By Michelle Zunter
On the day my daughter was born we felt relief and joy. She had arrived and she was healthy.
But three days later, my husband lost his job. He was suddenly fired without warning. It was an unexpected blow to our plans.
This time in our lives became the most stressful and anxious we had ever faced together – and with a newborn baby to boot. I still had a portion of my own income coming in while I was on maternity leave but it was not enough.
My husband was exhausted, defeated, and suddenly had to leap into action to find a new job. The high of our daughter’s arrival was overshadowed by the frantic need for money. Our hearts sank. Our morale weakened.
Nights with one or both of us staying up with our new baby added extra fatigue to what was already a tense situation. I could see my husband was starting to feel discouraged and hopeless. Throughout this time I was fighting my own battles with exhaustion and breastfeeding but my husband was also in his own private hell.
This man I married is a phenomenal father to his own son (my stepson) and I knew he’d also be a divine father to our little girl. But he suffered during those early days of my daughter’s life. He battled depression and fear. The pressure of wanting to provide for all of us weighed him down immensely.
Even when you’re part of a two-parent partnership that sense of failure and inadequacy can creep in.
My husband’s desire to be a bread winner for us all was something he felt deeply. In those days and weeks after my daughter was born, he saw himself as a failure – unable to give us what we needed. Nothing I could say to reassure him worked. This was an emotional burden he put on himself.
My point here is simply that mothers are not the only ones out there who put intense pressure on themselves to do and be everything as a parent. There are many dads out there who also feel that sense of desperation when they see themselves as failing for their children or family.