The funny thing in life is that after a woman has children she changes. Drastically! Sometimes she becomes an unrecognizable women compared to the one she was before giving birth; and although this can be alarming to her husband it is as natural a transformation as spring is to summer. It makes one wonder how exactly husbands change after children. Quite frankly the problem is that often they don’t!
It seems that most husbands still want and need to be first and foremost in their mate’s life. It doesn’t matter how many soiled diapers she has changed, how many times she has been spit up on, how long the baby kept her awake the night before or how badly her breasts are leaking milk- the husband still wants her to be as happy, energized and sexy as she was before having the baby. Many husbands fail to recognize that 9 months of having your body taken over by what feels like an alien; gaining weight in strange places; not being able to paint your toes or wipe yourself properly and experiencing the unusual spreading of your nose and hips can take a toll on a woman. Then of course there is the childbirth – which is adequately called labor because it seems that once it happens a wife becomes enrolled in a 24 hour 7 day a week job that has no end in sight. Sure, having children is wonderful. But if a woman did not change quickly and deeply upon having children she would most likely opt to not take the little bundle of joy home from the hospital. And even if she did, in just a few weeks she would be trying to return it.
For many men, the transformation is not that drastic. Perhaps it can be blamed on the fact that they didn’t have such a long period of time adjusting without a choice to the fact that they were becoming a parent. Perhaps it has something to do with the age old universal and unspoken gender roles that have been handed down since the beginning of time. Or it could be due to the fact that many men feel so left out of the’ pregnancy and delivery process that they don’t quite know what their role is after becoming a father. At any rate, one week after their wife gives birth a man still expects to resume their normal sex life, be able to take weekend golfing adventures with their buddy and still doesn’t see the problem with having a drink at happy hour after a long hard day at the office. (Until they get home at least)!
How husbands change after having children has a lot to do with how demanding their wives are. Some women immediately cut to the chase and not just include their husbands in the daily routine of taking care of the kids; but threaten divorce if they don’t oblige. Other women are happy and content at first to take care of it all themselves and then find years later that their husband is just like another child; leaving their underwear on the floor and their plate at the table after they eat. This of course leads to resentment and is one of those reasons why a woman will just up and leave her husband once the kids are grown. The problem is that it usually blindsides the husband who after all those years never realized he was doing something wrong.
There of course the other types of husbands. How these husbands change after having children is as deep a transformation as what many women automatically go through. They cry at the first sign of the little pink line on the pregnancy test, go to every doctor’s appointment with their wife, never think about passing out during labor and proudly and tearfully cut the cord in the delivery room. When they get home, they begin to cater to their wife- amazed at the incredible gift of life he just gave to them both and finds himself with a renewed appreciation for women and his wife. Even more he gets up for the middle of the night feedings allowing his wife to sleep and takes over the household chores so his wife doesn’t become overwhelmed. As the children grow older he too can handle 3 or 4 kids at a grocery store, remembers to packs lunches and has even learned to match clothes and put hair bows in his daughter’s hair. Many of these husbands are men who never changed a diaper in their life or thought that a child would have such an impact on them. Their wives will eventually complain that the children like their dad better and feel intimidated by his maternal abilities and probably (and secretly) wonder if he is gay. Until a few years pass and they hear horror stories from other mothers they will not know just how great they have it!
Essentially there is a huge difference in the fundamental make up of men and women. Most men are content, happy and comfortable as long as things stay the same. Men are not as affected by the ebb and flow of life and prefer their tidal pool to remain full at all times. Men seem better able to ignore standards and are much less affected by the perception of others or the unspoken laws that govern the world. Women are constantly trying to accomplish and do something expected of them; whereas men, husbands and fathers are able to just be. How they change after children or how they don’t change after having children is probably one of the reasons that fathers are so important in their child’s life. Husbands and fathers give their children permission to ‘come as you are’ and have an innate strength of self confidence that mothers and wives spend a lifetime struggling to get.
It bears wondering whether or not there is so much reason to drastically change after having children. Certainly becoming more responsible and realizing that another life is wholly dependant upon you will stir and shift all people in one way or another- but husbands who become fathers have a deep understanding that the more things change; the more they really stay the same. As many jokes, jabs and punch lines that exist about the gully of differences between a mother and a father- one thing remains the same’ .and that one thing is the man in the husband who becomes a father. It is that man that our children need and who will remain as steady and constant as a river throughout the entire lives of our children’ If you have or know a husband who remains the same; perhaps it is time to count your blessings.