Oh god have I damaged DD forever?

(75 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sun 05-May-13 15:44:46

We have an 8 week old DD and it has been tough, no more so than anyone else coping with a newborn but tough.
DH and I have just had a screaming row right in front of her while she cried.
I feel physically sick with guilt.
It was a stupid row, I was trying to sleep after a bad night and DH was 'looking after' her... I know I am being unreasonable but he was not doing a stellar job, she woke up and was crying and for some unknown reason he decided to suddenly sterilise a load of dummies rather than just pour boiling water over one and give it to her to soothe her. I had managed fifteen mins sleep and all I could hear was wailing from the kitchen, he wasn't even talking to her, just waiting for the steriliser to finish. He is a good DH but I think he has no real instinct at the moment for the difficult moments of fatherhood.
I charged downstairs criticising him,I know it was unhelpful but I was just so desperate for a sleep and I couldn't believe he had only managed fifteen mins with her. He obviously felt defensive because he screamed at me which isn't something he normally does. I screamed back and whacked him on the arm sad
I am ashamed of myself and feel sick. Poor little DD she was crying even more.
I always swore we would not row in front of her, my parents did it a lot and it is frightening.
We have a great relationship usually but this is taking its toll. I just want to feel I can rely on him so that I can get the occasional bit of extra sleep, I am struggling with DD in the week as I am so tired.
Have I damaged poor little DD permanently? What can I do to make it ok for her?
DH has taken her off for a walk in pram which I think was the right thing to do to calm us all down
I can't possibly sleep now, I am scared of what impact this has had and am scared we will do it again and frighten her even more.
Sorry for rambling, am in a bit of a state here.

Yeah DH needs some loving and appreciating (and some apologising)

How about a glass of wine for you both.

Babies (and big and bigger kids) go through periods when things are rougher and harder. Often they are about to grow a bunch or learn a new skill. Often you can look back and go 'OH, so THAT's what all that was about!"

emeraldgirl1 Sun 05-May-13 18:49:51

Thanks again everyone. Squirrels, thanks so much for not only your advice today but also on Friday. I am so bad at asking for help in RL, pathologically so, I need everyone to think I am coping brilliantly... I need to get better at asking for support.

Fwiw DH is back now, I have apologised unreservedly for whacking him and we have talked, I do think he felt fed up at being criticised but he knows he shouldn't have yelled at me nevertheless. Things are much calmer, we are cooking dinner together while DD finally sleeps, we had a nice cuddle and played with her together. Also we made sure we changed her together and chatted while we did so. We both told her everything g is fine between us; I hope she understood in her own little way. She is smiley as ever so I feel less wracked with guilt about that at least.

Flappingandflying Sun 05-May-13 19:03:49

Um I think you need to cut yourself some slack. You had a baby eight weeks ago. You are hormonal and gone through the biggest change you can have. Hubby too has also been through a change but they don't really 'get it' in the same way until the babies start doing more and they can be interractive. Then Daddy becomes King and you are reduced to boring old mummy who does the drudgery. You seem to be trying to get it all perfectly right in an effort to compensate for your upbringing. You are on. Hiding to nothing and will make yourself ill. Do the best you can and realise that if 80 percent is ok the other 20 can go hang. You are clearly caring and love your baby. You are going to make mistakes. I remember virtualy throwing flyingboy when a baby at my husband who had just walked in from work, saying 'here's your baby' and legging it out of the house. It was either that or leaving him on a door step! Flyingboy is 18 now. Needless to say he is not scared for life.
You are right i's not good to argue or bicker in front of them but one or two isolated occasions are not going to ruin a baby.

emeraldgirl1 Sun 05-May-13 19:36:25

Thanks so much Flying. I have really appreciated everyone posting. I find MN so great because I struggle so much with always presenting a cheerful and positive face in RL and I can't ask for help or advice even from my best friends. I think I am setting unrealistic goals for myself. I just can't bear to be without my DD at the mo or leave her to anyone else. I thought this was normal at this stage? But maybe it is not? And I am putting too much pressure on myself by 'needing' to do everything. That said it is not easy that DH can't do the night feeds without me needing to at least wake up... I knew this but didn't anticipate the importance of unbroken sleep. I haven't had more than 3 hours unbroken sleep in two months and actually the last 6 weeks of my prsgnancy I never slept through an entire night anyway. I had a c section so recovery has been slower than I thought. I am not moaning, I adore DD and am so lucky. But yes I think I am trying too hard and it is not helping.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 05-May-13 19:58:11

You really do remind me of me!! C section, not expecting the broken sleep, too much pressure on myself.... All of it!!

With hindsight I think, yes it is normal but you do need to take the pressure off yourself needing to do everything. It will get easier once she starts sleeping though a bit longer.

Then you'll find it's a distant but vivid memory that comes racing back to you when you read threads like this one smile

Really really do cut yourself some slack. Realise that you and dh are battling through new and scarey stuff together and that nothing is sooo bad that a quick nap cannot make it better (this last point was so important for me to get...I remember thinking it so many times and so many times it turned out to be true)

McNewPants2013 Sun 05-May-13 20:07:40

Cut your self some slack.

Looking back I can't believe the silly arguments me and she used to have over the simplistic of things.

When DS was about a week old it was over a packet of wet wipes, I couldn't get the packet open and a hell broke loose.

McNewPants2013 Sun 05-May-13 20:08:09

Dh not she

Fairylea Sun 05-May-13 20:16:08

Don't panic.

Dh and I had some of our worst rows in an early baby weeks sleep deprived state. One night springs to mind in particular - dh sitting there at the end of the bed at 4am holding a screaming ds who'd just been sick all over dh, literally dripping down his arms and legs and dh and I bickering over who was going to go and get a bottle for ds. All kinds of shit happens when you're tired and in baby shell shock! ... we look back and laugh about a lot of our rows now. It does get better.

If you can keep talking to each other and allow each other to do things your own way without telling each other what to do then things will be ok. Dh said one of the reasons I annoyed him so much sometimes was because I'd step in and take charge too quickly rather than letting him find his own way. I know it must have been annoying listening to your dh sorting out the dummies like that but I guess he was trying to do the right thing.. it's really tough in the early weeks.

WhiteBirdBlueSky Sun 05-May-13 20:17:57

You sound very critical of your DHs parenting. Having been in this position myself (i.e. the one being criticised) I can say it is very undermining and destructive of the marriage. Please cut him some slack. Unless she is genuinely unsafe in his care then please just let him get on with it, and be happy that he adores her. That one row won't have scarred your DD, but combined with the DV, if unchecked it could do in the long term.

emeraldgirl1 Sun 05-May-13 20:26:15

WhiteBird I haven't intended to undermine him but I can see that this is what i have been doing. Fwiw I have also given him huge boosts and told him he is doing a great job so it is not a permanent state of criticism, only when I get tired and fraught, not saying that maes it ok but I am still being encouraging to him too. He is a lovely dad and we agree on most things. I can be a control freak so I have to watch myself. I don't want to put him off trying.

Fairy lea thank you for making me smile smile and feel a bit less dreadful.

humberthumbert Sun 05-May-13 20:26:28

My two daughters' sleeping patterns and found the clock breast feeding (Sometimes every hour through the night)

God, I yearn to have a newborn and be on maternity. My second used to sleep in 4-5hour chunks! Now at 20 months I'm lucky if we get 2-3 - and c

likeitorlumpit Sun 05-May-13 20:35:14

over reacting a bit , do you remember anything from when you were 8 weeks old ?

emeraldgirl1 Sun 05-May-13 20:40:51

Likeitorlumpit, overreacting is my speciality these days... Lack of sleep and hormones...
I just want to do my best for her and today was not my best.

humberthumbert Sun 05-May-13 20:53:20

Sorry , I lost my earlier message.

I meant to say I understand sleep deprivation. Both my daughters were fed on demand ( which could mean 3-20 times at night) for two years apiece. And they've only ever napped in slings. Most times it's nice and livable with. Part and parcel of small children. Sometimes I resent my husband's easy sleep ( although not often really as he also works night shifts) ! He can never truly feel what it's like to breast feed a rambunctious toddler 10 times a night!

But he is an amazing father -- gone part time to be a sahd while I worm part time, and he brings other talents and kindnesses and mentoring that i lack. If I'd sweated the small stuff let ALONE HIT HIM I'd be controlling his relationship with his daughters and I don't think that's a line you can criosscand go back from. Think about your four year old seeing that.

It's tough, it's an adjustment , sleep deprivation is awful and leads to irritation. But hitting? There are plenty tougher challenges ahead. 8 weeks I is nothing. Newborns just need the breast and you can co sleep or stick them

Don't minimise it with lighthearted language ( whacking fe hitting

I hope you get some sleep . And don 't worry about your daughter, it's your marriage that needs some tll

humberthumbert Sun 05-May-13 20:54:36

Sorry , I lost my earlier message.

I meant to say I understand sleep deprivation. Both my daughters were fed on demand ( which could mean 3-20 times at night) for two years apiece. And they've only ever napped in slings. Most times it's nice and livable with. Part and parcel of small children. Sometimes I resent my husband's easy sleep ( although not often really as he also works night shifts) ! He can never truly feel what it's like to breast feed a rambunctious toddler 10 times a night!

But he is an amazing father -- gone part time to be a sahd while I worm part time, and he brings other talents and kindnesses and mentoring that i lack. If I'd sweated the small stuff let ALONE HIT HIM I'd be controlling his relationship with his daughters and I don't think that's a line you can criosscand go back from. Think about your four year old seeing that.

It's tough, it's an adjustment , sleep deprivation is awful and leads to irritation. But hitting? There are plenty tougher challenges ahead. 8 weeks I is nothing. Newborns just need the breast and you can co sleep or stick them in a wrap

Don't minimise it with lighthearted language ( whacking instead of hitting

I hope you get some sleep . And don 't worry about your daughter, it's your marriage that needs some tlc

humberthumbert Sun 05-May-13 20:57:04

Sorry , I lost my earlier message.

I meant to say I understand sleep deprivation. Both my daughters were fed on demand ( which could mean 3-20 times at night) for two years apiece. And they've only ever napped in slings. Most times it's nice and livable with. Part and parcel of small children. Sometimes I resent my husband's easy sleep ( although not often really as he also works night shifts) ! He can never truly feel what it's like to breast feed a rambunctious toddler 10 times a night!

But he is an amazing father -- gone part time to be a sahd while I worm part time, and he brings other talents and kindnesses and mentoring that i lack. If I'd sweated the small stuff let ALONE HIT HIM I'd be controlling his relationship with his daughters and I don't think that's a line you can criosscand go back from. Think about your four year old seeing that.

It's tough, it's an adjustment , sleep deprivation is awful and leads to irritation. But hitting? There are plenty tougher challenges ahead. 8 weeks I is nothing. Newborns just need the breast and you can co sleep or stick them in a wrap

Don't minimise it with lighthearted language ( whacking instead of hitting

I hope you get some sleep . And don 't worry about your daughter, it's your marriage that needs some tlc

GirlWiththeLionHeart Sun 05-May-13 20:57:38

You're not alone op. just today I had a row with my p infront of my ds while he was crying and upset too sad feel so awful about it. Glad you two have worked it out

humberthumbert Sun 05-May-13 21:00:42

Sorry about the triplicate, wifi issues!

NoSquirrels Sun 05-May-13 21:27:10

I'm glad you and your DH have made up, emerald. I hope that you are tucked up in bed right now and sleeping.

If not, that's what you need to do for the next week at a minimum. Dinner as soon as you can, bedtime for baby, bedtime for you straight away afterwards, possibly after a nice warm bath. Asleep by 9 p.m., giving you at least 5 unbroken hours (if DH does the midnight feed).

And think seriously about getting some help from someone booked in, either DH (annual leave) or friend/relative. If that's really not possible, you still need to be napping when the baby naps. Nothing's more important than sleep!

NoSquirrels Sun 05-May-13 21:31:22

PS On the 'coping brilliantly' thing - I'm really not sure that anyone at all 'copes brilliantly' with first-time newborn days. You can survive them, but unless you have a TON of support around every day then I think you're setting your sights too high! So cut yourself (and your DH) some slack, because if you are coping at all then that's plenty. Leave brilliant for another day. smile

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 05-May-13 21:49:36

Something that works well for me when I'm too tired, stressed or emotional to talk directly to DP about something is writing it down as a letter or email. It gives me time to get out what i want to say without saying something wrong or getting distracted by his reaction.

Be kind to each other. Parenting is hard and its good to know that you're in it together, not working against one another. It can also throw up all sorts of issues that you thought you'dd dealt with, especially if your own childhood wasn't always rosy and idyllic. I'm actually reading a really good book at the moment which is called "When your kids push your buttons" - your DD is too young to be pushing buttons but your Dh isn't smile its about the stuff we overreact to without knowing why, it helps you to identify tgose triggers and defuse them. Maybe when you have a bit more time on your hands!

jamdonut Sun 05-May-13 22:05:27

My DH always did things differently to me,but that is just the way he parents. Its not wrong, just different. And sometimes, babies do have to fit in with what you need to do. In my opinion,you can get too bogged down with being "child centred". But it IS hard with a first baby, a huge learning curve. Please don't beat yourself up about it.

greenformica Sun 05-May-13 22:08:50

Take the experience and learn from it. Decide what you will both do next time there are issues.

It's OK for a child to see adults disagreeing to a certain extent, working out a problem and then making up. I think babies just need to be surrounded by calmness but this one off incident won't impact her.

LaGuardia Sun 05-May-13 22:11:14

The baby won't remember a thing. My DD doesn't remember the screaming row I had with her father when I got home from work to find he had unplugged the slow cooker six hours previously to charge up his fucking phone . I opened to door expecting the gorgeous aroma of coq au vin, and just got a dickhead looking vacantly at me.

LondonNinja Sun 05-May-13 22:53:58

Crumbs, if you have damaged your DD (which you haven't) then there are a lot of others who will have done the same...

Seriously, don't beat yourself up. You could apologise to DH in front of your DD if you will feel better - even though DD won't understand a word of it, she may pick up on the vibes of kindness between you and in your mind at least, it will help?

I am pretty sure that if children see parents apologise and take responsibility for being cross, it helps them to see how to resolve things (as long as it doesn't happen too often). We all lose our rag from time to time - it's only human. Of course, this principle applies to slightly older and much older children in particular, but it can't hurt to start showing them how to hold your hands up and apologise when they're young.

This is a tough time and I send you oodles of sympathy. Sleep deprivation and the overwhelming emotions of new motherhood (and the high expectations we place on ourselves) are not to be underestimated.

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