I remember this particular conversation with the husband when I was pregnant. We were having a chat about where to place the baby crib and I said it’d be with us in our room, obviously. His reply: Huh? But what about my sleep? I need to work and if he wakes me up in the middle of the night, I’d be tired…?
I remember feeling mighty miffed. What?! I’m birthing your child and you’re concerned about YOUR lack of sleep?! Was I going to be alone in those late night feeds? I felt a little down (damn hormones!) and chatted to my girlfriends about this (love you guys!). They knowingly smiled and told me not to worry because “husband will transform like magic when baby arrives”. I found it hard to believe them because other than the comment above from said husband, he didn’t seem too concerned about getting stuff for the new arrival, etc. Pfffft.
Fast forward to one month later.
I have to say that the husband transformed indeed. Any niggling doubt I had about him not stepping up to fatherhood vanished very quickly. From the first day we arrived home with a new baby in tow, he’s been a hands-on father from the get-go. As evidenced in my first entry here, he was getting up with me for the night feeds the first couple of weeks just to help change his diapers, cuddle him to sleep, etc.
When I got more confident of nursing Elliott, I did it quietly on my own for those night feeds so that only one parent would be sleep deprived. He shared with me that during the first few weeks, he was falling asleep at his work desk in the late afternoon. Poor man.
Once he returned from work, he would quickly take a shower so that he can take over the caring of Elliott. I can then have my dinner and basically have some time to myself, such as taking a decent shower (ooh the luxury of using a hair mask!). He would also offer to bottle feed him with expressed milk for the 10pm feed so that I can take a nap until the next feed at midnight, carrying and soothing him quietly. When I got frustrated at Elliott’s will-not-stop-fussing antics, he would calmly take over and tell me to “go rest”.
I remember one particularly bad night where despite everything that I did, Elliott just would not settle. At one point, I simply laid down in bed, placed a pillow over my head to shut out the crying and ignored the world (bad parent moment here, yes). I was just so damn exhausted, I couldn’t find it in me to care anymore at that very instance. This dear husband of mine swooped in and carried our crying son in his arms. He didn’t say a word to me and just let me be.
I promptly fell asleep and when I awoke, I felt ready to be a mother again. He asked if I was feeling better. No judgement, no frustration, no lack of love for the mother of his child who ignored her kid. He did the same when I came down with a nasty cold. Again, he stepped up to care for our son so that I can sleep it off.
He may not be able to nurse our child but everything else that he can do, he does. From offering to clean the breast pumps to bathing Elliott, he steps up and does it all quietly.
It is indeed true that marriage and parenthood is a partnership. When one is down, the other steps up to keep things going. For that, I am always thankful and am reminded once again why I married this man.