Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Having a hard time with DP and new baby(65 Posts)
I have been with DP for nearly 5 years, and we have a 4 week old son. I love him dearly, he has many good qualities and has always been very loving to me. We have a great connection and have been very happy. Until I got pregnant.
The pregnancy was planned - we tried for a year with one miscarriage. He did say at the time that he would prefer to wait a few more years but I am older than him and that would make me nearly 40, so we decided to go ahead.
The pregnancy was really tough. I was very sick with hyperemesis. We had no idea it would be like that. We both said during the pregnancy that we couldn't go through that again.
When DS was born, I was hit with severe post natal depression.... I went and stayed with my mum for a few weeks to get help. I am a lot better now, much calmer and in control, and have been back home for a week with DS.
So the problem is: DP is not making any effort to bond with the baby. Since we got home, he has done 2 bottle feeds and 1 nappy. While we were at my mums I kept offering to bring DS over to him to visit, or inviting him to my mums but he wasn't going for it. (15 min drive, I have a car). He is clearly annoyed by the fact that DS sleeping in our room is disturbing his sleep, even though I am getting up with him, but the noises he makes in his sleep and so on are waking up DP.
He doesn't seem to like DS or have any warm feelings for him and yesterday told me if he could go back in time to the decision to have a baby, he wouldn't have him.
I would - I am besotted with DS and want more than the world for him to have a loving daddy.
I could always leave him and move in with my parents - but I don't want to do that. I want us to work as a family. Any suggestions?
Op, I know you are concerned about getting other people involved but something has to give doesn't it? He has to help himself too, what is the alternative for you? Tiptoeing round him, trying to make sure the baby doesn't annoy him in case he gets angry etc etc. that's not going to achieve the future you want. Is he willing to see his gp?
It can take a lot of time for men to bond with their babies. DH is a fiercely proud hands-on dad, but he only really got interaction with DS after the three month mark, when DS was a little more robust and developed. Before that, he would change nappies, bath baby and do whatever was needed, but it was more a case of essential maintenance than "daddy time". Plus DS was a total boob monster and its easy to forget mothers get a helping hand in the bonding department with the extra oxytocin washing around their system from breastfeeding (sorry, OP, not sure how this squares with the PND side.)
You sound like you are doing the right thing with communication and he does sound like he needs to get some outside help - so he can then support you and your DC. If he does not or will not, then you know how likely he is to be a good dad. Good luck and I hope it works out for you.
I am not breastfeeding, I was sorely disappointed that I wasn't able to, and then had to go on medication as well.
I talked to him at the time about putting the baby down and walking away if he ever felt angry like that again, and the next morning he said the anger had not lasted. I believe that he frightened himself as much as me. If he ever has to look after the baby and he feels worried about being on his own, his mum is in the next street and can come over any time.
He is not a violent or abusive person and he will take steps to ensure DS's safety. He is very conscientious about the car seat/ pram straps etc ... may seem like a minor thing but he does care about safety.
OP had a traumatic pregnancy and illness.. & is now a new mum
& women are talking about her DP as if HIS feelings outweigh HERS? As if she has to take on responsibility for his behaviour?
FWIW - when someone's been through the mill and is feeling rotten - you empathise, and you HELP. You do not display behaviour that is bound to make someone feel worse than they already do. That displays lack of character
OP I wouldnt say LTB - especially not now! and its good that your talk with him was productive. Just 1 thing - it would be lovely if he sees baby as 'fun' but since babies aren't always cooing, smiling balls of contentment and are often hard work, then your partner is going to have to deal with the reality of this. For a long time. Thats life.
Aside from that I agree with Offred
The problem is that this person who is supposedly jointly and equally responsible for a vulnerable newborn and loosely required to support the vulnerable mother of said newborn is choosing to opt out of his responsibilities and sulk
He is not doing this because he is a man. That's a view that expresses serious misandry and is quite offensive to me and all the fantastic partners and fathers out there.
These feelings are not uncommon - to me it sounds like the guy vocalised what lots of dads feel. Yes he says he wanted to hurt baby but there is a massive difference between actually harming the baby and thinking angry thoughts. From personal perspective it took me a good few months to bond with both of my kids and I did struggle to keep calm - especially with the one who was difficult at nights. But as they get older, more expressive etc it becomes easier and easier. Lots of men just don't feel a bond with babies, even if they are their own.
DS is still little enough to enjoy skin to skin contact, would your DP consider doing this after a bath?
Using a sling?
It is also not too early to begin reading books to your baby, just simple things like 'the very hungry caterpillar'.
Something that is his 'job' might help at this stage.
From what you say, it looks like he can take care of the baby. He is just choosing not to.
I think he needs to choose if he is there for you and the baby or not at all there. He needs to understand that it's his responsibility too, regardless of bonding. We don't bond with people we don't interact with. End of.
Please read the Reluctant Father and get your DP to read it too. There is lots in there that is relevant to this situation, including talking about 'baby rage' and wanting to throw the baby out of the window, losing his wife and their relationship, the screaming making him crazy, being on edge all the time anticipating the next meltdown, not connecting with the baby and feeling resentful. Yes the father in that was able to keep those thoughts and feelings bottled up and support the mother but not everyone has the same emotional capability. He is incredibly eloquent and that probably helped the situation, many men wouldn't even be able to recognise those feelings let alone write like that.
These feelings are not uncommon and after what you have been through it sounds like you both need support. Yes he needs to be more hands on but he is probably scared to death of what that might bring out in him. Make sure you tell him that these things aren't easy at first that the more you do them, the more natural they feel including just holding a baby.
All my babies loved sleeping on their Dad's chest, they were incredibly settled that way. Would he try that in the evenings, while watching TV? Then you could hopefully nap too.
You are doing brilliantly in such a tough situation. I hope things improve for you soon
Feeling baby rage is completely different.
From what the op said her partner will not interact with their baby at all and because he felt so angry with the baby and that he could not cope with this it was better the op and the baby go and live away from him for weeks. Now they have returned he is wishing the baby had never been born and is on pins being woken up by the baby's breathing at night. Can you really not see the difference between that and the very normal frustration new parents feel?
The problem is yes 'not everyone has the same emotional capability' or motivation but this guy didn't bottle up his feelings he acknowledged them and dealt with them appropriately. If you're dealing with someone who isn't able or motivated to deal with these things appropriately then you and the baby are in danger and it is very silly to think you can have any impact on helping your partner or keeping your baby safe.
I see that he has violent impulses which thankfully he has not acted on. I really think he needs to talk to his gp as from what you've written it sounds like he is suffering from depression. Yes I am very aware I am making a keyboard diagnosis before anyone leaps on me and I absolutely agree that the baby must be protected.
I had urges to hurt my baby when I had pnd (I didn't hurt her, but had the urge)
I met her basic needs because I had to but if someone else was there to do it I wouldnt have.
I ignored her a lot.
I felt no bond.
My experience is not unique and not exclusive to women. Pnd and depression takes many forms but we cannot and should not be afraid of reaching out and telling people we need help. Here is a father describing feelings I have read hundreds of times on mn from new mums, and the advice is always to seek help not pull yourself together you have responsibilities.
I definitely have the ability to keep my baby safe. I am not taking any risks with DSs safety.
I don't know that he has depression... but I will encourage himto see his gp if he doesn't improve.
He did take DS for cuddles while I made dinner last night, and he washed and sterilised all the bottles after the midnight feed. He also asked about what my night feeding routine is so that he can make sure that when he is doing it that he is consistent.
It is baby steps, but at least they are steps in the right direction.
I think he should see a gp anyway.
And make sure these are actual steps, not temporary acts to shut you up.
Hey, so DP has been making more of an effort the last few days. He sent me to bed for a nap yesterday and looked after DS, he fed him and changed nappies. He has been keeping up with the sterilising as well.
I know that there are still a lot of issues but I think with time we will get to where we need to be. I really want us to be a family, but I will always put DS first. I never thought that I would feel the kind of love that I feel for DS, it is amazing.
Hi OP, hope things are still going well for you. It's great to hear that your DP is stepping up.
You sound like a lovely Mum, enjoy your baby
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.