I wrote this post after coming in touch with many men who had a not-so-smooth transition to fatherhood after their children were born, and the resulting stress but great strain on their marriage. I hope that by penning down these thoughts, more men will feel more open to share their struggles and fears with their wives – thereby opening the relationship to greater strength and vulnerability.
We loved our wives before we loved our kids.
Our partners were our first commitment; and for some of us it was a commitment without knowing if we would have kids or not. We stood ready to love our wives through the ups and downs; through the thicks and thins, kids or no kids. Our wives were first, and even when the kids came we wanted to put you first. This will help you understand point number 5.
We struggle too.
No matter how macho or how bo-chup we look, we struggle too. Inside.
As all the attention is poured on our wives and our babies after they are born, we struggle with loneliness. Suddenly, the word ‘express’ no longer means having a HTHT with our soulmate. ’nuff said.
We sometimes find it hard to tell you we’re struggling.
Because of our male ego, or maybe because we just have less vocabulary for feelings, we may not be able to tell you how we are really feeling. Or some of us just feel plain guilty for bogging you down with our needs when we see you already struggling big time with a newborn.
We may find it hard to let you know that we feel useless at home; or that we feel torn between you and your mother; or that we can’t help but wonder what’s happening to the marriage. We find it hard to let you know that deep inside, we are vulnerable too.
We need affirmation too.
And so please affirm us. Let us know it is appreciated when we wake up for night feeds. I know enough men who refuse to do so, to know that a husband who helps is not a given. Let us know that you know we are making an effort. Let us know that you know we love you.
We are afraid we will take second place in your heart.
We are so moved by your love for our children; and in that moment we know we made the right choice to marry you. Yet deep down inside, we are secretly afraid we will become number 2 in your heart; that we are no longer priority.
Fellow husbands and fathers, I hope this post encourages you. Often, it is not strength, but vulnerabilities that inspires. Let’s press on!