Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

New parents go dark with happy news

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I just welcomed a baby girl into our lives a few days ago, and we are overjoyed. The delivery was successful with no complications, and the baby is very healthy, but my wife's labor was long and very painful. It will take months for her to recover.

Because it was such an ordeal, during our hospital stay we decided it would be best not to share our happy news until we were home and settled.

However, when I did break the news to my family -- my mother in particular -- the response was not joy but deep hurt that they were being told the news after-the-fact.

From her perspective, I have no excuse for not calling or sending a text immediately upon the baby's arrival.

Was I wrong to wait? How do I convey to my family that it was my decision based on how intense our situation was in the hospital, and not a deliberate act of leaving them out?

-- Distraught New Dad

 

Dear Distraught: Congratulations on the arrival of your new baby. Now it's time to Dad-up and admit that you may have blown it with your folks.

This is a huge and momentous event for you and your wife. It's also a huge event for the people who love you. Grandparents feel honored when they are notified immediately following a birth and can feel equally disrespected and left out when they are not.

Unless doing so would seriously compromise your wife's right to medical privacy, once she was out of the woods, I assume you could have found a moment to text your folks from the hospital: "Baby Sarah was born! We are ecstatic but it was a long and tough delivery. I'll give you a call and send pictures once we get home and settled."

Your "excuse" in not doing so is that you and your wife jointly decided not to notify your family members. As parents and partners, this was your choice -- not an excuse -- and you don't need to justify it. As a parent, one of your jobs now is to find ways to manage your various relationships. This is just the beginning.

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