I had never felt more disgusting in my life.
I was swollen, dirty, tired and unsure what day it was. I just had a baby, so I was supposed to be a little overwhelmed, right? I knew it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t expect to feel so… gross.
That feeling, plus about 100 more I wasn’t ready for, came to the surface. If I wasn’t expecting them, my husband certainly wasn’t.
Brand new dads, you have a really hard job and it’s an important one. Maybe you don’t quite see the huge significance in your role since you aren’t birthing a baby or breastfeeding – but you walking next to us through this transition from woman to mother is monumental and we need you.
Looking back on those very first days as a new mom, here’s what I wish my husband would have known. To be completely honest, these are things I wish I truly grasped as well. Keep these things in mind, new dad, and your wife will thank you.
7 Things I Wish My Husband Knew Before We Brought Home Baby
(affiliate links included)
I’m going to be really sad.
I won’t have any rational reason for why I’m so sad and it will make no sense to you. A lot of women won’t have any postpartum depression after their delivery but I will. There are a few ways you can help me through this time, but unfortunately, it will just take some time to pass. It’s going to suck so just keep bringing me tissues and hugging me tight.
I’ve never been so self-conscious.
No other time in my life has my body felt so strange. I’m no longer pregnant but of course still about 30 pounds heavier than my normal self and the weight is in the most unusual places. My eyes are puffy and surrounded by dark circles. My hair is greasy. My legs are hairy. I just don’t feel like myself. Next pregnancy this won’t be such a shock, but the first time around I am in awe of how terrible I feel about myself. Consider printing a few of these adorable post-it love notes and leaving them around the house for me.
GO grab these printable mom affirmation cards! Click here to get them.
I need a lot of help.
And not the kind of help you are thinking like, doing the dishes or changing diapers (although those are just as important). I need you make my plate, button my pants for me, remind me to take the Ibuprofen for the c-section pain.
It will be hard for me to ask you for things that aren’t for the baby – after all, I’m a grown up who is fully capable of feeding myself. But my hands are full. Literally. I will probably have an infant in my arms 90% of the time and I haven’t quite learned yet how to hold the baby with one hand and make a sandwich with the other.
I do not want visitors.
I know I said I would. I know I wanted to show my baby to everyone and let them revel in the beauty. But now I want everyone to leave. Don’t worry, I will be ready for visitors soon, but right now, on these first few days, I need some space.
And pretty please, let everyone you’ve ever met know they need to call before stopping by. Unexpected visitors always happen to come over when I’m alone with the baby and he is refusing to latch onto my boob in order to eat.
I’m going to feel overly attached and not just to the baby.
I will feel attached to you. I will not want you to leave my side and when you do I’ll be sad. I understand you may have to work or be somewhere really important, but if you don’t have to leave me, please don’t.
I will be protective.
Extremely protective. And not just in sense that I will want to keep my baby safe. I will become very defensive of this little baby, even to you. If you don’t want hold the baby as much as I do, or you don’t stare at it’s face and cry in wonderment I will think you don’t like her. I know now that is not true, but I will judge you and anyone who I feel doesn’t adore this little thing. Just quickly bending over to kiss it’s forehead every so often will do the trick.
I don’t realize that I’m being ridiculous.
Is it nonsense to be sad for no reason, not want you to leave my side and feel like the ugliest person alive after just having a baby? Yep. You are totally right. But I don’t have a clue. All I know is how I’m feeling and this wave of hormones running through me won’t allow me to tell up from down.
Just be patient and remember how hard I’m trying. I was just given a tiny baby I’m responsible for and this is all so new to me. We’ll get the hang of it together.
. . .
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.
I just opened Pinterest and this randomly popped up – the timimg is spooky. My baby is 13 days old and pretty much everything you said is how I feel.
I’m so glad I’m not alone and it’s great to know it is normal – now I can just let my emotions be what they need to be and know it will pass.
Ms R K says
Eating healthy also plays an important part in how you feel.
Ms R K says
I just found out I am a few weeks pregnant with our 3rd child and he still doesnt seem to get it!!! I know exactly how you feel.
Unbelievably spot on. I just wish I had this to share with my husband 6 months ago.
I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. I am expecting my first child in a month or so and you are the first person that I feel truly understands how I am feeling. From being fat to protective I completely relate to your post!
I gave birth to my son on Oct 1. Sadly he passed away 13 hours later. You want to see sad and experience all 7 of these “things”, walk in my shoes. If not, enjoy the heck out of what you have and know that some families are suffering the worst possible pain.
I am extremely sorry for your loss. I don’t know how that would feel.
But, I just wanted to say while yes people should be grateful for what they do have, you shouldn’t try and make others feel bad about themselves because “they are not walking in others shoes”. Everyone has their own lives to live and their own problems/joys to experience, people handle things differently and should not be made to feel bad about how they feel.
“Telling me I can’t be SAD because someone else has it worse is the same as telling me I can’t be HAPPY because someone else has it better.”
Once again, I don’t know how it feels to lose a baby nor would I begin to even imagine how I would feel, so I am so very sorry for you and hope you and your family can grieve and try to live a happy life. Your comment just didn’t sit completely right with me and I felt like I wanted to say something.
Thank you for leaving this reply. As a mom who has suffered a stillbirth and then had twin rainbow babies I can connect with her comment and appreciate yours. Her pain is still very real and very raw and it’s a knee jerk reaction to seeing things like this while she’s still dealing with her loss. Your reply is spot on. We are allowed to feel overwhelmed and awful even if we have a brand new healthy baby. I experienced guilt with my two feeling this way while thinking of my first loss. How I should be grateful. It doesn’t minimize your feelings and exhaustion, however. Thank you.
i love this.
Great reply. Women need to support each other. Not tear each other down. That comment will make others feel guilty and ashamed and they shouldn’t. They should be allowed to fully express how they feel with no judgment and realize how amazing they are when they come out on top after it all. We should all be there for each other despite any tragedy. I can’t wait for my rainbow baby!
I 100 percent agree with you! I’m sorry for your loss, but I think y might’ve chosen the wrong words. I am praying for you and your family. So sorry for your loss.
So very sorry for your loss. I have such respect and admiration for your courage to talk about this. I don’t know you but you are an inspiration. Blessings to you and your family.
I agree with you completely! I suffered horribly from postpartum depression and I wish I would have just been able to “pull myself together” and be thankful for the wonderful blessing God had given me. I’m so sorry for your loss. May God comfort you in this difficult time!
They aren’t saying others don’t have it worse, and they’re not complaining. This post is simply for new fathers to know how to truly help their spouse.
I’m extremely sorry for your lose
I wish I saw this 3 months ago! This is going to be sent to my hubby before the next kid 🙂 It’s easy to forget how it was back then. Reading this brought everything back. I remember looking at my swollen ankles and feeling so ugly. I remember getting mad at my husband for telling the baby to shush. I remember not asking for help for myself (just help getting up from the couch would’ve been amazing). I remember forgetting to take my pain meds or forgetting to even eat because everything was BABY.
So thank you for this. I’m pinning it so we’re better prepared next time 🙂
Well my first is now 29 years old and I remember exactly how I felt. This is spot on and I don’t think you ever forget the bewilderment of those early days. I remember crying with love for my baby. Was any baby ever born that had even a fraction of the beauty of my baby. I don’t think so. 🙂 A mother’s love is like no other.
Could not agree with your post more! My first baby is 12 days old today and everything you said is exactly how I feel. I cry multiple times a day, most of the time for no reason. I do not want visitors, yet when my parents were leaving, I couldn’t stop crying because I missed them already. All I do is nurse, which is so exhausting and I want some help, yet I can’t handle being in a separate room from my baby for more than an hour, even for sleep!
This is everything!! thanks so much for posting this!!!
This is very true even in subsequent pregnancies. You’re a whole pile of crazy, but at least after the first, he’s a little prepared for it 🙂
I absolutely felt like this after my first was born. I felt gross and sweaty and smelly and my body was definitely foreign to me. I had postpartum anxiety and was having a hard time coping with that too. I can already sense it creeping in again, as I’m nearing the end of my second pregnancy. The impulse to protect the baby against everything is so hard to rationalize to others that haven’t experienced it. Good post 🙂
For those mamas who had a low risk pregnancy and are having a natural birth with a midwife at a birthing center or at home, you won’t feel disgusting. You’ll feel empowered and so happy you did your research, delayed chord cutting, etc. and gave birth in a comfortable place instead of a hospital hooked up to a machine with bad lighting and bad smells. For those getting surgery, this article certainly Keeps it real!
I had a low risk home birth and I loved it. Having a birth at home with a midwife is not some magic bullet that makes the change from child on the inside to child on the outside simple. I definitely experienced all of these things, esspecially feeling like my body was exceedingly strange. I felt not so much ugly, but foreign. I also hated visitors, hated handing my baby over to other people (except his father or my mom) and felt completely nuts if I didn’t hold him for a while. Home birth is a great choice for some people but others feel more comfortable in a hospital. Neither birthing environment entirely determines what life is like afterward.
katie Albury says
This resonates so much with me…our relationship has changed so much since our baby arrived 16 weeks ago and I feel truly sad for how dissapointed I am with how my husband dealt with her arrival. I definitely wish we’d been more prepared and that he’d handled thing differently. Xx
My baby is 15 months, but I just teared up reading this. Yes, yes, yes… All of that. Not to mention “I will doubt my ability to do this and am generally terrified”. Luckily, I can assure the new moms it gets better… Way better!
I don’t think my husband understood how overwhelmed I’d feel and how much I longed for my life before kids even though I had this unshakable love for my child. I wanted her so badly (after being told we would never have kids), yet was completely unprepared to care for a little being 24/7.
Thanks for a great article!
Jaymie Parent says
I don’t have a baby….. Yet. But, this seriously made me cry. I don’t know why. So cute, thanks for sharing.
Great list for husbands, but also things I wish I had known about for myself before baby #1 came in November. Definitely agree with the part about visitors. I thought beforehand anyone is welcome anytime, but that first week is all about establishing breastfeeding and it’s hard. It’s all there is time for. I wish I could have that time back but with way less company, especially in the hospital.
Thanks so much for sharing. My son is now three years old and reading this still makes me cry. I still feel I have to defend myself for once feeling so sad and lost while being blessed with a healthy baby.
For not liking him to be held by visitors including my inlaws. For ‘failing’ to breastfeed because my son refused boob and preferred the bottle (nothing personal, right?). I actually started to hear voices coming out the breastpump machine after pumping 1,5 hours 8 times a day after trying to get my son to latch on before each round. I tried this for two weeks. I still feel like I failed him somehow.
Many times I wished I could simply put him back in my belly where keeping him safe and sound was so much easier and the world still noticed me as a person. Of course just having these desires made me feel even more like a bad mother. I mean, all these other brand new moms seemed to be having the time of their lives and planning for baby nr.2. I still am not. My son is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I love him so much it hurts. My partner is all I hoped he would be as a father and as a partner to me. But I don’t feel a need to go try and have another child. Maybe someday I will. Maybe I won’t and that’s ok.
I can accept how my body changed but for a while I lost track of my old self and it took me a long time to find (most of) her again. My new self is actually kind of cooler in some ways.
It took some professional help though. I also found it really really helped to talk to friends about it. You’ll be suprised at how ,when you are honest about this, people can open up and share their own deepest lows that can come with the intense highs of having a baby.
It helpes to know you are not alone and that it gets better!
My wife wanted me to read this, and she told me :”that’s what I wanted you to know, but I didn’t know how to express it”
All new dad’s should read this, I’m really thankyou Liz 🙂
Our prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “A woman completes a man, an honorable man treats women with honor and integrity, and only a vile and dishonorable man humiliates and degrades women.”
Your prophet Muhammad also married an 8 year old little girl, but I’m sure you will correct me and tell me that “she was actually 12”.
Was this necessary? This is not a forum to condemn figures from another person’s religion. Whether you agree with this figures choices or not, what was said is true.
You should be offering a kind words on the original poster’s topic. Women are looking for support on this forum, not judgement about religion.
For the record I’m not even Muslim.
I just wish I had a husband who didn’t scream at me to get my b**** to shut up because he couldn’t sleep after I had been awake for four days trying to console a baby that screamed in pain until Dr’s diagnosed her with MSPI. Or that he wasn’t screaming at me because I put the wrong light bulbs in the nursery. Screaming at me because I was too stupid to not know that I had to double bag every dirty diaper and run immediately outside and dispose of it before he had any opportunity to smell it. This was expected to be done even before re diapering or dressing my daughter. I had no post-partum sadness, but was immediately thrown in to a world of fear and anger at how I was being treated by the one who was supposed to be my partner in raising my beautiful daughter.
I am 2 months pregnant with my first child and to be honest, this is how I’ll feel? I have no idea what it’s going to be like, but I know I’m going to be self-conscious. Thank you for your honesty!! I’ll be sure to prepare my habibi ; )
Whitney Gonzales says
I absolutely loved this blog! I have a 3 week old- first baby- and everything you said in this blog, I have felt! So, I sent the link to my hubby to read- although he’s been the best hubby ever, it’s nice to show him how I was/am feeling. Thanks for helping me understand my own feelings during this time! ?
So…. Basically… The blog essentially says “do everything I want, WHEN I want, how I want, oh yeah, and if it seems irrational, it is, and if you disagree with you, I’ll get angry with you, and I’m allowed and your not”….. <—- definitely love the reason and logic in this one. Definitely sounds like a mature, sound, responsible adult who is ready to be mother.
Wow, I wrote a bunch of different replies to this comment, but I fear that nothing quite articulates what I want to say in a way that would be effective. The entire point of this blog is that it’s not logical, but it’s what hormones and biology do, and as the parent who doesn’t experience those changes, there is an important role for dads. It’s not permanent, but hormone shifts after birth are real and impact women in intense ways, as will the general bodily changes. So why not be a “mature, sound, reasonable adult” who is ready to be a father and recognize these natural changes in the mother and be supportive of the woman who just went through an incredibly intense experience to bring a child into the world?
I am glad my husband is a better man than you. How incredibly insensitive you are. You have no right to judge something you don’t and never will understand. I feel pity for any woman who might bare a child of yours.
Bear a child*
Another Dad here – all of these articles “geared towards dads” – none of them are for us. They’re not written as advice, more as an edict. Before my daughter was born I remember being really upset thinking that my wife was just going to hate me all the time and never let me have anything to do with the baby, and basically I would never have another say in the way our house functioned again.
If your partner is a reasonable person, this isn’t the truth. She’ll certainly have some of the feelings above, but you won’t have to roll over and be walked on like basically every blog implies. If your partner is not a reasonable person, well – that’s on you man – you chose her.
And before the harassment starts – I am an equal participant in the care of my child. I work full time, am a full time grad student and still do all the night feelings so my wife isn’t a zombie all day with the baby. (That I use as an example, it is not an all-encompassing list).I also make sure my wife has what she needs emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. I just don’t think that I should have to stop taking care of my own physical, spiritual and emotional needs, nor do I think it benefits my family to do so.
I completely agree. Many women use pregnancy and childbirth as an excuse to treat their husbands like a piece of trash. But as the p
But as the previous poster mentioned, those guys chose to marry them.
Alie B says
I am so sorry to see such a number of negative comments on this article. Postpartum depression is no joke, and your courage in being honest about it is impressive. Totally agree with you regarding visitors. We enjoy entertaining, which I suppose is the reason so many people thought it would be ok to just stop by. Between caring for the baby, snatching a few minutes of shut-eye every now and then, and possibly the odd shower, there was simply no time or energy to clean the house or prepare refreshments, which seemed to be what people expected! I made the mistake of tolerating the drop-ins for baby #1. I was smarter the 2nd time, and turned people away if they didn’t call first. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.
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Leonie Saxton says
Exceptional post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!