A new baby! How wonderful. I bet you and your husband are going to get even closer now as a couple. Ha ha, just kidding. There are a tremendous number of stressors occurring in baby’s first year, and it is almost impossible for a couple to navigate all of them in a way that allows them to remain feeling close. There will be many ups and downs during the first year, but hopefully understanding one another’s perspective (through my handy guide) will allow you to weather the difficult moments with more understanding and connection.
1. Baby is born!
Women: I love the baby so much. I never want to be away from her. Argh! I want to be away from her right now. I look like a fat cow. Why did I eat that whole sandwich they gave me after delivering her? Why is there no nursery in this hospital? My mother better not have a problem with what we named her. Where is the baby? Look at her little feet. I love her so much it makes me want to attack the nurse who is giving her eye drops. Why did I let them do that before we had enough skin on skin time? God, I suck.
Men: The baby is great. Why is my wife acting so strange? She’s awesome with babies. Like the time she held my cousin’s baby for a few minutes. Hey, did she remember to schedule the 6 week checkup?
2. Baby keeps crying.
Women: I am a failure as a mother and a woman. I knew this would happen. I knew I should have taken more parenting classes and read more books. This is probably because I took that aspirin the day after we conceived her. It messed up her nervous system. This is the beginning of four months of colic, I know it. It’s like on that mommy blog I read where the baby had colic and then the mom had a nervous breakdown. I will have to tell work I can’t go back. Does colic correlate with autism? Does autism correlate with taking aspirin? God, I suck.
Men: I better go out to the other room if I want to be able to function at work tomorrow. Good thing my wife has this under control.
3. Baby goes on nursing strike.
Women: I knew this would happen. I read on Babycenter how this one baby became dehydrated and almost died. It must be something I ate making the milk taste bad. I knew I shouldn’t eat! Especially given how fat I am. God, I suck.
Men: Sorry, a what?
4. Your friend has a wedding the month after the birth.
Women: Obviously we can’t go. Well, maybe we can go with the baby. But how can I nurse there? What can I wear? I look like a hippo. And all the other women are going to look hot. Of course, they didn’t just have a damn baby. We can’t go. Obviously. But then he is going to think I’m no fun anymore. But I am no fun anymore! God, I suck.
Men: Cool, where did we put my suit again? Open bar!
5. Cleared at 6 week checkup.
Women: He cannot be serious. I am a total walrus. Also, I am leaking milk. Oh, god, now I am totally pushing him away. There goes the marriage. The baby will grow up in a broken home. God, I suck.
Men: God she looks hot in that Target nursing bra.
6. Family visiting.
Women: I knew I should have bought different food. Nobody is eating the sandwiches. Everyone is judging me. They are wondering why I am still such an orca. They are noticing that my breasts are two different sizes now. My mother in law is judging me for not cooking in two months. My mother is judging me for not cleaning in three months. My sister is a skinny bitch and can’t be bothered to babysit for an hour because it would interrupt having sex with her stupid boyfriend. Just wait till she gets pregnant and fat. I hope everyone leaves before baby falls back asleep because I want to take a nap with him and cry. Why isn’t my husband helping me out here?
Men: Oh good, now that she has my mom and her mom here, she’ll have a lot of extra help. Time to lay on the couch and watch TV.
7. Have to go back to work.
Women: Well, now I have truly done it, I am abandoning her completely and she will grow up to be cold, resentful, and academically underachieving. I have to talk to my boss. Maybe I can telecommute. Maybe I can work after she goes to sleep. I don’t need to sleep. I remember reading something about a baby who died at daycare. God, I suck.
Men: I have a lot to catch up on after being gone for two weeks. I hope there are the good kind of cookies in the break room.
8. Baby sick.
Women: Oh my god oh my god oh my god I have killed the baby with my selfish insistence on resuming work and sticking her in that germ infested hell hole of a daycare. Why is the pediatrician’s office only open till 5pm? I knew I should have switched pediatricians. God, I suck.
Men: Poor baby. I better sleep on the couch if I want to be able to function at work tomorrow.
9. Baby dropped.
Women: OH MY GOD OH MY GOD I have really and truly killed the baby now, or at the very least, brain damaged her. I knew I shouldn’t try and hold anything else or stand or move when I am holding the baby! I will never make that mistake again. God, I suck.
10. Baby smiles for the first time.
Women: Look at the baby! Look at the baby smile! I love her!
Men: Look at the baby! Look at the baby smile! I love her!
Till next time, I remain, The Blogapist Who Translates the Male Female Divide.
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