Father’s Day is swiftly approaching, and this June 19th of 2011 is all about embracing the love, dedication, and devotion that comes from dear old Dad. Although they would probably rather be A.) Sleeping, B.) Watching sports, or C.) Playing sports themselves, Dad’s across the nation will rise blearily with the sun and open up self-created cards and pottery inspired gifts from their offspring.
Many men are in the process of just becoming a father for the first time, or their wife is pregnant and adding another member to the family soon. For these Dad’s, the future is full of diaper changing, late nights, and…oh yes, rampant insensitivity.
It is not to say that men don’t have a sensitivity chip when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. There are men who are considerate, caring, and are sure to place their wives on the pedestal that they deserve during and after pregnancy. This article is not for those men. This is for the guys who let their wives mow the grass while they are 9 months pregnant, because they just ‘know’ that it will encourage labor. This is for the guys who let their wives come home from the hospital, exhausted and probably suffering from the baby blues, to a messy house. And all the while, they know that it would drive her insane and she would feel compelled to clean it 24 hours postpartum. After all, this will get her back into her routine, right?
Yes, there are men like this everywhere. And in honor of Father’s Day 2011, Survive Parenthood is going to share with you a few important guidelines that will help you survive the postpartum experience with all of your parts fully intact. Let’s face it, pregnant women are freakishly strong, and you could lose a couple of digits before you even know what hit you. Here are 3 things you should never say to your wife after she has had your baby:
3 things you should never say to your wife after she has delivered your child
This baby looks nothing like me
Seriously. This is a frequent statement overhead in many a labor and delivery room. Your fresh baby pops out, healthy and beautiful, and your first thought is, “This kid can’t be mine because he/she doesn’t look like me.” News flash: Newborn babies often don’t look like anyone but themselves. They are red and squishy, and if they had to be vacuumed out they might have a cone head. Unless you also have a cone head, your child might not look like you right away. As time goes on, you will see huge changes in your baby. Moral: You can’t judge a baby by it’s first appearance and this is a horrible thing to say to someone who has just spent hours performing a task that is equivalent to you shoving a cantaloupe through your nostril.
So, when are you going to lose the baby weight?
Rock star Pink gave birth recently. Paparazzi shot pictures of her walking on the beach 5 days after birth, and the site that posted them was flooded with comments on how she looked ‘fat.’ We can only assume that the posters were dropped on their heads as children, because there is no way that someone can drop baby weight in 5 days. If a celebrity looks like they did, they are most likely wearing 3 layers of Spanx and paid the photographer to make liberal use of Photoshop.
Asking your wife when she plans on losing the baby weight is akin to putting your head on a guillotine and asking the executioner if he plans on dropping the blade. Baby weight will come off naturally over a course of months, and can happen more quickly if she breastfeeds. Research also states that it is more difficult to lose weight if you are exhausted and/or stressed out, which will definitely describe your wife in the next few months.
Your best course of action? Be supportive. Cook her healthy meals. Don’t sit and snack on potato chips and beer while she struggles to deal with a crying baby. Make sure she gets fresh air and go for a stroll with your entire family. And don’t say a word if she reaches for the Ben and Jerry’s, because comments like, “Do you really think you should be eating that?” with a long gaze at her stomach will only get you seriously injured.
Geez, the house is a mess
Although this is not the case in all families, often wives will stay home on maternity leave and tend to their children while their husbands go back to work. When you arrive home, tired from a long day of yakking on the phone or Facebooking on company time, you will enter the home and hope for dinner and a nice, comfy place to put your butt. You look around and the house is chaos. Toys everywhere, laundry piled in baskets, and the only thing cooking on the stove is a boiling pot of soothers and bottle nipples.
Of course you might comment on how the house is a mess. It is human nature to express eloquent observations, but be warned about saying this to your wife. You probably have no idea how someone could spend hours just rocking a baby, trying to get them to sleep, only to have their eyes pop awake within 5 minutes of being put down. Or how it is difficult to do laundry while a baby is strapped to you in a Baby Bjorn. Do yourself a favor and put the blinders on, then take your wife out for dinner. She will be happier for it, and you will survive to see another sunrise.
It is easy to be insensitive when you aren’t the person enduring all of the changes. We’re sure you don’t mean to speak without thinking, it just pops out unexpectedly. And that is why there are guidelines like these.
Happy Father’s Day!