16 Aug Five Things Men May Not Know About the Postpartum Period
Your partner has just been through one of the most exhausting experiences of her life. No matter how your baby came into the world, the days and weeks after childbirth are marked by feelings of elation, physical recovery, and a good dose of confusion. As a new father, there are several things you may not know about the postpartum period:
1. Having a newborn baby is harder than giving birth!
One mother we spoke with said this: “I was in labor for 30 hours. My doula and nurse were both shocked at how strong and long my contractions were. Labor was far from a picnic for me. But having a newborn? That was even harder. I had no idea.”
And why is this the case? Most new parents aren’t prepared. Childbirth classes are common–almost everyone considers taking one to help make the experience easier–but startlingly few couples prepare for their newborn with parenting classes.
2. Your partner will experience the entire range of human emotion.
Exhaustion, joy, sadness, anger, love, and anything else you could possibly imagine. Oxytocin and prolactin, the hormones that flood a woman’s body during and after childbirth, can cause more extreme emotional responses than you’ve ever seen.
Be there to support her. Don’t take it too personally. Some women also experience sadness or grief if the birth didn’t go as planned. For example, some women who believe strongly in natural birth end up needing a c-section. Support your partner through this, and remind her over and over again how strong, wonderful, and brave she is.
3. You will also experience the entire range of human emotion
One father recalls bursting into tears of joy when his baby daughter stopped crying after hearing his voice for the first time. Although your body doesn’t experience the same intense hormonal fluctations as your partner’s, you will be surprised at how strongly you feel for your baby.
You will experience love like you’ve never felt, but you’ll also experience a new type of worry and exhaustion. Be willing to accept help from family and close friends so you and your partner can get some relief.
4. Sometimes Baby Blues or postpartum depression symptoms don’t show up right away.
But that doesn’t mean your partner is in the clear. Do whatever you can to be prepared to provide emotional, practical, and extra child care help.
Sometimes Baby Blues emerge after a period of time when your partner hasn’t been getting enough sleep, and it builds up. A good night’s sleep can make all the difference sometimes.
5. You and your partner are wildly in love with your new baby, but don’t forget to show her appreciation, affection, and love too.
Yes, you should definitely be doting on the new member of your family. Your new baby will be the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen, and you’ll want to start showing him or her as much love as possible. But make sure that your partner also knows how incredible she is. Show her love and affection. Bring her flowers, tell her how amazing she is, treat her to something special. She wants to see, feel, and know how much you care for both the baby and her.
Family Foundations has been shown to reduce postpartum depressive (PPD) symptoms among mothers–as well as boost confidence and reduce stress for both moms and dads. And Family Foundations babies have been shown to have lower than average emotional and behavior problems, and a better ability to get along with people. Prepare for baby the way you prepare for childbirth; take a class. Order our parenting DVD series for you and your partner today.