This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
My wife is a saint.
No, not just because she puts up with me and allows me to write this blog without any kind of censorship. Although that helps. She was a champ this past week as I went back to work and she was left all alone with Will for the first time. And of course, just like everything else she does, she is excelling at it.
But it’s not easy for her. Specifically, it’s no simple task for her to keep up with Will’s voracious appetite. Basically, he never stops eating. And the last few days he’s been hungry every hour on the hour. And without getting too graphic, when a woman breastfeeds it becomes a matter of supply and demand. And when the demand is hourly, the supply naturally starts to wither. Poor MJ reached the end of her rope Sunday afternoon when quite literally, she had no more to give. Will just screams his bloody head off when he’s hungry and my wife was finally forced to do what she had been avoiding since Will was born: she had to give him formula.
And I tried to tell her it’s not a big deal. After all, many babies are never breastfed and they turn out just fine. But MJ is a perfectionist and she is that way because, well…she hardly ever fails at anything. And despite my reassurances that this was in no way, shape or form a failure, she could not be soothed.
For once, I think I performed my duties as a husband well. Although my first instinct was to say “Relax. You’re crying about nothing,” I just hugged her and told her she’s light years ahead of where most young mothers of a 3-week-old are. It just breaks my heart to see her so upset, because she really is incredible. She doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves and she’s too hard on herself when it comes to things that are out of her control. That’s why although we dads and husbands don’t do much, we need to recognize when it’s our turn to step up and do what we need to do to help moms keep it together.
And on a side note, I’m not sure if it’s the formula we gave Will but he’s been quiet and sleepy ever since. Frankly it’s been a nice change from the blood-curdling screaming fits he’s been displaying the last few nights. I thought about suggesting formula full-time but then I remembered I like all my limbs intact and attached.