My partner truly is my best friend. Long before our love morphed into the beautifully deep connection we now share, we've relied heavily on the foundation built by friendship. We laugh a lot, problem-solve together, and enjoy being with one another even when the world feels out of control. We're not perfect by any means, and we definitely have a lot to work on, but I've got his back and I know he's got mine. Which is why I wasn't surprised when my partner made me feel confident during my first month as a new mom. Honestly, I couldn't have done it without him. Well, OK so I probably could have, but I definitely wouldn't have wanted to.
Since neither one of us had been parents before, my partner and I set out on this terrifying journey completely clueless together. We didn't know what to expect, or how to handle every bump that surfaced, but having each other to lean on definitely reinforced my self-esteem on numerous occasions and especially when I started to feel insecure. For example, my pregnancy was draining. I had "morning" sickness all day, everyday, and I developed pregnancy-induced hypertension that created elephant trunks where my feet should've been. Still, my partner was there to encourage me, support me, and tell me those elephant trunks were damn sexy.
Aside from physical pregnancy symptoms, we also had a wide variety of reactions to our pregnancy announcement that really forced us to lean on one another. Some people were thrilled, while others were, well, not so much. It was a lot to take one so early in our relationship (and we weren't much older than babies, ourselves), but we somehow managed to figure things out as they came our way, working as a team every step of the way.
After the birth of our amazing daughter, my partner and I stumbled and fell through life as brand new parents more times than I can count. Taking care of another human being entirely dependent on us was harder than we imagined, to be sure, but my partner was still the person I could run to every time I felt like a complete and utter failure. So with that in mind, here are just some of the ways he made me feel confident, strong, and capable of being the mother he knew I could be:
My Partner Rooted For Me When I Messed Up
I made so many mistakes (still do, FYI) as a new mom. I mean, I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and even though my partner didn't either, he never made me feel as though what I did was awful. If anything, he found ways to show me that other moms were just as scared and just as inexperienced as I was. Sometimes, all it too was saying something as nuanced as, "You did great!" to make me feel seen.
My Partner Volunteered To Take More Night Feedings
Even though my partner worked all day, when it came time for the dreaded nighttime feedings he almost always volunteered. I was suffering from postpartum depression, so sleep was one thing I never seemed to get enough of. When my partner decided to sacrifice some sleep of his own, he helped me feel more confident every single morning. I knew it was a new day and, at the end of it, he would be there to help.
My Partner Stressed The Importance Of Self-Care
As a new mom I didn't always feel like putting myself first. It felt selfish, honestly. And when it didn't feel selfish, there was simply not enough hours in the day to blow dry my hair and change my clothes. My partner knew doing certain things made me feel better about myself and, as a result, I would be able to put more time and energy into being a better mom. So he encouraged salon trips, running, and whatever made me feel like, well, me.
My Partner Didn't Second Guess My Decisions
To this day — almost 11 years after the birth of our daughter — my partner still believes in me and my ability to make the best decisions for our children. When he has an alternative opinion he'll let me know, but generally speaking he fully supports whatever I decide. When I went from breast to bottle, when I stayed home, and when I gave up my job, he was always there to tell me that I knew what was best for me.
My Partner Defended Me
Being a new mom, unfortunately, usually means having to defend your choices. I had to listen to so much judgment and scrutiny when I decided to stop breastfeeding and start formula-feeding, and when I decided to stay home with our newborn instead of return to work. Even if my partner felt otherwise, he defended my choices when they were questioned by others. Those times made me realize I really wasn't alone and that, yes, we could get through this.
My Partner Reassured Me
Sometimes life as a new mom didn't feel OK. In fact, sometimes it felt awful. My postpartum depression required treatment, but that didn't mean my daughter just stopped needing me. My partner helped me find the confidence I'd lost through those dark days by reminding me that I needed to be OK before I cared for our daughter. He let me know there was nothing I couldn't handle, nothing I couldn't overcome, because I wouldn't be doing it alone.
My Partner Let Me Sleep When I Really Needed It
Both of us were tired and both of us lived on little-to-no sleep, but those nights I couldn't pull myself up to feed, and the mornings I really needed five more minutes, he took control. More sleep meant I could face the day with a better perspective — something I struggled with because of my postpartum depression.
My Partner Told Me I Was Beautiful
Although I don't live and die by my partner's views on my outward appearances, it always felt good to hear he still found me attractive during times when I felt the complete opposite. Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum life changed me in so many ways, but my partner never abandoned that sparkle in his eyes whenever he looked at me.
My Partner Set Me Up For Success
Anytime I found myself struggling, my partner was right there to either pick me back up or point me towards the path of success so I could pick myself up all on my own. He never judged me or belittled me, he supported and encouraged me. He believed in me, and in us. All of this combined gave me the confidence I needed to be a better version of me.