Dad Instincts

The other day my husband and I were having a tiff over whether our baby girl is in fact teething or just being fussy for no reason; I believed that she is teething, and my husband believed that she is just having an off day and that I don’t need to always assume the worst. Needless to say; this turned into a huge argument, I explained to him that I have “motherly instinct” and that he needs to learn to trust that, he replied by telling me; he also has instincts as a dad – which brings us here.

I have since come to realize that I have this ugly side to me, one that feels I need to be the superior parent, that I somehow need to be the one my baby needs, and that only I can console her when she is upset or not feeling well. The fact of the matter is; that although this is mostly true, it is not true every time.

There has countless times where my baby is upset and I can’t console her, her dad takes her, and she calms down, there could be a million reasons for this; she feeds of off me , so that day I might be a bit more emotional, upset or stressed out, and she feels this too, it affects her world just as much as it does mine, if not more. Her dad on the other hand; takes things in stride, he is generally more laid back, relaxed and rarely gets stressed out (we balance each other out quite well).

At first, this made me feel quite irrelevant, it hurt my feelings that my baby girl was not comforted by me, and that she needed her father instead.

As a new mom, I constantly put pressure on myself to do things “right”, I was adamant that I will be the best mother and I would research anything before making a decision about my baby girl’s development and wellbeing, whether it be her feeding, her sleeping, her play time, her stimulation – EVERYTHING.

This was starting to drive me insane, I was always tired, no matter how much sleep I got at night, I was constantly stressing about her at night for no real reason, constantly doubting my own abilities as a mom. It was taking all the enjoyment out of being a mom in the first place, it made me miss the little moments that I was supposed to be enjoying with my family.

Overcoming my insecurities

Studies have found that a woman only matures at the age of 25 – mostly emotionally, according to this; you only really know what you want to do in life and can face the challenges life throws at you with maturity and a clear head. Well, I don’t know about you, but I am 27 and still don’t feel sure about myself and my future most of the time, and some days I really don’t feel all that mature either.

Overcoming this silly little insecurity took quite some time, I had to really work hard at it, and change my perception of the situation, my husband being so involved is a GOOD thing, him wanting to help and give opinions when she cried or was being cranky; was him being a good father and a good husband, it did not mean that he thought he knew better than me or that he is questioning my abilities as a mother. He simply wants to play a big role in her upbringing, and although he respects my opinion and realizes that I am the one that looks after her the whole day, sometimes, a fresh new opinion or suggestion from the outside is just what a situation calls for.

Looking after your child during the day, every day, can become intense (especially those days that they refuse to sleep and just basically refuse to do anything you want them to), you tend to get into your head too much and it becomes very difficult to take a break and gather your thoughts, or just to even have a cup of tea and plan your day.

Your frustrated, tired, and then dad walks in and says – “maybe you should try and put her in her pram instead” – Immediately you are enraged at the thought, because you have been trying to get her to sleep the whole day, and yet you did not think of that (you can’t tell him that though because you feel stupid for not doing it in the first place)

The Change

I realized that my husband (just like me) also finds joy in parenting, and the fact that our baby girl is comforted by him, yes, he might not have the same bond with her as I do, and yes, he is not always right about what is wrong with her, but neither am I for that matter. Making him feel like he is wrong all the time, also hurts his feelings, so now; even if I know she does not have a fever; if he suggests it, I take her temperature just to be sure, and this level of respect has changed our marriage for the better, he also now feels like I value his opinion and I don’t just brush it off.

This had a ripple effect, he is now more confident in looking after her if I am not there, because he is more confident in his fathering skills and his “fatherly instincts” so to speak, he does not feel the need to call me every ten minutes when she cries, he now knows what to do with her.

We as mothers are quick to dismiss things like “fatherly instincts” because we don’t believe that it could really be a thing, although I don’t think it is more important than “motherly instincts”; fathers all over the world are moving away from the historic “mother does all” way of life and becoming more and more involved in parenting.

I have even seen my husband googling “sleep regression” and “teething symptoms” a few times.

Now that I look at things a little differently; these things warm my heart, and I am so lucky to have a husband that is such a good father to our precious baby girl, and he deserves all the credit in the world for his “fatherly instincts”.

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Facts about a C-Section and a newborn I never knew as First time mom

I might have been a bit naive; after all; I do have a “wing it” kind of attitude towards life, so if you are calculated and plan everything out, then this post will be of no use to you, because you will know all these things beforehand, for me however, so many things about my procedure and newborn caught me by surprise, I was so not prepared for this.

C-Section

  • It is quite uncomfortable to be awake and start naked in front of the doctors and nurses in the theater – I don’t know about you , but somehow, being awake for a surgery was scary enough for me, I did not even think of all the little things that would be so intense, for me, once the epidural was placed and they lay me down on the operating table and took my hospital gown off, I felt like I could just die right there! I have never felt so self-conscious and vulnerable in my entire life, it was horrible (I know doctors see it every day, but still, it was so intense for me).
  • Shaking – I did not know that once that epidural is placed that I would shiver for basically the duration of the whole procedure, and I mean, properly, at one point it was so bad that I could barely speak, the only way to describe it; when you are cold, and you start shivering uncontrollably? For me this was what it felt like, just more intense and for longer. I also still had random “shiver attacks” at night for a few weeks afterwards.
  • Back Pain – I did not know that I would have intense back pain for several weeks after the surgery (due to the epidural) this did go away quickly though.
  • Looking after a newborn and recovering from a surgery is no joke – Although I expected as much; I did not realize just how hard it would be; even though you are no longer pregnant, you still cant bend down, or walk without everything hurting, in fact, new areas hurt now But at least you can take some pain medication now.
  • The pain – To be honest; I expected worse pain from it all, but to me, the only time it was ever unbearable was at 1 am the first night, where I thought I was dying, the rest I could handle.
  • Recovery – Recovery for me was much longer than I anticipated, after the first three days, I felt much better and walking around became easier, but my stomach was still very tender to touch and getting dressed was no easy task, my whole body felt stiff for weeks on end.

Newborn

  • Newborn need to lay on their side – Who knew! In the hospital I placed my baby on her back and the nurse told me to place her on her side to prevent choking on milk or spit up, this caught me by surprise because I did not even think about it that way, but now it makes total sense.
  • Newborns need to have 10 wet nappies a day – This is to ensure that they are eating enough and getting enough nutrients from the milk, change your baby’s nappy before every feed (this also ensures that they are more awake for the feed)
  • Not all babies like to be swaddled – Despite what the experts tell you; not all babies enjoy being swaddled, my baby hated it, she was swaddled for about the first 3 weeks and after that she would scream if we swaddled her and break free, she is 6 months old now and still hates a blanket over her.
  • “Babywearing” is not for everyone – A friend of mine suggested that I buy a sling for my baby as it allows you to get more done during the day; once again, my baby hated every second of it, I ended up with three different wraps just to be sure. Lesson – every baby is different!
  • Your baby does not like bath time or getting dressed – I never thought of it like this; but your baby hates bath time or dressing in their first few weeks of life, the reason for this is simple; they are not used to it, now (well my baby hates when I pull anything over her head), but she loves bath time.

These are but a few examples, but maybe it could help you be more prepared than I was, and not caught off guard, although parenthood will always surprise you in one way or another, maybe you can just be aware of the little things.

There is just never a dull moment when you are a new mom, embrace the chaos!

 

 

 

Life is but an adventure !

So we are on our first family holiday at the beautiful Sun City in South Africa!

It has been amazing so far , getting to take her on walks and showing her things; she is at this adorable age where she is interested in everything and just takes in so much , and we have been enjoying every minute with her !

Although traveling with a baby is so intense , we have a self catering place , and the packing , oh my word ! I know I am not alone here , but jeepers the amount of stuff you take to make your stay comfortable is insane ! And then once you start unpacking you realize that you forgot half of it ! 🤣🙈

Lets hope by the second baby I will get the hang of this packing thing !

We are just so privileged to be able to take her on a holiday with us at such a young age (4 months) she travels well , she loves to go out and about and she even naps at restaurants, my theory is that she also feeds off of us , she realizes that we are relaxed !

Heres to many more holidays as a family !

Angelique