Joanna Schroeder is fascinated by a CNN writer’s confession of jealousy over her husband’s love of their daughter.
Now, here is a really interesting gender role-reversal!
CNN’s Shanon Cook has written a very honest admission about the first time she experienced jealousy at her husband’s adoration of their newborn baby. From another room, Cook heard her husband call their daughter “Sweetie,” and when she went to answer him, she was shocked:
It turns out I wasn’t the “sweetie” he was talking to. No, the sweetie was our adorable, albeit blobby, projectile-pooping newborn (who, I might add, had no idea what a hippopotamus was).
Well this is new, I thought. After 10 years of being my husband’s No. 1 gal, he’s now trying out my special nickname on our daughter.
And what’s that uncomfortable sensation in my chest? That slight pang followed by a dull ache. Heartburn? No. Could it be … jealousy?
Eventually Cook came to terms with her changing role in their household, and admits to being grateful that her husband is the kind of dad who changes the Diaper Genie and watches their daughter happily while she goes out with her friends.
But without a doubt this is a gender role reversal. Countless movies and television shows feature fathers who eye their sons with suspicion, especially as they suckle at their wives’ breasts. And while my own husband has never admitted to being jealous of our two sons, even when they were nursing, (and my husband isn’t one to hold in his feelings, thankfully) I can deeply understand how the “motherhood constellation” can leave fathers feeling like outsiders.
But I’d never thought about a mom being jealous of the fatherly love and attention her baby might get. Regardless of a certain surprise I felt upon reading Cook’s confession, I think one of the most important things we can do in our society is to talk about what we’re going through, so that people don’t feel alone and ashamed of their experiences in parenthood. Nobody’s perfect, and being a “perfect parent” is as impossible as magically turning oneself into a unicorn. Ultimately, the quest after parental perfection often leaves both moms and dads feeling really isolated in their “icky” feelings.
What do you think? Is it natural for a parent of either sex to feel jealousy over their baby?
Is Shanon Cook’s honesty about her feelings admirable? What reaction do you think the author might get, were the situation reversed, and a father was confessing to feeling jealous of his infant son?
Photo courtesy of cheriejoyful
This post has been edited to correct a misspelling of Ms Cook’s name