The other day I wrote a heartfelt post titled, Dear husband, this is how I really feel when I wait for you to come home. It is about all the emotions I had as a new mum waiting for my husband to get home from work. I shared it on my personal Facebook page and then a friend – a dad – wrote this raw and honest letter to HIS wife in response. Read it to the end, and then give your man a hug. New dads struggle too.
As told to Lana Hallowes.
I understand how you are feeling.
I know you’re exhausted, hormonal and stressed. I wonder if you are suffering from postnatal depression. But how do I ask that? I think I might be too, is that even a thing for new dads?
This is all new, and it’s so hard. How the hell do people do this?
We’re both struggling, surely anyone can see that. Yet we stubbornly keep smiling to our friends and family and do everything except admit it to ourselves or each other.
I’m sorry I’ve said the wrong things
Honestly, the messy house doesn’t bug me that much. I just wish I’d say that instead of blurting out, “What have you even been doing all day?” like an idiot when I get home from work.
I want to tell you that you’re doing an amazing job as a mum, even if you don’t feel like you are. I know you’re giving it everything you can.
You get up to feed our baby every weeknight to spare me doing it because I have to go to work, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what you do. Deep down I know that.
Sleep deprivation is taking its toll
The problem is that when our baby wakes up, you wake up and I wake up. Sometimes I start to doze off when you feed him and then wake up again when you come back to bed. But most nights I just lay there, feeling helpless as I listen to make sure everything is OK, and get up if you need me.
This has been going on for weeks now, sometimes I get to work and fall asleep in the car park with my head slumped on the steering wheel. I can’t even remember the half hour commute it took to get there.
Like you I’m so tired, but I try to be your rock. I try to hold it all together because that’s my job, right? As a father and a husband?
But I’m like a zombie too. I’m just trying to get through the workday without ending up in the boss’ office again, because quite frankly my work performance sucks right now, it has sucked for weeks. I can’t keep up, I’m so far behind, and it all keeps piling up! And the stress just keeps building, there’s so much pressure, I feel like I’m going to crumble beneath it all.
I want you to know …
I don’t know who I am anymore and I miss the vibrant young woman I married. This bundle of joy is all ours, I love him — but f*ck!
I know when I walk through that door you’ll thrust him into my arms with a grunt, scowl or furious silence. He’ll be crying because he feels our stress or is just hungry, tired, colicky, soiled or whatever. I just want to play with a happy baby and kiss my beautiful wife after another shitty day of under-performing and letting my team down.
But I know that’s not going to happen. That’s why I’m sitting in the car, parked around the corner, in the dark. Part of me is dreading going home, part of me is trying to get my shit together to be the rock. Because that’s my job, right?
I want you to know that I love you so much but I’m struggling too.
We need to talk!
If you or your partner is battling depression or anxiety following the birth of your child and you need to talk to someone, help is available for both mums and dads. Your GP is a great start, or you can call the PANDA National Helpline (Mon to Fri, 9am – 7.30pm AEST/AEDT) on 1300 726 306.
Need some support to be the best parent you can be? Our Parent School parent coaching experts can help. Click to find out more or book a one-on-one session.