New mothers are constantly reminded of the mistakes they’ve made, vaguely disguised as “advice”. Sometimes not so vaguely disguised. Fathers are not exempt from this advice, though cop less of the brunt.
So, as a new father myself, I thought I would share what I see are the mistakes you have made as a new mother.
Your first mistake was your emergency, even elective caesarean. Clearly a preventable mistake if only you had thought more happy thoughts, eaten less chocolate, more cheeseburgers, slept on your left hand side, done more exercise, done less exercise.
Such a massive mistake on your part.
Then there was the breastfeeding. After your clear fail at “natural” birthing that only resulted in a happy, healthy baby you went into breastfeeding with the right attitude at least. Unfortunately, after 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months you gave up. By choice. And there was your second mistake. Just not trying hard enough.
These mistakes, while clear to many, hide many blessings for us dads.
Did you know that while you were in recovery, they hand-balled that little bundle of joy back to us and sent us on our way into the birthing suite you barely took advantage of. There we were, sitting at the edge of the room, squeaky baby cradled ever so carefully, finally realising that “shit just got real”.
And we sat there, just the two of us for what felt like a eternity. One of us chatting away like a madman and the other gazing around with fresh new born eyes. Only we got to see those eyes.
And when you “gave up” on breastfeeding suddenly we were a much bigger part of our little ones life. When the grunting and groaning of a hungry baby stirred us both at 2am we could share those quiet moments in the still of the night, providing the necessary grub for our precious little one while your snorted your way back to sleep. And when the bottle was empty we held onto our milk drunk darling, daring ourselves to put her back to sleep.
There was that time that all of a sudden that bouncing, weird step, lunge, squat, twirl step that normally worked proved to only agitate her further so you palmed her away to us.
To me. And with absolute pride and some magic trick that I’m not even aware of, she snuggled into my chest, closed those weary weary eyes and finally fell asleep.
And one day one of us will dress her too warmly, or without a singlet, or forget the Sudocream, or not notice the full nappy.
We’ll both make mistakes. We’ll continue to make them for many many years together. We’ll both get vital and unwanted advise from families and strangers alike.
The best thing is, we’re in all of this together.
You, me, and our little daughter.