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PND or unsupportive husband?

(19 Posts)
TartanKitty Fri 12-Aug-11 12:38:51

My baby is 11 weeks old and I think I have post natal depression. I was quite teary the first few weeks but thought that was natural and was still feeling very happy, have suffered from depression for many years but felt happier than ever so thought it was all great.

At 8 weeks things seemed to change overnight though. A few things happened: had to leave my baby for a few hours for a work/training thing and felt guilty then also useless realising he doesn't need me and was quite happy with bottle of expressed milk from Daddy; father in law came to stay for four nights so was a bit stressed with another person to cook and clean for on top of caring for baby; had baby's first medical check and while he seems very healthy his weight is well down (dropped from 95th centile at birth to 9th at two months).

I've found myself getting more and more low since then. I do try to get out but it is tough being alone with the baby all day. My husband works hard in a good job so I do feel I have to do all the house work and childcare. He'll cuddle our son when he gets in so I can make dinner and gives him a bath while I clear up. He changes one or two nappies a day. I do all getting up at night as I'm breastfeeding (for now - hv is talking about introducing formula because of his weight and that really makes ne feel like a total failure because I can't give my baby what he needs).

Hubby does have a social life and I've found myself resenting that. He went out last Thursday after work and came in drunk at 2am, as a result wasn't much help to me Friday night when I was supposed to be getting a bit of a break because he was too tired. He left 6am yesterday for a festival and won't be back til Sunday night yet still went to the pub until midnight Monday. He is also best man for his mate and has been quite busy organising a trip for 11 guys to cycle through Holland for four days next month. He would deny this but I feel he's not that keen to come home to us. I often get tearful in the evening as I feel so overwhelmed so maybe that's not so surprising. I am jealous that he has a life beyond relentless feeding and nappy changes but at the same time I wouldn't want to be away from my son for more than a couple of hours and wonder how he can do it.

I just feel so alone. I love my son so much and it was a planned and very much wanted pregnancy so I feel I have no place complaining. But why so I feel so shit? Could it be PND or would I be justified in requesting my husband cuts out his social actuvities and does more on top of his demanding job to support his family?

WorrisomeHeart Fri 12-Aug-11 12:51:06

Oh you poor thing. I've had PND and it's really tough and you may well be suffering. However I would say that there are several other factors that, once fixed, may help your mood. Firstly definitely get your DH sorted - I would have been outraged if my DH had been out and got himself into such a state that rendered him unable to help with my DS when he was only 11 weeks old. And the thought of him buffeting off on holiday would have been a no-go too. What about expressing so that DH can do the evening feed to give you more of a break? I would also rethink your housework plan - you both live there and you both work, he just gets paid for his! But don't forget that he also gets coffee breaks, lunch breaks and a chance to have some time to himself!

I would also suggest posting on the breastfeeding forum re the weight loss and the comments from th HV as the ladies there are great and will give you lots of advice.

Once you're getting more support from DH and the feeding is going well you might find you feel much better. If not then definitely go and speak to someone, it's a very fixable thing and so common. Good luck!

Grumpla Fri 12-Aug-11 13:07:23

Your DH is being a tosser, but possibly only because he doesn't realise how bloody tough it is being with a baby on your own. If you have previously expressed successfully to go out for work, could you do the same to go out for a few hours with a friend one evening? Just having a short break can be really helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed (and hopefully your DH will get a bit of an insight into why you might be feeling that way!)

Any 'leisure time' needs to be strictly 50/50 in my opinion. If you can't leave the baby to gallivant off on holiday for days on end, neither can your DH. Festivals and nights out on the piss are well out of order.

Your DH needs to realise that BOTH of your lives have changed - not just yours - and that being a father is about much more than the odd nappy change. The newborn months are so tough - you need to feel like you are in a team, not on your own.

Talk to your HV / GP but also talk to your DH. if he is in denial (sounds like it) then you need to make it clear to him that you need some more support NOW.

TartanKitty Fri 12-Aug-11 13:24:24

I don't want to be unreasonable so I don't say 'I don't thing you should go there or do that' but I end up snapping at him instead blush saying things like 'sorry darling, daddy's too busy to give you a cuddle' when our son cries and Hubby is on the computer looking up hotel bookings or stag pranks and I have to pick him up. I don't want to nag and hate that I can be such a bitch. All of his social activities can be justified - Thursday was rare work do; Monday seeing friends he's not seen in months; festival is annual event and his mate's 50th birthday this time so was booked months ago; stag next month is obviously a one-off - but still all leaves me feeling alone and like he doesn't want to be with his family. I just don't know how much of that is in my head / PND or if I have a right to be pissed at him.

amverytired Fri 12-Aug-11 13:27:15

Could well be a mixture of both. Just so you know also - PND is more common in women with unsupportive partners.
There are plenty of depression questionaires you could do online if you think PND might be an issue, but in my experience (with PND and an unsupportive husband) you need to communicate your needs with your husband more as well.

PeppermintPasty Fri 12-Aug-11 13:31:44

Well fwiw I didn't have PND when I had my son nearly 5 yrs ago which was when my DP was being a wanker (he's fabbo now). We both had to work a lot out to get to here but my point is you are TOTALLY ENTITLED to be majorly pissed off at him. What a thoughtless git!! This is the sort of thing my DP used to do and in no way is it down to you or your interpretation of things. He's being a selfish idiot!

Who cares if the festival is an annual event-so is bloody well having a baby lol!! You need support and you're not getting it. Can you get some help from family, friends, GP?

Lifeissweet Fri 12-Aug-11 13:32:34

When do you get to 'see friends you haven't seen in months' or go to an 'annual event'. There is no such thing as an annual event anymore. He is a father. His life has changed. You wouldn't leave the baby with him for a weekend (even if you could) to go to an annual event. You, I assume, have realised that your life is different now. He, it would appear, hasn't got that far yet.

If they really are unavoidable (and I'm willing to concede that the stag night probably is) then he should be thinking up ways to make it up to you and give you some extra time to yourself - or time to see your friends or whatever. You need to share this responsibility.

Also, stop looking at his work outside the home as a reason for him to not pull his weight when he's home. If you want to look at it this way, his job is from - say - 8.30 - 6pm? Yours is 24 hours a day. He needs to take on some of the work when he comes home to give you a break and you are in no way a nag or a bitch (please don't say that about yourself. You are not. You are expressing a feeling and I'm sorry you feel that doing so in unreasonable - that sounds like low self-esteem to me) in asking him to help a bit more.

TartanKitty Fri 12-Aug-11 13:50:18

Thanks for the support guys.

My parents are an hour's drive away so not too handy for giving me a wee break between feeds. My dad has also been off work with stress since Xmas and was told this week he doesn't have job to return to so I don't want to give him more to worry about. I don't have any support locally and my only close friend is an hour and a half's drive (though she doesn't drive, I go through there) but has a seven month old and a five year old so I don't want to lean on her. I just feel I have to do it all myself and I guess that has caught up with me lately.

Will sit down with Hubby when he gets back and work out where he can help more. I find myself almost wanting to be back at work already to be around adults and have something to think about other than 'what time was the wee man's last feed, when is he due another, does his nappy need changed'. Of course that makes me feel guilty because my child should be my world. Plus my husband would prefer me to be SAHM so I need to find a way to get over this. It is horrible admitting that I find being a mother so hard, I wanted it so much sad

happygilmore Fri 12-Aug-11 13:51:35

I think your DH needs to realise both of your lives have changed now, and he no longer can swan off doing things like he did before children. Just because you're breastfeeding doesn't mean he should just do what he wants when not at work.

Lifeissweet Fri 12-Aug-11 13:56:03

But it is hard Tartan. Don't be hard on yourself. Going to work is 100 times easier than staying at home with a baby, who is all-consuming, relentless, emotionally draining, sleep depriving and who, other than looking cute, gives nothing back. You can't possibly know what it's going to be like before you have the baby.

It is far harder job to do when you are isolated. When I had my DS we had just moved to a town where I knew nobody. There wasn't even anywhere to walk to and I had a traumatic time with DS (he was in Special Care for 2 months and then I needed further surgery). My family all live at the other end of the country, so I do understand.

I am not qualified to say whether you have PND, but there are plenty of reasons why you are feeling overwhelmed and unsupported - many of which your DH can help you with if you are open and frank with him.

Lifeissweet Fri 12-Aug-11 13:59:05

Oh - and for what it's worth - I think that an actual specific request may be the way to go instead of a 'you're being unsupportive' accusation.

Try: 'It would really help me if you could x,y and z' in the evening/morning/whenever. Then the onus is on him to say no, at which point you have a right to get upset with him. If he says yes then he'll start to get the idea of the sorts of things he could be doing to help you out.

PeppermintPasty Fri 12-Aug-11 14:27:18

Agreed LISweet. That would be a good way to broach it but watch out for the reaction! He is still acting like a man with no responsibilities and in my experience they kick and fight you all the way(metaphorically) when you ask/TELL them to grow up.

What about mother/baby groups? I know it's a huge huge thing to do when you're feeling this way, but if you could grit your teeth and just do it, you might just find plenty of support and people who know exactly what you're going through.

And another thing! -I found with both mine that the first three months was the hardest and most draining period of my life, never mind of having a baby. Everything seemed to go or be wrong, even when I had great support from DP(with my second baby only!). I t will change for the better, I promise.

Have a hug xx

TartanKitty Fri 12-Aug-11 15:02:07

Thanks LIS and PP. Brought a wee tear to my eye to have such kind words (most things do that though at the moment to be fair). I have a couple of days to think about what I would like him to do/ help with before he is home so we can have a good discussion and I don't feel like I'm just moaning at him because he had a holiday.

I go for lunch with a group for breastfeeding mums once a week and it makes me feel normal for a short while. Maybe things will get easier as my son gets older, it is really draining and lonely just now.

PeppermintPasty Sat 13-Aug-11 10:40:36

Morning TK, just seeing how you're doing. Hope things are brighter today.

SaffronCake Sat 13-Aug-11 14:57:22

Just lately I've found a simplistic but effective way to address the social life imballance. He can go to his sports and see his friends and all that, but I noted the time spent on it for a week. He was quite shocked to find that I'd had under 1 hour of uninterrupted time compared to his 14. We now split it on defined lines. He has to give me 15 hours a week for my Open Uni course, no arguing. I give him 18 hours a week for the crucial money earning days of his work (he's self employed and he can work round her other days). This is the work/work thing ballanced. Then he has his time off, which he has to prioritise (his priority was playing sport) and I also expect time off of about the same quantity. It is assumed that time off means we are not supervising baby or working, supervising baby being just another kind of work, even when she's asleep. He did of course argue that it's easier than his paid work, to which I pointed out that he enjoys his paid work so me enjoying my unpaid job as a mother makes it's no less valid. He accepted the point. We now both get about 5-6 hours a week of time off and we do both feel that the workload is now fairly split. Time off is defined as when we do not have any responsibility to baby or home, the other one is being the parent. He uses his almost exclusively for sport, I use mine for going for coffee or shopping alone, driving (I'm taking an advanced driving course just because I want to, so this counts as leisure not work), dying my hair, talking on the phone in private and that kind of thing.

TartanKitty Sat 13-Aug-11 23:00:22

Thanks for thinking of me PP.

I was feeling a bit better after travelling through to visit family. My gran (85, suffering from dementia) got out of bed for the first time in 12 days to see the baby so everyone was really pleased.
But I came home to an empty house and just cried for an hour. sad My husband hasn't even called or texted today.

My husband has agreed to take our son out of the house for a couple of hours one day next week so I can indulge in a nice hot bubble bath with a book completely uninterrupted. It will be bliss, i got loads of Lush bath stuff for my birthday but went into labour that evening so never got a chance to use any of it. I'm a bit miffed that I had to ask when I think that's just a nice gesture he should be suggesting/doing himself but it is a step in the right direction. I don't think he has a clue how much I'm struggling and I've realised it is time I stop hoping he will work it out and just spell things out to him.

SaffronCake Sun 14-Aug-11 02:18:43

Spelling it out saves so much trouble. There is a really odd thing about depression, when a person is depressed they make a big effort to look like they're fine but by the same token they really long for people to realise they're not. In a perfect world of course people would all have perfect interpersonal skills and we'd all know exactly when to take at face value and when to disbelieve the words being spoken. Reality never plays out like it ought to. You've just had a baby so your OH will expect you to have emotional ups and downs, but he wont neccessarily be able to call exactly when he should change his behaviour and when he should carry on as normal. If you just tell him what you need and how you feel you save so much wasted time and heartache watching him guess it wrong, or not spot the signs, or totally miss the point, or whatever else. Talk to him and keep talking to him. Tell him you need him (men seem to respond to being needed above all other pleas for help). His job as your partner and babys' Daddy is to hold the fort now, both in practical ways like doing his fair share of the childcare, and in emotional ways, like being your rock. It's not a favour you're asking for, it's his fatherly duty. I'm sure if you explain this all to him he'll step up willingly, because I'm sure he loves you both.

singforsupper Sun 14-Aug-11 02:39:50

Hi you poor thing. I have just picked out a few things that stand out from your OP.

First, I have no experience of PND first hand but you shouldn't really be weepy and sad at this time so it is a possibility.

Second, you might feel better if your baby has formula. I believe baby's weight loss will be at the back of your mind. There's absolutely nothing wrong with giving baby formula. You've given him the first few weeks breastmilk so he will be well enough. I've been there, it's hard to switch over but you won't regret it.

Third, I think DP is pushing his luck with his nights out etc. I remember that bit, mine was the same, took a long time before he realised that it's fine to have a night out, but not whenever you feel like it. Set some rules, plain and simple. He shouldn't go out without your agreement. He needs to talk to you first.

I would start with sorting baby's weight out, get straight down to the GP to discuss formula and your possible PND.

I wish you well x

blueskydrinking Sun 14-Aug-11 21:33:38

Hi, I'm pretty new here but as I could have written this post myself two years ago I just wanted to send lots of empathy your way.

DH was exactly the same. I don't know where the line is between PND and the sheer exhaustion, shock and emotion which comes from looking after a newborn for the first time. But it is SO frustrating when your own life has changed beyond recognition yet DH seems to be skipping along as usual. And anything linked to baby's feeding/weight gain is a huge trigger for feelings of panic and guilt in my experience.

We didn't ever really sort it out and for me, the sheen has been knocked off our relationship. I'm still angry at him for some of the bigger stuff (hmm one example: being in hospital hooked up to IV antibiotics, having the distinct impression that the whole debacle was a big inconvenience for DH, standing and trying to rock DS to sleep in his buggy while DH sat in the comfy chair watching my TV with the headphones on). The thing is he's not a 'bad' man - he's a loving father and isn't lazy and doesn't come in pissed. But he's not good at talking about stuff this like this and we just seem to have very different expectations of each other.

I really hope you make a better job than me of chatting to your DH and getting his support. I agree that getting some support with the feeding will make a big difference as well. Breastfeeding is not easy - nobody told me that!

Oh and being a mother is hard. Really hard. Many of us do it without the female support network which existed 50 years ago, yet with a husband who still thinks that as we aren't going out to a workplace every day we are effectively on holiday and should take on the role of 50s housewife so as not to be slovenly.

Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rant blush. I think what I wanted to say was that all the baby stuff passes - you'll sort out the feeding and start to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time, which will make you feel so much more human, but it's worth trying to get on the same page as DH now before that resentment starts to fester.

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