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June 15, 2020

The Blessings – Part 2

by Jonathan Chew

Gratitude, Life Journey, Trust

Ever thought of taking a long leave from work to go on a holiday for a month? I was given the opportunity to do just that, but not the kind of holiday you are thinking of.

I am very grateful to the company for allowing me to have 1-month paternity leave. Not forgetting a splendid team at work who covers for me while I am away.

Had I not joined Zreya, I highly doubt I will be able to get this opportunity. This is because the company saw value in the support a husband can give to his wife and child during the first month post-natal.

Below are the top 3 highlights that describe my “holiday” experience:

1. Post-Natal Depression

It is common for women to experience post-natal depression [1], which my wife was on the verge of it. She was especially nervous during the nights where the baby struggled and cried more during feeding (which we could not decipher why) and multiple attempts to soothe the baby did not work. On top of this, baby wakes up frequently between 1-4 hours for milk resulting in an exhausted wife as she does not get her usual sleep of 6-8 hours per day. Not forgetting her body was going through all sort of changes and recovering from childbirth. At this point, all these overwhelmed my wife which led to her thinking and feeling she is a bad mother who cannot care for the child.

I, as the husband, was there the entire time to ensure my wife does not snap into depression by giving her mental and emotional support. It is important to reassure my wife that she is doing a good job and it is common (I would not use the word normal) to not understand what the baby wants all the time. According to my wife, my presence alone gave her a tremendous amount of comfort and she would have been too terrified and incapable of going through this life-changing period if I was not with her.

2. Post-Natal Massages

Apart from mental support, I was able to provide physical support to my wife. According to studies, post-natal massages benefits include hormone regulation, reduced swelling, better sleep, and improved breastfeeding. Due to the pandemic, we did not opt for a certified post-natal masseuse. So, I had to do it. Of course, I do not hold any certification in this area. I just gave her the massages that I learned from YouTube and breastfeeding class that my wife and I attended previously. My wife mentioned that my massage skills have improved, and it had led her to feel extremely good whenever I massaged her. Priceless massage – her words, not mine.

3. Cleanliness and more

Parents often say that a lot of diapers are needed. So, I knew I had to change a lot of diapers, but I did not expect to change THIS many diapers when I became a father. Changing of diapers frequently is important to avoid rashes despite using anti rash cream that the market offers (try not to use too many products on the baby).

While most babies I know enjoy being in the bath as it calms them down, some struggle when they are not in the bath i.e. undressing and after bathing as they feel cold and insecure. I learnt that having skin-to-skin time with the baby enables the baby to feel calm. Hence, I would hold her close to my body to keep her calm which also doubles up as a good father-daughter bonding time!

Additionally, research demonstrates the benefits of having skin-to-skin between baby and mother [3], such as:

  • Absorb and digest nutrients better
  • Has better body temperature maintenance
  • Cries less often
  • Demonstrate improved weight gain
  • Experience more stable heartbeat and breathing
  • Higher blood oxygen levels
  • Long-term benefits, such as improved brain development and function as well as parental attachment
  • More successful at breastfeeding immediately after birth
  • Spend increased time in the very important deep sleep and quiet alert states
  • Thermoregulation
  • Stronger immune systems

Lastly, doing the laundry and keeping the apartment clean allowed my wife to focus on her recovery in a comfortable and clean environment.

To sum up my “holiday”, it was a truly memorable, priceless, and blessed experience!

[1] Overview Postnatal depression. Published 2018, 10 December.
[2] Postpartum Massage. Published 2015, August.
[3] The importance of skin-to-skin with baby after delivery. By JoLyn Seitz. Published 2017, 18 July.



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