Monday, March 7, 2011

Dads Begging for More Babies

My husband came home from a church activity a few weeks ago where he had been talking to this woman who is pregnant.  He was getting ready for bed and just sort of rambling while putting clothes away and turning down the covers.  In the middle of it all, he expressed that he felt jealous of people in that stage of life.  He went on to talk about how exciting those times were, waiting for a baby.  Wondering what would our labor be like.  And then those early days and months of having a new baby in the house.  Sigh.

So often I hear women say that they'd love to have more children but their husband is DONE!  I rarely hear a woman say that her husband would love more but that she is the one who is done!  Why is that?

I must admit that my husband is a unique breed.  He's sensitive and compassionate.  Clever and funny.  Oh, and incredibly handsome!  He loves babies.  He never protested at having the baby in our bed like many men. In fact, the other night he was in and out of our last Bradley class and we were talking about co-sleeping.  He threw in his two cents -- yes, he slept great -- except an occasional "boot to the head" from a toddler.  (David wants you to know that this is him holding one of our babies in the above photo.  OK, we can't all be Joe Gumm.)

Is it just that our kids are bigger now and we don't have a baby anymore?  Are we just missing that time of our lives?  David hates feeling nostalgic and I think he's been hit with quite a bit of it lately.  Maybe it's that his wife just turned 40 (he's 37), maybe it's having a kid in high school that is driving us completely crazy and he's missing the "simpler" days.  Whatever it is, it's real. 

I, on the other hand, don't have that I-miss-not-having-a-baby-in-the-house feeling like he does.  I really do live vicariously through my Bradley students.   I'm still surrounded by pregnancy, labor, birth, and babies.  I am selfishly enjoying my quiet days when they are in school.  I am unbelievably busy with other things, just not breastfeeding and changing diapers!  For the record, I miss the hours of holding a nursing baby and co-sleeping with my babies, feeling their warm little body mold to mine.  It was a wonderful time that flew by much too quickly.  Everyone says that to you when they are little and you think "Yeah, right, lady!  You have no idea."  Now I'm that lady!

Back to the men.  David had a vasectomy when Darcy was about 18 or 19 months old, which in my opinion, is the absolute worse age ever, or at least I thought it was until we had a 14-year-old!  He was dead set that he didn't want more babies and I was right on board with him on that one -- again, Darcy was at my least favorite age.  I haven't changed my mind, but I think if I said I wanted another baby, he'd jump right on that.  Don't get excited, it's not going to happen. 

A lot of dads don't enjoy having a baby in the house.  Am I wrong here?  Baby wants mom and doesn't really care all that much about his/her dad until later.  I did have one baby that really did seem to prefer her dad over me -- still does.  But for the most part, I think that is a fair statement.  Sex often revolves around the baby's routine.  Breasts are often off-limits with breastfeeding sensitivity and leaking.  His wife is often so distracted with the baby, dad gets "stuck" with more chores around the house.  If baby is not co-sleeping, dad is probably involved in night feedings and not sleeping well.  Right or wrong, I'm just trying to think from his perspective for a minute, so don't hate me.  We can't ignore the financial responsibility in having kids, that ideally falls mostly upon the father.  (At least that's how I was raised and how it is in our family.)

Mom typically is the one who spends many more hours with the baby and gets to know the baby before dad.  She figures out the different cries the baby has, what they mean, and how to calm the baby.  When she has to tell him how to calm his baby, he might feel inadequate.  Dads often get to know their babies through play, once the baby is big enough. 

I can't explain why David didn't seem to feel these things.  I hear from so many couples that struggle within the first few months.  I wish all new dads enjoyed the new baby phase.  It is something that many women want to experience over and over. 

I am thinking out loud on this post.  It's just something that's been on my mind lately since David made that comment about missing the baby phase.  I'm so grateful for such a compassionate man to share my life with, one that loves babies and co-sleeping. 


Anna Q said...

My husband said to me that dads just don't really get involved until the kids are old enough to really play - like 4 or 5 or 6 years old. I guess he shouldn't be surprised then when I don't have time for HIM because I'm so busy raising them on my own for the first several years. I've always wished for a husband that would be more involved (like I thought he'd be before I married him.)

Anonymous said...

Greg loves babies! The newborn age is his favorite.... :)

Krista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krista said...

My brother (whose wife is pregnant with their 3rd) recently told me that "all men hate babies." He said babies are "good for nothing, of no use to men."

I am one of the lucky ones like you, though. Tom is SO excited for all the newborn stuff. After our last class on Friday, he is even excited for co-sleeping! He was ready to have a baby so much earlier than I was (I think we would have a 3- or 4-year-old right now if it had been up to him).

Donna Ryan said...

Apparently, some people really thought the picture was David! It's not. We were just joking around. :)

brandy said...

After 6 kids my man wanted babies #7 and 8 and was unset when I said I was done! lol
He tells all his friends to treat their women like goddesses, to help their women with breastfeeding, and to make room for baby in bed.
My man is so involved with our kids, I swear if I didnt breastfed i would have never held my babies!

Jenny Everett King, CCCE said...

My husband is going through the same thing - we have two (almost 5 and almost 3), and I just went back to school, so it will be awhile before there are any more. All our friends have new babies. He's so jealous.

HaleeBurch said...

A blog that I have enjoyed following for the last year or so is called "A place called simplicity"
I think you might enjoy it, and you have to see how many kids they have, she and he both enjoy the baby phase greatly