Mamas on Bedrest: This may be the end of my marriage, but…

June 8th, 2011

After much thought, I have decided to write a series of blog posts exploring the impact that my pregnancies had on my husband. Why would I put this on Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond you might ask? Well, I just read a very interesting article by Bruce Linton, Ph.D on called, Fatherhood: How Fatherhood Changes Men and it has really made me realize the profound effect my rocky reproductive years had on my husband. Until I read this article, I would say that I was “casually aware” that my high risk pregnancies and births were traumatic for my husband. But in examining this article and the events that happened in my own family’s life as I was having my children, I see that the impact was far more profound than I imagined. (And truth be told, we are still feeling the fall out!)

My husband is a man of science, a graduate from MIT with a degree in physics. When you consider the definition of  a linear thinker, he is it. He sees life from the perspective of risk management and problem solving. (Those of you who know me and my round about way of thinking may be wondering how we ever got together. I guess opposites really do attract!) If a situation arises, he immediately begins pondering how to solve the problem and be done with it. I like to gnaw on things, discuss them (sometimes ad nauseum) and then gradually work towards a resolution that “feels” right to me. Obviously, these are two very different approaches.

While I was getting pregnant, having complications, miscarrying, having a near emergency c-section with my daughter and learning how to be a mom, I was constantly talking to my mom, my sister, my friends, my mother in law and pretty much any other woman who I could beseech for wisdom. Looking back, I don’t think that my husband talked with anyone except for his father, who died one year after I had my daughter. Since then, from what I can tell, my husband has been trying to sort this fatherhood thing out on his own.

Before reading this article,  I had not given much thought to my husband’s experience of becoming a father; either from the literal sense of me getting pregnant, maintaining the pregnancies and delivering the babies (more on that later!) or from the emotional sense in that as much as my world changed, so did his. But after reading Dr. Linton’s article, I can clearly see areas in which my husband has been profoundly impacted, and yet, I don’t think that he’s had the resources he may need to cope with the situations.

Does your husband have support and resources? Does he have people, men, with whom he can talk, ask questions and glean wisdom about fatherhood? If not, consider bolstering his support network now, while you are pregnant, to help him through. Like motherhood, fatherhood is a journey of untoward events for which there is seldom any warning and most certainly no “how to” manual. We women, being the gregarious beings that we are come together and share news, tales and tips. Guys are rarely like that-at least not in the beginning. According to Dr. Linton, men don’t begin creating a community of fathers until their children become school/activity aged. But I am here to tell you, a lot happens between birth and school! They need support right out of the gate.

So I have decided to really delve into Dr. Linton’s article and look at it from the perspective of my husband’s experience. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll interview my husband and let him share his story. (I’m making no promises here. My husband is my polar opposite, so not much for conversation!) In any event, my hope is that by sharing what happened to me and my husband, I can  help other couples (fathers) who have to cope with high risk pregnancies and a rocky road into fatherhood.

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