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Role of dads in the postpartum phase by Gayatri Chadwa

It’s said that a man becomes a father when he first holds the baby. I feel it begins a lot before that, the moment the two pink lines appear the father comes into play. The sleepless nights spent thinking of the finances, all efforts to make sure the coming child gets the best of facilities and comfort, to be the ideal role model, and to be the person of whom your child is proud!  Parenting is a beautiful journey for two individuals, taking care of a newborn is not a one-person job, it requires the help and support of everyone involved. Today when the families are nuclear and there is little or no external support, it is important that the work is divided equally between both partners. A new mother is going through a lot of physical, emotional, and mental changes due to childbirth, breastfeeding, lack of sleep, pain, discomfort and so much more. As a partner, the new dads are the most important pillar to making this postpartum journey a memorable and happy one. A few things that the new dads can be an equal part of are-  

Be present. 

A lot of times we are there physically but not truly present in the moment. As a new parent, many things need to be done together. Many decisions are to be taken jointly. Be truly present in the moment and enjoy those.  

Be encouraging

Even if it's small things about how she is doing a great job! And how this phase too shall pass.  

Be a listener. 

Sometimes really listening to what is said is important. A space where the new mother can vent out, be open about her feelings, and just get it all out.  

Don’t try to fix her.

No matter how much you feel it in your instinct to fix all the issues, sometimes it doesn’t need fixing at all. Just being there and giving a listening ear and support is all the fixing that is needed.  

Don’t force them to have a relationship like it was before the baby

Accept the fact that there are going to be some changes. Be prepared for the new normal. Go with the flow. Take it one day at a time.  

Talk it out

Often the lack of communication is the reason behind a lot of misunderstanding and creates an environment full of anxiety and uncertainty. Be open to communicating your feelings. Say it out.  

Divide and conquer

No one can do it all alone. Divide the chores, and duties between the family members. If it's just the two of you, see what the new mom can do in the early days, and then divide the roles.  The baby needs frequent feeds during the initial days, be there to put the baby to sleep during the night at times.   

Be Mindful

Be mindful of the emotions and changes in the moods of you and your partner. If there is a need to give some space, do that, if there is something that needs to be spoken, don’t hesitate. Be mindful of what and how things are said. They have a huge impact on the way relationship goes further.  

Set your priorities

Have a schedule and divide the priorities of what is something that needs to be done immediately and what is that thing that can be done later. If there are things that you can delegate don’t hesitate to do just that. And understand that even if you don’t complete your entire to-do list it's alright!  

Be ok with the messier house.

With the newborn at home, the schedules are completely on the way the baby sleeps or acts. So don’t be upset with the mess laying around. It can be dealt with one by one.  

Don’t force a sexual relationship.

Give time, each woman heals differently and goes through the recovery phase at her own pace. Don’t force her to have a relationship immediately. Follow her cues, be there, show affection in small touches, a kiss on the forehead, a hug when she is having a meltdown, or just hold her while she sleeps.  

Be good to yourself

Above everything else, be patient with yourself. You are learning too. you need to acknowledge and understand yourself too! Don’t be too hard on yourself. You cannot do it all alone. Ask for help if you need to. Take the time off sometimes. Watch your favorite series. Listen to music and be mindful. Go out to the salon and have a spa day for yourself and your wife.  In the end, no matter how you do, or what you do, it’s the memories that matter, make sure you make some beautiful ones even with the messier-than-usual house, the unwashed dishes, the sleepless nights, find a moment to spend with your partner, without any expectations, just spending that moment in time to create another memory worth remembering. It’s a journey enjoy it to its fullest!
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