So you have had your baby with you at home for a few weeks now. Your partner is back to work and you’re home with the baby. All day. Every day. When you tell him about your day he just doesn’t understand what was so hard. Because in his mind you only have one job- taking care of the baby.
Even with one responsibility of caring for this new little person, your day was hard. Because with that one responsibility comes so many other tasks. Keeping your tiny human alive means keeping your house semi-functional. Semi-functional is at least keeping up on laundry, dishes, making food, keeping the whole house sanitary enough for your baby, remembering to buy diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, and all the other things your baby and house need. That’s a full time job.
Let’s be real- pumping and nursing are both full time jobs. So if you are doing at least 2 of those things, you have 2 full time jobs. So even if the day goes exactly as planned, it’s already a hard day.
Then we remember that your baby has opinions and emotions. They have good days and not so good days. Maybe your baby wouldn’t latch today. And they cried at you. You’re offering them your breast because you know they are hungry. They. Wont. Latch. They just cry at you with your nipple in their mouth, refusing to latch. And they are hungry but they just will not not eat. And you cried with your baby.
Maybe they finally nursed, and you cried tears of joy because they finally stopped crying. Maybe you tried changing their diaper and when you zipped their cozy jammies back up you caught the tiniest bit of their baby skin in the zipper. And they cried, and you cried again.
Maybe you snuggled them and shushed and finally comforted them to sleep. You thought you’d jump into the shower and do a tiny bit of self care. Because at this point you’ve already cried at least 3 times, and your baby always sleeps 45 minutes. The warm water hits your back and you close your eyes. Envisioning the water as tension rolling down your skin and into the drain. You relax. Until you hear your baby cry. It’s only been 10 minutes.
You jump out of the shower. Wrap yourself in a towel. Bolt down the hall, water dripping behind you as you hurry to soothe your baby. You open the door to your baby’s room, and find them sound asleep. You cry again because phantom crying is both real and not real at the same time.
You repeat many of these steps all day long. All alone. Until your husband gets home. You want to tell him all about your day and how challenging it was. He replies with “I’d love to trade places. I’ll stay home all day and you can go to work.”
He loves you. He loves your baby. But he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand that you don’t have a sense of humor because you are too tired to laugh. He doesn’t understand that you don’t even understand your wave of emotions because you’re riding the hormone roller coaster. He doesn’t understand the struggles of nursing, even if he tries his hardest. He doesn’t understand the isolation because he goes to work. He doesn’t understand that it take 3 hours to execute dinner. Because planning, shopping, and cooking take at least 3 times as long with a newborn interrupting you. He loves you but he doesn’t understand because you’re too tired to explain it to him. He doesn’t understand because you’re a new person with a new identity.
What he does understand is that he loves you fiercely, and is trying to get to know the new you. He wants to grow with you, and become more than a couple. He wants to be a parent with you. He wants to be a family.
Involve him in your day where you can. There is no way that he could perfectly understand the changes and struggles you are experiencing. So when you can, be understanding that sometimes he just can’t understand.
~~~This blog post is written from a husband-wife perspective, but all couples go through a dramatic shift when they welcome a baby into their family. ~~~