It Was The Best Thing He Could Have Done For Me – And Our Baby
It was a surprise, to say the least, when my baby girl arrived just over two weeks earlier than expected. I was already nervous and stressed at the prospect of becoming a mother for the first time and her early arrival certainly increased those feelings.
My husband was there by my side to help calm me down, assuring me that everything would be fine. My husband has always been my constant support and I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for that.
When he was able to take paternity leave it was something we both felt thankful for; he wasn’t going to miss any of her first month with us.
Overwhelmed with happiness and exhaustion
When I first held my newborn baby girl I felt pure and overwhelming love and happiness. At that moment she became the center of my world. However, I was also completely exhausted and I do remember feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time.
In the very early days, all the nights and days started to just blur into one – my life became a long round of breastfeeding, using the pump, changing diapers and rocking her in my arms. I both loved every minute and found it completely consuming.
My husband could always tell when things were getting too much and even though I insisted that I was OK, he would take over for a while while I got some rest.
In fact, he did everything I could ever wish for; take care of our daughter, cook meals and make sure the house and laundry were clean. This gave me the valuable time I needed to recharge my batteries.
Not just the household help
It wasn’t just the household chores he helped with either. I had some difficulties with breastfeeding which were starting to undermine my determination to breastfeed for the first year. Latching on was an issue and she was losing weight.
As she had been born a little early she had a low birth weight to begin with, so I was distraught at the problems I was having and worried about my baby. My husband was the rock who helped me through this mess of emotions.
Together we visited the hospital. We visited the newborn club at our hospital, he came with me to meet the lactation consultants and learned alongside me all the new techniques we could use to help with the breastfeeding issues. Eventually, we managed to get our daughter back on track and heading towards a healthy weight.
I am just so thankful that I was able to have my husband with me during what was a fairly difficult time. I did manage to breastfeed my baby for the whole of her first year by using the strategies we’d received from the lactation consultant.
Turns out I did need to supplement with formula during the final 6 months and I began to feel that I was failing my baby.
My husband stepped in and made me realize that this was nothing to be ashamed of and to think otherwise was just absurd. He convinced me that I should be proud of myself: I was giving our baby the right nourishment to help her grow healthy and strong.
It was largely irrelevant if this was done through breast or formula milk.
My husband’s paternity leave was a precious time for us both. I was seeing my husband in a new light – watching him gaze at our baby with such love in his eyes as he cradled her, listening to him singing to her and telling her stories. I started to see him as a dad, the father of our child, and I fell deeper and deeper in love with him.
Paternity leave allowed my husband to bond with our newborn baby as deeply as I was. Although there were times when life was stressful and hectic, it was always beautiful. Together we shared these precious early days, building memories together with our newborn baby. Memories that will last a lifetime.