I thought there was abuse in his past, but I had no idea of the extent of how much trauma she had put him through. (See PTSD – new baby arrives, mum checks out.)
There was excitement from my husband when we first became pregnant, which was good because it gave me confidence things would be alright. He happily went around telling everyone (much to my initial shock as it was so early).
Then something happened. I’m not sure what, or how I realised there was something wrong to start off with, but I knew there was something different.
I became annoyed initially that he started to take on more work and seemed to me less interested. Less than, I thought, my ex-husband had been the first time? So I tried to get those feelings out of my head and asked him how involved he had been in his previous pregnancies (with his ex).
She had not let him be involved at all!
So I asked if he would like to be and he again resumed his interest in the process. Especially when we found a pregnancy app on the iPad, which also had handy ‘new dad’ tips…
“Wow, she never told me that!”
I began to see that by asking him more about how he felt I had a better understanding of where he was at. Sometimes he would let me know, sometimes he wouldn’t, which just meant I went and got time out to be with friends and get support in other ways.
Getting closer to the end of the pregnancy his head became stuck in a very scary place (PTSD), which I didn’t really understand fully until the birth of our baby.
In my head, I was going to be doing a whole lot more work after all this pregnancy thing and not to mention the labour thing as well!
Little did I realise that he still had an inbuilt fear that he was going to be the sole carer of another baby, just as he was with his previous wife.
I worried how my husband must’ve thought I handled the labour, but gratefully took the new baby and she happily suckled straight away. When the hospital staff wandered off eventually, I was surprised he told me how amazing I was!
He had never experienced seeing what a real new mother was like!
Of course I loved her, of course I couldn’t take my eyes off her, of course I was able to share food with her if that’s what she wanted right now.
I was shocked by his awe!
I was just doing my normal thing, no big deal.
Baby was looking around and responding alertly just as my others had done, no big deal.
Baby decided to drink straight away, no big deal.
But to my husband whose eyes flooded with tears of joy and relief, it was the most amazing thing he had seen after the trauma of his sons births!
His face fairly radiated and glowed and I felt completely humbled, I felt there was nothing I had done special to receive such praise.
I guess I just am mum.