Thank you, Dads

​Dear loving fathers – I deeply appreciate all you do for your partners post-partum. I knew how hard the fathers of my children worked at supporting me during pregnancy and intellectually knew they worked hard after I had the children, but now I understand it viscerally. Post-partum moms are mostly in a sleepless zombie state. We probably don’t even realize dads are spooning food into our mouths while we nurse the baby 24/7. Or walk the floors and rock them endlessly. Or bring us water. And advil.

I watched my granddaughter be born and although I’ve DONE it, I had no idea how powerful it was to witness. I have new respect for fathers, they work so hard to try and help the mothers and are helpless to “fix” the pain. It is also a shocking thing to see a baby come out. I am astonished at women’s bodies. A woman in childbirth is a primal, powerful being and I think it’s pretty overwhelming to witness in some ways. I have new respect for fathers and their fears, and how conflicting and terrifying it must be if anything goes even slightly wrong. As mothers, our whole focus is that new life, but fathers have to worry about BOTH.

New mothers are pretty worn out and in pain. Of course families want to feed them and care for them and help. I have a new understanding of how that works. I want to make sure my daughter is eating, drinking, and sleeping properly AND I’m trying to make sure the new baby is fine as well.  Plus, the regular workings of the household do go on. My feet really hurt from running around doing things, walking the baby, fetching things… My husband is faithful, conscientious backup the whole time. 

Dads, I’m amazed at how you hold things together during this time, especially if you don’t have other help. And you often have to go back to work outside the home all too soon. The emotional stress must be significant and we often do not consider that. I’m sorry society isn’t more sympathetic and supportive of new fathers. I hope it’s changing for the better, for more than white collar workers.

I literally wouldn’t have been able to help my daughter if my husband hadn’t been able to take off work when she went into labor. The menfolk really have to do a lot and we fall prey to believing the stereotype of bumbling, clueless dads all too often. No, your strength supports ours. Thank you.

Watching the baby’s daddy cry as his daughter was born was very emotional for me. He’s besotted with her and how perfect she is. I didn’t appreciate how emotional and spiritual childbirth is for the dads as much as I do now – I was too blindsided by the mom thing with my own children to really reflect on it as much. Being there and involved with childbirth is an opportunity to nurture an aspect of being a man that we don’t talk about as much in our culture. It’s harder for men to express, I think. So much focus is on the moms – which is appropriate, but fathers who are involved need attention, too. And young fathers need even more, to help them transition into mature, responsible men. I do not think our society makes it easy on them at all. 

Watching this young father learn how to hold his daughter and change her diaper is wonderful. It’s like he is receiving an amazing gift every time he masters something.  He’s proud and grateful at the same time. Learning to care for her nurtures him, I think, which is entirely as it should be. I’m incredibly proud of my daughter for encouraging him. She’s right.

I’m glad I can help teach these new, terribly young parents these small child care things. I have the luxury of this time because my husband works his butt off to provide for us. My mother, grandmother and mother-in-law helped me learn, now I’m passing that along. I hope that I pass along the best of the best, and that these two young people enjoy parenthood to the fullest.

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