You fall in love, you get married and you are enjoying each other’s uninterrupted attention. You are having all the fun in life without any restrictions and are loving all the intimacy when BUMP! two pink lines bring a havoc in your life. Mother is the first one to absorb the news and her husband is the next one to brace this news. It definitely takes a while for this new change to sink in for both of them. There is a sudden shift in lifestyle. With pregnancy comes responsibility and while the couple get emotionally more connected, there is a sudden distance that comes along physically.
A mother gets busy going through the experience of pregnancy physically but the father has to only play the role of being her emotional support system. Obviously since he is not experiencing it himself he is expected to understand the reason behind all the tantrums that his wife is throwing, he is expected to understand the need to keep that physical distance from her. He has to compromise on his intimate feelings at times and give priority to his wife’s needs. Overall, Dads feel left out and neglected from the time the baby enters the mother’s tummy. This jealousy sometimes doubles up after the baby is born. Yes you read that right “Dads can get jealous of their own babies”.
Jealousy is a very natural thing. You can get jealous of your neighbor’s beautiful garden, you can get jealous of your own best friend if he does better in career than you.
Let us look at the reasons for why Dads get jealous of their babies:
1. Lack of Attention:
Before the baby, there is nobody between husband and wife. Wife gave all the attention to her husband and he enjoyed being pampered. This is now the privilege of the new baby. Hence Dad becomes jealous.
2. Taken for Granted
When a baby is born, all the care and attention is automatically diverted to the baby and mother. Although Dad is equally involved in all the cacophony that comes with a new born he doesn’t receive the same attention. He starts feeling that he is been taken for granted. This can lead to jealousy.
3. Parenting Skills
Sometimes dads to new born are pretty handsful. In some countries Dads also get the privilege to cut their baby’s umbilical cord once out of the birth canal. They are great with feeding bottles to baby, cleaning breast pumps, burping babies, diapering etc and also play a major role in helping their wife with postpartum issues by understanding her emotional state and by being supportive. They are sometimes much more skilled than the mother in terms of baby care. Yet they feel as an insecure person when their skills are compared to others and this can make them whacky.
4. Lack of time and intimacy
During and after pregnancy a mother is too occupied with baby. The prolonged breastfeeding sessions and sleepless nights can make her cranky, exhausted and irritated. This is also the time when the husband is expected to pull his socks and play a more supportive role. As a result, the couple begins to lack that quality time for each other. Their intimacy goes down to zero and they are more of a team than just a honeymooning couple. The real intimacy goes missing and Dads can once in a while blame their baby and and feel envious.
5. Its the other Boy
If its a baby boy for you then be ready for some competition. This little boy is definitely invading some areas which were the play areas exclusively for Dads. As funny as it sounds this could be another reason for Dads to feel jealous.
6. Parenting Views
Both mother and father were bought up in different families. Their upbringing will definitely have a role to play in parenting their babies. This could result in conflicting points of view between parents, creating a rift between them resulting in lack of emotional intimacy and egoistic fights. The dad then tends to blame the baby and feel envious.
While Dads are known to pamper their babies more than Mothers, they are also deprived of their share of love, time and company with their wife for a few years after the baby is born. Sometimes men tend to take time to accept this new change in their life and become obsessed about the fact that they are feeling neglected and jealousy becomes their channel for venting.
How can they overcome this jealousy?
1. Mother is also a Wife:
A Mother needs to realize that her husband needs her too. She needs to understand that while she is busy bonding with her baby some one is feeling left out.
2. Going on Dates:
This could take a few months once the baby is born, but if the baby is bottle fed and there is a helping hand at home, the couple should definitely squeeze out some time for a lunch or a dinner date. It gives them some time to reconnect and helps the marriage become more healthy.Dads feel they are wanted and it pepps up their mood.
3. Cuddle Time:
A couple should try to have a cuddle time every night after baby sleeps. This need not be sex but some physical intimacy and caressing can help de stress both husband and wife and their physical distance will no longer be an issue.
4. Appreciation helps
Everyone loves being appreciated for their work. Dads expect that too. When a wife appreciates and acknowledges her husband’s dad duties and rewards him with hugs or kisses, he feels on the top of the world.
5. Dad Bonding
Allowing some exclusive time for Dad and Baby bonding - like bottle feeding or bathing can help Dad bond better with baby and make him feel proud of his role. He will feel accomplished and loved.
It certainly takes a village to raise a child. While a new baby can build bigger and stronger bonds, it can bring the little jealous child out of the Dad. So next time you see your baby’s Dad behaving whacky, give him some sugar !
Also read: New Father: Life After Baby