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IABU - posting here for traffic: new father experiencing post natal type 'baby blues'.

(5 Posts)
Whatsername17 Sun 12-Mar-17 11:40:33

Has anyone else had their dh suffer from this? I think mine might be and I'm not sure what to do to help.
Background:
Well have dd1 who is 5. When she was born I suffered lactation failure and really struggled. Dh stepped in and supported me brilliantly when it all got too much. Dd had colic and cried almost constantly for the first 4 months. We were a tag team and dh was very hands on and never seemed fazed. He was and is a brilliant dad. Dh wanted another baby almost straight away and patiently waited until I was ready. 4 years later we started trying again, it took a little longer. Then i got pg, and dh was over the moon. Talked to my tummy, planned and was really excited. Then we discovered I'd miscarried at a scan. I was forced to have a natural miscarriage as it was Christmas and the hospital was low on staff and insistent that I wait a week and be re-scanned despite it being an obvious mmc. Miscarriage happened at home and was horrific. Dh was devestated as was I. A few months later I got pg again. Dh was so cautious, as was I. Dh distanced himself emotionally from the pregnancy. At 39 weeks i experienced reduced movements leading to induction. Dd2 was born with the cord wrapped around her neck and needed oxygen to start her breathing. It was horrific to witness. We both sobbed hysterically but dd2 was ultimately fine and is now 7 weeks. Breastfeeding worked this time which has been brilliant, but she is a high needs baby. It isn't colic like with dd1, she is just grumpy and likes to be walked around. It's particularly tough during a growth spurt. To me, she is easier than dd1 because she doesn't scream in pain 7am until 7pm. She feeds well and is going up rather than down in centiles. She is fractous in the evenings but generally fine, she is just hard work. Dh isn't coping though. He finds her much harder work than he remembers dd1 being. He keeps saying he feels useless. I hand her over to him but because she cries he gets stressed and I feel I should take her back. He is supportive of me feeding but uses that as the reason that he isn't engaging with her. However, I express so that he can feed and a couple of times I've ended up giving her the feed myself because something he 'needs' to do has suddenly cropped up. He has admitted he is terrified something will happen to her and he is struggling to bond. He's also a bit snappy and wound up. Dd1 gets told off if she interferes too much with dd2, even though she's very gentle and good with her. I think he's struggling to bond and feeling the baby blues. I, on the other hand, am coping much better than I did with dd1. I want to be able to help him but not sure what to do. Dd2 is in the middle of a growth spurt so is really quite grumpy atm. I keep handing her to him as much as possible but I'm not sure if I'm doing more damage when she then cries. Any advice or experience welcome.

FlaminFlamingo99 Sun 12-Mar-17 20:42:42

I'm sorry for your traumatic loss, and you should be very proud of how you managed to try again after that, and now you have a lovely (albeit demanding!) new baby in the family. Grief is a very personal thing, and everyone reacts differently to events, and it would appear that your husband is struggling with something, and it's affecting his relationship with all his family members who love and care for him. I believe it can be common for a man to try to 'be strong' at the time of a terrible situation, as they feel that is what their partner needs them to do - and it can mean they lose touch with their own grief, sidelining it as they feel unable to handle their own grief as well as their partners. It may be that hasn't grieved fully, and that is really important that he seeks help for that when he is able to. He may not want to 'burden' you with his feelings of sadness or fear, in which case I wonder if he could speak to a counsellor. There are many different counsellors with different styles so if one doesn't work for him he has plenty of other options. He needs to be ready to talk to someone and admit he is struggling at bit first, it may take a little while to get there, but the sooner he does, the sooner he will feel like himself again, and from what you have said, he sounds like a great dad to your children, so it would be great to get him enjoying that again. I wish you all the best of luck, and congratulations of the birth of your little one flowers

Whatsername17 Sun 12-Mar-17 20:58:56

Thank you so much for your response and advice and kind words. I will try and gently broach it with him and see if he will talk.flowers

milkjetmum Sun 12-Mar-17 21:05:43

My husband had pnd (or at least was depressed around time of Dd2 birth). With hindsight there were warning signs (he didn't name or interact with bump as he did for dd1).

Was pretty hard when he finally said he didn't love dd2 and thought he never would. We spoke to hv and she prescribed baby class for him. He did it and while it was a chore to him at first I think just the shared experience was important in his recovery.

Dd2 now 3 and rest assured very loved by her dad! I can't pinpoint when he started to 'feel' love but maybe around 2-3 months old?

FATEdestiny Sun 12-Mar-17 21:21:10

My DH struggled following the birth of our fourth child. Much the same circumstances - hands on, involved and very experienced dad of 3
- traumatic missed miscarriage
- struggle to conceive when there never were struggles previously
- both of us emotionally detatched from pregnancy for fear of something going wrong
- traumatic crash csection after 3 natural deliveries.

Plus, on top of all that he took the finger off the ball at work and ended up under lots of work stress.

So some suggestions

- be kind to him

- don't push the baby into him. It's fine for you to take 100% of the responsibility for baby. Especially since you are breastfeeding. He probably is useless with baby (since he cannot breastfeed for comfort or calories), so don't make him feel worse by forcing the issue.

- he can feel more useful by taking full (or most) responsibility for DC1. So let him do her bedtime, take her out, play with her etc.

- just give it time. 2 months is no time at all. Maybe it will take him until 6 months, or 12 months, to bond properly. It will come though.

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