When I was a new mom, I needed all the help I could get. While the majority of my time and energy were going toward my new baby, the fact remains that becoming a mother can be a major adjustment, too. Despite, the fact that we have roughly forty weeks to prepare, plus any time you spend considering parenthood prior to pregnancy, it can still feel like your world has been turned upside down.
Personally, I’m the youngest in my family and didn’t spend much time babysitting or, you know, hanging out with babies. That is, not until my own came along. I mean, my friends had babies and I held said babies occasionally, but it was the hospital nurses who showed my partner and I how to change a diaper. OK, technically, they showed my partner while I lied in the bed and watched from a distance, and then my partner showed me later (when I wasn't so freakin' exhausted). This was the first of countless ways that my grown-ass man of a partner came to the rescue and helped me adjust to motherhood. The fact that he also wasn’t a mess of hormones who’d just been through labor and delivery proved to be pretty convenient, too, since his transition to parenthood didn’t overlap with recovery from either of those things.
Because the non-pregnant, non-laboring partner has ever-so-slightly more energy (and isn't incredibly sore post-birth), they've in a unique position to help a mom adjust to parenthood. So, having said that, here's what you can expect a grown-ass man to do when his partner becomes a mother for the first time:
He Help Her Physically As She Heals
Sometimes, this can be as simple as offering your arm to help her up off the couch. Sometimes, it can be handing her the nursing pillow or preparing the bottle so she doesn’t have to get up. Or, maybe, it's taking the baby carrier to the car because they are way too heavy. It’s not about squashing her independence, it’s about giving her space to regain it while her body recovers.
While not everyone needs affirmations like some of us do (*cough*), I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a genuine compliment, even if it’s something like, “Wow, I’m really impressed that you managed to get your hair into a ponytail today.” It’s the thought that counts.
He Reminds Her That No One’s Perfect And That It’s Supposed To Be Hard
If there is anyone out there who did not have any problems, and did not find the early weeks of parenthood to be earth-shatteringly challenging, please call me. I have a business proposition for you (spoiler alert: be my life coach forever).
He's On The Watch For Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, And Other Serious Challenges
He Pitches In With Baby Needs
As all parents know, there is pretty much always a diaper that needs to be changed, some rocking that needs to be done, tummy time that needs to be supervised, or a lullaby that needs to be sung. Unless you two have worked out a serious division of duties (I know some of you are out there), I say dads can and should jump right in.
He Helps Her Get Some Sleep
Speaking of things that always need to be done, it seems like everything else takes precedence over sleep. However, a grown-ass man can and will convince his partner to rest, since it’s in everyone’s best interest to have healthy parents.
He Participates In Household Chores
It will be worth it when you see the look on her face after you say, “I just did three loads of laundry.” Trust me.
He Encourages Her To Find As Many Support Networks As She Needs
For some moms, this could be a moms group or a girls’ night or an exercise class. For others, it can be an online forum or text conversation with a BFF. Regardless, she’ll probably feel better knowing that she’s not alone.
Everyone is unique, and everyone is different, and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m in the thick of searching for quality children’s entertainment for my son. I’m saying that because it’s true, and along with this statement comes the idea that every birth and recovery is different, and everyone’s adjustment to motherhood is different, and will probably not look the way either parent expects it to. A grown-ass man will know this to be fact, and he won't hold his partner to some predetermined standard that, honestly, is probably fictitious at best.