You’ve heard of the “push present”, right? You know the one - where a dutiful husband goes and buys his lady something shiny to show how much he appreciates her hard work in growing and birthing your little angel. Push presents are great. But there are other gifts you can give your partner that don’t cost a thing, and will likely be even more meaningful to her as you build your family together.
Listen. Don’t try to fix, just be there. Take her concerns seriously.
Reassure. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Tell her she’s beautiful. Tell her she’s an amazing mom. Tell her you’re proud of her.
Protect your nest. Set boundaries with well-meaning friends and family members. Be willing to step in and say no to people who want to come over when Mom isn’t ready yet. Don’t commit to going anywhere until she’s ready. Be okay with plans being cancelled at the last minute.
Ask her how she’s doing. With all the focus on your new little one, Mom’s needs sometimes get lost in the celebration. If she seems to be overwhelmed or struggling, help her reach out for professional help. Let her rest.
Keep your expectations realistic. Your relationship is in the midst of a drastic shift. It can sometimes feel like you are no longer important to her while she learns her new role of mother. Make this a joint adventure and embrace the changes together. The two of you will settle into your “new normal” over time.
Some of these are easier said than done. I get it. Telling your mother that she can’t come see her new grandbaby today can be incredibly difficult. Putting your own needs aside to care for a new mom and a new baby at the same time is a lot of work. So here’s your bonus gift to give your partner:
Take care of yourself too.
Really. This is important. Dads need self care too. You are also undergoing a major shift in your identity, and it can be a lot to take in. You likely go to work all day, and then come home to uncharted territory. Make sure you’re also fed and hydrated, and getting what exercise and sleep that you can. Keep the lines of communication open about how you’re feeling. Enlist whatever supports you can. A burnt-out dad is of little help to a new mom.
Sometimes the transition to parenthood requires a little extra help. Speaking with a professional about navigating the changes in your relationship can set you up for success.