What my husband will never understand
Before I had a kid, the things my husband didn’t understand were few and far between. Maybe when it was “that time of the month”, he didn’t understand. Maybe when I had a girls night and all we did was sit around talking, he didn’t get what was so great. Most of the time, I knew he got me. He knows me really well and has always tried really hard to understand me as a woman.
Now enter parenthood….oh my.
What my husband will never understand is what it felt like to grow a baby inside of me.
What my husband will never understand is the loss of self esteem of gaining a zillion pounds and the stretching of our beautiful skin on every square inch of our bodies….especially since our bodies are something we take care of FOR THEM!
What my husband will never understand is how terrified I was of labor. How I laid awake at night wondering what it would be like, would I make it through, could I stand the pain?
What my husband will never understand is how labor could be mindblowing scary, painful, wonderful, and awesome all at the same time. How I felt out of body at times, how I had moments of “oh God, please take me now” alongside of “this is the most incredible experience EVER”.
What my husband will never understand is well, MOTHERHOOD.
I will argue with anyone on any day that says to me that Dads understand what Mothers go through. I don’t care how awesome of a Dad you are, how caring, how thoughtful, how considerate, how many night shifts you take.
What my husband will never understand is breastfeeding. Big boobs, small boobs, sore boobs, bleeding nipples, painful cramps, infections, struggles, nursing strikes, hormones, expectations, rejection….oh and the single-most-important thing, the fact that this ENTIRE relationship with your newborn is based solely on this most important task. Mamas, HOW many hours did we spend breastfeeding in the first few months? No way, they cannot understand it.
What my husband will never understand is how tired I am. Yes, I’m still tired and my son is 2. When breastfeeding depends on me, it’s a big burden to carry. Even if Daddy does some bottlefeeding, I still have to pump. When Daddy says he needs his sleep to work the next day, I’m it. I get the night shift every night. There’s no calling in sick. No calling a sub. No sleeping through it because “I don’t feel like getting up”. We get up, we take care of our babies.
What my husband will never understand is how much I give and give and give and give and give. Some days, I don’t have much left. Sometimes nothing at all. Man, what would it be like to be on the receiving end of that just for a DAY? I wonder where it comes from. Where do I find it in me to give this much every day?
What my husband will never understand is my life-long unbreakable bond with other Moms. We just get it. No words need to be said. There’s an automatic respect and understanding. And yes, we like to sit around and talk about emotional things!
What my husband will never understand is how bad I need to be touched. Spending every single moment of every single day caring for another human being is exhausting. Babies need a lot of physical touch. We’re cuddling, snuggling, wearing them, sleeping with them. We need to be touched too. It’s not all about sex, either. Sometimes we just need soft and gentle touching. We touch and stroke and tickle our babies. We need that too.
Some days I wish my husband understood more of these things. Some of them he will, in time. I’ll get my day of pampering at the spa. And he does touch me! But for the most part, these things are what make Mothers so special. We do them all without expectation of a prize, without acknowledgment, without reward. We do them regardless of what others do. We do them because it’s our innate desire to be Mothers and take care of our children. We do it the best way we can. We give all that we know how to give. We come up short and then get back up to try again. We support each other and offer advice while encouraging that we’ll get through.
What husbands and dads don’t understand, ALL MOTHERS DO. And that at least gives me some comfort.