Suzy (not her real name) is a working mother with a four-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. Her husband is an extremely supportive partner and a very hands-on father.
Before the Bump:
1. How did you and your husband come to an agreement on when to start trying for a baby? Did you have extensive discussions about the timing? Or was it more of a spontaneous “let’s see how it goes” kinda thing?
We got married when he was 37 and I was 33, and as we both wanted kids, we decided to go with the flow and I became pregnant shortly after our wedding.
2. How did your husband’s attitude towards starting a family affect you? Was he hesitant to start a family due to career goals, fear of change/responsibility? Or was he enthusiastic and raring to go, while you were more uncertain about it?
We both wanted children, so there was no need to have much discussion. Both he and I like children, and I observed that he was really good with his nephews, so I was quite certain that he would be an enthusiastic father.
The Nine Months
3. What did your husband do during your pregnancy to support you (either emotionally or practically)?
He accompanied me to all the pre-natal check-ups, sometimes even skipping his lunch so that he could make the appointment. He also accommodated my food cravings while ensuring that I had the right nutrients in my diet. He reminded me to take my multi-vitamins and encouraged me to exercise during my pregnancy. We went shopping for most of the baby items together too.
4. What did you wish he could have done more of?
I wish he learnt how to massage my aching back! To give him credit, he did try, but ended up making it worse. HAHAHAHA....
First Months of Parenthood
5. How hands-on was your husband during the first few months of baby’s arrival? Did he offer to change diapers/bathe baby/help with night feeds?
He basically slept with the baby for 4 months after the confinement nanny left. He was the one who attended the baby-bathing training at the hospital, so he was in charge of bathing the baby, and he woke up for all the night feeds and diaper changes. This means that he woke up 1 to 2 times per night for more than 120 continuous days whilst having to juggle a demanding full-time job! For me, I was in charge of providing food (ie breast milk) and general entertainment for our boy. He repeated this for our second child (daughter) though I helped out much more during the nights as I latched her on my breast for the night feeds.
6. Did you feel his support was sufficient, during those crucial first few months? Or did you have lots of additional help/family support such that your husband’s role was not as critical?
I feel that he was doing much more than many fathers would. He was also a huge proponent of breastfeeding but that was sometimes stressful because I didn't have a lot of milk, not to mention the discomfort caused by the engorgement of the breasts, and the latching on by the baby. He learnt to hold back his comments for our second child and it actually made it easier for me to continue and enjoy breastfeeding.
Partners in Parenthood
7. Does your husband enjoy his role as a father? How does his attitude towards his responsibilities affect you as a mother?
My husband is a very hands-on father. He enjoys teaching the kids but time is always a constraint for working parents. But his love and care for our children has inspired me to also "step-up" and do more for our kids. It is also great that we are clear about our strengths, so he is more focused on the children’s intellectual development while I help foster their emotional maturity and socialisation skills.
He makes it possible for me to carry on with my job, which requires frequent travelling, because I know that our children will be well taken-care of. He would prefer if I were not away so often and I am trying to work towards that.
8. Does your husband help out with childcare/proactively take time to bond with your child(ren)? Does this encourage you to consider having more children?
He is a fully-involved father – from bathing, to teaching manners, to reading to them to engaging them in physical activities. We would have loved to have more children, but our age is one deterrent and we think we may not have enough energy to have a third.
9. Can you share an example of something your husband did that really stood out and made you appreciate him as your partner in this journey of parenthood?
There are so many. The one that stood out best was when our son needed to go for a minor surgery and he accompanied him throughout the entire procedure. . According to the nurses, mothers are usually the ones to accompany the child into the operating theatre. As my husband has medical knowledge, and I was expecting our second child at that time, he was our pillar of support during that incident.
I Love Children would like to thank Suzy for sharing about her parenthood journey, and wish her and her family all the best!
Look out for the other 2 articles in this 3-part series on Real Moms Share About Their Parenthood Journey:
Part 1 – PARTNERS IN PARENTHOOD: Suzy
Part 2 – PARTNERS IN PARENTHOOD: Vanessa
Part 3 – PARTNERS IN PARENTHOOD: Mrs Tan
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