Beyond sleep deprivation and the obvious fatigue of having a newborn, being a dad often comes with other hardships, few dads are ever prepared for or warned about. For example, as a sleep-deprived, stressed-out new dad, who didn’t want to leave his wife and newborn for too long, I took meals where he could get them and rarely found time to exercise, get out, or go to the gym. The result? My body suffered the obvious consequences, which included a fair amount of weight gain.
Yes, these changes were temporary, but they could become more permanent unless I made a more conscious effort to eat better, manage my stress, and partner with my wife to ensure we got better sleep and exercise. Thankfully, once we worked together to prioritize our physical health, we both became much healthier and even more energized to take care of our children.
Furthermore, having other men in my life, especially other dads, to hold me accountable and offer encouragement became essential. It’s not always easy to make time for outside friendships, but fighting isolation and maintaining fellowship with godly men, especially other dads who’ve been there, are there, and who are fighting the same battles as you are, can be life-preserving and sanity-saving.
Of course, another change that comes with parenting that few men are ever really prepared for involves the lack of physical intimacy following the birth of our children. For obvious reasons, most new moms have very little interest (or even ability) to be physically intimate with their husbands during their recovery and often beyond. And yet, despite the challenges and frustrations of temporary marital abstinence, God calls upon new dads to again “give up themselves” by shifting their focus from their physical desires to the needs of their newborn and wife.
Very few times in a marriage will a man have an opportunity to serve his wife like the weeks and months after she gives birth. Furthermore, in the absence of physical intimacy, many new dads will grow in their love for their wives by learning to serve and care for them in different ways when sex is off the table. Here, a season of abstinence becomes another way God challenges and sanctifies new dads.
Everything with children comes in seasons, and when it comes to the struggles and hardships you are facing right now, they will likely pass and give birth to new ones tomorrow Learn, therefore, to rely on the daily strength, patience, and peace of the Father. If you haven’t figured it out already, you have limits. God, however, does not. So my encouragement to you, new dad, is to enjoy the moments you have with your newborn right now. They may be difficult and uncertain, but our Father, in His love for you, chose you to be a dad to bless you, strengthen you, and introduce you to an aspect of His love as a Father that you can now appreciate more fully as you delight in your love for your child.
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