My name’s Saul and this is my first video diary.

Hi.

Hi.

Hi.

Hey, guys.

How you going?

Hi.   My name’s Roland.

My name’s Marcus.

Russel here.

My name’s Paul.

Welcome to Dadvice, a show about the stresses of becoming a new dad.  This episode is about your relationship.  When you have a child with your partner, things change, and especially at the birthing stage, it’s a very intense, and at times, it can be a traumatic and stressful moment in your life.  But this is the thing.  Maybe some of you have experienced this, but I had a home birth.  Now, it’s a choice.  It’s what my partner did and I supported her, and it went very well, but just between you and me, I haven’t been able to eat in the living room since.

I think the big question I want to throw out to you guys is when you have a baby, things change.  And how are you guys communicating with your partners?

About three weeks ago, it was completely shit-house.  I reckon I went through a bit of a crisis personally.  I was really tired, busy at work and I think it really dropped that this was the rest of my life.  Do you know what I mean?  But we got through it and the way to get through it is we actually started really communicating specifically about how we were feeling and how things were going, and from that point, we’d just turn around and say to each other, Look, I’m really frustrated right now and I need a break, and then, I walk away and that’s okay, or Ellen says to me, I’m done with this.  I need you to take over, or, I’m angry with you because of blah-blah-blah, and our communication is on point.  It’s going really well at the moment.

Lucky you.

When do you have time to talk about parenting?

Well, that’s the thing.  I think that’s something you don’t.  And you’re a team, you know, looking after a child together, but you don’t get much time to talk one-on-one, so, and so, sit down and work out almost like a game plan.  Like, all right.  What are we going to do here? And…

And with your partner as well, like, the way it forces you to, to compromise and to, and to give without gratification.  You know, like, you, the kid has no idea how much of a hard time they’re giving you.  You know, like, last night, you didn’t sleep at all, and you’re like, you’re so frustrated.  But you can’t be frustrated at them, you can’t be frustrated at your partner.  So, you kind of have to, like, let that go, you know what I mean?  So then, that’s a really important process for life, you know?  Like, we don’t, we don’t get taught to, sort of, constantly give without gratification.  So, I think parenting gets you in this cycle which is really good for you.  If you can be open and communicate and, and, and try not to take on those negative things and let them go, then it, it’s a really, like…

And acknowledge when you’re doing well.

Yeah.

Who loves baby monitors?  My wife uses it as a PA system for the whole house, and so, and as on the same frequencies as taxis, and so, I’ll be in the kitchen, she’ll be in the kid’s room and I’ll just hear over the baby monitor, Dave, get the pasta out of the pot, now! I’m like, The pasta. The pasta! Dave, get the washing off the line.  It’s starting to rain. The washing.  The washing! Taxi to the city, four people. Can’t do everything!

The first time you bring the little one home, it’s probably the most stressful week to two weeks of any relationship.

Yep.  Another day, another handful of tantrums, another handful of arguments and fights and frustrations.

And all you both want is the best for your child, but at the same time, like, you, if you, if it’s not working, you start blaming each other and looking at other things.

This morning, my wife and I had a really big fight about nothing and it’s getting pretty tough and pretty repetitive and pretty annoying.  So, yeah.  To be continued, I guess.

For me, when it’s been really challenging.  I’ve found the best thing has been to confide in my partner and deal with that together, and that’s the moments when you can become closer.  I think the biggest mistake would be to try and, and it’s something that men, I think, have a tendency to do of, like, be stoic and, like, I can deal with this.  I’m going to, you know, and I think that’s probably the worst thing.  If you’re co-parenting and you’ve got someone else there, you know, they are, all those challenges and those low ebbs are opportunities to grow together and to, and for both of us.  You know, there’ll be moments where she’s really low and you, you, if you can meet each other in that space…

I think you’ve got to place your trust.  I mentioned before I went through that little crisis.  I got into a pretty dark place.  I think I actually articulated that I felt like I was falling apart.  That’s what I said to my partner.  And we weren’t communicating well, and I, I just went and wrote everything I was thinking down, because you know, when you’re in that sort of headspace, you think of it all, and then when you’re out of it, you can’t remember any of it.  And I just wrote it all down for myself, and she came in and was like, Can I read what you’ve written? And I was like, Geez, ‘cause, you know, stoic role and I don’t want to, you know, seem like I’m not coping.  And she read it and she was just like, I understand how you’re feeling now.  Let’s, let’s talk about it and let’s get it out there and deal with it all. And then, that’s when I realised that I really needed to just trust that when I was vulnerable, that I could just let her know that.

That’s, that’s kind of what I was touching on when we talked earlier on about, I’ve seen us be closer.  You know, we’ve become more of a unit, and I think it’s just that sharing more.  When you’re both really vulnerable, and if you can just come together like that, it certainly helps.

I light a candle, I check the pasta, I set the radio to ABC Classic FM.  I set the table with a separate plate for the garlic bread and wait for you to join me.  But you’re feeding the baby down in the bedroom.  Yes, you’re feeding the baby and there’s nothing I can do when you’re feeding the baby, and I just want to feed you.

Hey, my name’s Rich Watkins and I’m 34 years old.  I’m down here today to shoot a bit of a sexy photoshoot for my wife Libby, who has just given birth to our son, Lachlan.  There’s not a lot of time for yourself and, and your partner after you have a child, and we sort of lost that, you know, that, that spark.

I found it, dude.

[What have we got next?

Karate.

Yeah.  All right.  It’s a bit terrifying doing something like this.

More.  More.  Love it.  Love it.  That’s sexy.  Shit.  Didn’t know you were coming down, but…

Couldn’t miss this.

Libby, she’s a beautiful, beautiful woman.  The love of my life.  You know, you talk about someone completing you and that’s, that’s very true of my wife, Libby.  She’s, I, I wouldn’t have the courage to even go and do something like this if it wasn’t for her.

All right.  I need you to be nice and strong over that stump and mill.

You’re a model.  You’re supposed to move.  Come on, move for me, Rich.  Shake that booty.

Great day, guys.  Really had a lot of fun getting into all the different outfits.

I think the Hugh Hefner outfit is, you know, and the sexy silk robes.

Yeah, I liked Croc Dundee.  He was pretty sexy.

It’s very important too to, you know, to rekindle intimacy.  And of course, after the baby, you’re probably not going to have sex for a while.  You know, it’s like, just one of those things.  But you’ve got to be intimate with one another, and then eventually, you’ve got to find time to have sex and you’ve got to have sex without it being interrupted.  But it is important to have that physical bond.  But you know, I’ve seen this big billboards in town.  Do you want longer lasting sex? Nasal spray technology.  Do you want longer lasting sex?  Do you, No.  I’m 51.  I haven’t got the cardio to support it, okay?  This isn’t sexy.  God, I need an orange.

Post-child,  How’s it been, how’s, how’s it going in the bedroom?

It’s been nonstop.  No.  It’s, look, it’s, after childbirth, it, you know, it takes a backseat.  The backseat.  Because all, all your focus up until then has been on each other, and then, when she’s pregnant, you’re, I was really focused on her and supporting her and helping her through the pregnancy as best I can.  And then, a baby comes along.  First of all, Ellen was not at all interested in me after that at that point and …

‘Cause it’s not about you anymore.

No, I know.  And we, we were really focused on Henry, but then, you know, slowly, as time passes, the mojo comes back a bit.  But it is, it is a hard one, ‘cause, like, if you think about it before.  Like, there’s that thing about beforehand.  It’s, it’s a totally different ballgame.  You go out for dinner, you have drinks, like, you can do it any, all the…

The lead-up’s done.

The lead-up’s done.

Going out, looking nice.  The thing we always laughed about is just like, we were just in trackie pants constantly.  Like, ugg boots, trackie pants, t-shirt with vomit on it.  It’s, like, not a very, like, very great starting point for, like, oooh yeah.  So, but I found it really interesting, ‘cause when that first started to be like, All right.  We’ve passed that time. and we’ve sort of, you know, there was a bit of mojo back in the thing, the hard thing was finding enough time when the baby, the baby, I think this is like …

You’ve got to schedule it.

Well, the baby was like, any time we started, like …

How long do you guys need?

… vibing, the baby would wake up.  And I reckon it’s like a, like a survival instinct where it’s like, I don’t want a sibling just yet, so they go, the baby will just be like, Don’t do that.  No, not yet.

Mackenzie’s sleeping at the moment, and that means there’s no sexy time.

We did a thing where we booked a night away two months in advance, and like, you know, just for two months where we’d kind of look at each other and be like, What are we going to have for dinner that night and what are we going to do and how many drinks are we going to have? and things like that.  We would just constantly be excited.

Hi, Ellen. 

My wife and I want us as a family unit to operate and both of us having an equal share and equal involvement in our daughter’s life.

We need to really sit down and chat about things and about him and about how we work together as a team, because ultimately, we need to work together as a team to raise this little chap.

Dads, head to dadvice.org.au for some invaluable resources that will help you combat your new dad stress.