Inside Secrets of Your Wife's New RoleAllison Hutton
I have waited a long time to share with the male population just what it is we do after the birth of a baby. You see, after my daughter was born, my husband, Dan, assumed that the hard part was over, and I would return to my "normal" self fairly quickly. What Dan didn't know, and couldn't see was that hormones were raging inside me. I cried frequently for days. Since I was breastfeeding, and my milk took five days to come in, I was sure I was starving Hannah. This situation was easily resolved, when I woke one morning to find that my chest had turned into a site fit for an adult magazine. Dan, of course, was thrilled. I distinctly remember him asking, in the tone of a child, if "they" would stay that way forever. I will burst your bubble now, and answer no. After a year or so of breastfeeding, my newfound "friends" began to look more like a couple of Christmas stockings with oranges in the bottom. But, I digress. As I sit here six months pregnant for the second time, Dan waits in anticipation for the day my bras no longer fit, and one wrong move could take out an eye. With the onset of new and improved breasts, I knew the question of "When can we have sex?" was lingering. It floated around the room like impending danger. He managed to hold off on the subject for a few weeks, but then he caved. Luckily for us new moms, we have the "six week" buffer zone. Doctors will stress that intercourse should be avoided for six weeks post-partum, or until the post-partum check up (between 4 and six weeks after birth). But please, listen to me now. Do not pounce on your wife the day the six-week mark is up. There is no bigger turn-off than to feel obligated to have sex. Especially when your body is still healing.
There is a term known as being "touched out." This especially pertains to moms who are breastfeeding. You see, when you have an infant attached to your breasts for 10 hours a day, and you spend 10 more holding, comforting, and caring for this child, being sexually intimate at some point during the day just isn't appealing. This is no reflection on the love your wife feels for you. I promise you this. However, it is mentally and physically exhausting to adjust to a new addition to the family. Also, it is important to note that your wife will be very aware that you are feeling needy and neglected. And as much as she may want to ease your concerns, the thought of getting into a game of tonsil hockey may be more than she can bear. Don't get me wrong; you may be one of the lucky ones who has a wife that is eager to resume your pre-baby sex life. But if you aren't, know that you are not alone.
When a woman becomes a mother, her whole life (and outlook about life) changes. She is now vulnerable to fears, worries and concerns that never previously touched her life. As tiring as it is being a new mom, the instinct to check on her baby in the middle of the night, to make sure he or she is breathing, is overwhelming. When your baby gets its first shots, the helpless cries coming out of his or her mouth seem to beckon "Mommy, I am hurting." Do not be surprised if, at this point, your wife cries. I cried so hard the first time Hannah received shots, I was sure I was going to pass out. It's hard going from a couple to a family. But, it's even harder going from a woman to a mother. Becoming a mother means putting your child above all else, including herself. I don't like to think that I was a selfish person before becoming a mother, but my priorities were different. Instead of going on a shopping spree for myself, I would now gladly go without just to be able to get Hannah something. I wouldn't think twice about stepping into harms way, to avoid any pain to my daughter. The thought that, no matter how much I love that child, there is going to come a day when she says "I hate you," breaks my heart. Now that I am a mother, I look back at my childhood, and could cry. All of the things I had said and done to my mother when I was young come back to haunt me now. My mother is a fantastic woman, and an incredible mother. She kept me out of trouble, more times than I could count. Yet I lied to her, called her names, ignored her, and was, at times, extremely mean to her. I am sure that you could ask most women, and they will tell you that there was a period in their lives where they didn't get along with their mothers. That fact never really meant much to me, until Hannah was born.
There is no set "role" a woman takes on, when she becomes a mom. All I can offer is a small bit of advice. Be patient with her. When you feel frustration creeping in, know that your wife means no disregard to you, but her child needs her. Before you know it, the two of you will have more down time than you know what to do with. Know that, when you look at your wife, not only is she a mother, but a protector, provider, troubleshooter, caregiver, cook, maid, overtired, underpaid wonder woman. And most importantly, she is the mother of your child. She is doing all of the things nature urges her to do. And although you may feel out of the loop at times, know that all of this undivided attention to your child is going to mold him or her into a fantastic, secure, and loved person that you'll be proud to call your own. The best thing you can do is to let your wife know that you understand her new "job" is difficult, but that no one can do it better than her. Let her know you are proud of her, and love her even more for giving you such a precious gift.
My name is Allison Hutton. I was recently introduced to the Baby Corner by Elizabeth Geiger, and have found it to be a wonderful resource for those trying to conceive, those who are expecting, and those who are already parents. I am a stay at home Mom to my beautiful daughter, Hannah, and wife to my wonderful husband, Daniel. After a long journey battling recurrent pregnancy loss, we welcomed our daughter into the world on St. Patrick's Day, 1999. Motherhood has been the most challenging, exhausting, and rewarding job I have ever had! In my "spare" time, I enjoy freelance writing about issues dealing with pregnancy, parenting, infertility, and women's health. I hope to provide some insight to pregnancy, as well as information that can be difficult to find on the web. I look forward to becoming a part of the Baby Corner, and hope to make a difference, no matter how small.
Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.
Visit her webpage at http://www.geocities.com/allies_girl/
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