Here are some handy tips and hints for partners of postpartum women so they don’t end up wanting to kill you. You could view them as the 10 (and a few more add ons) commandments if you wanted to. These are mostly all based loosely on my own actual experiences, (ok it’s obvious about some) but also the generic experiences I have read about/know about happening to other women. It’s meant to be slightly humorous at least so sorry in advance if you don’t see it that way. I haven’t killed him or left him yet though. There’s still plenty of time for that… joking of course… If there’s one thing that this experience has taught me is it’s good to have a warped sense of humour.
1. DON’T feel like it’s not your responsibility to look after your child even though you’ve been at work. Your other half is probably chomping at the bit waiting on you to come home so she can hand over baby duties, only if it is for a precious 5 minutes in the shower alone.
2. DON’T call looking after your own child “baby sitting”. Annoying AF, especially when your other half does not “babysit”, she keeps tiny people alive on a daily basis.
3 a) DON’T ignore the crying over the baby monitor in the middle of the night thinking your partner will get up if you just lie there pretending to be asleep. That is definite punishable by being suffocated with the pillow behaviour. She is especially unpredictable at that time in the night/morning and highly irrational. Who knows what might happen?
3 b) Also DON’T complain about having a bad night’s sleep because the baby was crying if you didn’t get up with said baby. Arsehole.
3 c) On the flip side DON’T tell her what a good night’s sleep you had. Even if the baby sleeps through, she most likely hasn’t because she hasn’t heard any noises over the baby monitor. You can’t win on this one sorry- it has an a) b) and c) parts to it and it’s about sleep!
4. DON’T ask your partner what she has done all day, especially if there are dishes in the sink or there are toys everywhere. This should perhaps be number one as the rage potential from this is serious. You definitely risk having the washing up liquid bottle inserted in an orrifice for this one. Do the dishes or pick up the toys yourself if it bothers you that much tit head.
5. DON’T take the piss out of any of your partner’s shit purchases off the internet and definitely don’t take the piss when said shit purchases don’t work. Try being there for her when it all goes wrong instead of being a complete ballbag saying I told you so or she may want to strangle you with the latest sling she’s bought for baby wearing (and all the baby does is scream and throw up in it).
6. DON’T go on benders to Benidorm for example, and get shitfaced everyday you’re out there because you still think you’re in your twenties but really you’re well into middle age, leaving the mother of your child to cope on her own. Also don’t come home sunburned to absolute fuck and go straight to bed because you’re broken. No sympathy will be given, just more creativity will be given to thoughts on how she can get away with murder.
7. DON’T even presume to mention sex for about a year unless your partner mentions it first. If commandments 1-6 have been broken, they probably won’t be able to see past hating you, let alone want them touching you in any way shape or form. Even if you have been a relatively useful partner you will probably still get the blame for what has happened to their body and/or fanny over the course of pregnancy and birth due to the wonderful hormonal hurricane. You won’t ever win against hormones. Sorry not sorry.
8. DON’T be an emotional void even if you’re a male and can’t comprehend an nth of what your partner is going through. She needs supporting more than ever, even if you just don’t get why even the most silliest of minor matters are making her scream like a banshee. Don’t make her feel more alone than motherhood already makes her feel (and it boy does it feel lonely sometimes) because who knows what murderous conclusions she can come to in the depths of her isolation.
9. DON’T commit the cardinal sin of taking the monster in law’s (her MIL that is) side when she offers her unsolicited advice. It will do you absolutely no favours whatsoever and your faux pas will never be forgotten for the rest of time.
10. DON’T constantly harp on about the past and what has happened to the girl that you first fell in love with. She doesn’t know either and probably won’t know what has happened to her former self now she totally exists for a tiny dictator. She probably won’t come to terms with the new person she is for a good two years if that so this comparison will probably want to make her gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon (there are more maming options, she has explored them don’t worry).
On a serious note, (yes this is all tongue in cheek in case you thought I was actually homicidal) new babies do pose challenges to the most stable of relationships. It’s likely that all these things listed, or versions of them will happen. I haven’t even touched on the arguments over money, and the forever empty wallets having children will cause.
Good overall advice for you if you and your partner have been blessed with your own tiny overlord is try not to be a dick. Help with the baby without being asked. Also offer her a brew from time to time. A brew that isn’t cold or one that she forgot she made herself and has subsequently gone cold is like heaven in a cup. She’ll go from hating the sight of your face and the sound of your voice, to a purring cuddly kitten. This is speaking from experience of course. Oh and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Treat the postnatal hormone onslaught as a really extended version of PMS on steroids. Just nod and agree and you’ll be fine. Most of all good luck! You’ll need it. We still do 20 months down the line sometimes.
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