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... to feel my DP has just switched off and stopped trying?

(10 Posts)
zuleyka Thu 07-Aug-08 16:40:36

Our son is six weeks old now. For a few weeks after the birth I had the typical PND thoughts inadequacy, hopelessness, regret, paranoia about the baby being harmed, etc; thankfully that is passing now.

But it was all felt a lot worse than it could have been due to a sudden change in my DP's behaviour. He became totally focused on the baby, ignored me or was snappy and hostile towards me. He had been very kind and loving all through the pregnancy, it was such a shock of transition. (We had only been together about 6 months before that, DS unplanned but not unwelcome.)

Now DP is silent and uptight most of the time. My mum came to help out for a few weeks, he was rude and argumentative towards her until she left early. He quit work very suddenly, claiming it was "too much pressure". So i am back to work (from home) already, which is a little stressful, but I don't have much choice.

DP sits fiddling with the computer all day, often with the baby on his lap. Sometimes, when i offer or ask to take the baby DP complains and doesn't want to let him go, which plugs straight into my feelings of inadequacy and lack of bonding, resent for his monopolisation of DS.

I talked with DP about how we would have to share some of the load of housework now that i am working again. He agreed and this lasted for about 2 days. I find myself doing all the shopping, cooking, cleaning up, stocking up on baby things, preparing baths, etc.

Like a mug I am doing everything around the house because the alternative is piles of stinking nappies, rubbish, empty fridge, running out to the late night chemist to get baby supplies. I find it a strain to have to buy and make food all the time, but can't let myself run down the blood sugar and make the tiredness and sadness even worse.

DP is going to language classes, he has his time free, and still does very little to help look after us all. He is great with the baby and helps do the night feeds and I probably don't appreciate that for what it is.

I tell myself that time will pass and things will get better but it seems to get no better day by day. I can deal with the tiredness, inability to relax, slow passing of the depression, the sleep deprivation, but the worst thought is that DP just doesn't really care, that he's just switched off, and no longer seems like the same person. His company is worse than no company at all.

So is he depressed or just lazy and indifferent? How can I get him to help more without nagging or begging? I don't want either to be a martyr or to be selfish. I used to travel a lot, have an entertaining professional life. Now I face a life of drudgery for a man who no longer loves me, for the sake our amazing little boy

takingitasitcomes Thu 07-Aug-08 16:59:50

Oooo..hold up Zuleyka - don't jump to the conclusion that he doesn't love you. He sounds depressed to me, which is not uncommon for men either after a birth. I bet you're both completely exhausted.

Although being rude to your Mum is pretty horrid, it can be tough for anyone to have to share living space with a MIL for more than a night or two at a time, and from the sound of it your dp may not have known your Mum for very long before your ds arrived.

Is he willing to talk at all about what's happening? Try to stay calm and keep the discussion around practical matters to start with. So - point out how many hours you need for work each day, and allocate specific chores to each of you around the house. It is reeeally hard to cope when you're both feeling down at the same time - maybe ask him what he needs from you at the moment to help him get better? I know you probably feel as if you've not got much to give at the moment, but it might just remind him that you still care and want him to be happy.

Not sure any of that will be helpful... but I hope you both feel better soon. I'm really impressed you're starting to come out of your PND despite all this. Good luck smile

bubblagirl Thu 07-Aug-08 17:12:04

it sounds like he may have slight depression there was a big thing that men can get pnd too

its the change of lifestyle my dp was very off with me for a few months after birth we stopped communicating and there was alot of resentment

until we actually both sat down and talked about how we were feeling it didnt clear

can you ask your mum to watch ds for few hours and just talk try to find reasons for his behaviour and explain how its making you feel

but unless you talk you will be thinking all sorts of things in your head without knowing real reason and you will feel so much worse

get ds down to bed early and have dinner and just talk

easier said than done i know but my ds is 3.2 and were still going strong communication is where our faults are it takes a good row to clear the air and were ok but more effort has been made and we do tend to talk more now

first few months are so hard but just make time for each other

TheProvincialLady Thu 07-Aug-08 17:31:55

Oh don't feel too sorry for himhmm YOU are the one who gave birth and had PND. YOU are the one who has had your choices regarding work and looking after your DS taken away from you by his sudden unilateral decision to quit work. YOU are the one doing all the housework as well as working full time. And HE is withholding your baby from you as well as being rude to your family and making no effort to be pleasant to you.

I think you do need to get someone to look after your DS whilst you have a serious talk with your DP about where this is all going. Because depressed or not, his behaviour is unacceptable and he needs to do something about it.

MrsMattie Thu 07-Aug-08 17:35:44

Sounds like he isn't coping with family life very well. I agree with The ProvinicialLady - you need a serious conversation before this situation escalates.

zuleyka Fri 08-Aug-08 09:53:32

dear mums, thankyou for taking the time to write! It really helps just to know We Are Not Alone.

"Try to stay calm and keep the discussion around practical matters to start with" - this makes a ton of sense as part of the problem is it never seems to be a good time to talk. Any discussion of issues is sparked off by frustration, and by then I am already touchy and he is already sulky. So when I have tried talking about "my feelings" DP becomes defensive and it is more "too much pressure" hmm. At least we have been able to talk about how him clinging on to DS unnerves me and DP now seems more aware of that.

Emotional issues and practical ones are kind of interconnected and it is too easy to let discussion of one drift into the other and get caught up in pointless accusations on both sides. But if we can make progress on the practical stuff then the emotional side of things will have to be easier. My mum suggested I hire a cleaner ;) but we can't really justify that and it would feel like papering over the cracks (or mopping over them, anyway)

I am working part-time not full-time thank goodness or I would be going mad!

NotQuiteCockney Fri 08-Aug-08 09:57:12

6 weeks is very early days. Everyone is tired and fractious and stressed. Your lives, and your relationship, have gone through a major change, probably the biggest ever.

Please cut each other, and yourselves some slack, and let the dust settle.

I would ask for help when you can, and try to hold the baby some, if you want to, but please try to not imagine that things will continue as they are now, forever.

Callisto Fri 08-Aug-08 10:09:33

Depressed? He sounds like an immature twat to me. Zuleyka you have my utmost sympathy but my only advice would be to kick him out until he grows up a bit - not terribly helpful I'm afraid. Good luck.

blueshoes Fri 08-Aug-08 10:43:38

zuleyka, it does not sound like normal behaviour at all. I hesitate to use the term 'depression' because I have no personal knowledge of it.

But the sudden shutting down and off sounds like one of my previous boyfriend whom I suspected of depression - I did leave him because he was pushing me away and refusing to discuss anything. I wasn't getting anywhere or did not see how I could ever get to the bottom of it because he had no interest in allowing me to figure him out. I think a lot of it was pride and he was refusing to admit to himself he was depressed as he saw it as a weakness so he turned on me instead.

His mother had depression. And I believe he inherited the tendency.

I appreciate that may not be of any use to you. Your stakes are higher because of your son. At the same time, you owe it to your son to ensure he grows up in a happy and non-toxic environment.

Do you still love dp?

Can anyone shed light on how to make a person kick depression (assuming your dp is depressed) and if so, how likely is it to work and can you wait so long and whether waiting is counterproductive?

I would think that unless you feel this relationship is worth preserving, bearing in mind you only knew dp for 6 months prior, you are as entitled (as everyone else is) to personal happiness and love. Whatever you decide between you and dp, you don't have to break contact between dp and ds.

blueshoes Fri 08-Aug-08 10:47:59

Oh I agree that 6 weeks is early days. But I would keep an eye on things and revisit in a few months. At which point, if there is no improvement, lay down a few ground rules.

Allowing for the upheaval of a baby, there is no need to stay with someone for the sake of your child if he does not support you and treats you in the way you described.

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