• Alexis Concetta Montalvo

Space to Parent

Since last writing, I've been navigating so many highs and lows of being a first time mommy. Thankfully, we have been around family more and so leaning on those around us for some support has been truly helpful. With bringing family around, Tim and I have been working on our co-parenting communication, especially in front of others. We both are well-intended and may have the same goal in mind when it comes to caring for William George, but sometimes we have different visions of how to get there.

As some of you know from my previous post, Timothy was WG's primary caretaker for his first week of life. This was because of my COVID diagnosis & 1 week quarantine following my arrival home from the hospital. Even after, my body was still healing from childbirth & Tim was home, so he continued to care for William through the nights and switching off with me through the day. As I slowly emerged from quarantine, I didn't want to overstep the flow my husband and our child had. It was very, very difficult to see my husband intuitively know what was wrong with him, while I had no idea. For a little while, I was disconnected. I would hear the baby cry and think things like, "I don't even know what his cry means right now." It would upset me when he would identify what the baby needed, against my judgement and wind up being correct.

As the weeks went on, the happiness about my birth experience began to whimper away & I began to resent my post-birth experience and the decisions of the doctors. 'If they would've let me keep my baby,' I thought, 'I would know what he needs.' I was even more upset because as information regarding COVID-19 was released, it went against how doctors cared for me. This continues even more as the days go by & the virus becomes more understood.

Tim and I had a conversation about breastfeeding right before Mother's Day. I outright asked how he would support me when I decided to feed the baby in front of both our parents as opposed to giving him a bottle. As I became more confident with navigating my breastfeeding journey, I craved his support, especially in front of non-informed others. We also tried to identify what bothered us as time went on too. I had to name that asking to give a crying baby a bottle, when in fact he was fed and full, was not something that I liked. I recognized that I started to take that personal. Every time Tim would doubt my "mommy-senses" I felt like he wasn't trusting me and what I thought. The battle of "discrediting" each other still exists, but we are aware of it and try to name that we aren't attempting to discredit each other before giving an opinion.

I think the best thing for one another is giving each other space. Space to learn. Space to enjoy WG. Space to parent the way we want to. I know he is a great dad. I trust him. I know he will ask if he needs help. The same is known the other way around. We verbalize to one another when we need a break. But allowing him to be a dad and him allowing me to be a mom, adds to the trust and foundation of our relationship. We signed up for this together and we want each other to be the best parent we could possibly be.

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