DADS GET A BAD RAP
I've just read a blog about titled 'We are torturing new mums' you can read the full article here (http://www.mamamia.com.au/torturing-new-mothers/) and as much as I agree with some of the points there's plenty that I don't agree with and my biggest takeaway was that dad gets a bad rap when it comes to parenting.
This isn't something new I've picked up on, my husband and I already joke about the stereotyping and how even on Peppa Pig daddy pig is a complete imbecile, always forgetting things "oh silly daddy" Peppa constantly exclaims, whilst mummy pig is always right. To put it frank daddy pig is just fat, lazy and stupid (not the best role model for kids).
Anyway moving aside - the article was talking about how new mums have a tough time, how sleep deprivation is a method of torture, how mums can be affected by mental illnesses when they are subject to such sleep deprivation and how people should be more understanding. One part which got me was:
"Then, when the father goes back to work after his 2 weeks of paternity leave, it is perfectly acceptable in our society for her to say “I’ll do the night feeds, because you have to work all day”. She isn’t understanding the value, the necessity, of her sleep for her mental health. Neither is the father, or the health visitor, or society in general. Her sleep debt builds, increasing the risk to her mental health."
Not only is this insulting to the father, it's also insulting to the health visitor to say that both aren't understanding of a new mums needs. I have a good friend who is a health visitor and she cares gravely about her mums and babies, works extremely long hours, never finishes work on time and would always go the extra mile for them - how can we bash these health professionals along with husbands and fathers is beyond me?
I often feel guilty because I know my husband is more sleep deprived than me. He gets up in the night just as much as me (if not more). In the early days he volunteered to do night shifts so I could get at least 6-8 hours sleep because he was always concerned about my well being. This continued even when he went back to work. We would take it in turns one would take the first half of the night whilst the other would be on early morning duty.
This isn't a blog to say my husband is better than yours but to stick up for my husband and all the other good dads out there as they do get a bad rap and I know men aren't always as good at expressing there thoughts and emotions.
I want to know about how is the dads mental health. Dads don't speak up and dads don't often get among their friends and talk out their feelings.
I see how hard my husband works. I see how he is mentally and physically exhausted he is but will ALWAYS have mine and my daughters best interest first. I see how he goes to the supermarket after work to grab a few groceries despite just wanting to get home and unwind. I see all the cancelled social events he doesn't go to because he's tired or he feels guilty that he is out enjoying himself. I see the gym sessions he misses because I'm tired so he rushes home from work so I can nap. I see when he gets up early with Jasmine on a weekend and lets me sleep in for as long as I like. I see how he cleans the kitchen in the morning before I wake up. I see him struggle when he is ill but he doesn't mention it until he is really really ill and has nothing left in the tank. I see how he is also extremely sleep deprived!
Maybe part of the purpose of this blog is to apologise to my husband because I don't thank him enough for being such a good father. I know new mums have issues but so do dads. I knew it wasn't easy for Matt to leave me in hospital after I had given birth, seeing I was exhausted and emotionally unwell on the brink of a breakdown. I know it wasn't nice for him to walk away after visiting hours but he was exhausted too.
Dads get forgotten about as soon as a pregnancy is announced. It's all about how is the women feeling, how she is coping with the bodily changes, there are the midwife appointments where they do ask about your mental health (when do dads get asked about theirs??) and then there's the baby showers and all the fuss that us women like. Granted it is tough and it is hard work being pregnant - there is no denying that, I just think it's about time that we think about our partners as much as they think about us.
I don't think we should get into this mums v's dad argument. We all have different capacities and capabilities and we all experience are fair share of ups and downs as a parent and the moment we start going down this 'Poor me, i'm so hard done to mentality' is the moment we disconnect from our partner.
Let's take a moment to celebrate our childrens fathers and show some appreciation as I know I need to more than I currently do!