In the Indian scenario, a pregnant woman shifts to her mom’s house few weeks before her delivery date and stays for around 2-3 months. After delivery, a woman is physically and psychologically so exhausted that she needs her husband the most, but unfortunately, he isn’t around as much. Even if he is around, he doesn’t know much being a new parent himself. So he keeps a distance from the baby. Lack of intimacy further increases the distance in their relationship leaving a scorning wife and a hapless husband.
So what should fathers do after delivery?
Read up about raising a newborn. Credible information coming from a father will be hugely appreciated. It’s ok if your wife goes to her mom’s house after delivery but please take a two week paternity break to support her in establishing a routine with the baby. A first time mom is clueless about the baby and everyone from an aunt, the neighbor even the housemaid gives advice and she beats herself up; why did she not get this all by herself. Husband’s comforting presence will make a huge difference. She is going to have cracked nipples & painful breasts – be emphatic, help her with pumping out milk.
Post resuming work, make it a point to be involved in baby chores. When you are around, don’t make yourself a liability – be useful – make the bed, change the diaper, sterilize the bottle, burp the baby after feeding, take turns at making the baby sleep especially at night, clean pee / potty by yourself. There’s a good chance your wife will stop you from doing all this, but your willingness to contribute should bowl her over. Express your desires, let her know that while she is special you are not hungry for exclusive time with her and she can focus on the child. Indulge her and spend time with her. You will be surprised with her responsiveness. Offer to babysit if she wants to go on a mini coffee date with her friends. Here are some tips for you:
- Brush your knowledge about raising a newborn
- Take a 2 week paternity leave; be there for her
- Help with feeding/sterilsiing bottles/changing diapers/cleaning pee/potty
- Help with putting baby to sleep; especially at night
- Keep intimacy alive
- Take her out on a coffee date
It’s this departure from normalcy that makes the relationship stronger because every man has heard or read about women getting cranky after a baby and every woman has heard about men not participating. So a little joint effort can not only keep the passion alive but also establish the respect and love and strengthen the husband-wife relationship.
— Dr Vrushali Rane-Khan —
Vrushali is a practicing cosmetic dermatologist, first time mom to an over-enthusiastic 2.5 year old Myra, an avid writer on varied topics, social media savvy and loves travelling.