I read a lot about pregnancy and early motherhood during my pregnancy. I had plenty of time to feed that curiosity.
I read about the nausea and food aversion I’d face, the backaches and frequent pee trips through the night; the funny and memorable tumbles and kicks baby would make.
And I also read about how mummy can help make daddy feel involved in the whole process that he isn’t physically part of.
I’ve read the warnings of isolation and exclusion daddies might feel, during the pregnancy and after baby is out.
I’ve read the warning of mummies wanting – and believing that only they can do the job right – to handle baby all on their own and not giving daddies a chance to care for and love their mini-mes.
So I made an effort to rope Awesome Husband in throughout my pregnancy. He became so involved that he was almost fully hands-on during my trying birth process, even helping the midwives to clear the pool of blood under me at the end.
But even so, the protective mother in me instinctively kept him at arm’s length during the first two months of Titus’ arrival. I insisted on handling all his feeds, his burping, his diaper changes, his everything.
I did all that also because Awesome Husband was taking evening classes and having exams and I didn’t want to burden him.
All that responsibilities and lack of sleep finally got to me one early morning, when Titus refused to go back to sleep after a particularly long night feed.
I broke down, feeling utterly out of love and alone.
Only then did Awesome Husband come to me and said he was always ready to help, and all I had to do was ask.
But I did not ask. I forgot to reach out to him.
From then on, we shared our duties and he has become Titus’ favourite parent.
All this came back to me when I came across a girlfriend’s miserable post on Facebook late last night about her husband leaving her in the lurch and not helping to care for her newborn. She felt neglected and unloved, and she thought her husband had never wanted the child. She felt like her marriage was failing.
Oh, the burden of responsibilities on a new mother can be so crippling.
I can only tell her my story and urged her to be frank with her husband about her struggles and get him to help. Set duties just for him, if need be.
Some men just don’t know how to break into the mothering system established by their wives.
I hope this is just a case of miscommunication, and not of depleting love in a marriage. That poor baby, if it was the latter.