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Advice on how to get DH to engage more with DS(4 Posts)
DH and I have a lovely two month old DS, but things are strained right now between us (to put it mildly). We had a really rough time conceiving DS - years of infertility treatment and he was eventually conceived through IVF, so we both wanted him (and actually DH was the one who first brought up the idea of having DCs). Thing is - so far DH is an excellent husband, but a rubbish father. He's been taking great care of me, doing all the cooking and shopping and generally being great with me, but completely hands off with DS, to the point he's almost some 1950s caricature. As soon as DS starts crying he hands him to me instead of trying to deal with him. He also has this weird thing like he wants to prove how he isn't into the whole baby talk / baby world. He doesn't have any prior experience with babies. All his cousins are the same age as him and his friends are having children at the same time as us. For me, there have always been small children / babies around in my family as the ages of cousins are all staggered and I have nieces and nephews, so looking after DS comes very naturally to me.
I must admit I'm coming at this with a ton of baggage - although my parents are together, I barely have a relationship with my DF as he was so hands off when we were kids. My DM did everything and I am terrified of having the same thing happen to my children.
Is it just something that will improve with time? DS is EBF so we are physically attached to each other a lot of the time, but I'm trying to let DH get involved in other ways (baths, changing nappies, hanging out together while I leave the room and do other stuff) and not be one of those mothers who has to have everything done how she wants so the father feels excluded (again - my parents did that to an extent). I'm really starting to resent DH for it, because it's not only the fear that he's not going to have a great relationship with DS, but also because I feel that the full burden of caring for DS is falling on me
If he's genuinely great in other ways, this sounds like fear TBH. I can relate to that and I was the mother! I read up beforehand obviously, but I had no prior experience with babies before having my own and I never really enjoyed the whole baby world thing because it just made me feel even more defined by being a mum and less like 'me' IYSWIM.
I found the whole thing quite hard until my DC started to interact with me. 9 months was a real turning point for me. I didn't have PND or anything and I had no problem bonding with my DC or enjoying special moments with them, but the baby thing just wasn't for me - it was a stage I had to get through to really start enjoying the little people my DC were becoming. I think a lot of fathers relate to that because they're simply not as immersed in the world of small children as female children often are while growing up themselves.
All that said, your DH is now a parent just as much as you are. If you feel you need to share the responsibility more, he has to man up to that. I'd try tackling it sensitively first by acknowledging his lack of experience, as appealing to someone's better nature usually achieves more than criticism. However, don't be afraid to demand if he doesn't rise to the challenge. DS is your joint responsibility. And also, just as you have in your OP, point out the benefits of hi being more hands-on, such as the stronger relationship he'll have with his DS.
I've tried on both issues. On him not really bonding with DS, it's a bit stupid but when he was a few days old I was having latching issues so went to a BF clinic, and the lactation consultant commented on how close DS and I were, that his eyes would follow me and that he was a "mama's boy". I told DH in a "haha, isn't that funny" kind of way, but he then got it into his head that boys are closer to their mothers and girls to their fathers and then keeps on pointing out how x friend's daughters are really close to the father and so on, like he's already decided that DS is going to be closer to me. As to the looking after DS - I've raised it but it's an uphill battle. He was proud of himself for changing 4 nappies by the time DS was 8 weeks old (as in, he's so much better than his friend who didn't change a single nappy). He's improved since then (and offers to let me stay in bed on the weekend and change DS first thing), but it's still a battle
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