We have all heard the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ Why? Because it is damn hard doing it on your own. There is a Reason why a typical family involves 2 parents. So that when parent A reaches breaking point, parent B is there to take over. Believe me, there are loads of times when it is best for everyone if you just tag out. The moms of colic babies get this. They know. A crying baby is not something that you can cope with mentally for extended periods of time.
So how do you figure out what parent does what? This is a very personal question and depends on you and your family. For me, the night time shifts were 90% on me while on maternity leave. In that, I just coped. I had days where I had to ask for help but on the whole, it was mostly me. I was also breastfeeding and found it much easier than trying to find my way through to the kitchen in the middle of the night to defrost some breast milk from the freezer.
There were some exceptions, and this is where I beg you to be vocal about how you feel and tell someone you know that you need help. One of those exceptions for me was the first night in hospital. After having a c-section due to a coccyx injury I was flat on my back for the entire night. Not being able to stand up and go fetch my baby was frustrating but having my hubby there to change their nappies (we have had a boy and a girl) and hand them over was incredibly comforting. And actually, just him being there was amazing. I think doing that first night on my own would have broken me.
I did the mom mater thing much more with my firstborn. I guess there were a ton of realizations that I still needed to learn. You see, I really did think that having babies was gonna be a 50 50 share.
Newsflash, it is not. A mom or a primary carer will always do more. Unless you sit down with your partner and change it. You have no idea how many of my clients have complained about this split of duties, yet very few actually discuss it.
They cannot smell how you feel ladies. You have to say it. I am struggling! I am overwhelmed. Be specific. Then tell them what they can do to help you.
Either things will change and they will help you, or you need other help. The best place to look after a partner is paid help (if you can if it into the budget). It’s nice to make it regular and consistent so that you and your baby can get used to this new face. Make sure this person is CPR trained and that you have established an in case of emergency scenario and what she needs to do.
Another great place to find some extra help is with close family and friends. Knowing your baby is in safe hands is a huge relief but again, this help needs to be consistent. One day off doesn’t fix the long term problem.