As they leave the hospital with new baby in arms, all first-time parents are hoping for an instruction manual as well. Unfortunately, this coveted manual does not exist. But what parents should also be looking for is a manual teaching the couple how to deal with the "new" wife.
When a baby is born, you must recognize you'll never be the same. And husbands often get lost in the midst of so much change.
With that in mind, I decided to make a list of things that every husband needs to know after his wife has become a mother:
1. Your woman feels ugly
No man could understand the many conflicting feelings she has about her body after birth. On one hand, she realizes her body is incredible -- it just created a human being! But she can also feel upset over certain ways her body has changed.
Complex, I know.
Along with many other changes, her belly (one of the parts of her body that she cherishes) was stretched to the limit, causing stretch marks.
She has gained weight -- something that no woman likes.
What can you do? Never fail to praise your wife. Look into her eyes when you compliment her.
When she asks you something about her body, gently encourage her. If she is worried about being overweight, tell her that she will soon return to normal. Remind her that her body just gave you both the greatest gift.
2. Your woman is obsessed with her baby
You're both still in the process of adjusting to all that is going on with your life, which can cause her crying spells (the famous baby blues). But still, her life has irreversibly changed, and she's completely obsessed with her little one.
This obsession is part of the process of adaptation. It is also the maternal instinct she just cannot control.
3. Your woman is afraid
Everything is new. You already know this, but for her, this newness is terrifying.
She feels like it's an exam. It took nine months studying and preparing, and now she's at the moment of truth. She's evaluating herself, and everything changes constantly. Moreover, a whole world of people are throwing opinions and wanting to help. This is good, but also overwhelming. This can intimidate and stress her out.
Know that she's doing the best she knows how. She needs your support, your love and understanding. Try to pass on confidence. Let her know this crazy time will pass, and tell her that making mistakes is normal. What really matters is that you are in this together and you know she is being the best mother you could have chosen for your child. During these hard times, a hug and encouraging words help a ton.
4. Your woman is always on the defensive
Her mother thinks she should go back to work. Her aunt thinks she is not breastfeeding right. Her friend with five kids shoots out opinions, because she has "more experience." Her mother-in-law also wants to be the mommy.
It is not easy and the defense is to be defensive.
Stay out of it. When she's calm, subtly show her they are trying to help her and she does not need to be so defensive; but do it when the ground is safe.
5. Your woman cannot get mad at the baby
A new mom knows that the major culprit of her crazy lack of sleep is her baby. But he's just a baby and she knows it.
Husbands, be a punching bag for her stress and her sanity. This phase also passes.
6. Your woman has nothing to wear
This point is more frustration than sorrow. She's tired of wearing maternity clothes, which usually don't have much variety and take away some feminine glamour. But after she just had a baby, her pre-mommy clothes won't fit her yet. To make matters worse, she refuses to buy clothes, because in her mind, she hopes to soon return to normal.
Praise her as a mother. It might divert her attention. Encourage her to eat and drink plenty of water.
7. Your woman needs protection
I think women always want their men to be their protectors, but it dramatically increases when she becomes a mother. She needs you to be a barrier between her and the outside world. For example, if she doesn't want guests to come over, you need to let them know.
When something happens that makes her stress levels rise, be quick to say, "I'll handle it!"
8. Your woman needs permission to rest
Most women go into motherhood really believing they can do it all. They feel the other mothers with dirty houses and cranky babies were doing something wrong. But the complex gift of motherhood burns you out quickly. The worst part is, most mothers can't admit they reached the limit. Give your wife permission to rest. Point out that she needs to take a nap or watch a little TV to relax whenever the baby is asleep. If she tries to argue, remind her that you are simply protecting her … from herself.
9. Your woman needs you to ask her if she needs anything
Just trust me; she'll appreciate this.
10. Your woman loves you
She loves to see you as a father. She loves to hear you say how this new human being is changing you. She loves that your little human being has your ears and toes. It may not seem logical, but every time you connect to that little baby, you are connecting more and more to her. Having a front row ticket to seeing you become a daddy is priceless to her.
And don't worry -- things will start to improve.