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Is my wife right?(21 Posts)
Hi Mumsnet, I'm an expectant father and find myself here looking for opinions from pregnant ladies. Sounds weird... anyway, I'll be as straight as I can be regarding the situation.
My wife and I just had an argument where she was saying she feels alone in this pregnancy. She feels she always has to ask me questions and raise topics about baby whereas I don't talk too much. She is right about that, that's exactly the situation. I've told her I'm excited and apprehensive about fatherhood, both at the same time. She says she doesn't feel that I'm excited. Again, I understand that, because I don't really show it to her. I have been to the first midwife appt. (she's 15 weeks now) and the first scan and both were really amazing and fun for both of us - I'm pretty sure I made that obvious because we did talk quite a bit after both. Especially after the scan, my smile was ear to ear after seeing for myself our bundle of joy .
Tonight though, after this argument, she left the room, and then after 5 minutes she came back in and told me she doesn't want me to be at any more midwife meetings or scans. Obviously she has said this because of how she feels. I was (still am) really upset by this and I'm afraid to say I told her I thought it was disgusting to use our unborn child against me and that she's crossed a boundary I never, ever imagined a mother of my child would cross. Obviously these aren't nice things for me to say, but I can't say I didn't mean it, because I did .
I don't know what to do about this, the issue is so important to us both, but I feel very hurt and as much as I want to forget what she said, I worry about the future. I worry how we will be as parents now.
I'm a very proud person, and that doesn't help me when it comes to showing compassion and forgiveness. Can you give me some advice...
Ok, to give you some perspective, when I was pregnant with my first child I once cried real tears at the checkout in the co-op because I'd gone to buy houmous - just normal houmous - and they only had caramelised onion houmous and I was buying it, even though I didn't like it, because I was craving the proper stuff and it was as close as I could get. Real tears.
Hormone levels in pregnant women are about 200 times higher than normal so there is a lot going on that effects emotions. The argument isn't necessarily any kind of indication of what you'll be like as parents or even what she will feel about it in a day or so. I would say sorry, take the ban from midwife appointments with a pinch of salt and try and reassure her, as much as it takes, that you are excited. There are lots of books for first time dads to be out there. I have no idea how good any of them are but it might be worth taking a look at some to get some perspective.
Not a mum but an auntie to many... And a fair few of my friends daddies have failed to get really excited until baby is born. Or outwardly show it anyway.
Two of them could do no right either throughout pregnancies. Not wanting to jump on the hormone bandwagon but shes bound to feel fragile and extra sensitive. She can also feel stretching, twinges, weird things going on that are probably making her so exited - that you have no idea are happening. So that doesn't help you either.
Sure she'll calm down, maybe she's looking for a reaction. If she's serious, turn up anyway. And if this is a reverse thread, well.... Reverse it! Good luck!
Second time pregnant here. I'm battling to get DH to take time off for scans - I know he's happy and excited about pregnancy but also understand that the same things that make me excited or nervous don't have the same effect on DH and vice versa. He doesn't talk about what worries him but will deliberately not engage as a protective mechanism when he does worry. We've had a few things not go to plan this pregnancy...
As for the argument and stopping you going to any appts - I would say that is partially down to hormones, frustration (not helped by tiredness and hormones) and maybe a little fear of the Unknown? Don't point this out - sit down and let her know you feel the same but you deal with it another way. Just let her know you are there but it's new for you also. On a side note - it is physically,obviously, one sided. It can be awful to feel physically so different, look so different and feel unwell every hour of everyday. This will add to her feeling like its a one sided deal.
It's a tough one. I am a talker- it's how I process things, and my DH shuts downs hen something big happens so he can process in his own way. I've learnt that doesn't mean he is disinterested, he just processes things differently. Some things that he's done that I've found really sweet which maybe you could do for your wife if you feel comfortable:
- He ordered a book (and old poetry book) off Amazon and when it turned up said it was for him to read to my tummy when baby could start hearing.
- Started reading out baby names that he'd looked up on his iPad one evening while we were lying in bed.
- Ordered Commando Dad off Amazon for himself (really good Dad parenting book) and talked to me about things he found interesting.
- Now I'm a bit further along (19 weeks) he likes to see my tummy every evening and have me point out where baby is, if he's not too far back (I've started getting weird little lumps that occasionally poke out) so he can touch baby and say a quick goodnight.
It sounds silly and it kind of is, but it shows me my husband is thinking about the baby sometimes, which is what matters to me. Even just asking her how little one is in the evenings will probably be reassuring to her.
And definitely go to the appointments!
As silly as it sounds make her a cup of tea. Bring her a favourite snack, surprise her with ice cream and cups of tea in bed.
Let her know you love her. She might be worried or tired or feeling sick. Acknowledge what she says without taking it too personally. As it might change again in 24 hours.
This is a bit of a delicate situation, since she's clearly feeling lonely in what is a really different experience for her (physically as well as mentally). Obviously you are feeling some trepidation which is completely normal but I do think you adjust your attitude slightly and be more sensitive about what you say. Don't lie but you can choose to stay silent or phrase in a less offensive way if you know you're going to say something that will really upset her.
She clearly wants you to show your excitement more. Things to help will talk about things that interest you - maybe you're interested in baby names, researching potential cots/prams/nursery ideas, maybe guessing the weight and gender etc. Have you thought of suggesting a joint baby shower or if that doesn't appeal to either of you a short break somewhere for a babymoon or even something simple as an upcoming bbq or picnic?
In terms of showing you're sorry without saying it is often best through the small things - running her a bath, getting her a drink, cooking dinner occasionally, a foot rub or massage, etc. If you want to go for a slightly grander gesture, what about getting her a baby-related present such as a 4d baby scan or a photography session for her bump and you or for after the baby is born?
Most importantly though, express how much you want to go to the next scan as you enjoyed the last one so much (no negativity here). You could also say you're happy to go to as many midwife appointments as you can/she wants you to if you are.
My advice (as a dad) is put yourself away for a while. It's not about you any more. However much she needs you to be there for her and whether it's hormones or you being unreasonable, that's peanuts compared to how much your child will need you to put yourself aside. This is your warm up, if you like. Use this time to learn how to not to make it about you. It's not about "a mother of my child" or how "disgusted" you are or where your "boundaries" are. It's about you learning to have a new role in your new family. And congratulations!
PP hits the nail right on the head.
Pregnancy can be a lonely place, to go through physical and emotional changes that your partner isn't experiencing can be isolating and pretty scary too. If your pride gets in the way of going with her to appointments then she will be actually alone in this. She isn't trying to use your child against you but is upset and trying to convey how she feels.
Good luck OP
All the other posters have it exactly right.
Another practical thing you could do to help: there are loads of apps (like BabyBuddy, or Babycentre have a good one) which will take you through day by day what's happening with the pregnancy; you just put in the due date and it'll tell you today the baby is the size of a grape, or an orange, or a pineapple; today it's growing hands, or developing a spine, or growing ears. This is something I tried (and failed!) to get my partner to do while I was pregnant; I would have loved it if he'd come to me saying 'wow, I just found out that next week the baby will be able to see light through your belly!' or whatever.
For what it's worth, like I think a lot of fathers, it was all very abstract for him while I was pregnant, but as soon as our baby arrived he fell utterly in love and has been brilliant. So if your wife speaks to other mothers (OMG do NOT say this yourself) she may find a lot of them can reassure her that a partner's involvement with the pregnancy doesn't predict his involvement as a father when the baby comes.
Your involvement with the pregnancy, actually, is not about you or the baby - it's for your wife, so that she feels you're doing this as a team.
Currently PG here.
I'm 12+2 so a couple of weeks behind you and your wife.
My hormones are mental.
I'm waking up all the time to wee
My boobs hurt
I sobbed really big body wracking sobs because I couldn't do up my jeans.
My DH, has dropped a jean size through gym usage, is sleeping brilliantly, looks fantastic and has had nothing change for him as far as I feel.
4 weeks ago I bought DH a book. It's called "Commando Dad: Raw recruits"
It's funny and informative.
His attitude may not have changed but I feel like it has if that makes sense? He's actively reading it which makes me feel like he's taking a role, making intelligent comments, asking relevant questions and it may sound silly but him asking stupid shit like "have you managed to eat enough today?" "How are you sleeping" has made me feel like he is massively more involved and is starting to understand.
I didn't really need much, I feel like I needed to see something change in him because my body and life feels like it is going mental. He's also taken to meal planning with me to help with my balance (I'm still just not hungry)
Your wife is pregnant. Therefore she is always right. About everything. You need to know this.
I know of someone who spent the entire second trimester of her pregnancy telling her husband to leave, she knew he wanted to and had become happy with the decision. So he should just go. He was loving and devoted and to this day (happily married and with two children) she has absolutely no idea why she said this but she was completely convinced in her own head that it was what was happening. Pregnancy is bat shit crazy.
Oh god, OP, pregnancy is HARD. it literally makes you crazy, the hormones are AWFUL. Do you remember the first time you suffered unrequited love as a teenager? I felt like that the whole time - mind racing, emotions up and down, utterly isolated. And most pregnant women have trouble sleeping, which makes it even worse. I felt so incredibly stressed out so tired I was dizzy and I couldn't even have a drink to relax. I think you're going to need to just remind yourself that from now until your baby is a few months old your wife is not entirely herself, and cut her some slack. She will probably be unreasonable sometimes and she really can't help it. Swallow your pride and just let her be crazy.
As for her isolation, it's legitimate. Pregnancy, as I've mentioned, is REALLY HARD. You don't ever get to stop thinking about it because it affects everything, and the only thing that really helps is being excited about your baby. So you do that obsessively until everyone is sick of it. I felt exactly like your wife, like it was me going through it alone and my partner was just dreading the baby. Things that really helped for me wrre:
Him reading a book about pregnancy and birth so he understood what I was going through and could have an informed conversation about it. He read "Bump" by Kate Evans. It was so much better when, when I said "oh god close the mayonnaise, the smell!" he understood that oversensitive sense of smell was a pregnancy thing and could say "oh, sorry, are you feeling a bit spewy today" instead of "what the hell, it's just mayonnaise!"
Him taking an interest in choosing a name. It's one of the bits that is almost entirely fun, and you can spend hours on it.
Him coming home with occasional little things for the baby. Actions speak loudest, and buying a little toy, or a wee outfit, or whatever said to me that he was actually thinking of the baby when I wasn't nagging him.
Pregnancy is indeed batshit crazy. I'm 25 weeks, and the amount of bickering and full on arguments I've had with my DP is embarrassing
I started crying in the car yesterday as TripAdvisor wouldn't work. I've assaulted a clothes horse for "being wonky" and thrown my phone at the wall because I accidentally deleted an email.
None of these things I did in 30 years of being alive prior to being pregnant.
My best advice would be to take with a pinch of salt - everytime I've acted like a complete dick I've always calmed down and apologised, but accept your wife may not be able to do that if its not something she would do regularly. Do not dismiss what she is saying (e.g; "you don't mean that" or. "You'll calm down") but do say what she has said has made you feel very sad. Don't interrogate how she's feeling because I can almost promise you she has no idea what's really bothering her, but will say whatever comes to her brain first - so give her space to talk if she wants. If she's horrible or goading you, don't retaliate but say calmly "I'm sorry you feel that way, but you're upsetting me and I don't want to cause you anymore stress right now so I'm going to (insert go for walk, clean up, have a shower etc) to think about what you've said".
Don't know if any of this will help, but congratulations and please don't feel this is now who your wife will remain. Pregnancy is a bloody nightmare
Lots of good advice here, I wish some of you had spoken to my DH in my first pregnancy
Pregnancy is crazy. I sobbed because the radio played the theme tune to Star Trek the next generation which I used to watch as a teenager with my brother. (I am totally not a Trekkie, very far from it). I'm sure that's not the craziest thing I've cried over. Poor DH has had to endure hours where I was ranging mad angry, when we finally talked about it and he asked why I was angry, I burst into tears and genuinely had no idea.
Give her some TLC, offer back rubs, do the laundry and cleaning. Buy her nice food and flowers. Sit and talk to her about how she's feeling. Pregnancy can throw up strange emotions, excitement, hope, fear, terror, joy... All in the space of a few seconds! It can be very worrying and stressful even if everything is normal.
Your wife is pregnant. Therefore she is always right. About everything. You need to know this.
I have never been pregnant but friends, relatives and work colleagues have.
The nearest I have been is bad PMT, in the words of a friend it made her "Want to kill a man on the tube because he was wearing ridiculous socks".
I once had a male housemate ask me what he's done wrong and in all seriousness shouted that he was, "Being a man, viciously and repeatedly".
That's with slightly higher than normal monthly hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy as someone has said is 200 times this.
Plus her body is changing faster than puberty - do you remember how puberty was? She is putting on weight, her bum will be growing in proportion to her bump, smells she used to like now make her puke, food tastes different, you will smell different, maybe not in a way that is conscious and she will just know something isn't quite right, wen it is actually her hormones.
I once changed a pillow case in a cath lab, a nurse then took it off and replaced it, because I hadn't done it right. The rest of us did the, 'pregnant' eye roll.
Maybe this is why I have never had children - I know this stuff.
One last thing DO NOT EVER SAY ANYTHING TO HER ABOUT HORMONES, this is wrong, always, it is never to do with her hormones, it is you who is at fault, always (for the next few months).
Finally if she suddenly wants to decorate in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy try to distract her. You may end up with lime green walls with bright pink streaks.
Sounds like this argument has got a bit out of hand.
First of all, as PPs have mentioned, pregnant women and pure mental.
I once cried while I was pregnant because a sticky label I wanted to use doubled over and got stuck on itself, therefore meaning that it couldn't fulfil it's purpose on planet Earth.
Luckily, DH and my sister were there at the time and as they are used to pregnant women being all batshit bonkers, dried my tears, told me it would be ok, got me some ice-cream and made me have a nice sit down and then gently separated the label so I could use it - curly non sticky edge and all.
What I am trying to say is that your wife will be all over the place emotionally at the moment. The baby consumes her every waking thought and minute because it's in her body - her life has already changed completely whereas yours won't for another 25 weeks or so... She also probably has the underlying worry and stress every day of hoping everything is ok with the baby and just generally worrying. For every one time you think of the baby, she has probably thought about the baby 100 times.
Arguments like this will happen. It's not your wife's fault. I'm not saying it's your fault either. It's just a temporary state of affairs and I am sure you will be great parents.
Try to ask more questions and talk more about the baby, even if it's just making reference to when the baby is here, e.g. summer holidays will be fun when the baby is here - can't wait to take him / her to the beach.
Swallow your pride and make up - she isn't using your unborn child against you - she is hormonal and bonkers. Get her some ice-cream and make friends.
Going a little bit against the others here and I'm sorry if I sound a bit cross, but you sound very like someone I know (not DH!) so I might be projecting here a little.
But you've posted here rather than Relationships as though it's a pregnancy issue, when it actually sounds like there are bigger problems than her being Crazy Pregnant Lady.
She's TOLD you explicitly she needs you to be more communicative and act interested, and all you've said is "Yeah I know I'm haven't done this". Why not?
You've said, "I'm a very proud person, and that doesn't help me when it comes to showing compassion and forgiveness. Can you give me some advice..."
Yes - please please sort yourself out with some counselling or something because dear god, you're going to be a parent.
You're not always going to be right, you're not always going to be recognised as being right even when you are. You don't get to hold on to "your pride" to win fights.
You need to be exceptionally forgiving and loving and teach that child how to be a compassionate person themselves by your example.
Will you instinctively be that mean and "throwing back accusations" when your toddler first throws a tantrum? Or your teenager swears at you? That's not how you communicate well in relationships.
I'm not a huge fan of having everything your wife has said written off as a 'crazy pregnant lady' thing. Your wife has said she feels unsupported in this relationship. If you admit to having been emotionally distant, why do you think your presence is a help to your wife at her medical appointments?
I think it would be good for her to go to some midwife appointments alone, so that she can have an honest chat with the midwife about your relationship, and, if she is feeling down she can talk about that uninhibited by your presence. If the midwife then feels is appropriate, she can help your wife access extra support, which is a good thing.
I hope you manage to find a way forward.
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