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Over protective husband

(24 Posts)
Jellybeanzy Fri 08-Aug-14 09:55:59

Now I'm pregnant my husband is being so over protective. He won't let me do anything, even the washing. I know it sounds like heaven, having a man that just wants you to put your feet up and do nothing but relax and build a baby but he is getting so stressed and worried and he's getting ill from it, I also find it annoying that I can't do things any more.

He doesn't talk to me about the things that worry him in case I try to help and put me and baby at risk. I can understand it a little more, we had a serious bleed early in the pregnancy and I'm now suffering with PGP.

Is this normal, how do I get him to see that I won't be putting our baby at risk?

ohthegoats Fri 08-Aug-14 10:04:25

Sounds amazing. Yesterday I moved a class load of tables and chairs from one room to another, then in the evening me and the boyfriend moved a washing machine from the garage into the kitchen, then I fitted it. After that we carried all the fittings for a new bathroom into the living room. Nothing like 7+ months pregnant and lugging a bath around a house. Today I'll be doing some decorating of ceilings while standing on a ladder.

Jellybeanzy Fri 08-Aug-14 10:12:40

It isn't, it's frustrating :/

DearDinah Fri 08-Aug-14 10:13:16

Can you ask midwife to have a chat to him, perhaps explain to him that you are grateful he wants to look after you & love him for it, but that you can't spend the whole pregnancy sat in your bum! It would be incredibly boring, plus you need to keep active to be fit for birth.
Explain you won't do anything silly & understand all the risks re. Heavy lifting, promise to save all those chores for him, but light work is fine.
A nice chap you've got there!

WhyOWhyWouldYou Fri 08-Aug-14 10:14:13

Could you speak to your midwife? Get her to talk some sense into into him?

lettertoherms Fri 08-Aug-14 10:16:21

I would second getting him to talk to a midwife, bring up his concerns with him, particularly ask her to talk about the benefits of keeping active during your pregnancy, that it's actually better for baby than you sitting in a darkened room for nine months!

rembrandtsrockchick Fri 08-Aug-14 10:16:45

He will be so worn out that by the time the baby is born he will not be able to help at all!

Annarose2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 10:16:46

In fairness if you've got PGP there's prob not a lot you can do anyway.

Vaccuuming would probably kick it off, and I wouldn't be lugging laundry baskets down the stairs. And tbh, if you are in pain having to squat down to haul stuff in and out of the machine then don't do it.

If he is getting stressed about the pregnancy then perhaps the kindest thing would be to actually put your feet up. Probably as the pregnancy continues and you look more robust, he'll calm down a bit. Mine has calmed down a lot now baby is getting to be medically viable.

ohthegoats Fri 08-Aug-14 10:27:18

I know it's frustrating, sorry - it's like that at my work. I'm a teacher and they won't even let me carry ONE classroom chair. Those little kids chairs. Ridiculous.

I did point out that if I already had kids I'd be carrying one of them around now, but it didn't really wash. I ended up having to be really insistent about it, and get a bit arsey. You'd have to do a lot to actually hurt a foetus, maybe just keep repeating that to him!

squizita Fri 08-Aug-14 10:35:15

No this is not normal. He does need to see someone about this.
Doing normal things is NOT risky to your pregnancy and you need to be very clear whenever he pushes the matter "No. Washing up does not cause disability/miscarriage, I'm perfectly OK to do it." "It's fine, walking to the post box is not medically risky at all, I can do that." etc'. The issue is it is controlling/blaming dressed up as care.

It sounds like he is suffering from anxiety and is transferring this onto controlling you. To put it frankly, my concern is that it could set up a situation where (a) he thinks he has to control what you do with your body (so you are like a child) which could last for years and (b) if you had an emergency and rushed to hospital, he would either torment himself for having failed you or become angry/sullen and 'blame' you.

He cannot handle the fact that pregnancy is risky but that it's kind of 'random' risk and we can only control a little of what we do to protect ourselves.

Various types of domestic abuse often start- even in the nicest previously men- in pregnancy. They see the body of their wife as carrying their child and forget/resent her as a whole person. I don't think this has got that far by any means but it needs addressing. You are a person not an incubator.

To put this in context:
- I'm a recurrent miscarrier with a blood condition. There isn't much I haven't read/asked/investigated about making pregnancy safe. If my DH acted like this I would still hit the roof. Bar obvious risks like extreme sports or smoking/drinking, most normal things are utterly safe to do- evolution!

-I was a small/weak baby and had a relative who was like this for the following 18 years and up to today except I'm a married woman living elsewhere. It was caring on the surface, but as you say a hell day to day. No one nipped it in the bud when I was tiny-but-healthy so it grew until they couldn't change. Challenge it now - you never know your husband could be setting himself up for 18 years of excessive worry and your PFB 18 years of being overprotected.

Jellybeanzy Fri 08-Aug-14 10:37:14

I agree that a lot of things do aggravate my PGP, I try and stick to things that help, sitting still does make it worse. I just want to stop him worrying so much and try talking to me, he's bottling it all up. As rembrandtsrockchick says, he will be useless when baby arrives because he'll either be too ill or too tired.

I think I'll have to mention it to the midwife, I know they're primarily there for mum and baby but they're there for dads too I guess.

Jellybeanzy Fri 08-Aug-14 10:41:14

squizita, I never really saw it like that. I agree though, I guess it is the beginnings of something more serious. I know that when things go wrong he beats himself up about it, goes quiet and it hurts to see him punishing himself like that.

WhyOWhyWouldYou Fri 08-Aug-14 11:10:47

Midwives commonly have to talk some sense into men (sometimes mils and other family members too). Dont worry about it not being part of their job, ultimately by doing it they are helping mom and baby.

squizita Fri 08-Aug-14 11:44:26

jelly Yeah this relative of mine was a PITA for me... but basically created 18 straight years of needless anxiety for themselves! Worry worry worry- and of course I was just annoyed by it as a kid which they must have found confusing/hurtful.

EllaBella220 Fri 08-Aug-14 12:58:41

I don't see anything sinister in it. Some men just don't know how to cope when they see their partner changing shape, in pain and unable to do some things for themselves and they go into overdrive with the protection. I have one of those men. It's great. He knows I can do stuff but he'd rather I didn't. He knows I can do the washing, tidy up and go shopping but when he has the time off work or even before/after work he'll do it all so I don't have to. He takes over all the kids appointments and stuff because he doesn't want me hurrying about or sitting in waiting rooms for hours when I could be at home and visiting friends and just relaxing. I'm lapping it up because we've had 2 children before and I know that once I'm not pregnant anymore his helpfulness is greatly reduced and we just get back to normal of him doing the odd thing around the house and me doing the majority of it and also doing all the appointments with the kids etc. It's not forever and I'm sure once you are back on your feet he will be more than happy to hand over all the chores again.

As for the keeping worries from you, yes, mine does that too but I can tell when he's stressed so I don't badger him to tell me what's going on. I wait til we have some quiet time and then say I can tell that you're stressed and it's worrying me so I'd rather talk it through and we can sort it together. Usually he's relieved to vent and we have a good chat about it and he goes off to deal with it in whatever way we've decided on and that usually sorts it. He won't voluntarily offload to me but he will when he knows I'm not stressed and won't get stressed because of it.

In my experience, it doesn't last and he'll be giving off about having no clean socks again in no time!

squizita Fri 08-Aug-14 13:24:12

Ella not all disfunctional behaviour is 'sinister'. But it is disfunctional and gently challenging it now is important.
What you are describing is someone who knows you can do it but helps (just like right now my DH is hoovering - just to help!) ... OP is talking about silence, anxiety, exaggerated sense of 'risk' in harmless things.
The chores are the same but the situation is different.

EllaBella220 Fri 08-Aug-14 14:24:34

There must be some good books out there about becoming a Dad for the first time and about relationships during pregnancy. I know my partner would not be happy if I asked a midwife to speak to him so I think a book would be a better option. I'm sure there will be some humorous ones he could really enjoy reading and which would hopefully explain that we are pregnant but still able and wanting to do things. Explain to him that sitting around is actually not helping at all and you need to be active and by him NOT telling you his worries and stresses he's actually giving you things to stress about.

Men can really enjoy pregnancy too if they understand it a bit more. It would be lovely if your partner could relax and enjoy it with you. Hopefully you can have a chat with him, get him to read some things and understand your abilities more and THEN if he still seems too over protective and it feels like he;s suffocating you then maybe it IS something to worry about.

squizita Fri 08-Aug-14 14:48:45

My husband preferred reading the medical/factual books designed for the women (Your Pregnancy Week By Week etc' - libraries have loads) rather than those slightly 'dumbed down/funny' for men ones. I think the fact it was the serious stuff for the patient helped him digest and trust it more.

Mind you the dad-book I got was 2nd hand and flawless condition except for an odd, short chapter about why you should't have an affair if your wife can't DTD (!!) which was full of underlines and exclamations ... yikes! Who did those, I wonder?

The only 'man' book he enjoyed was Commando Dad which is more about the baby once born.

GailLondon Fri 08-Aug-14 14:50:19

How can he not 'let' you do things?

He might suggest that you don't do the washing/whatever, but if you want to, and you feel fine, just do it!
He doesn't control you!

dolicapax Fri 08-Aug-14 15:04:57

Squiz I think you are projecting just a little bit. You had a bad experience as a kid, and I'm sorry about that, but perhaps give OP's DH bit of a break here.

I had bleeds in my first pregnancy and DH got himself into all sorts of knots of worry about it. He didn't want me to do anything either. He was fine after he came to an obstetrician appointment with me, and was able to fully understand what was and wasn't a risk for me and the baby.

I second the advice of getting a midwife to talk to him, and additionally buy him this book:

www.bookdepository.com/book/9781905410620?redirected=true&viewCountry=UK&selectCurrency=GBP&gclid=CMfhotjpg8ACFfOhtAodnQkAsQ

It's very funny, but also informative in a non-scary way. The books aimed at women, like 'What to Expect when you are Expecting' are a bit much for those of a nervous disposition. I have still not read the chapters on birth and everything that can go wrong! Giving birth itself was far less daunting than reading them wink

At the moment the poor bloke is in a panic probably because he feels helpless, so is doing the only thing he feels he can, which is everything practical so OP can rest. If he understands what she actually needs, which is healthy exercise, and a life(!) I'm sure he will lighten up.

WhyOWhyWouldYou Fri 08-Aug-14 15:33:55

Ella the midwives dont say youve asked them to talk to dp, to dp. They do it as a general chat about what its like for dads to be and new dads, as though its normal for them to have a chat with all dads to be.

kaykayblue Fri 08-Aug-14 15:41:56

Unless he is physically tying you to a chair, then there is no reason why you have to actually go along with this ridiculous behaviour. Just get up and start doing things. If he tells you to sit down, say "No, I am bored of sitting down. I want and need to do things to stop myself from going insane", if he persists, just say "NO. If you are freaking out about this pregnancy, then we can get you to speak to the midwife, but don't project your anxiety onto me".

You have a pair of legs and your own mind don't you? If you are unhappy with the situation then stop just going along with it!

squizita Fri 08-Aug-14 16:10:20

Doli I actually work with disfunctional, overprotective parents quite a lot of the time.
If you read my post, you'll see I have great sympathy for him: he is clearly very anxious and obsessed with risk. It is NOT the helping that is the worry: it is the psychology behind it.
if the OP's description is correct, he's terrified and he might not snap out of it without someone gently explaining he is making things worse.

You'll also note from my PP I know a fair bit, personally, about high risk pregnancy and anxiety. With my history, I've had a fair bit of input about what is 'to be expected' and what is a bit too far - he does sound unbelievably anxious - more so than would be expected with a recurrent miscarriage situation like mine TBH (and that is based on speaking to, being on forums with, knowing many couples who have each lost 3 or more babies). If he's more worried than these couples, he needs someone to sit him down and say:
-these things are not risky
-you must not act as if they are: it makes your wife upset
-you must trust your wife to look after herself.

I absolutely agree "What to expect when you're expecting" is a dire, fear mongering book which was adapted from the American (litigious and hyper medicalised) culture The book I cited (your pregnancy week by week) is by a leading British consultant who is well known for preventing miscarriage and as a result is very very calm and no nonsense about 'risks' i.e. she just says "not a risk" about pretty much everything that isn't a real risk.

squizita Fri 08-Aug-14 16:11:27

kaykay Yes exactly! The OP needs to be firm now.

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