Some of my subscribers did not receive this post as an email yesterday – so I am attempting to re-send. 🙂
My response to a new Mom:
Having a newborn is a pretty stressful time on a marriage. It is stressful for a first-time Mama with all of the sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, adjusting to nursing, adjusting to caring for an infant, trying to get everything just right, etc… And it is stressful for a first-time Daddy as he tries to support his wife and new baby and he is exhausted, too, and he may be feeling a bit left out and neglected. It is also MUCH harder to have the time with God you need.
So – first of all – I vote to give yourself and your husband TONS of grace right now. This is a challenging time. It is a season. Thankfully, it won’t stay like this forever. I promise!
Everything will not be perfect – and will not meet every single possible expectation you may have. That is going to need to be okay. Sometimes there are some expectations we may need to lay down. And even as you are busy and nursing, you can focus on thanksgiving to God, praise to God, and thankfulness for your husband with the few functioning brain cells you have at the moment. 🙂 Satan would LOVE to encourage resentment, bitterness, hurt feelings, division, and strife. Recognize that those are his tactics. Check out these two posts:
And this post on laying down expectations may be helpful.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SOUL AND BODY:
Get in as much praising God as you can. Consciously seek to allow Him to transform your heart. Seek to lay down your will and embrace His will. Listen to the Bible on an app while you nurse/feed the baby. Or read a few verses while you are nursing. Memorize a verse each week or read one impactful verse per day, if a full quiet time is just too much right now. Read other people’s prayers if you don’t have the ability to pray on your own. Check out these “prayer day” posts for some ideas.
Get as much rest as you can, eat well, and be willing to let the less important things go in this season. Talk with your doctor right away and/or a godly counselor if you are feeling really depressed and discouraged or you have thoughts of hurting yourself, the baby, or your husband.
HAVE GRACE FOR YOUR HUSBAND:
Realize that your husband may be feeling uncertain and maybe even left out and unappreciated right now. If you can smile at him, appreciate him, and give him a bit of attention, too, he may really thrive on that. He may also be feeling more pressure to provide well financially than ever before. Men have a lot of hard emotions and thoughts to process, too, when a new baby enters the family.
Sometimes, if a Mama is nursing, it can be difficult for a husband to figure out how to be involved with the baby. Mom has the whole feeding thing down. So, it can seem kind of pointless for a dad to get up in the middle of the night with the baby if he can’t feed the baby. Eventually, as there are more things he can do, and as there are more things the baby can do, he may be able to get more involved.
Also, please remember that newborns can be scary to a new dad. They seem so fragile. A lot of new dads have zero experience with newborns and are afraid they might break them or something. So, do what you can to encourage your husband and to praise him for anything he does right.
As the baby begins to grow and can interact more and take bottles or is ready for spoon-feeding, or starts to smile and laugh and want to play – Dad will probably be able to begin to find more ways to be involved. 🙂
IT’S OK TO PUT THE BABY DOWN SOMETIMES
You can let the baby sit in an infant seat – strapped in – on the floor, or let him lie in his crib sometimes so that you can take a shower or cuddle with your husband. I know that lots of baby books say you can never let a baby ever be alone and that they will feel abandoned if you don’t hold them every single moment. I really don’t believe that is true! I think you can make yourself insane if you try to do that – and I think you can hurt your marriage if you try to do that method, as well.
Take time to give your husband some cuddling and attention, too. Yes, the baby is very important! Take care of her needs. But your husband needs you, too, if you are feeling up to it. You may find you can give nurturing to your baby, your husband (to whatever degree is possible under the circumstances), and yourself. It is just not going to be perfect. If a baby is well-fed, is not sick, is not hurting, is not in danger – and he cries for a few minutes in his crib or infant seat, he will be okay!
You are not going to leave him crying for a long time. You’re a great mom. You will check on him to be sure he is okay. You will also give him lots of cuddles and snuggles. But sometimes it is a good thing for a baby to have some time to figure out how to soothe himself. And sometimes it is also a good thing for a marriage and your sanity for you not to have a baby strapped to your body every single moment – 24/7.
If your goal is to never let the baby not be held and to never let the baby cry at all – in my view, that is a recipe for a disaster in so many ways. Why put that much pressure on yourself? And why make the baby being perfectly content every single moment the greatest goal? Is that even really a healthy goal? There are lots of ways to care for babies. I don’t want us to think we have to stick with one method or book or we are “failures” as a mom. Do what works for your family. If something is creating lots of stress for you, your husband, or the baby – maybe there need to be some adjustments made.
Here’s a little secret about all of the baby method books and current research – it will all change again in the next few years. That stuff is always changing. What is touted as the most important stuff to do now, will later be replaced by other advice. So – read and try to do the best you can. But don’t make yourself crazy trying to follow every single rule from every single post and book you read – especially things that are not medical or about safety. Use your common sense and your husband’s wisdom, too. (i.e.: if your husband sees you are overextending yourself and asks you to rest, follow his counsel.) Pray, and seek God’s wisdom. Do what you believe is best at the time and be flexible and willing to do things differently if necessary.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED RESPECTFULLY
It is okay to ask for what you need or desire! You can respectfully and cheerfully say, “Honey, it would mean so much to me if you had time to hold the baby for a few minutes. I know she would enjoy that. You are such a wonderful Daddy. I’m glad we get to be here together for this.”
You can thank him for working to provide for the family and let him know that you haven’t forgotten him and ask how you might be able to help him feel more part of things or more included with you.
You may also be able to ask for some help from a grandmother or friends or sisters. That is okay, too!
THIS IS A TEMPORARY SEASON
When the baby gets older and is more interactive, the dynamics often do begin to shift. 🙂
Praying for God’s wisdom for you and that you will resist the voice of the enemy, the accuser, and focus on God’s voice and on allowing Him to tenderly lead you and your husband in this time.
If God has given you wisdom in this area that you would like to share with some of our new moms, you are welcome to share in the comments. 🙂
Much love to each of you!
NOTE: If you are interested in coming to my Peaceful Wife Conference in Garnett, KS this Friday and Saturday, please sign up ASAP! We will have to close the ticket sales by Wednesday to get a firm count for lunch. There is a button on the upper right column of my blog that you can click on to see more information and to purchase tickets.
ALSO AN ADMIN NOTE:
My blog was updated on November 5th, but there were a lot of problems and glitches with the update. Many people were not receiving email/Wordpress updates from that day until this morning at 8:30am. I believe everything is fixed now. But you may have missed these posts:
My apologies for all of the technical issues!