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Anyone else's DH/DP not taking time off when they have their baby?

(55 Posts)
BorgLady Wed 23-Jul-08 18:28:35

My DP works for a small firm where his input is pretty essential, and his employers have been good to him over the years, so I understood when he didn't want to take proper Paternity Leave. He saved holiday for when the baby is born instead, but only a week, so he wouldn't be out too long. He was also planning to stay at work while I was in hospital and just visit after work.

Perhaps I should have found out sooner, but silly me assumed he would be taking his week straight after the baby arrives, so that he can bring us home and we can spend our first week together as a family.

Now I have gone overdue and am due to be induced on Friday. He has managed to get Friday off (but didn't ask for this until yesterday) but he has just said "I don't know when I'll be able to take my holiday" shock

I was REALLY surprised and I am now very worried about being alone with our new baby next week. It's our first, and to say that it's a bit daunting would be an understatement.

Added to which, if I have a cs or a ton of stitches or something, I'm really going to struggle. I'm sure if I ask my mum, she would take time off and come and help me out but I really don't want it to be that way.

I want a babymoon! I want us to be a family and to have our first week together getting to know our baby. Most people get two weeks and it was bad enough that we were only getting one. sad

I wanted us to muddle through together and learn feeding and nappies and all that stuff together and now I'll be a week ahead with it all. It probably won't matter in the long run, but I can't help feeling really really disappointed.

Has anyone else had this situation? Should I be really upset and angry and have a row about it?

TIA

star6 Wed 23-Jul-08 18:44:45

I'm no expert (28 wks with our fist as well) but certainly don't have a row about it right now... it might bring on a natural (yet possibly distressing for baby) induction! But maybe try to calmly tell him your feelings on this... exactly what you just said - that you would like to have a "babymoon" where you bond as a family and learn things at first together.
I'm sure it will be fine however it works out, but you deserve to have him at least know how you feel about it anyway.
I would feel the same way if my dh couldn't be there. But I'm sure you will do just fine no matter what happens and once your baby is here, the little baby will bring so much joy that you will be fine until he can take a holiday.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lovelysongbird Wed 23-Jul-08 18:48:48

oh i so feel for you, i kow its not a help but it was me i'd do mad at my dh.
you two need him more than his work do imo.

its a really importnt time for all 3 of you, why not show him this thread?
then in a calm way he can see how you feel.

hope you get it sorted smile
good luck on friday xx

star6 Wed 23-Jul-08 18:50:17

yeah - good idea! Show him what you wrote. That was perfect and any reasonable/rational person would understand where you're coming from with that.

MummyToOneForNow Wed 23-Jul-08 18:51:18

My mother came and stayed Mon-Fri the first two weeks and then dh took his paternity leave - was nicer having him around when I felt a bit more sorted (he would have been climbing the walls when I was spending most of the time on the sofa) and we could take the baby for walks together etc - will be doing the same again this time around. Understand your perspective though - can he not take at least a day or two off for your first couple of days at home (obviously you won't know how long you will be in hospital)

lovelysongbird Wed 23-Jul-08 18:52:52

also if you feel your parter was't there for you at what is probably the most important time of your life, you can feel very resentful and hold it agaonst him

LackaDAISYcal Wed 23-Jul-08 19:04:37

When my DS was born, my DH and i weren;t married and weren't even together at the time (long story) and he still took two weeks off work to be with me in labour and to get to know his DS afterwards.

Now we are married and when DD was born last year, he worked from home for two weeks and took two weeks annual leave so he was around for a full four weeks. He will do the same when DC3 puts in appearance in November.

I think your DH is being a little bit dense to believe he could leave you to it on your own. And I can't really believe he is that indispensible at work; no-one is. Can he work from home; or be on call if they need him, but be at home with you?

agree sit down and tell him exactly what you said here; or print off this thread and show it to him. This sounds like a bit of a communication breakdown between the two of you, but I can't believe he hasn't thought this might be an issue!

IceCube Wed 23-Jul-08 19:15:57

Your hubby has a right to paternity leave and even if he thinks he doesn't want to take it he might change his mind once he is a new dad.

My hubby works for a firm who have a very flexible paternity leave arrangement. He gets two weeks but can take the 10 days anytime in the first 6 months.

Maybe you could pursuade him to at least talk to his work about it and see how flexible they would be?

I would definately want my dh home for the first week, I have no idea how tired etc I will feel.

BorgLady Wed 23-Jul-08 19:16:13

That's what I'm worried about! I don't want it to set a precedent for me resenting him/his work etc. So far he has been amazing throughout my pregnancy and I can't fault him.

I'm worried that if I do all the learning on my own, then nappies, baths, bottles and all the baby stuff will become "my job", which I really don't want exclusively.

Maybe once the baby is here he will feel differently. It is difficult for either of us to imagine what it will be like at the moment, but once the baby is here his whole perspective on work might change.

I think, deep in my heart, that I have been accommodating enough. An induction has given him plenty of advance notice as to when the baby is coming. It's more than most people get! And his work have had nine-plus months to sort something out for when he is off, he told them as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

I think I will talk to him (though probably not yell as I am not good at confrontation, LOL!) when he gets in.

Wish me luck!

TheFallenMadonna Wed 23-Jul-08 19:21:42

No. DH works for a small company and is pretty indispensible, but there is no way he wouldn't take a week after our baby was born. Still waiting for the second week "later on, when everyone else has gone" that he promised after DS was born, and we've had another since then grin, but no time at all. No.

And what does his boss say about it? I don't think DH would get away with not taking at least some time off.

waitingtobloom Wed 23-Jul-08 19:31:22

I think if you can you need to have a chat to him about how you feel. He may also feel very different when the baby is born.

My DH went back to work when DS was 2 days old. Practically I coped absolutely fine - tiny newborns tend not to need a lot other than feeding, nappy changing and cuddling.

However I was desperately lonely, I resented DH for not being there and for not understanding why I wanted and needed him to be there. I ended up with bad pnd for a whole host of reasons but this was definitely one of them. For me it wasnt about the practicalities of coping and learning - I presume he will be home in the evenings - it was about the emotional side and I still resent him for it now.

This time round he has promised me he will take a weeks holiday but I dont believe him and am already resenting him for it. Unfortunately he doesnt understand why I would be upset about him not taking time off - apparently he needs to work, I will cope fine etc etc.

If you can talk to him and think he will understand do please please take the time now.

lovelysongbird Wed 23-Jul-08 21:01:51

bl, how did it go?

waiting to bloom you are so right, the day after my dd was born, i was on the high dependency unit, things didn't go to easy for me.
and dh got set home at about 830 even though he could of stayed till at least 10pm, then next day he didnt come in till about 1030-11am as HE needed a lie in ffs!
im still mad about that
as dd cried and cried all night i was totally on my own in hospital no-one was helping me, and i was in such a poor way i physically couldn't even pick up my own daughter.
i felt so helpess that night, i just watched the clock till the mornig thinking its nearly 8am then dh will be able to come.
so when he didn't turn up till 11am i was really upset and because its such a big event in your life you just don't for get anything that happens.

BorgLady Wed 23-Jul-08 23:00:18

It didn't go too badly. He got pretty upset and told me I was making him feel like a bastard.

But he did say that he would talk to his boss tomorrow and see what can be done.

I'm being induced on Friday so I'm expecting to be out of hospital early part of next week. He thinks that if something goes wrong and I need to stay in longer then he will be wasting his holiday as I won't be home anyway.

I wanted to know why he couldn't work in the event of that happening and then take the time off when I do come home? He said that he needed to give concrete dates as they have a business to run.

TBH I'm still pretty upset, I don't really understand why it's ok to let me and our baby down and when we need him, but not work.

What do people normally do about paternity leave? You never know when a baby will arrive so work surely has to make some provisions. I really don't think it's asking too much, but he does. I guess that's the bottom line sad

MKG Wed 23-Jul-08 23:23:24

Can he work from home or maybe work half days?

Dh has gone back to work pretty much as soon as I came home from the hospital and worked while I was in the hospital with ds2. I've never had any help after my babies were born and I prefer it that way.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lovelysongbird Wed 23-Jul-08 23:33:03

oh borg, did you show him the thread?
i totally agree with you, about why is it alright to let you and your baby down and when you need him, but not work
i think he needs to change his priorities frankly.
maybe its not quite sunk i yet that your lives are about to change and the enormity of what about to happen.
i will be thinking of you on friday ad sendig you the best of luck and positive vibes.
im ot sure about the paternity start dates like you say no-one know ehn they will have the baby and how long they will be in hospital.
so surely companies deal with this all the time, flowery will kow you could post to her on the employment issues section if anyone knows she will.
tbh if he was my dh id give him a kick up the ass.
im also worried you will resent him for not really being there for you when you need him and that can cause alot of problems i your relationship.
resentment is a v bad thing, make that clear to him, he won't be able to go back in a ffew yaers ad change things.
better he gets it right now.

sorry to go on but i just really understand where you are coming from.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 23-Jul-08 23:33:20

Message withdrawn

expatinscotland Wed 23-Jul-08 23:34:55

DH gets a month this time: 2 weeks parental leave + 2 weeks holiday.

With DD1, he was made redundant so I went back to work when DD1 was 8 weeks old and he became a SAHD. I was being treated for pretty severe PND.

With DD2, he had a fortnight.

lovelysongbird Wed 23-Jul-08 23:35:36

here here starlight! well said

lovelysongbird Wed 23-Jul-08 23:39:02

ffs you only wany him to have a week off as well, i did a thread today, and im not even PG, asking people how long they would try and get there dp/dh off for if they had another baby
as when i had dd, dh had 2 weeks off, well half a week i was in hosp.
ad the week ad a half we had was not enough for me next time i want him off for 4 -6 weeks , well if there is a next time.

1 week is not unreasonable at all.

elkiedee Wed 23-Jul-08 23:53:02

Think you're being totally reasonable, and hope he can get it sorted out. You might easily end up in hospital for the best part of that week.

I was shocked with first baby to find out dp only gets one of two weeks paternity leave fully paid - his employer has above average maternity leave - but in the end he was able to take some annual leave and some special leave, thank goodness, because ds and I ended up back in hospital when he was a week old and didn't get out for 8 days (I think it was put down as sick dependent on full pay).

flowerybeanbag Thu 24-Jul-08 09:00:53

Borg I am wondering whether your DP is conscious of how valuable he is to the company he works for, and is feeling as though he can't leave them in the lurch at a crucial time. Combined with that he just doesn't realise how he and you will both feel once the baby is here.

I'm not making any excuses at all for him, I think you are right to be angry and frustrated. I think it would be a harsh boss indeed who wouldn't let someone take holiday at such an important time regardless of how busy things were. Nobody is actually indispensable, especially for only a week.

I would be prepared to bet he either didn't ask at all to take his holiday then or didn't push it at all hard at first, because he felt he couldn't let his employer down.

Has he spoken to his boss again? I'm sure once the baby is here he will wonder how on earth he thought he could not take the week off, and will have his priorities clarified a bit!

Lots of fathers don't take paternity leave as such, because it's not at full pay so unless their employer is able/willing to offer paternity leave at full pay, it's often better to take holiday as your DP is doing. But it would be unusual for a boss to absolutely insist that someone can't take holiday for a week when their baby is born.

Hope you've sorted it out anyway.

dinkystinky Thu 24-Jul-08 09:04:50

Borglady - am so sorry you're feeling so awful about DH and his time off situation. I was induced too and due to complications with me/DS had to stay in hospital for 4 days - and I absolutely lived for DH coming in each day for all the visiting hours he could and bringing me edible food (as hospital food is awful)and I so needed DH when I got home for the next week and a half as my mobility was non-existent and DS was understandably a rather upset, demanding little baby (fortunately all that changed eventually smile).

Please do see if your mum can come stay next week if DH really cant take time off work. When DH does get in from work in the evenings, you need to ensure he does take time to bond with the baby and give you a break so you can have a bath/nap/short walk. You will most likely need someone you trust who you can talk to and help with the baby (particularly when is PFB) as otherwise it really can be very lonely with your PFB when you're in hospital/at home without seeing anyone to talk to all day. If its not possible for your mum or another family member to come stay with you, might it be worth looking into a post-natal doula to come each day for a few hours a day (to keep you company, give you a break, help around the house and help you get established with your baby by generally relieving stress levels) - I had one when DH went back to work for a couple of weeks and while expensive, she was wonderful and truly saved my sanity. In any event, make sure you line up lots of really good supportive friends to come round, cook for you and generally look after you while you get to grips with being a mum and your new baby.

LazyLinePainterJane Thu 24-Jul-08 09:23:08

He may well need to give concrete dates, but he seemed pretty flexible taking the Friday off for your induction....?

Yes, he is entitled to paternity leave, but he should have applied for it before now. Maybe they will still give it to him as they seem like a tight knit place but it sounds to me as if he doesn't want to take the time off.

Dh would never dream of leaving me instead of taking paternity leave, with DS he took his 2 weeks but he does feel awkward about taking time off work (never mind that he is entitled!) and he was supposed to take holiday as well after the PL and wanted to spread it out so he took a day a week for ages. I told him to get knotted. This time he gets 2 weeks and will take holiday as well. You should not be alone if you do not need to be.

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