The Rage of Imbalance
A psychotherapist friend recently gave us some 'real world' insight into the need for more equal sharing amongst married couples with babies. She says that the minute she sees a new client on her schedule who also happens to be a new mother, she already knows what the main topic will be for their first session. It will be rage at her husband. The implication is that a new mother becomes instantly chained to endless days and nights of sleepless giving, while her husband's life generally goes on as it did before the baby's birth. How would this be different if both parents shared the effects of that huge change more evenly?
The intense rage that a new mother feels exemplifies the very worst of unequal parenting. The baby's arrival switches on a completely different life for the typical mother, her old life gone in the blink of an eye. If her new life isn't exactly what she wants, resentment can build quickly. This is why it is vital for parents-to-be to have discussions about equality expectations as early as possible. No expectant mother or father can fully understand what he/she will be feeling once the baby arrives, but the couple can have these discussions none-the-less. If she's thinking 'he'll be my equal partner' but he's only thinking 'I'm going to enjoy watching her become a mom', trouble is forecast. The ideal time to begin equally shared parenting is the minute your baby is born!