Seeing My Wife as a Mother Has 100% Made Me a Better Dad

Hannah Trotter Photography/Bianca Carina Photography

Hannah Trotter Photography/Bianca Carina Photography
Hannah Trotter Photography/Bianca Carina Photography

I thought I knew what motherhood entailed. Like most new dads, I have only experienced motherhood as an outsider. I saw my mother, sister, and friends do it. I’ve seen or heard about motherhood a fair amount. I got the gist of it. Or at least I thought I did. I knew that the newborn phase was tiring. I knew that it took up a lot of personal time. I knew that it required a lot of sacrifice. But what I didn’t know was how little I really knew.

  • There have been nights where she has gotten almost no sleep at all.

    There are times where he is fussy even after she fed him. But she patiently and lovingly rocks him over an hour. Only to have to feed him again before he goes to sleep. When I’m not home, she is left with little to no personal time for herself. She intentionally loses herself in him, so he knows he is loved, cared for, and safe. All while dealing with the pain. The pain leftover from giving birth. The pain from breastfeeding (men, imagine scraping razor blades across that area ... constantly). The emotional pain from postpartum hormones. The emotional pain from looking at herself in the mirror, wondering if her body will ever look the same again.

    I thought I knew what motherhood entailed. But to see it through the eyes of her, has bred a newfound understanding of how encompassing, exhausting, painful, and yet beautiful it all truly is. It’s taught me that no amount of pain or frustration will ever keep her from loving our son. Fiercely.

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  • I have witnessed a strength I thought I knew, but truly didn’t. The strength of motherhood.

    Experiencing this strength has at times left me feeling like I don’t have much of a role to play. I can’t grow life inside my body. I’m not the source of the life-giving substance that is breast milk (something extraordinary on its own). I will never share the closeness that my son and her continue to experience together through pregnancy and nursing. Biologically speaking, she has everything needed to keep him alive and loved. So I quickly began to ask myself, “What is my role in all of this?” “How can I be of any help?”

  • Shortly after, I discovered how much time and attention a newborn requires.

    It’s a full time job. Actually that doesn’t explain it well enough. It’s quite literally an around-the-clock, 24/7, every-minute-of-every-day job. With no lunch breaks. So what role do I play? Well, for starters, I can change him, bathe him, and dress him. Take over when she needs a break or just needs a moment to catch her breath. Volunteer for the second late shift of the night when he just isn’t sleeping and she is about to pass out from exhaustion. Attend to her health and care because all her focus has been on the health and care of our son. Focus on the needs of our 5 year old son, and make sure he knows he is loved and noticed. I can pick up around the house, do the laundry, clean the dishes, wash the baby bottles, get the gripe water, grab the remote, get her some water, make her something to eat.

  • So what can I do? What role do I play? I support.

    I support her in anything she needs, because it is quite literally the least I can do for the woman who is giving everything for my son. For this family. For this marriage.

    This post was republished with permission and was written by William Trice Battle