It seemed so easy, until I became a mom.
I walked into the hospital with grand ideas about what motherhood would be like, but when I came out (with my new baby), it was like everything had shifted. I was no longer the same person. It was like I had to learn how to be me again, but in a different way.
At first, it was all just surreal. It took some time to realize that this tiny human was mine and she depended on me for everything.
She depended on me to figure out breastfeeding, diaper changing, sleep schedules, bathing, clipping fingernails, and SO much more.
In one day I went from doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to not having energy to eat!
Now, I’m not saying I didn’t love being a mom.
I am saying that I was overwhelmed and unexpectedly so. Thankfully, I had my (amazing) husband to help me through this time.
He must have had someone coaching him along the way because he always seemed to know what to say to calm my fears and anxiety.
However, this is not always the case.
So many women deal with postpartum depression and anxiety and their husband or significant other have no idea how to deal with it. Even moms who are not carrying the burden of PPD can feel unsupported by their husband simply because he doesn’t know what to do to help.
Here are some ways for a husband to support his wife as a new mom:
1. Check on Her
Ask her if there is anything she needs- and not just once, ask her all. of. the. time.
When she is nursing, resting, changing the baby, or even entertaining visitors. After giving birth, hormones are all over the place. She may be fine one minute and dying of thirst the next. Fill her water glass, make her food, make her take a nap.
In thinking of the baby, she may need reminders to take care of herself too.
2. Get Up at Night
You might be like me and think it is silly for both of you to lose sleep when only one of you can care for the baby.
However, being up with an inconsolable baby in the middle of the night can be lonely, exhausting, and frustrating. Even if you don’t know how to help, at least wake up and ask her how you can help. Many people also recommend having dad change the diaper and bring the baby to mom for feeding.
This gives mom a few minutes extra sleep and shows that you are doing what you can to help.
3. Don’t Complain
If your wife gets up most times in the night with the baby, don’t complain when it is your turn or when she asks you to help out.
She needs her sleep just as much as you do, even if you are going back to work and she’s not.
4. Rub Her Back
Giving birth and learning how to nurse a newborn is physically draining.
Give your wife a massage. Don’t wait for her to ask for one. In fact, any chance you get, rub her feet, her back or her head. She deserves it!
Your wife may be trying to tell you how she is feeling. Take time to really listen and understand. There is a good chance her hormones are getting the best of her and even she doesn’t understand it. Listen, and then confirm what a good job she is doing.
6. Prepare Meals and Snacks
Even if you aren’t used to cooking, make an attempt to prepare meals for your wife and family.
If you are back at work you may have to make frozen meals or even get take out. Somehow, be sure your wife is eating good meals throughout the day.
She will need the nourishment but most likely won’t think about it on her own.
7. Change Diapers
Any time you are around and the baby needs changing, offer to change it. Most likely, she has changed 20 other diapers already that day.
8. Offer to Take the Baby
Offer to take the baby while she takes a shower or a nap. Heck, tell her to go out to lunch with friends and get out of the house.
She will need this in order to feel like herself again, but may not ask for it.
9. Pick Up Groceries
Ask your wife for a list of groceries and run to the store after work. The last thing she will want to do is get out and buy groceries.
10. Let Her Sleep In
If your wife was up with the baby in the night, offer to get up with the baby in the morning and let her sleep in.
Bring the baby to her (if nursing) and then let her go back to bed. This will help her to feel like she has gotten a full night’s sleep.
Your wife might be killing it as a new mom, but it can’t hurt to do these things. It can be hard for new moms to ask for help, even when they really need it. Be ahead of the game and try doing these things without her asking. Just because she doesn’t ask for it, doesn’t mean she doesn’t need it. Do these things multiple times a day if you are home, again without her asking, and don’t expect anything in return. She is doing a lot already!
Not only are you helping your wife by doing these things, but you will be creating a strong bond with the baby, which is equally as important.
Now, don’t worry, I am already starting a post about how moms can support their husbands as a new dad. 🙂
What did your husband do to support you as a new mom? Post it in the comments below!