The Role of Father after Childbirth: An untouched subject

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Postpartum is a very delicate stage for the recent mother, in which she will need help for such basic acts as going to the bathroom or holding her baby, especially in the immediate postpartum. That’s why the first thing the father can do is help the mother feel better physically.

Help her to walk, to get up on the bed, get closer to the baby … And the first contacts with the baby will not only be recognition for dad, he will also have to take care of the change of diaper or bath while the mother cannot do it.

I hope there is luck and from the beginning you can take care of both of these issues, because they are unforgettable moments thanks to those who know a little more about our newborn baby in the family. That is why it is not just a need for the father to take care of the hygiene of the baby.

Formerly, when pregnancy, childbirth and upbringing were women’s things, the parents were excluded and it was other women who took care of the baby while the mother could not do it. Luckily, this has changed and the father is almost never a passive element, he does not want to stay on the sidelines.

In addition, the role of the father in the immediate postpartum period is important to ensure that the baby does not stay in the “nest, nursery or nursery”, which are useless and cause babies to cry more with unnecessary separation. If the mother needs rest, with the father and the next baby it is also possible.

I would begin by questioning the convenience of distinguishing functions of father or mother after the birth of the baby. I would like to give this circumstance a more focus on teamwork that of assumption of roles based on patterns, generally, cultural.

Out of stereotypes

Let’s go forgetting stereotypes of the style of care of the child is a matter of the mother. Or is the father’s mission to work and bring money home? It will always be more effective to address each specific situation as a team, taking into account the peculiarities of each of them and of each of the members of the couple, at each moment. Thus, each situation will require different interventions from the father and the mother without it being necessary to institutionalize a priori roles. Some relevant are the period of convalescence of the mother, the time of breastfeeding, the time of maternity leave, as well as many others that will arise spontaneously and randomly. From the birth of the baby, situations of this nature will be constantly happening that we will have to face in the most efficient way possible.

What is being a parent?

Perhaps, we should start by analyzing what it is to be a parent. The birth of our first child, the step of a family, is a transition that will modify the conditions of our life, in general, and our relationship, in particular. Just entering our lives something that will require dedication and resources that will force us to restructure our daily lives. So, once the baby arrives, we must accept as soon as possible that things are not as they were before and dedicate our efforts to adapt to the new conditions in the most effective way possible.

None of the members of the couple will know exactly what the demands of the new situation will be, what will change their life, until the baby is born. These changes will imply, on the one hand, effort and sacrifice, but also a lot of gratification. Everything depends on an adequate reading of the event and its implications, as well as a team approach and focused on solutions. In this task we are involved fathers and mothers alike.

The basis for successfully addressing parenthood is, from the beginning, to understand that it is a common project, fluid communication and cooperation with our partner, and proactivity when it comes to assuming and delegating functions, both for the baby, as to our lives and those of our couples.

Adaptation period

Always working with these premises, we can distinguish two phases after the birth of the baby. At first, as soon as the baby was born, both members of the couple went through that phase of insecurity that accompanies any important change in its early stages. Fear may appear not to be good parents or how it will change our lives. That we feel insecure, let’s accept it, we more, does not imply that we delegate the care of the baby to them. If we try hard and try to get involved and collaborate everything will be in a few weeks of more tension and fatigue for both. We are perfectly capable of taking on any responsibility in this regard. Do not worry, everything happens as soon as we realize that we have the necessary resources to take care of the baby.

Perhaps in this phase it would be advisable to direct our efforts also to the area of housework, without neglecting the baby, since the mother will still be convalescing and, almost certainly, will be in charge of feeding her. Subsequently, I see no reason why there should not be a more equitable distribution of functions. Establish shifts, request time for us and, why not, ask for help if we see ourselves a little overwhelmed and it is possible, it is advisable. We are two in this, sometimes more. If we do not support each other and work together, it will be much harder for us to tolerate the demands that the new script makes.

In this line, it would also be convenient to find moments in which the baby is sleeping or quiet to express to our partner that affection that has been somewhat camouflaged by the fatigue and dedication to the baby of these first moments. Letting him know that we are there and that we love and support him, and vice versa, will strengthen the bonds between the two and will make us feel more secure in the face of the uncertainty of the new situation. In these moments, the expression of emotions, support and reinforcement are very important.

Standardization period

Once past this period of adaptation in which we have been very focused on the baby, and following the same guidelines, when we have already measured the implications it has on our lives, it is time to normalize the situation. The link with our son has already been established and we have gained confidence in his care. As far as possible we can begin to address other priorities: couple, friendships, autonomy, leisure, work, that have been in the background for a while. Failure to do so could lead to problems that would require more complicated treatment. We could feel displaced by our partner, alone, in a life with few incentives. Let’s go out to dinner once in a while, walk together, go out with friends together or separately, let’s play tennis while the other one stays with the baby.

The script of the good father does not demand so much. What’s more, being a good father or good mother does not mean being with or worried about the baby all the time. Is to meet their demands in a balanced and quality way without forgetting that we are also part of the game, that we also have demands that we have to meet. It is very important that we do not lose our identity to be solely “parents of child”. That is an important part of our life, but it is not the only one. All must be balanced, according to our order of priorities, but balanced after all.

Although an embryo is conceived in women’s womb, there is also the father of the baby who has played an important role in its conception. So, men should make certain for their wives’ comfort during child birth and be handy if anything should be urgently required.

It is both an Islamic and a human duty of husbands to do their utmost for their pregnant wives to provide medical care and facilities for an easy delivery and after delivery by helping her with taking care of the new born child and giving her  love, care and respect. A man should try to be with his wife after the birth of their child; but if unable to do so, he should phone her or send a relative to stay with her. He should try to bring her back home himself and help her with the housework so that she can get sufficient rest to regain her lost energy. A man, who treats his wife well, will be rewarded by Allah.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.

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