Do you remember when you first became a mother, and how that precious little, squishy baby melted you and your husband? The two of you grew a new sort of closeness as you gazed upon this life you created together. That beautiful baby brought you closer, and yet there seemed to be new struggles within the marriage. All of a sudden, in my case anyway, the wonderful man you married seems a little more selfish or maybe a little less caring.
The joy of motherhood is real and wondrous, but it can wear you out, leave you exhausted, and oh the many, many questions and worries that come along with a new baby, especially the first child. Here’s a shout out to all the momma’s who just want a shower in those first few weeks of handling a newborn, but dad doesn’t usually have the same feelings or circumstances. It just doesn’t happen to them, and that’s okay, that is apart of the process. Those poor dads have to work a little harder to have that same bond we women feel after caring God’s creation in our wombs for roughly nine months.
I can remember feeling so confused as to why my husband couldn’t see I was struggling in those first few weeks. He’d wake me up to tell me the baby was fussing. He’d ask me to make a grocery list, so he could go shopping (to help out), and all I could think was, “Why can’t you deal with this on your own?” Since, hindsight is 20/20 I know now he was waking me, because he was worried he would do something wrong with our newborn and get her off schedule. He didn’t need me to make a grocery list, he just wanted to be sure I had food in the house I would like. It felt like he had me doing a lot of mental work in those first few days as he was just trying to do something good for me, but it didn’t feel like that at the time.
At the time I wondered if he even cared that I wasn’t getting a good amount of sleep. I thought he was being insensitive because he knew how hard it is for me to fall back asleep. I needed some TLC during those early days and I was so hurt by the fact I wasn’t getting what I needed to recharge my batteries. All I wanted was someone to care about me, preferably my husband, but anyone really. Here’s what I didn’t realize though, I wasn’t asking for help. I was complaining, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t asking for help.
As women we have this strange idea, whether we admit to it or not, that husbands, friends, family, and the like should somehow know what we need by the cues we give them. We are always giving hints and elbow nudges guiding people, men specifically, to our desires, and then we’re deeply wounded when it doesn’t pan out. I’m not a man so maybe I’m completely off base, but I’m sure they find it confusing and become anxious as to what it is we actually want. What do we want, or need?
It is time to be direct with your words! If you have any kind of communication problem in your marriage, this will help tremendously, but most specifically during the difficult times of having a baby. Tell your husband what you need and don’t leave any room for error. No offense to our men, but idiot-proof it. Don’t just tell your husband you’re tired. Tell him you need a nap and then tell him how he can help. Most likely he’s going to do it, because he’s been wanting to support you in your motherhood. Talk to your husband about coming up with a schedule to get a few extra winks and a nice, hot shower. Be specific with your words, and you can get the help you crave.
Imperative isn’t a strong enough word here, but it will have to do. It is imperative you communicate your needs directly with your husband during the early days of motherhood. It is imperative you speak directly, not demanding, to your husband as the years press on. Every child that grows in height and weight, also grows new struggles and obstacles. Our first babies are our guinea pigs and we are growing right alongside of them. Communicate your needs.
Flip Side: Your husband is growing into fatherhood too, so don’t forget him. Don’t forget to be there for him too. Ask him to be specific in telling you what he needs and then do your VERY best to get those needs met. The selfless love you give him will make you happier in the long run (maybe not at first) and it will ultimately bring you closer with the Lord.
Help yourself momma, by telling others exactly what you need to get through your new life. There are plenty of people waiting to care for you today!