This morning, I walked into our garage to grab boxes to use for wrapping gifts. Somehow, I narrowly avoided my husband’s haphazard cords to his equipment hanging across the doorway.
I couldn’t understand why he would do something so ridiculous. But men think differently from us. Sometimes, they just need a gentle nudge in the right direction to do the right thing.
I bring this up because lately, I’ve been hearing from a number of new mamas post c-section that they’re feeling neglected by their husband after baby. If your husband is not helping after the c-section, we need to get him on the same page with you, so you don’t have to deal with it all yourself.
As for me, I screamed a bunch of obscenities into the garage. Then, I collected myself and went and spoke to him about his latest arrangement. Ten minutes later, he’d rearranged his equipment so that the cord was no longer precariously hanging in the way for anyone to run through it.
My point is this: we need to tell them what we want or need because quite often, they just don’t get it.
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What to do when you’re feeling neglected by husband after baby
To sum up most of the messages I’ve been getting lately, it’s collective: “My husband ignores me after having the baby.”
I am grateful my husband didn’t ignore me after either of my c-sections. However, he ignores me sometimes now, and I think that’s par for the course of the marriage.
Yet, I use one trick that gets him to come around. And you can use this too when you feel ignored by your husband after the baby.
The first step is to get to a calm space in your mind. If you’re triggered, you’re going to blow your top. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be angry and annoyed. Oh, you absolutely should be!
But screaming at him or telling him he never helps will have the opposite effect. I’ve found that my husband and my friends’ husbands can be a bit clueless at times. You have to spell it out for them.
So, how do you get him to help when your husband isn’t helping after your c-section?
But say it like this, “I could really use your help. I’m tired, and I am having a tough time getting the chores done.”
Specify a specific chore too. I just used “chores” as a blanket in this statement. If it’s laundry, tell him you need help with it. But use “I” in there because he can’t deny your feelings. No one can. Those are yours.
By being specific about what you need, he can meet those needs, even in your pregnancy.
Even recently, with my kids the ages they are, I was tired from a long day. I mentioned it to my husband in the way I just detailed above, and he told me, “Hey, go sit down and relax. I’ve got these dishes.”
It helped so much. And all because I used this specific formula for communicating with him.
How long should the husband stay home after c-section?
Not every husband gets the chance to take gobs of time off after his wife has a baby. It depends on the job he does. My husband had to go back to work the next day for my eldest. His mom came to help me at the hospital, though.
Some husbands will get parental leave and others will not. But all husbands should know that a wife recovering from a c-section will need about 6 to 8 weeks before she’s feeling like herself again.
So, if your husband is legitimately unable to take off all that time, work together to make arrangements. You can ask friends and family for help or hire a service if you have the money for it.
In any event, this is something you MUST discuss with your husband.
And yes, you should discuss it before giving birth, especially if you’re planning a vaginal delivery. Not a typo. Please remember that I delivered my eldest vaginally and had to have an emergency c-section.
You should discuss your plan and your backup plan with your husband, so you’re on the same page. That way, you have all your bases covered, and you won’t sit there seething in rage when he cracks open a can of beer and plops on the couch to watch Monday Night Football while you are trying to nurse your baby and wash dishes.
How your husband can help
Now, remember what I said about being specific? Men need these details; otherwise, they won’t know where to jump in. Here are some suggestions you can pose to your husband as you plan for your upcoming c-section or ask him to help with now that you’re home and needing assistance.
Take time off
Again, this isn’t always possible, but if your husband does have any days off available, ask him if he’d be able to take them right after you give birth. Those first few days are the toughest, and the next 2 weeks aren’t easy either. That would be wonderful if he could be there for some of it.
Help pick up the slack on the chores
Marriage is a partnership, and as such, when one of you can’t do something, it’s up to the other one. Hubby, that means you! If he hasn’t the time to run to the supermarket, order it online, and have it delivered. You can shop while you breastfeed…my friend Tamara has been doing that and says it’s quite fun.
There are plenty of ways new dads can assist their breastfeeding wives. Here are they.
As for the other stuff, ask him to help with the things you can’t do after a c-section like mopping, vacuuming, sweeping, and lifting loads of laundry.
Here’re some household chores a new mom should skip for the first few weeks after giving birth.
Do some of the feedings
Dads need to bond with their babies too. One of the best ways is through feeding time. You’ll no doubt have tons of milk coming out, so relieve your boobs by expressing it and save that milk. Then your husband can take over a late-night feeding or two or feed the baby another time.
My friend Jeff told me that when his now-grown children were babies, he loved feeding them. At first, he thought he was stuck with a chore he didn’t want to do. “But when I saw how sweet and peaceful it was to hold this tiny person in my arms and watch them eat, I was smitten. I then volunteered to do it for the other 2 of my children after they were born too.”
Let Mama rest
And the last thing you need to ask your husband for support is sleep. You’ll both get less of it with a newborn in the house, but you need it so you can recover from your surgery. So ask for it!
In conclusion, you won’t get anything from your husband if you don’t ask for it. Not all men are instinctively tuned into our needs. Some men are selfish. Some are clueless. And some are abusive. Hopefully, yours is just clueless and needs a gentle nudge in the right direction.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.