I know that new dads or partners are not forgotten or left behind, not adored and respected. Dads or partners are such a vital and integral part of our children’s upbringing and in my case, my husband had to be back at work almost immediately after our son was born. In the early days when baby does need mum a lot he sometimes felt like he wasn’t connecting with our son as much or wasn’t there enough. But he was.
I remember when my husband and I found out we were having a baby. We as mothers have 9 months of bonding with our baby while they grow inside. Our babies move with our beat, they learn our routines of movement and sleep. We already feel such a connection when they are born. He used to talk to our baby and get excited when he felt our baby move. He wanted to be a part of those early moments and make a connection with his voice.
I remember when our boy was born, my husband was up at the hospital every day as much as possible in between running a business. He would stay late, bath our boy, hold him and watch him sleep. The look of sheer admiration and joy on his face was enough for me to know he was totally smitten and besotted and would do anything from that moment on to protect our boy. I remember in those early days at the hospital it was all about learning to feed them and lots of sleep. There were all these precious bonding moments and essential feeding time that we as mothers have to give, that sometimes he felt like there wasn’t much he could do. But his bond was just beginning and his touch and voice alone was soothing to our boy.
I remember when at home, often when we had tried numerous techniques to get baby to sleep I would end up feeding him because I had tried everything else. And for the most part, this often worked. Mum had achieved and conquered! The baby was asleep! This would happen time and time again in our house and I could see that it deflated my husband a little bit. He would often offer to take our boy for a walk in the pram when he was unsettled or bath him and sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t, but that happened to me too. He was already part of being there for him and settling and soothing him when he needed it.
I remember there were nights that I was up every few hours with our son. He would get up and just stay up and wait for me to come back to bed. He didn’t have to; he had to be at work the next day. There was nothing he could really do but he just stayed up as a way of being supportive and showing that he was there for both of us.
I remember when I had a graze on my nipple so deep it was excruciating to breastfeed but I was only 2 weeks in and wanted to persevere. He couldn’t do anything but he told me how amazing I was, what a great mum I was and how strong I was.
I remember as my son got bigger he only wanted me and cried when I left. It was just my face at that point he saw more. There were so many huge smiles when daddy got home and he would sit and play with him, bath him and connect with him.
He didn’t realise at the time that all those times he lay on the bed chatting to our son, massaging his little legs and arms after a bath, stroking his head, rocking and patting him to sleep, kissing his forehead, being there for me, they were all sinking in and creating that bond.
It just grew differently to my bond.
You can’t compare the bond or the way it grows.
Dads or partners play such a vital role in our children’s lives. I have now watched over the years as the bond between my son and husband and now between my husband and my daughter has grown and how different it is to my bond with them. All the things that he did for them when they were babies has shaped and moulded them. Their dad has been a constant from the beginning.
This from the very start has built the solid foundations of their relationship. The nurturing and the love that he has always shown, has built the strong friendship and bond that they have now. The committed and dedicated father that he has always been is reflected in the love he gives to his family and they know he will always be there for them and that makes them feel secure and safe. And most of all loved.
So in all those tiny moments, when your husband or partner may feel that it isn’t enough. Tell them it is. Because all those little moments from the very beginning will eventually all join and create the solid family bond that you have when they grow up. It is an integral part of shaping their lives and the journey of your family and mine.