During my pregnancy, my husband was involved, but not overly so. By mutual decision, he only came to three of my doctor’s appointments:
For the most part, until the end, I had an unremarkable pregnancy. I didn’t need too much help from my husband. I did most of the research on baby items that we’d need as well as decorated the nursery; he didn’t have too many opinions on fabric or paint or stroller choices. He would help me around the house, gave me some great back rubs when I needed them, and attended the hospital’s birthing and child care class with me.
I’ll be honest: I was kind of nervous about how comfortable he would be around Finn once he was born. We don’t have many babies in our lives and besides, you don’t interact with your niece or nephew the same way you do your own child. There just isn’t a great way to practice that experience until you’re there!
It was in the hospital that I first started seeing my husband’s awesomeness. He was amazing! He’d walk Finn around the hospital hallway, so that I could catch a nap. He spent both nights with us in the hospital, sleeping on a cot. He went with Finn to all appointments inside the hospital — including his circumcision and hearing test. He’d bring the baby to me when it was time to feed him. He asked the nurses to show him how to change diapers, properly swaddle, and how to give a bath. In fact, I don’t think I changed a diaper until we got home and he went back to work! He definitely jumped in with both feet. I was (and still am) blessed to be married to him!
Then Finn and I came home. My husband would ask me what he could do to help, but the trouble was that I wasn’t great at knowing and communicating what would he could do to help me. It took me a week to recognize that I needed a shower, two solid meals, and at least one nap a day to feel normal and sane. Once I figured that out, I was better able to help my husband help me, since I could go right out and tell him what was important to me. He could watch Finn while I slept or ate. He could make dinner so that I could watch baby. It didn’t bother me to have the house a little messy or to have piles of laundry. Those things were secondary to me to other things. If he’s going to spend time and energy taking something off of my To Do list, it might as well be the thing that means the most to me!
So, ladies, give yourself permission to get help from your partner! When he asks you what you need help with, tell him. Don’t be shy. You’re in this together and he wants to help!
How did you ask for help during your baby’s first weeks? What was the most helpful thing your partner did?