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Pregnant and husband doesn't think he can be a parent

(68 Posts)
runningbunny Sun 10-Jun-18 08:36:23

Sorry for the long post sad Has anyone been in this situation before?
I've found out I am pregnant and my husband has took the news badly, saying he doesn't think he can be a parent, not suited to it, that he doesn't want to disappoint me, and that he is very unhappy with the news.
Says he was very happy with me and it seems he has gone along with not using protection because he knew I wanted to have a child but now I'm pregnant he didn't realise how he would feel. Yes he thought about what could happen as we weren't preventing pregnancy but no he didn't think he'd feel like he does now.

We've been in this situation before that led to a termination (we didn't feel ready, it had been a one-off 'oops') and then again when having not been using any means of birth control I became pregnant, he seemed whilst not overjoyed accepting, but then I had a missed miscarriage.

We'd had some discussions around having a family, instigated by me 3 years ago. Husband started off by saying he wasn't averse to the idea, think of all the fun we could have trying. But that it was a no for then but to think of again in time maybe a year or so.

When I asked to talk more to plan our future, he blew up - saying having a child clearly more important to me than him, what if he says no will I resent him, and was I unhappy with him without children (not so). I told him i was happy with him and that to me having a family with him was a way of enhancing our love, not because I'm unhappy with just him!

He said he could not remember me saying before the termination that I wanted to get our life circumstances sorted get married then have a family. That hurt, he has "forgotten" this.

Fast forward and we stop using condoms - no discussion, he stopped using them (no we didn't discuss, we are clearly crap commmunicators). presumed he was making his intentions known by his actions. Now he is telling me it was because he knows it's what I wanted - and look where it's got us!

After the miscarriage, husband was so lovely and said we would have coped with having the child and he was sorry how it had turned out.

However before the miscarriage when booking the scan he had started to panic and was saying more or less what he is saying now about feeling inadequate to be a parent.

My due date and miscarriage dates went without comment: I accept I never asked for emotional support, and neither was any offered.

Now, I've only just missed my period and am devastated. We're not speaking apart from what's been said, he is physically distant from me. I've been scared to tell him I'm pregnant because of past reactions.
He was shocked yesterday when I told him but hugged me, asked me to talk to him, asked how I felt about it. I told him I was a bit scared and that it feels different because of the miscarriage - it was a very sudden and heavy loss that was traumatic, this makes me feel like something could go wrong at any point from now on this time and I want to feel prepared in case it does.
However within a few hours he became cold and distant.

I don't know where we go from here, whether he will come round with time, whether our 17 year relationship (I cry typing this, 17 years and it's come to this, not communicating and trying to please each other but failing.

Scarydinosaurs Sun 10-Jun-18 08:40:59

Is there a reason for his fears about inadequacy as a parent?

shakeyourcaboose Sun 10-Jun-18 08:45:05

Oh bunny am so sorry, you must be all over the place. I have no advice but flowers for you and as ever those with good advice will be along very soon.

differentnameforthis Sun 10-Jun-18 08:47:38

Sorry, but it sounds like he wants all the fun of trying, with none of the commitment.

Op, what do YOU want? Not your dh, YOU?

runningbunny Sun 10-Jun-18 08:47:47

Scarydinosaurs he just says he is unsuited, he can't handle being responsible for a child, and that he knows I will be disappointed in him no matter what. He says nothing has happened in his past to make him feel this way.
thank you all xxx

runningbunny Sun 10-Jun-18 08:49:12

differentnameforthis I want to share our baby with love with my husband, but this isn't what he wants or that he fears he is not good up to the task and he just wants an easy life - like you say all the fun of trying, no commitment.

FermatsTheorem Sun 10-Jun-18 08:50:41

What I'm hearing is that he's happy to enjoy having sex without condoms and expects you to have repeated abortions to save him from the consequences of unprotected sex.

I strongly disagree with PP about wasting your time analysing why he feels this way. What is going on in his head doesn't actually matter. What matters is that (a) he's behaving like a selfish prick and (b) telling you through that behaviour that regardless of the words coming out of his mouth, in actual fact he has no intention of becoming a father, ever. Even if you do go ahead with the pregnancy, I'd put money on him swanning off into the sunset and never being heard from again.

So - you have two choices to make, for you, without regard to the Peter Pan you've found yourself tied to. Do you want this particular pregnancy to continue, even if that means becoming a single parent? And if the answer to that is no, do you want to stay with this man long term even if that means no children ever?

Bluebirdsky Sun 10-Jun-18 08:53:23

Congratulations on your pregnancy and so sorry that you are going through this. As @Scarydinosaurs has said it sounds like he has some deep rooted issues around parenthood and his ability to be a father, could this come from his own experiences? I.e his own parents/family situation etc.?

It sounds like you two really need to try and sit down and talk and have some honest and frank conversations with each other. The longer the lack of communicating goes on for the more damage it's likely to do to your relationship and the harder it will be to talk.

PeoniesandPretties Sun 10-Jun-18 08:53:44

Op you sound like you want and have enough love for this baby so why not go it without him, many others do and this could be the kick up the backside he needs. Pregnancy is hard, you need support, you won't have the time nor energy to massage his needs of inadequacy. Good luck with what ever you decide.

OrdinaryGirl Sun 10-Jun-18 08:55:11

First of all, so sorry you're having these problems OP. It sounds really miserable. And sorry to hear about your miscarriage.sad

I really believe having a baby is like putting a bomb under your relationship. Whether it's a good or bad relationship, the demands and struggle and sleep deprivation and the way maternity leave often feels like sudden polarisation into 'traditional' type roles where previously both had been working full-time in jobs...all this puts an absolutely crushing pressure on a couple, even when the baby is a much-wanted one.

If one party is ambivalent or reluctant about becoming a parent, this pressure is increased a hundredfold.

It seems like it could be helpful to consider going to Relate or other counselling service to help you both work through your respective feelings about the baby, your relationship and your options going forward.

The evidence suggests you aren't going to be able to pick through all these very sensitive issues by yourselves, especially given your termination and the complex emotions it stirred up were unresolved at the time, ditto after your miscarriage.

Should you choose to go ahead with this pregnancy, there is a tiny person being brought into the mix. You surely owe it to him or her as well as to yourselves to invest time and resources into preparing for their arrival, emotionally and relationally as well as practically.

Do you have anyone you can talk to in RL?

HootOnTheBeach Sun 10-Jun-18 08:58:23

I'm not sure if he has anxiety and needs to talk, or is being an arsehole and needs a tap in the head. Perhaps both?

HarryLovesDraco Sun 10-Jun-18 08:58:28

How awful of him sad
What happens if you terminate this pregnancy? You stay with him and never have a baby? Could you be happy that way?
Or you keep the baby and hope he comes around (he might, but he might not)
Or you keep the baby and leave him. He has been a pretty terrible partner recently. I doubt he's going to transform when a baby comes.

Grumpos Sun 10-Jun-18 09:00:41

You’ve been together 17 years and this is how he is treating you?
I’m so sorry for your loss and the grief you must have had to deal with. I can’t help but feel after you went through your miscarriage your husband should have recognised how serious this was and what it would mean for you to get pregnant again in the future and really addressed this reality with both himself and you.

The reality is only you get to decide if you move forward with the pregnancy. If you do then your relationship might be over, if you don’t have the baby then your relationship might be over anyway.

Do you want a future with someone who after nearly 2 decades together will put you through this? Unsupportive in terms of your miscarriage, continued unprotected sex and then a completel abandonment when it eventually ends in pregnancy (of which he knew the chances!!!).....

It may be that he’s having a wobble (completely normal) and that he will come round. But he also may not. So the decision regarding the pregnancy is yours and yours alone, make it then tell him. If you want to keep this baby and it means losing him, well....plenty of women do it alone and plenty of women meet new partners after.

I’m really sorry you’re having to deal with this but try and be really honest with yourself over both the pregnancy and separately, your relationship as a whole.

Good luck flowers

MeanTangerine Sun 10-Jun-18 09:02:43

What were his own parents like?

I think it might be worth sending him to counselling to sort his head out. Some of the things he is saying suggest very distorted thinking. He "can't be a parent" is meaningless in this situation. He doesn't have a choice. Sometimes we are in situations whether we feel like we can handle it or not. Counselling could help him think more realistically and see that he can handle it.

runningbunny Sun 10-Jun-18 09:03:53

Bluebirdsky -thank you. his family didn't have a great deal of openly-expressed love from what he has said and his parents split later in life, he is their only child and there's little in the way of family involvement other than social visits on his side. But he says this isn't a factor.
FermatsTheorem - thanks I've actually smiled for the first time you sum up the situation well - similar to some things I said yesterday to him like we're adults, responsibility and fear of not being good enough comes with the territory, it's how we act in that knowledge that's the key. I think I'd struggle with the experience of what we've been through and gone through with repeat pregnancies to then have no kids together when I've said before if it's a no to a family together tell me i need to know.
PeoniesandPretties - thank you x

Urbanbeetler Sun 10-Jun-18 09:04:47

Honestly, I would just tell him it is going to be fine and he’s not to worry. And enjoy your pregnancy and forthcoming child. He can stay on the back burner until you are ready to decide what to do about him. This is your pregnancy and you deserve to enjoy it.

seven201 Sun 10-Jun-18 09:08:49

My dh is also a rubbish communicator. If I were in your shoes I'd insist I'm going to some counselling sessions together. A relationships counsellorI guess. This sounds very tough and I really feel for you.

My dh didn't really discuss anything baby until my dd was born. He shit any conversations down which was worrying for me. He was too scared - it was a planned baby. He's an amazing father now and when I was pregnant for a second time (ended in a mc though) he actually talked to me about the potential baby etc.!

runningbunny Sun 10-Jun-18 09:13:51

seven201 thank you. suggested counselling to talk things through neutrally but he's not open to it. apparently that's worse than us talking together. (I fear because a neutral party could say things he doesn't want to hear possibly)

FermatsTheorem Sun 10-Jun-18 09:14:49

Glad I made you smile. (I was worried I might have been too abrupt. One of the few joys of being a post menopausal grumpy old bat - which I am - is that I find I no longer have the inclination to come up with excuses of labyrinthine complexity for male bad behaviour. I just point out that the behaviour is bad and one shouldn't have to put up with it.)

Forgot to say, flowers for your miscarriage.

It sounds like you have got your head screwed on right. Just get on with your pregnancy and tell him to grow up. He may do, he may not, but you'll have done what's right for you. Good luck with it.

Dvg Sun 10-Jun-18 09:15:53

I think it's only natural to freak out at first. When I found out I was pregnant I felt like I would be a terrible mum and that maybe I should just terminate it BUT I'm currently 36 weeks pregnant now and I'm so excited for this new adventure, me and my partner have both come to terms with the fact we are to be parents and honestly we already love him, seeing his little fingers in the scan and his little chubby legs, we've already decided to name him Arthur and we know that as long as we treat him kindly and love him then that is all we can promise as a parent .

Singlenotsingle Sun 10-Jun-18 09:18:14

Various options- go ahead with the pregnancy and see how he feels when DC arrives. Maybe adoption, if you need him more than you need a a baby? Maybe keep the baby as a single parent? Or maybe he falls in love with it and steps up as a father. You won't know until DC arrives. But really he needs a vasectomy after that!.

venus417 Sun 10-Jun-18 09:19:07

3 years ago i gave birth to my 1st child. My husband and i had been trying for 18 months and been referred to fertility treatment. Just about to receive chlomid and i fell pregnant. Both of us "overjoyed". Then at 36 weeks i discover my partner never wanted children, had only done this cos he was scared to lose me etc. We lasted until baby was 3 weeks old and split up. I carried on regardless bringing up my daughter on my own and he completely fell head over heels in love with her. We were separated for little over 6 months. I think we really needed the distance and now here we are 3 years later we have a daughter a son and are now 17 weeks pregnant with another girl ( we are having a complicated pregnancy and scans every week so sonohrapher told us she knew gender this week - he cheered and cried when she said a girl because he was so thrilled to be able to have another princess!) He is a totally changed man. He never voiced those concerns to me like your husband has. He had let it build up instead. If you go ahead with the pregnancy and he sees his child his perspective may change. Anticipation vs reality are 2 completely different things. Its a rubbish situation for you to be in but dont let it hamper how you feel in your pregnancy. You are atill allowed to be excited and happy. I hope things work out. Its hard for men to accept pregnancy because nothing changes for them until the baby is born. For us it is from day 1.

JessieMcJessie Sun 10-Jun-18 09:19:35

Sorry to hear you’re going through this. He definitely sounds like he needs counselling. For you, maybe think about potential outcomes. What would you rather have:
1. His baby but he leaves as can’t take the responsibility

2. You terminate the pregnancy and stay with him knowing that you will never have children.

Obviously the ideal outcome is that you stay together and he comes round to the idea. Do you have any friends with kids that he could spend time with? Perhaps a sympathetic male mate who is able to open up about how fatherhood is harder than it looks,but still joyful and worth it, would help?
You say he has thinks he has no family issues but from your description of his background I wonder if he subconsciously feels that he damaged his parents’ relationship?

Oh and FWIW I have a 2 year old. Before I had a child I might have seen equal value in both numbered options above. Now that I have one I would absolutely 100% choose to keep the baby even if it risked him leaving me. As a PP said, why not just keep the pregnancy going and see how he gets on coming to terms with the idea. It’s not like you tricked him or anything.

runningbunny Sun 10-Jun-18 09:20:31

FermatsTheorem not abrupt at all just a shit situation and he needs to grow up x
Husband is actually very loving and caring outside of pregnancy/having a family issue and I've clearly missed or chosen to bury my head in the sand around his ambivalence.

Penfold007 Sun 10-Jun-18 09:23:22

I suspect he's been in denial and subsequently misled you.He doesn't want to be a parent and he's said loudly but neither of you were listening. What do you want and can you cope with being a lone parent? What ever path you choose your relationship with him will change.

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