To feel like I'm doing this on my own(40 Posts)
I've name-changed as I'm deeply ashamed to admit that I'm struggling so much.
I had a baby 6 weeks ago and I find myself feeling totally alone in parenthood. I'm married to a very considerate, caring man and have a big supportive family so I shouldn't be feeling like this but I just am.
It's culminated tonight as my husband's been working away and just got back yesterday. So he spent yesterday working from home. There wasn't much to do so he took the baby a few times but only when the baby was happy or sleeping, as soon as he started grizzling my husband suddenly had to make a call in the other room, or go to the toilet, or do something, anything other than settle the baby. He's not always like this though and in the first 2 weeks would regularly take him when he was crying.
Last night my husband had the baby, who was awake but happy and content, so I asked if he minded me going to bed (I feel like I have to ask if I'm allowed to leave the baby with him, because it;s my responsibility really). He started making all these passive aggressive comments about how he was tired too (despite being away in a quiet hotel for the last 3 nights getting undisturbed sleep).
I am awake now after getting up every hour since midnight to feed, change or comfort the baby. The last time I changed him I got through 3 nappies as he kept immediately shitting in each new one I put on. Then he pissed all over me and the floor and the changing table, then sicked on his new piss free clothes. All the time grizzling loudly. My husband slept through all of this. At the last shit I just sat down and started crying, covered in baby-piss and leaking milk all over myself. My husband woke to ask if I was ok, but immediately went back to sleep before I could answer. I feel like this just sums it all up - he'll sound very concerned and helpful but when it comes down to it he either can't or won't help me. But he does have to work during the day whereas I'm on maternity so I know that it's my job to do all the night stuff and not his.
I don't even feel like it's me and the baby "in it together", if you know what I mean. Sometimes I look at him and I just see this little alien. It's an awful thing to say about my own son but sometimes he really creeps me out. I do love him and I feel so terrible and guilty for feeling like this but sometimes I just want to be able to give him to my husband and have a night off but I can't.
I know it's not really my husband's fault because he has to work, and he can't feed him or comfort him like I can, and I know it's not my baby's fault for needing feeding or comforting, but I just wish one of them would give me a break. And then I feel horrible for thinking that because I should be able to do this on my own, my mother could, and millions of other women do. Anyway, it's 7am and I haven't slept and I'm rambling.
Thank you for reading, if you got this far.
Good start. And keep on it. Don't feel so grateful for any piece of help that you can't ask for it regularly
The first few months for me was a blur, every day tends to merge together.
Hope you are ok and talk with DH regularly.
Agree that sounds really positive. And the mother and baby groups will give you a great support network of other mums in the same boat.
Well that sounds positive. Keep asking when you need help, and remind yourself and him that things change and what you need of him will change too.
Thanks everyone. I had an honest conversation with him last night and while I still think he didn't quite get it, he was very upset that I hadn't told him sooner.
He took the baby into the spare room last night and fed him EBM while I had a complete night's sleep (of course on this night the baby only woke 3 TIMES!) And hopefully this weekend will be better too.
I do need to get out to parent and baby groups, it's been hard to motivate myself to do anything other than keep us both alive but I will research it today and start going during the week.
"And then I feel horrible for thinking that because I should be able to do this on my own, my mother could, and millions of other women do"
Millions of other mothers suffer in silence and plaster a smile on, and you only find out years later when you meet them at the school gates, that they were finding it very hard too.
He needs to do more at home and moaning about being asked to take the baby occasionally is really, really shitty of him.
Just because you are on maternity leave and he is at work doesn't mean we've gone back to the 1950s.
Tell him to do more useful housework and insist he gives you breaks.
And stop feeling so bloody grateful that he goes to work every day. He's been doing that for years. It's really no big bloody deal.
I felt like this too and I think most mothers probably do.
Have you managed to get out to any postnatal groups at all? I think in a way it's the loneliness that's the killer. The lack of sleep is horrendous, the boredom, frustration and constant demands on your time are terrible but it's the loneliness that really gets you (or got me).
And maybe you could ask your DH to take on some specific tasks that are his alone, e.g. the evening nappy change or whatever it is, so you don't have to be always asking him for help.
I wonder if all the old stuff is weighing you down and you need to talk to someone about that so that you can go ahead rationally and assertively asking, no, telling your DH he needs to do more. Because he does.
I am concerned that all the guilt is weighing you down.
I echo everyone else's comments - the first few weeks are so hard and it can be hard getting your husband fully on board. I do think it is confidence - when I tackled my DH about it he admitted he was worried that I would think he was doing everything wrong as like yours he was full of praise for how I was coping (must have looked better than it felt!), but actually he was lovely with her. Can you try to compliment him (DH) when he is with him (DS)?
I also found that between 8 and 12 weeks things improved dramatically - we had a bit of a routine, we'd kind of got used to each other so I had more confidence, both sleeping better etc. But the big thing for me was that our bond grew as she started to become a little person with smiles and personality. When they're tiny newborns they don't engage much and that can feel pretty unrewarding sometimes.
Keep going, it just gets better from here!
Oh. also. Try not to worry about not feeling overwhelming love for your DS. You have a lifetime to get to know each other.
It's not your job to do everything because you are at home. Knock that one on the head right now.
I felt like this. I actually used to wish I could break my leg or something and go into hospital so someone else would have to look after the baby. I went and registered DS1 on my own just to get away on my own.
And my DH is lovely. But adjusting to not working and feeling alone with the baby and powerless because you feel (misguidedly) that you have no negotiating power because you wanted this and he's working so hard .... And looking after a tiny baby is relentless and nothing like any job you've ever done before.
The guilt is not rational, and might be a sign of mild depression.
It will get better. Ask for help. Share the fact that it's hard for both of you, but it just is harder for you so you must not feel guilty. He gets to go out and be the person he was before he had the baby - no matter how much he dislikes his job. Your world has changed completely and it will take time to adjust
That's all the bad news. But Be kind to yourself and each other and it will get better and better.
If you dont know anyone else with dcs locally can you go to any mother and baby groups? I did a postnatal course at the local children's centre and am now friends with most of the group and they are invaluable support, especially when you are tired and don't have family nearby. It's hard to motivate yourself when you are so tired but it is so worth it. Your health visitor should be able to tell you what's on. I think your dh is probably just like many others in the beginning and you just need an honest chat with him.
I feel for you, OP. These early days are brutal.
Your husband is being a bit of an ass. You have to move past the guilt of wanting the baby more than him. The baby is here and he is the dad, and you're his wife. You deserve time to take a bath FGS!
Please know that we all are in EXACTLY THE SAME SPOT when you have a new baby - it is so hard, and you often feel so alone. I promise you, it will get better and your life will return to a new kind of normalcy.
I don't think many new mothers don't feel like this tbh, my dh was very similar when our first son was born, fast forward almost 6 years we are about to have number 4 I have had a weekend away with the girls every year, and done a residential training course whilst dh had the kids and (sort of) did the housework, you've got to keep communicating, tell him what you need, when baby is a bit older go out for a bit & leave him with milk & the baby, your lives have changed massively & you just need to readjust.
I think the 1st year can be a massive strain on a relationship and definitely was on mine sometimes I felt like I HATED my dh but we worked on it and found a way to enjoy our new reality
Plus never underestimate how much lack of sleep can affect you, there's a reason it's used as torture I promise you once you are getting more sleep you will feel so much better
I don't agree with the comment above that your DP is abusive and a selfish bastard - not sure where they got that from! But he does need to help more so you have to talk to him about how you are feeling. Just because he was initially reluctant to have a baby doesn't make it all your responsibility! He did agree to have one and he needs to help you where you need it. He obviously thinks you are doing a fantastic job and you are. Asking for a bit of help and support doesn't make you a bad mum. We all need this.
It does sound like you wanted this baby so much and have been thinking about how wonderful it would be that you hadn't stopped to think it might be hard work. But again this isn't because you aren't doing a great job, its because babies are hard work! And being exhausted all the time makes it worse.
Please speak to your DP. If he is the great guy you say he is then I am sure he would be gutted to think you are feeling like you do and you haven't said anything to him. I'm sure he will want to do more to help you out.
It sounds like you
Agree with other posters, he is not helping or being useful if he is doing things that are low down on the priority list when there are more pressing jobs to do. Eg clearing out the shed or garage may need doing as its full of crap but if he does that when the floors not been hoovered for ages and there's a sink full of washing up then he's doing what he wants not what is needed.
He needs telling to pull his weight properly. It took a numerous arguments and tears from me before my DH began to pull his weight fully but it was worth the fight.
No, no, no, please don't take what I've said to mean my husband is in any way manipulative or abusive. He's not now, never has been and never will be.
This is why I feel like I'm being totally unreasonable because the majority of the time he does what he can, it's just with him working full time and not being able to do the feeding and somehow sleeping through all the night time grunts and groans I can't help but feel like I'm looking after this baby completely on my own. And the few times he avoids responsibility on the evenings and weekends just feels do much worse than it would do usually because Ive been alone all day 5 days a week every week.
I had a breakdown in Tesco the other day all because I had left my changing bag at home. It was really embarrassing at the time, but I felt so much better afterwards, because i had cried with my mam and told her how i was honestly feeling, and it's totally normal - it doesn't mean I'm not coping, it's just to be expected. And the same goes for you. Your DH/family/friends won't think any less of you if you admit you're finding things hard.
Your DH needs to open his eyes and stop pissing about making bread. If he doesn't realise how selfish that is then you need to tell him. Don't feel as though you need to be 'grateful' to him for anything - you are a team and you should both take an equal share of the load.
Speak to someone in RL today about how you feel.
OK, your H needs a sharp talking to. He is being manipulative and selfish, and you need to either pull him up on it or consider ending the marriage, because if he isn't pulled up, his behaviour will get worse.
He's decided that because you wanted a baby, he gets to slide out of all the domestic tasks he doesn't fancy doing. If he really hadn't wanted a baby, he could have used a condom or refused to have sex. The fact that he is currently earning more money does not make him the boss of the household; a family is a partnership.
Unfortunately, a lot of men only really show their true colours as selfish, abusive arseholes after a baby arrives. Up until then it's been possible to ignore the fact that the man considers himself the important person, that his wishes and needs must always take priority - when a baby comes, suddenly the woman is putting the baby ahead of the man, and a selfish man will start to play up in short order. Some have affairs, some get physically or verbally aggressive, some just refuse to do any domestic work even though they might do a lot of public posturing about what wonderful dads they are.
Yes, your H might be frightened and overwhelmed by the presence of a newborn - you know him better than random internet sprites - and if so, it should help if you tell him clearly what you want him to do. However, if he is a selfish misogynist with a deep-down belief that men are more important than women, telling him what help you need will clarify this, as he will not do what you ask, or do it badly, or insist that you are in the wrong or a bad mother for asking him.
When I had my first son (now 7) I was quite freaked out by him and had many moments of thinking that he wasn't mine - I found it hard to bond with him. I also found it so hard that I once sat down and worked out how many days it would be until he would start school!
All I can say is that it gradually got easier - I got more confident, we settled into a bit of a routine - and the bond just grew and grew. I love him so much it makes my heart ache. And when he started school, I bawled my eyes out .
6 weeks was a peak of awfulness for me, with all 3 children. It will pass.
Just to answer some of the points you've made -
I did have my mum to stay while husband was away and she took the baby away and brought him to me for feeds all through the morning so I could sleep, which was great. I asked her when I was feeling particularly tired to feed him a bottle of expressed breast milk I had in the fridge but she made out it would make him ill somehow so I had to feed him myself.
He does take a bottle of EBM but sometimes still needs the comfort of the breast to fall asleep.
I don't have anyone to help during the day as my family all live a few hours drive away and work full time, and none of my friends have children yet. I think that might be making it harder because I don;t have anyone close to me who's in the same position.
My husband is definitely not under-confident or scared of the baby. While he was on paternity everything was great, he'd often take the baby and settle him, better even than I could. It's since he's gone back to work I feel a bit abandoned and like my husband's baby and household duties have massively decreased and mine have massively increased.
If you feel you cant talk to your dh, write him a letter or text him to tell him how your feeling and what u need him to do. He might not have a clue whats going on some men can be a bit blind
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice. Can't help but cry again as I read them.
I don't feel like I can ask my husband to do any more, for a few reasons. Firstly because he works so hard in a job that he hates purely to pay the rent and the bills while I'm earning next to nothing on maternity pay. Secondly because he didn't really want a baby in the first place. Well he did, but he would rather have waited until we were more financially stable, more settled in our careers, owned our own place etc. I couldn't wait that long so I guess I talked him into it. I still wonder if he's a bit reluctant. But then I feel guilty for thinking that because he IS a wonderful dad who clearly loves his baby. I just want him to help me more. Sometimes he'll sleep with the baby on him in the hour or so before he goes to work (the baby is quieter when he's being cuddled), and occasionally he'll change his nappy before he leaves, but I never get a cup of tea or get the washing up done for me. At the weekends he'll do some domestic jobs but not the ones that actually need doing. He'll spend hours making bread when I actually need him to take the baby while I have a bath, for example. But he is still doing SOMETHING for me so I should be grateful for that. I know there are lots of men who do a lot less than my husband.
I also have a huge amount of guilt for feeling like I'm not finding it all easy and wonderful because I wanted him so much and waited so long for him. I was cornered into a termination while I was at uni and I've never really got over it, despite a year of counselling. Since having my baby I find myself wondering if he looks like the first baby would have looked, and whether I would have coped better or worse back then.
I feel like I can't talk to anyone about this in real life, because people keep telling me what a lovely mother I am and I don't want them to realise that I'm not. All day yesterday my husband kept telling me I was coping brilliantly and how great I was but it just made me feel worse because it's like he's put me up on this pedestal as someone who doesn't need any help and has it all under control and he has no idea how I actually feel. That's my fault too for not talking to him, I know.
I'm sure I'm just tired and it's not as bad as I think it is. And I know that the first 6-8 weeks are hard. I just didn't think I'd feel so alone in it.
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