Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Having a hard time with DP and new baby(65 Posts)
I have been with DP for nearly 5 years, and we have a 4 week old son. I love him dearly, he has many good qualities and has always been very loving to me. We have a great connection and have been very happy. Until I got pregnant.
The pregnancy was planned - we tried for a year with one miscarriage. He did say at the time that he would prefer to wait a few more years but I am older than him and that would make me nearly 40, so we decided to go ahead.
The pregnancy was really tough. I was very sick with hyperemesis. We had no idea it would be like that. We both said during the pregnancy that we couldn't go through that again.
When DS was born, I was hit with severe post natal depression.... I went and stayed with my mum for a few weeks to get help. I am a lot better now, much calmer and in control, and have been back home for a week with DS.
So the problem is: DP is not making any effort to bond with the baby. Since we got home, he has done 2 bottle feeds and 1 nappy. While we were at my mums I kept offering to bring DS over to him to visit, or inviting him to my mums but he wasn't going for it. (15 min drive, I have a car). He is clearly annoyed by the fact that DS sleeping in our room is disturbing his sleep, even though I am getting up with him, but the noises he makes in his sleep and so on are waking up DP.
He doesn't seem to like DS or have any warm feelings for him and yesterday told me if he could go back in time to the decision to have a baby, he wouldn't have him.
I would - I am besotted with DS and want more than the world for him to have a loving daddy.
I could always leave him and move in with my parents - but I don't want to do that. I want us to work as a family. Any suggestions?
How is the reluctant father blog (which is lovely and great) even relevant here? The problem is not his feelings so much as his behaviour. The father in the blog was involved with his child and supportive of his partner, he expressed very normal feelings about the pressure for both men and women to go gooey eyed over their newborn when in reality they have no clue how to cope, are constantly firefighting and in desperate need of sleep.
That isn't what's going on here. This man has made a series of choices to opt out in various degrees and make the op responsible for him and his feelings as though he were a baby and not the father. Why are people still suggesting it is the op's responsibility to try and understand and accommodate his crappy behaviour and to take steps to try and change it. Only he can change his attitude and his behaviour and the op's main job right now should be recovering from the birth and caring for the baby since he isn't bothering to help or even be supportive of her efforts.
Offred, I appreciate your point of view. I don't, however, feel that he is an abuser. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship before and that is not happening here.
I do believe that DP has the potential to be a very good father. I am keeping my options open - my mums door is ALWAYS open, but I think that with a little time, DP could hopefully get there. If not, then I will go back to mums. But not yet.
I am coping at home with DS, which was something that had worried me about going home - previously the depression had been so bad that I couldn't cope, now I can (thank god for meds). I will give him time and encourage him with DS as much as I can. I don't feel that the situation is hopeless yet.
No, I'm not trying to say it is hopeless or that he's definitely an abuser, the fact it started in pg means you should be conscious that he may prove to be though. His behaviour is completely unacceptable, you don't get to wish a baby out of existence with self-pity. I'm trying to say that you taking responsibility for trying to engage him will not help. This absolutely has to come from him if it is ever going to be a relationship between equals between you two or a sustainable and healthy relationship between him and his dc. You need support not extra responsibility too.
I agree with Offred.
He should take the steps to bond with his own child. Why hasn't he? Part of being a parent is the hard work. The sleepless nights, the nappies, feeding, entertaining and so on. It's just not the smiles and playing. Yes, it's easier to bond then, but until we do, we are responsible for their care, as well as of caring for our partners.
If he finds it that difficult
can't be arsed then maybe he should be out of your lives.
You had PND, you struggled to cope, but you didn't say you'd rather not have had the baby, and you didn't leave him. You had to leave your house because your OH would not support you, not the way your mother could. And she did because she loved you. I don't think he loves you.
Ok the main reason we went to my mums was that DP confessed that during a night of DS being very unsettled (and I was pretty ill) that he wanted to throw DS against the wall and that it took all his strength not to.
Then he cried and said he didn't think he would ever be like that, he thought he was better than that. I felt DS and I would be safer at my mums until we were able to cope without putting pressure on DP.
At the time it is not that he WOULD not support me, he COULD not - he was not in the right frame of mind. And that is why he agreed it was for the best for us to go for the time.
You seem to be shouldering an awful lot of responsibility here OP. Being a new mum is overwhelming as it is let alone having PND on top of everything else. I think he should have sucked it up and helped you.
So now you're having to take on his selfishness too? Wouldn't we all love to check out of things if they get hard? You don't get the luxury of refusing to help with nappies and feeds do you? so why should he? The baby is here, he should be helping you as much as possible and you shouldn't be having to manage his hurt ego or whatever it is.
I feel mad for you OP.
sorry x post
That's pretty bad, no wonder you are doing everything. Have you spoken to your health visitor?
namechangering - No. I have told my mum and dad, but I don't want to tell my GP (who is monitoring me closely as I was so so ill) or HV in case DS ends up on some 'endangered baby' list. He is NOT endangered - I will never let anything happen to him.
That's an extremely cavalier attitude I think.
If he's chosen to opt out because he genuinely felt he was a danger to your baby you absolutely need outside agencies monitoring things now you have returned and his attitude evidently hasn't changed.
If he really isn't a danger then this won't be threatening to you or him. If he is then you need the protection.
He needs to get help with this. He may also be suffering PND but what is clear is that you absolutely cannot manage this at home in private. Please speak to the health visitor.
OP even though your DP is not 'an abuser' what has happened is that he felt he could not cope. Fair enough, but what has now happened is you have stepped up/compensated even though you yourself are unwell. This may be the start of an unhealthy pattern, particularly if he finds his anger can become overwhelming. Both of you have issues that need addressing. If you are shouldering all the burden you might find it a difficult pattern to break.
I agree with Rex manning.
Not an excuse but he sounds v traumatised (and you have been too).
All the best of luck op. It's feckin hard work.
Me and DH have been together many more years than you two and the adjustment is mammoth, without pnd on top.
I hope you can work it through
My dh struggled when dc1 was born. I stayed at my parents for quite a while (months not weeks) and it created the problem as he didn't really have a chance to bond with baby. By the time the chance was there I had which made him feel it was better for dc to be left with me as I seemed to know what I was doing. Once I moved back and he started doing a lot more of the boring everyday stuff the connection with dc was created.
4 years later he became a sahp after losing his job. He was main carer to dc2 from birth.
It can be hard for parents with a new baby, male and female. We are sold this idea that your first look at your newborn and you fall instantly in love. It isn't unusual for this not to be the case. There is also a lot of sympathy on here for women who struggle with a newborn but apparently little for men
I think also the fact you were ill during pregnancy and post natally could be affecting the way he feels about the baby.
Give him time, don't write him off straight away but he does need to be hands on, with both the boring and fun stuff , to build that relationship with his child.
I agree with Lweji OP has been very proactive in all this. Am not hearing the same re the DP.
I am a bit at the posters who seem to think that a father who has to muster all his strength not to throw his new born baby against a wall is just "having problems adjusting" or "not bonding straight away".
If my DC's father had admitted to such a thing he would have been nowhere near the baby again until he had sought professional help.
What posters? The information has just been given.
I don't know what kind of help he should look for. Counselling?
My X admitted this too when dd1 was tiny and he was on his own with her.
He turned out to be a pretty inadequate, hands-off, passive, lazy and angry Dad who loved the status of being Dad but not the actual doing of it. Hence he is now my X.
Not saying the two are connected. But I AM advising the OP be wary. I hope this is just a blip though. Although I think the OP is vulnerable.
Crumbs. Four weeks is nothing.
Give it time. This is not easy. You're both shattered and it takes a great toll. I was I'll during pregnancy and in a state afterwards. My DH was similarly thrown by it all and we had some dreadful times. Things can get better. Of course, this isn't a rule for everyone, but the early days are tough tough tough. DH has a great relationship with DC now but it was touch and go at times. It was an adjustment for us - perhaps because we were older and also had our child after five carefree years together.
Hang in there for now. But do put communication high on the agenda.
What help did you get?
He should talk to the GP and get lessons on how to care for a baby. Things like putting the baby in a safe place and walk away if it's too much. Getting outside help when it starts to feel too much.
There are some fantastic courses run by children's centres.
You had pnd but he wanted to throw the baby against the wall? So basically moving out at the time was about helping him as much as you. Yikes.
Look, this could go one of two ways.
He's traumatised by his life changing in so many ways, and by the fact it made you so well. He might eventually come around once the baby starts engaging a bit more (a smile at six weeks can do wonders).
Over time he will get more and more resentful and one day he could hurt the baby - unfortunately you saying you'll never let it happen doesn't affect your partner's actions, does it? What about the next night the baby won't stop crying?
Sorry to sound so dramatic. It could just be a rocky start. But I am alarmed that you went through so much illness and trauma, and yet essentially you had to move to your mum's because of the lack of support or safe space at home.
Oh. Just read the post about throwing the baby and feel sick.
That is a massively scary thing for him to say. He needs to see the GP - and if you feel you can't trust this man, take action.
Really OP, what happens if you have to go out, or have a life, say an evening with a friend? Will you be able to trust him?
I think you both need to take this very seriously and get on record what he said. Just in case you need to make a break. I really hope it doesn't come to that, OP.
He sounds like he is in shock. Be kind to yourself. And be patient.
Join the discussion
Please login first.