We brought our baby home in a confused, crazy haze of new parent life. We didn’t know a lot. Actually, scratch that. We didn’t even really know a little. There’s so much I wish I could have told you—to give you, this patient and amazing man, a head’s up. But, I couldn’t. I didn’t know either.
There’s so much to navigate in new parenthood. Proud new papas of the world—this one’s for you.
Here are 9 things I wish my husband knew before we brought baby home—
1. We are both clueless
I know you've never done this before. But guess what? Neither have I. Just because I'm a woman or that I used to babysit in college doesn't mean I know more about what we're doing. This isn't a competition of who knows more or less about babies. The playing field is level. We are both clueless. If you ask me why she's crying again, and I give you a master level death stare—just understand it's because I.don't.know.
2. So help me
Don't wait for me to ask. Please. Just do something. Change the next diaper, get me a snack, fill my water bottle while I'm nursing, cook dinner, throw a load of laundry on. Remind me to take Motrin. Literally anything will be helpful. And it is such a nice feeling when I don't have to ask you to do something. Like, a major turn on. (And I'll remember that in 6-8 weeks 😉.)
3. Happily take over when I need a break
When you are getting the feeling that I may need a break, or a shower, or to just sit in silence by myself for a minute—take over. With a smile. Bond with your baby. Talk to the baby. Sing to the baby. Do awesome father stuff. I'll get my very necessary break, and I'll be listening in the other room. #Swoon. 😍
4. I'm going to cry a lot
Over all sorts of things. I got poop on my hands. Tears. I am tired. Tears. My nipples hurt. Tears. I don't understand what I'm doing. Tears. Someone just stopped by unannounced. Tears. My belly is jiggly. Tears. I feel sad. Tears. I have never been happier in my life. Tears. This cookie is sooo good. Tears.
The new norm? Crying. Get used to it for now. I don't really realize I'm crying over ridiculous things, I'm just in this brand new world with lots of crying (from me and the baby), an even bigger nursing appetite than what was my pregnancy appetite (WHY GOD!?) and a baby bump without a baby in there. Let me cry without judgment.
For the most part, there will be zero rationale behind these tears (well, except #hormones...and dang, that cookie was really good.) But also, do me a favor and pay attention to signs of postpartum depression. Because I may not be able to.
5. I've never felt so self-conscious
My baby bump is gone, but I am still carrying about extra pounds. Some people think I still look pregnant. I haven’t showered yet today. My hair is greasy. My legs are so hairy they’re confused as to whether they’re wearing pants or have a thick fur blanket wrapped around them. The circles under my eyes are deepening by the second. My wardrobe consists of sizes I’d never thought I’d see, and my maternity clothes don’t look like they’re going anywhere fast.
Lift my spirits, please. I don’t quite feel like myself. Be gentle with me. We can't have sex—and I definitely don't want to!—but we can cuddle before bed, you can hold my hand and tell me what an amazing job I'm doing and you can remind me that I'm a badass, beautiful mama.
6. I'm going to spend a lot of time in the bathroom
You may wonder what exactly I’m doing in there. I may be trying to escape you people for a little while. But—I also may just be using the bathroom, which now means also using my new BFF spray bottle, very slowly sitting down on the toilet, very slowly picking myself up off the toilet, putting a new pad on, and hoisting my pants up. It’s not the quickest process right this second.
Oh, and when I get a chance to shower...no, I did not get sucked down the drain. I simply am enjoying the peace and quiet while the hot water runs down my back. I’m giving myself some time alone to reflect on the fact that yes—this is all happening.
7. I don't want visitors
Sure, the close family members we agreed on are fine. I know they want to check in on us and want to meet the baby. But please don’t invite other people over right now. This is a lot to take in and figure out. My boobs are out 24/7, I’m wearing your sweatshirt and maternity sweatpants, and—makeup?—what does this word mean?
If you could, just give me a little time and space in our bubble. I'll be ready for visitors soon. Tell people ‘no’ from us so I don’t have to feel bad about it. When the VIPs are visiting, be the overstaying police—if they’ve been over for too long, make something up so they get the hint to leave. The baby needs to rest, I need to rest, I need to feed the baby, aliens are coming and we need to go into our underground bunker—whatever you need to do. Check in with me privately if you’re not sure what constitutes ‘too long.’ 👌
8. I'm going to go into protective mama bear mode
But not even just with the baby. 🐻
With you, too. I need you with me, near me, supporting me and letting me support you. We're in this together, and I desperately need to feel like a team. Let's try to be patient with each other.
But also, if we do have people visiting and I give you the ‘I-need-my-baby-back’ stare—HAND ME THE BABY. Politely ask whoever is holding her if you could borrow her and like I said—HAND ME THE BABY. PLEASE. I LOVE YOU.
9. But mostly—it’s going to be okay
We are awesome together. Our baby makes us even more awesome together. This is new to us. Let’s try to enjoy this time in our lives. Let’s laugh over that poop on my hands (after I cry...remember—let me cry), let’s stay in our bubble as long as we can and let’s rocking being clueless parents together (because let’s face it—no matter how much we think we know, we’ll never know it all.)