The (anticipated) delights of being a NGP

I have a million things I’d like to write about (Baby’s two brand new teeth, the horrible cold we’ve endured this week, the constant struggle to get this kid to eat enough to gain weight, etc.). Instead, I’m going to write about how much I’m looking forward to being the Non Gestational Parent.

First, let me say that I LOVE being mommy to this baby girl. I love that she seeks me for comfort, our breastfeeding relationship, how intimately and instinctively I know her and her wants/needs, etc. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love that there are moments when she looks just like me (even though she has blue eyes and blonde hair and I have green/brown, er…grey?). I love glimpsing certain quirks of her personality that I already know and understand because they are oh so familiar. I also love watching her relationship with her Momma, the NGP. I love how funny she thinks Momma is, and how they share a special cuddly and silly dynamic.

But can I say? I cannot WAIT to be the support parent during those first few days, weeks, and months. I cannot wait to NOT have the burden of making sure baby is fed enough, with all the right nutrients, from my boobs every day. I cannot wait to drink coffee or wine everyday and not have to worry about whether it will cause reflux. I cannot wait to offer the support pillow, a glass of water, a snack to my wife when I know she’ll need one because I’ve been there, attached to a kid who is sound asleep and needs sleep as badly as mom needs a stiff drink. I cannot wait to not shoulder the guilt that comes with feeling like the it’s my sole purpose in life to ensure that this child eats, breathes, poops, and sleeps to her maximum potential or I might damage her. To be fair, maybe I’m being overly optimistic and the NGP DOES feel this way. Maybe I’m being short-sided and this is a feature of my personality that will come through even if I don’t birth the next baby. Of course it does not mean I will love a baby that I don’t birth any less, but maybe I’ll be able to just enjoy the ride more. Maybe I’ll be able to have a healthier and more balanced approach to parenting – doing the best you can every day and letting go of the rest.

I’d love to hear the thoughts of others – do you think you feel more responsibility or guilt when you birth versus when you don’t? Do you think this has nothing to do with birth and postpartum hormones and more to do with who we are as parents? Or are there pros and cons to each role, inherently different?

All this to say, I am putting the cart WAY before the horse. We are 1DPO on IUI#4 (first medicated cycle) and the lining was only 6 mm at insem, so I’m not SUPER hopeful for this cycle. However, hopefully in the next few months I’ll get to start experiencing the other role. Even if it’s not as carefree and delightful as I hope, I cannot wait to find out!

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She LOVES her Momma.

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And Momma loves her!

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11 responses

  1. Yes. And no. To all of your thoughts. It’s all the same and totally different to be the NGP for number two after carrying the first. (All from my own experience of course!) I know all the things that would be helpful and useful and supportive, but I have The Needy Toddler who wants my full attention and to nurse all the time because little sister is nursing all the time. So even though I know the things, I feel guilty for not having all the energy and time to DO the things. But. It’s amazing to watch my wife be primary with our little Bee. It’s also a little bittersweet when I can’t sooth her and she just wants her MamaLee. If you can’t tell, I’ve got lots of thoughts and feels on this one.

    • I love hearing your insight from walking this path! I hadn’t considered the toddler aspect as heavily as I should have. I’m sure our daughter will find ways to ensure our attention stays on her too!

      • Yeah, I hadn’t realized quite how much it would impact my ability to support Leah or even bond with the baby in the early days. But I think my ability to focus on Darwin’s needs helped her with the transition tremendously.

  2. She is so beautiful. I love seeing my blogging friends experience the “other side”. If IF we have a second, I’d be carrying again. And the thought of shouldering all of that feeding and comforting responsibility in the first few weeks/months is making me feel like I couldn’t do it again… I hope for you that it is slightly easier as the support parent. You’ll still worry, but it won’t be ON YOU in the same way. The coolest part to me of swapping carrying roles is that you really truly understand what your partner needs and wants. That’s a really special privilege reserved for only a select type of relationship/family. It’s going to be amazing ☺️

    • Aw, thanks! I hope you’re right – the role-reversal brings us closer and doesn’t drive us into hormone-fueled war, hahaha!

      And you can totally do it again, once we all figure out the whole sleep thing 😛

  3. I have similar feelings about fostering/adopting a baby. I’m grateful for the experience of being pregnant and giving birth and breastfeeding, but I’m pretty excited to not do it again. The physical exhaustion and hormone crash were no joke for me!

    • Yes! I have heard this from parents who both birthed and adopted. There is something freeing about parenting without the biological/genetic/gestational responsibility, I think!

  4. So interesting! I’ve been thinking a lot about how to support L after tiny is born, but I don’t think I share the same excitement about not being the breastfeeding parent this time. It’s funny because it certainly wasn’t easy, and there were moments when I felt resentful about being the go to mom so much, but I honestly hasn’t considered some of this. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about how I can be as supportive of her as she was of me with a toddler to care for as well (a toddler I’m still nursing and often getting up with in the night.) I’m sure I’ll be reporting back frequently! I do feel like sharing the experience of gestation and birth with my partner is really lovely and special and makes up for some of the bullshit we deal with on the other end of things.

    • I thought of you when I wrote this and I’m so eager to hear more about how it plays out for you. I love that L was so instinctively supportive of you. My wife, with the best of intentions, didn’t always know how hard/demanding it was. Especially in the early days. Ansel seems to have such a sweet and loving heart that hopefully L will have TWO big supporters in caring for Tiny.

  5. Our plan was ALWAY for me to carry and when i couldn’t my wife stepped up and even during the initial discussions it was totally different thought process and different set of emotions. In a way it’s great bc the pressure is sooo much less. But also there are times i so badly want to take some her disappointedness when she didn’t conceive and her aches and tiredness now but i can’t do anything. Or there are times i don’t even think about it or it seems less real that we’re having a baby. Or she’ll grumble or something will hurt and my 1st question is always “is it the baby?!” And it never is, but she knows what’s going on with her but i don’t. So for me it’s a balance between not really having to engage in the stresses of pregnancy and getting to drink lots of caffiene, but also trying not feel disconnected.
    Also, my wife admits that she’s an asshole. So if i ever do get pregnant, she’ll have more compassion to the process ans the physical and emotional feels that she admits she never would have if she wasn’t currently going through it. It will be interesting to see how the dynamics are once BabyGirl is here

    • I know what you mean about it seeming less real that you’re having a baby. While we’re hot on the pursuit of #2, I sometimes forget which day of the TWW we are on (or that we’re waiting altogether!) and it seems much less tangible when it’s not your body.

      Hahaha, “my wife admits that she’s an asshole.” That is so me. Parenting made me way more compassionate, so hopefully the same will happen for your wife!

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