarm goes off because she's been up all night and wants him to take the baby so she can get a few minutes of sleep, they're constantly losing out on those precious eight hours of rest. It's literally the worst.

Having To Pee

When postpartum dads are holding their new babies, they can easily find themselves having to pee and not being able to find the motivation to get up. I imagine it's literally the worst feeling to have to pee all of the time. Totally worse than having a baby rest on your bladder for 40 weeks, more or less, and not being able to move them. Definitely worse than peeing postpartum, even though it's incredibly painful. And accidentally peeing your pants when you sneeze? Please, that's nothing compared to a dad who has to pee the moment the baby falls asleep on him. Perspective, people.

Ad failed to load



The hunger experienced by postpartum dads can be intense, and often their postpartum partners are just too tired, sore, or busy to make them a sandwich. These silent heroes have to make their own food, you guys!

A Sore Back

New fatherhood is a total pain in the neck, back, and well, body. Postpartum moms have it easy, especially since all they do is lay around and feed the baby all day during her long vacation, I mean, maternity leave. Sure, new moms are recovering from labor and delivery, but it's important that they have some empathy for their partners who courageously step in and hold the baby so they can go to the bathroom or take a shower.  

Having Their Body Hair Ripped Out


New moms just don't understand the pain new dads experience when their baby rips out a leg or arm hair. I mean, it's not like women have ever had their body hair ripped out. They can't possibly understand that kind of pain.

Ad failed to load

Losing The Baby Weight

You might not know this, but many dads gain sympathetic weight during their partner's pregnancies. It sucks so hard. To make matters worse, losing weight is so hard for men. I mean, they might have to give up soda, workout once in a while, or stop eating out in order to lose those few extra pounds. It is such a struggle, considering how our society expects men to look a certain way and the pressure they must feel to bounce back after their partners have babies. It might even take a week or two to lose it all. I can't imagine.

Being Horny


So, yeah, not being able to get down for six whole weeks after your partner gives birth can be a serious struggle. It's not as if guys can take matters into their own hands. It's so unfair, not to mention painful.

Hearing Criticism

Perhaps the worst pain postpartum dads feel every single day is the pain of being being criticized when they do something. It can be truly insignificant things, too, like putting on their baby's diaper backwards, dressing them in dirty clothes, or deciding to take a road trip with their buddy when their baby is 3-weeks-old, like my ex-husband did. It can be so traumatic to face criticism, when they are used to getting constant praise for parenting, even when they do it half-assed. And I mean, these dads are scrutinized for being working dads, too! They just can't win.

They deserve a high five, not the dirty look their partner gave them when they complained about how tired, hungry, or sore they were. It's horrible how their partners just don't seem to understand how hard and painful the postpartum recovery period can be, and show a little empathy. Men have it so hard, you guys. It's terrible, really. The struggle is real.

While everyone's feelings are valid, and everyone experiences life's difficulties in their own way, it's important to acknowledge how differently our society treats new moms versus new dads. So fathers, while we know parenting isn't easy, we urge you to at least try to look at things from your postpartum partner's perspective. Help her out. Support her. Encourage her. Because she will need it. Because she deserves it.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack