This is a post for all you new dads out there! I just visited a neighbor friend who has a baby about a month old. She was talking about all the normal struggles she was having and it brought me back to those first few weeks as a new mom. I thought about my husband, Nathan, and how crazy he must have thought I was. This made me think to write a post encouraging all you new dads with a couple of things from a woman’s standpoint. I tend to think in lists, so here is my list of things to remember as a new dad.
1. Your wife is not truly insane. A few days after having Logan, I was sitting on the couch holding him. And crying. No, not crying. Bawling. Nathan walks in and looks at me and naturally asks, “What is wrong?!” Are you ok? Is Logan ok?” My reply. . . “I just don’t want him to grow up! I don’t want him to get any bigger than he is right now!” I think that was the moment that Nathan wondered if he had lost his wife for good. Had I gone clinically insane? That brings me to my next point. . .
2. Your wife is probably wondering if she is, in fact, insane. We don’t want to be like this! We don’t want to cry over everything. We don’t want to snap at you! When you leave for work, we sit and wonder if we truly are losing it. It isn’t until we call a friend and she tells us that we are normal that we calm down a little and realize that this too shall pass.
3. Hormones are real. I think sometimes men think we like pulling the “hormone card.” Like we are making up this fantasy world where it’s ok to act like a crazy person because our “hormones” are raging. I promise this isn’t the case. I wondered the same thing actually until I had a baby. Now, hormones should not be used as an excuse, no. But, know that sometimes, we can’t control some of the things we are thinking and feeling. And I am sorry. I know you thought you would get your wife back after pregnancy, but I’m afraid those nasty fluctuating hormones are around to stay until your wife is done nursing. Hormones just make it more difficult for us to be the kind of wife and mother God wants us to be, but I think that is what is so wonderful about them. They make us look to God for help, because we really can’t do it on our own. We HAVE to have His help.
4. Sleep deprivation is a monster. You are going to experience this too, dad. But, I think moms experience it more in those early days. We have to get up to nurse multiple times a night and those nursing sessions. . . wow, are they long! It can really take a toll on a new mom in those early days. On top of the raging hormones and the responsibility of taking care of this new life, sleep deprivation can really top off the crazy in us.
5. Be patient. It does get better. I think what a wife needs more than anything in those first few months (and after even) is a patient husband. Just know that we will eventually return to normal (well, we may never be normal, but at least close?). Being a mom is hard. I know being a dad is hard too. And we need to be patient and loving to you too, of course. But there is something about the strength and loving calmness of a husband. There is something about him taking his wife into his arms when she is feeling nutso and saying he loves her and that she is still beautiful and things will go back to normal eventually. That right there is enough to get many of us through the night! Thank goodness for husbands. You all really put up with a lot.
So full disclosure: This year has been difficult with the birth of our son ten months ago. So, my husband and I both get it if things are hard! I’m sure it’s not easy watching your wife morph into a new person, but the cool thing is that God is ever-present. He is ever-near to you both and waiting and willing to help in your moments of messiness. Because having a baby can be messy. It messes up things, right? Our plans, our traditions, our quiet times. But it also messes up our hearts in ways we never thought possible. And I mean that in a good way. I am so thankful for my husband and I think he is just the greatest dad. Watching him with Logan does my heart so much good. It hasn’t been easy on him either. But, we are in this together! Being a family is so wonderful, it outweighs the harder times. So be encouraged! This new life takes some time to get used to, but enjoy the ride. I promise, in a few months, things will look even better. And this is all part of our sanctification anyway. It’s not for nothing.
Find joy in new families today!
A picture from our first few crazy days for your enjoyment.