Bringing a newborn into the world is a joyous occasion that transforms lives. However, having a newborn baby also brings a maze of challenges that parents navigate during the early days of their baby’s life, from sleepless nights to emotional rollercoasters.
One mother expressed her refusal to pick up her crying newborn baby late at night out of fear she’ll fall asleep.
Just a few weeks after the birth of her daughter, the mom took to Reddit to express her concerns. In the Am I Wrong post, she shared that while rocking her baby back to sleep one night, in the midst of her exhaustion, she almost fell asleep while holding her. The woman now refuses to hold her baby while she’s tired, saying, “Ever since then, I have been terrified to fall asleep and accidentally kill her.”
A few nights later, the baby woke up in the middle of the night crying again. The mom got up to check on her, although she was worn out from pumping milk every three hours, in addition to caring for the baby. She could barely keep her eyes open and knew she didn’t want to risk holding her baby at this level of exhaustion.
After changing her diaper, the mother bottle-fed her, swaddled her and rocked her bassinet for about ten minutes until she fell back asleep. “It broke my heart to hear her cry, and I felt terrible not picking her up,” she expressed.
The mom knew she could have realistically forced herself to stay awake to hold her baby. She said her daughter is small, and being held helps her fall back asleep faster, but she’s afraid she’ll accidentally hurt or suffocate her.
The woman shared how her cousin accidentally killed her child in this exact manner, so this fear has become a huge worry since she began motherhood, and she wants to be extra cautious.
The father called the mom ‘neglectful’ for refusing to pick up their daughter.
The woman’s husband overheard the baby fussing that night, and rather than getting up to help, he grew angry with his wife. The woman tried to explain her concerns, but he continued to pass judgment, calling her “neglectful” and saying she needs to be a “better mother.”
She confessed that she’s already dealing with her own “mom guilt,” and his comments don’t help.
Photo: christinarosepix / Shutterstock
Her husband’s behavior is indicative of an unsupportive and unhelpful partner.
Commenters showed support for the woman, saying her husband needs to step up and help before judging her.
“Your husband heard the baby crying, knew you were exhausted, and rather than helping you he came to criticize you?” one commenter questioned. “He — the person whose body did not just experience nearly a year’s worth of exhausting changes — got angry with you for having a fear based on something traumatic that happened in your family, rather than empathizing and offering assistance?”
“If both parents are in the picture, then BOTH need to contribute to caring for the baby and letting the other care for themselves,” another person commented.
Newborns have erratic sleep patterns, disrupting parents’ sleep cycles, which can lead to irritability, mood swings and an overall sense of fatigue.
While raising a newborn can induce exhaustion and stress for both parents, it’s irrational to judge a mother for following her instincts and doing what she feels is the safest for her child.
In fact, the woman is likely already dealing with a great deal of emotional distress.
For many women, hormonal changes and the physical toll of childbirth can contribute to postpartum blues or more severe conditions like postpartum depression. Coping with these emotional challenges while caring for a newborn adds an extra layer of stress and difficulty.
Parents need to be supportive and strong for each other in order to be strong for their children.
As couples welcome newborns into the world, it’s crucial to establish a strong support system and navigate responsibilities together. Open communication is key. Parents should discuss their roles, share responsibilities and ensure both parents can get enough rest. Some ways to do this include creating a schedule that works for both parents, asking for help when needed and remembering to prioritize self-care and quality time to maintain your well-being.
Parenthood is a journey filled with unpredictability, but navigating this transformative period as a team will help foster a loving and nurturing environment for your growing family.
Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.