A father-of-three has penned a letter to his childless self about how to be a supportive partner to his wife after having a baby.
Ted Gonder, 29, from Chicago, Illinois, took to Facebook last month to share five things men can do to help their wives postpartum, and his inspiring words have turned him into a viral star.
‘I’m now 29 and have 3 kids with my wife Franziska who carried and birthed them all like a pro,’ he wrote at the start of his post. ‘Here’s what I would tell my childless 24-year-old self about how to be a supportive partner during the “becoming parents” phase.’
Looking back: Ted Gonder, 29, from Chicago, Illinois, took to Facebook to pen a letter to his ‘childless 24-year-old self’ about how to be a supportive partner to his wife postpartum
Party of five: Ted and his wife Franziska have three sons together. They welcomed their youngest child (not pictured) in August
The photo Ted shared along with his message shows him holding his baby in a carrier on his chest, and his first piece of advice was about doing just that.
‘Wifey carried baby IN her belly for 9 months. So you carry baby ON your belly for 9 months every chance you get. Not only does it help her recover but it bonds you to your kid more than imaginable,’ he explained.
Ted’s wife Franziska gave birth to their third child in August, and he went on to share other things men can do to ease the burden that falls on new moms.
‘Wifey is breastfeeding and—while beautiful and fulfilling for her—it’s exhausting. So you change EVERY diaper you can. From diaper #1 onward. You will get over the grossness fast,’ he insisted.
‘And you will prevent imbalances and resentment in the relationship; in fact, when all your wife’s friends are complaining about how absent and unsupportive their husbands are, your wife will be bragging about you.’
In addition to helping take care of the baby, Ted shared a reminder about the importance of tending to your wife’s needs as well.
Wise words: In his post, the father-of-three share five things men can do to help their wives after they give birth
‘Make her the decaf coffee every morning,’ he wrote. ‘Even if she leaves it cold and forgets to drink it most mornings because she falls back asleep while you’re working or (later) taking the kids to school. She was up all night feeding the baby so help start her day in a way that helps her reset.’
Ted stressed that new moms should be told they are beautiful postpartum because it is a time when they are feeling the ‘most self-critical’ and ‘hopeless’ about their bodies.
‘Remind her of times when she achieved goals in the past. Remind her she is a superhero,’ he said. ‘She literally just moved all her organs around and gained 20 kilograms to give you a child that will be a gift to you for the rest of your life. Help her see past her body image issues and stay focused on a positive goal, one day at a time.’
Ted’s final piece of advice was to be understanding when it comes to your partner’s outbursts, no matter how out of line they may seem.
‘Take the heat. Hormones are crazy, both pre and post birth,’ he explained. ‘She won’t seem like herself every day and sometimes she will say things she wouldn’t say if she didn’t feel like she was hungover, caffeinated, and on steroids every day.
‘Remember your job is to be her rock through all of this, so toughen up and keep perspective when her tongue is sharper than you know her best self intends,’ he added.
Good point: Ted said men should carry their baby’s on their bellies every chance they get because their partner’s carried their children for nine months
Support system: ‘Change EVERY diaper you can,’ Ted wrote, insisting: ‘You will get over the grossness fast’
‘Normal will return soon and you want her to be grateful that you kept it together when she wasn’t, not resentful and disappointed that you hijacked her emotions by making her problems yours.’
Ted’s post has struck a chord with many parents, particularly mothers, and it has been shared more than 56,000 times since September 18.
Many women tagged their husbands in the comments section in the hope that they would read Ted’s letter and heed his advice.
Others opened up about how they still resent their partners for not doing enough to help them during such a difficult time in their lives.
‘Well, 30 years married and two great kids (you know one, Madison), I still found myself shedding a tear or two reading this since the resentment due to not getting my needs met exactly as you have outlined is really hard to let go,’ one woman commented. ‘I’m trying. Keep writing and keep leading the pack.’
‘Bless you. I had, well, a husband who did the opposite of all of your advice when my only child was born. I survived but to this day, 8 years later, I carry grief with me around it,’ another wrote. ‘Thank you for showing us all how it is done.’
Double duty: In addition to helping take care of the baby, Ted shared a reminder about the importance of tending to your wife’s needs as well
Advice: Ted stressed that new moms should be told they are beautiful postpartum because it is a time when they are feeling the ‘most self-critical’ and ‘hopeless’ about their bodies
Ted told Good Morning America that he was lucky to be able to spend several weeks on paternity leave, during which he was able to help care for his newborn as well as their one-year-old and four-year-old.
‘Those few weeks provided a chance to reflect on how much I’ve learned on the beautiful battlefield of parenting in the first few years,’ he said.
He explained that it has been hard for him to find ‘good dad advice’ over the years, so he felt inclined to write about what he would tell his younger self.
Ted said most of the comments came from women tagging their male partners to thank them for being ‘their rock,’ though there were those who shared how a lack of support ended up ruining their relationships.
‘I think a lot of people also shared the post because they’re outraged that so many women go through pregnancy, birth, and recovery totally alone when their male partners could be doing more,’ he said.
Unsurprisingly, his wife Franziska was a fan of the post.
‘We’ve talked about many of these points with friends over the past few years, so I think she appreciated me sharing them in writing,’ he said.