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So you expect gratitude for the sacrifices involved in pregnancy?

(267 Posts)
Noconceptofnormal Thu 20-Feb-20 06:22:06

Do you expect your dh/partner to feel gratitude or at least acknowledge what you've put your body through to produce your children?

Context - have 3dc under 5, youngest a baby only a few months old, so my body has been through the mill. I had difficult pregncies, with severe sickness, have had 3 C sections. Also breast fed all dc for a year, currently breastfeeding last baby, currently have mastitis which is v painful, have also had reoccurring thrush on nipples, again v painful.

On top of this -

- I'm 2 stone overweight and my self esteem is rock bottom (I'm not really overweight, just not in great shape at all, old clothes don't fit etc). I guess this is technically my fault for not being more healthy in this pregnancy, but the sickness was so bad I just ate whatever to get through it, and I really struggle to lose weight whilst breastfeeding. Even with losing weight, my body will never be the same again though.

- I have back problems brought on my the pregnancies, which I guess I'll always have now

- I have quite a severe health problem that basically I haven't been able to treat whilst pregnant / breastfeeding / ttc, as meds are not compatible with these.

All children were much wanted and loved by both of us, so it's not like I pushed him into having children.

AIBU to expect a little bit of gratitude or even acknowledgment about what I've put my body through to give us both these dc? Yes I wanted to be a parent, but he's got to be that without all the personal sacrifice!

Instead of feeling loved and cherished for bearing his children, I just get a sense of contempt that I'm not as physically able as I used to be and mild disgust at not being a size 6 any more. I'm not expecting gushing gratitude, just some sort of acknowledgement that I wouldn't be physically in this situation if I hadn't had our children.

user1480880826 Thu 20-Feb-20 06:26:56

You need to explain all of this to your husband. I think 90% of men don’t consider this stuff.

ItWillBeBetterinAugust Thu 20-Feb-20 06:31:27

Gratitude might be the wrong word, but most definitely acknowledgement!

The rigours and risks and long term consequences of pregnancy are still too much of a taboo in society, and people fall over themselves to play them down with the whole "you're not ill, your pregnant" message. The impact on women of several pregnancies is usually considerable and long term, but a lot of people of both sexes don't appreciate having to acknowledge that and would rather pretend that pregnancy and childbirth are trivial and any problems afterwards are rare, nothing important and the woman's own fault. Obviously this is untrue.

Acknowledgement that you both wanted and planned the babies and biology means its your body that's had to take the considerable hit for this would be entirely appropriate.

Noconceptofnormal Thu 20-Feb-20 06:36:19

Thanks user, when I have said this he's just said well I wanted children, so it was my decision, almost as if I am trying to blame him for the issues I've had.

I'm not blaming him at all, I would do it all again in a heartbeat, they're obviously worth the sacrifices. But my point is that he got the children too, who he adores, without having to do all those things - I know as a man he can't but at the very least acknowledge that without my sacrifices he would have 3 healthy children.

I can see why Americans go in for 'push presents' as it acknowledges what all women goes through to bear children!

OneKeyAtATime Thu 20-Feb-20 06:40:05

I wouldn't expect gratitude as, well it's just the way nature intended it so it's not as if he could have done it himself, but I would certainly not tolerate contempt for the way my body ended up.
Maternity leave on the other hand I would expect gratitude for as that does not have to be all down to the mother.

AJPTaylor Thu 20-Feb-20 06:40:32

Not gratitude no. Not real understanding. But if there had been any hint at all of dissatisfaction I would have handed his balls to him.
Fortunately he loves me as a I am.

Noconceptofnormal Thu 20-Feb-20 06:42:33

Yes I agree itwillbe, there's too much expectation everyone just bounces back, and many women do much better than I have, but a lot of women I know haven't either.

Is also compounded by me being older than I ideally would have liked before we started a family (we were married for 4 years before dc1 came along, it was his decision to wait), maybe I would have bounced back better if I was younger when we'd started a family.

OscarWildesCat Thu 20-Feb-20 06:44:36

I don't think men appreciate all of the changes, you need to talk to him about how you're feeling.

Noconceptofnormal Thu 20-Feb-20 06:45:02

AJP, I guess that is the problem, I don't think he does love me as I am...

ElbasAbsentPenis Thu 20-Feb-20 06:46:23

I don’t think most men see it that way, unfortunately. Many of them feel alienated / left out / mildly revolted by pregnancy & breastfeeding & can’t [be bothered to] consider how it’s actually quite difficult, inconvenient, uncomfortable and often dangerous for women. Also there is nothing quite like the exhaustion of early years parenting to erode every last scrap of gratitude partners have for one another’s sacrifices - there is often just not enough energy and generosity of spirit to go around. I imagine it feels particularly shit if you are struggling with your health. I hope that you feel better soon. flowers

LoveIsLovely Thu 20-Feb-20 06:47:29

I have to say my husband totally seemed to get it. I had bad tearing, a traumatic labour and a horrible time breastfeeding.

He always let me talk about my feelings, did everything for the baby for the first two weeks so I could heal, employed a nanny when he had to go back to work and never so much as mentioned sex while I was healing.

He told me so many times that he was amazed by how much pain I went through and how grateful he was. The first thing he said when our baby was born was "thank you".

So I really don't think it's beyond them to at least acknowledge what we go through.

My husband is not some touchy feely type either.

Pyracantha1 Thu 20-Feb-20 06:48:32

I completely hear you. From personal experience I can tell you that my husband equally does not understand everything that I have been through, the long term impact on my mind and body. He will constantly tell me I'm overweight (size 8-10 pre pregnancy and now 12) and that I need to lose weight.

I don't think it's a man or woman thing. I really think it's about lived experience. If you as an individual have not personally gone through this then understanding it is very difficult. Even my own mother who has had four kids tells me that giving birth and raising kids isn't rocket science and women these days have it easy. Go figure!

LoveIsLovely Thu 20-Feb-20 06:49:14

@ElbasAbsentPenis I'd be really hard pushed to stay in a relationship if I thought my husband was disgusted by any of those things. Left out is even worse, what kind of childish attitude is that? There's no reason for him to feel left out if he actually steps up and gets involved.

Itsonlywords Thu 20-Feb-20 06:49:16

I would not expect gratitude as it isn't like he had the opportunity to offer to take on the pregnancy himself. However, he should be supportive and empathetic.

Noconceptofnormal Thu 20-Feb-20 06:50:42

He told me so many times that he was amazed by how much pain I went through and how grateful he was. The first thing he said when our baby was born was "thank you".

That's so lovely, I would mean everything for him to say thank you (without me having to ask him to).

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Thu 20-Feb-20 06:51:43

I didn't expect gratitude no, because I really wanted to have children so in order to have them I had to go through pregnancy and childbirth.

If I didn't want any of the downsides that go along with it I shouldn't have had children basically. It wasn't my DH fault and I speak as someone who had terrible pregnancies and severe pre eclampsia in both.

mynameiscalypso Thu 20-Feb-20 06:53:06

I agree that gratitude isn't the right word but I'd expect him not to be an arse about it. That said, I presume you also made the active choice to have three children knowing the impact that it had on your body. I have a chronic health condition and I have to go off my meds in pregnancy. As a result of my (one and only) pregnancy, I had a flare up which I will be unlikely to fully recover from and so I definitely won't be having another one.

kayakingmum Thu 20-Feb-20 06:53:10

I didn't know which way to vote. I'm sure he loves you. Some people just aren't very good at empathy. It's probably easier to get it from other women who have been through some if the issues mentioned. Maybe he finds having 3 quite a challenge but can't complain because of everything youv3 been through.

BlodwynBludd Thu 20-Feb-20 06:53:43

I feel the same two hard pregnancies, c sections and breastfeeding has ruined my body and self esteem and this isn't understood by my husband. You aren't alone

LoveIsLovely Thu 20-Feb-20 06:56:53

@Noconceptofnormal I went through a lot of shit boyfriends before I found him. I always ask his mum and dad what they did to make him so decent but they just think he's normal.

He's definitely more empathetic than most men, though he's not big on talking about feelings or anything like that.

He's just very kind, an underrated quality I think. That's why I married him.

stellabelle Thu 20-Feb-20 06:57:18

I didn't see it as a sacrifice, and I didn't expect any gratitude. My DH treated me well before, during and after pregnancy. Sorry but it sounds as if your husband is just a selfish twat and doesn't appreciate you at all - nothing to do with your pregnancies.

ElbasAbsentPenis Thu 20-Feb-20 06:59:23

@LoveIsLovely I agree that a thoughtful, decent man wouldn’t express it. But a lot of men do feel that way (not to mention women whose partners are pregnant). It can be hard to watch your partner’s body change. It can be hard to see other people lavishing attention on them, while you are expected to attend to them selflessly. And if you are getting cold feet about the idea of how your life will change, I should imagine it would be strange if it didn’t cross your mind, if only fleetingly, as the non-pregnant partner, that there is still time to cut and run! I mean, what pregnant woman hasn’t sometimes wished she could escape from it all, at particularly difficult moments? We all have feelings that are selfish and dark and unpleasant; with luck most of us can behave decently regardless. Alas, we don’t get to dictate how other people feel about us. And we don’t always know! I do think if we imagine our partners are live in grateful awe of our miraculous life-giving bodies we are deluding ourselves.

FagAsh Thu 20-Feb-20 06:59:33

My husband listens to me bang on about women rights and what we put ourselves through so yes he is very aware. If I didn’t point out this stuff, he’d have no thought on the matter.

They don’t consider any of this unless it’s pointed out that while they’re sitting around beating their chests over their virility, we can and do end up with permanent issues.

Trahira Thu 20-Feb-20 06:59:54

OP, I think you might benefit from marriage counselling to talk this through in the presence of a third party.

Also - I wonder if you are a SAHM? Is it possible that the lack of respect you are sensing from your DH are related less to the physical changes to your body and more to the mental changes in your role - from someone who he regarded as an equal / professional to someone who is 'just' a mum. Some men really don't appreciate and respect how hard it is to be a SAHM to three very little ones. (If you're not a SAHM ignore that paragraph!)

LolaSmiles Thu 20-Feb-20 07:00:50

Gratitude is the wrong word and strays a little into "but i carried your babies for you" territory and I'm not a fan of holding 'but you didn't give birth' giving birth against men. Appreciation without gushing would be my way of thinking about it.

I think it's reasonable to expect some empathy in times when I feel rubbish about myself and DH is good at reminding me to slow down and take the pressure off. There's an appreciation that birth and caring for babies has a unique toll on a woman,but not regularly reassurance it thanks and praise for having given birth.

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