DALLIANCE DIARY: Spare a thought for new fathers

By: CIKU KIMANI-MWANIKI

It is often said that relationships change when the babies come? That is because it is largely true; the little munchkins can ruin a relationship.

Let me explain: couple meets, falls in love, nothing in between them but, well, each other (pun intended). They get married, she gets pregnant, and this is where things get delicate. Most women change during pregnancy. During pregnancy, hormones cause serious changes in a woman’s body.

We really cannot control the hormones at the worst of times. They can make you question the choice of man you married and, unfortunately for the man, hormones don’t lie.

I know of a woman who moved back to her parents’ house because she could not stand the sight of her husband of one year. Luckily, he understood what was happening and waited.

I know of another one who was so in love with her husband when she was pregnant, she wanted to be around him all day. From the visits and calls she made to him, she seemed to have read the “stalker’s manual”.

DAYS GONE WITH THE MATERNITY BILL

You think it can be bad during pregnancy? The after birth can be hell, for lack of a better word. Remember the days you were falling in love and could not get enough of each other? Well, those days tend to go with the maternity bill.

New mothers are full of anxieties. Anxieties about whether they are doing it right, whether the baby is feeding enough, whether the baby will choke if they doze off. The list of worries is endless. She is too tired to pay enough attention to her husband.

In fact, sometimes he becomes an irritant, so he starts looking for things to do outside the house. This could be women, alcohol or work, but what’s for sure is that a man in this situation comes home only to sleep.

That he only comes home only to sleep not just because his wife no longer “sees” him. You know the way we Africans react to newborns. First, your mother-in-law will move in for two weeks, then your own mother will immediately follow for another two weeks – both, by the way, with the intention of fattening you.

In between, your girlfriends, sisters, and sisters-in-law will be visiting. Notice the list does not include the male species, except the mongrel outside that feeds on leftovers. Why? Because the job of taking care of a baby is left to women.

This creates another set of problems for the man. Not only does his wife not give him enough attention, but he no longer has a place in his own house. He simply cannot cope with 10 women every single

NO ATTENTION PAID TO NEW FATHER

Don’t forget these women hardly pay him any attention; it’s all about the baby and the mother. He might even try to invite his friends, but his friends will be ill at ease with shrieking women who are, you guessed it, not paying them any attention.

They also find it uncomfortable to discuss the colour of baby pooh and what it means, whether the baby should be bathed every day or once a week. It’s a hard life for the man, I tell you.

When the constant visitors stop coming, there is the issue of bonding with the baby, and a lot of women insist of sleeping in the same bed with the baby – within reach is always more comforting for the woman. Certainly not a romantic setting.

Many men survive this and reclaim their romantic lives when the children are not so needy, but many also get lost in the process. When things are calmer, the woman will suddenly realise that she does not see her husband enough and accuse him of having changed – that doesn’t he find her attractive anymore.

The man, at this point, is settled in the escape he designed after the baby was born. Canoodling, working, drinking or church. The woman will try to get him back, but it will be an uphill task because once bitten, twice shy.

Spare a thought for the man during and after pregnancy. They, too, are people.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION