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AIBU to withdraw?(22 Posts)
So, since the birth of DS, i've been struggling with getting my feelings straight in my head, it's getting a bit much. I can't seem to help but babble here, so i promise there'll be a TL:DR.
My DW is doing a great job. We're both totally new to this and the last 4 months have been an unbelievable (if totally normal) learning curve, but i think we're doing well with DS... just not with each other. One minute i'm an incredible dad and husband, the next i'm woefully inconsiderate and unhelpful. I think i could honestly be ok with one or the other or even something solid in the middle but i just don't get that. I feel so exposed and am getting burned so often when i engage right now that it's getting incredibly tempting to just do my jobs, and hold my'self' back a little.
I suppose some background is important to the picture, i... always required prompting to do my share of jobs before DS came along, but from the day he arrived i have been taking on more and more. Currently i cook 5 nights a week, i wake up 2 hours early to take DS so mum can get some sleep without being poked in the face by boy before i go to work, i stay up after mum takes DS to bed with her so i can clean and yes, unwind a bit. I even try to make sure there are fresh-ish flowers in the lounge each day.
Today i got home with a migraine coming on, put on my big boy pants, took some drugs and went grocery shopping, got back, put all away, started cooking. Came through to check on DW and son and was told to stop the door squeeking. ok, yea, it's annoying. Got back to cooking, came back in 10 mins to see how it's going? got glanced at then ignored.
We have dinner, it's bed time for DS and my DW says 'she feels like she barely sees me' and i just couldn't put myself out there. I start babbling about at least we have lunches together and we'd have more time but i'd had to go shopping (yes i see how that could be taken badly now), so she just walks out and takes boy to bed.
I know this must be a hell of an identity change for her, i know it must feel debilitating to have such a clingy/needy baby, i know that i'm no kind of saint and on top of all that i know that the peaks and troughs of hormones she's getting bombarded with must make cape horn look like a bloody millpond. But i just can't keep getting snubbed, it hurts.
I'm a pretty decent guy, giving a lot of emotional and day to day job-type support, but DW is making it so dangerous to approach her that i feel like i want to stop putting myself in the firing line.
Do less, she will soon see how much you're doing and maybe appreciate it more...
On the other hand it could be that she has PND,maybe it would be helpful to speak to your HV together or your GP.
You are right her hormones are all over the place. Do either or both of you have DP near by? Anyone either of you would feel comfortable sharing this with, if needs be?
One minute snubs you the next she 'feels like she barely sees me'. Has she always been like this, or has this changed since DS?
Maybe as you weren't so hands on without such prompting before DS she is apprehensive about it lasting??
Either way communication is the key here, though if she starts breathing fire I would maybe take step back
You'd be creating an unfortunate downward spiral if you withdraw.
I would continue doing what you're doing.
I would talk to her about the possibility of PND and how she's feeling. How much sleep is she getting? Is she breastfeeding?
I would remember "this too shall pass". It gets easier. The small baby stage is hard.
Sounds like you are trying really hard. Hang in there, it will get better at 6 months.
I would try to get communication open and talk. Pick your timing, run her a bubble bath, candles, get her in the bath and just chat to her about her feelings while you are in the room.
Try not to talk about your concerns or relationship at this point just focus on her, tell her she's been doing a great job, talk about your boy, how hard but exciting this chapter is.
Just keep it light but maybe go into her currently feelings about herself. You want her to leave the bath just feeling listened to and that's all.
You will hopefully have an idea if any red flags are starting to come up about PND.
Try and build up from this, keep talking , make that your mission and then you can talk about how you feel a bit but only after a few sessions on getting her to talk about her feelings.
I'm sorry if this sounds like you are having to pussyfoot around her, but hormones, sleep deprivation make this a hard time and partners can get sidelined. Hang in there,
Just keep talking.....& good luck
Honestly, my son just recently turned 1 and is finally having sleeping in his own bed and my DP and I have started to have time together again. It's really tiring and takes it out of both parents. It gets better. You sound like you're supporting her well practically, just make sure you spend some time just being together, especially with you staying up later - I know for me going to bed separately felt like he was distancing himself, iykwim.
It's very very early days. It's hard. Don't withdraw. Talk to her, not in a I'm fed up of you rejecting me way, in a how are you feeling way and then listen.
Kudos to you for the meal cooking and getting up early. Grocery shopping - could it be done online? Cleaning - every night? I wonder whether she needs you to take the baby off her in the evening/weekends rather than do jobs while she's still stuck with the baby.
Get a book on baby development - you will see that this needy squalling thing will be a funny, sitting, laughing individual within a few months. Just hang on in there. If baby is clingy or whingey the DM can feel she is failing or a bad mother, this is very upsetting for her and she might be taking it out on you. Try praising her and baby to boost her confidence.
So the advice to someone who's partner is treating them horribly is pander to them and be nicer?
I've got a 13 week old and to be honest, I'm not very nice to my DH sometimes. We barely argue but had quite a long, heated discussion on Saturday and I was totally unreasonable and I could see that whilst we were talking.
Sleep deprivation and the new changes of a baby make everything else a little off. I say things I wouldn't usually, I push my husband away and then ask for his support at the same time. I can't explain it but it's hard. Stick at it and she will be grateful, she probably already is, it's just hard to see that at the time. Xx
I think your post is great and really shows another perspective. Can fully understand why you want to withdraw. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't at present though, unfortunately.
Quimby, it's early days following a massive life change, with a first time mum probably suffering sleep deprivation and likely breastfeeding with all that entails. As far as we're told there were no issues prior to the birth other than him being a bit lazy. Now he's stepping up, which is good.
It's more sense to talk, check whether the issues are pnd or similar and to continue doing his share than to withdraw. Bit of patience and talking. If it's a permanent change in her demeanour then that's different, but it's only 4 months in.
Oh I'm not saying to pack the bags and split today.
Talking is definitely the way forward and it's something they can likely work through.
But I disagree that the answer here is for him to just let himself be used as a punching bag and when she treats him horribly to start running her baths and doubling down on his niceness.
Tiredness and the challenges of a new baby are fucking tough (I'm not going to claim I know how tough they are for women) but that's not a free pass to act like a twunt to your partner and punish them emotionally.
It's good that you are stepping up OP. I don't think you should step back or stop doing your fair share again. It's a very tough time for a new Mum. You have to be patient and bide your time, and focus on taking care of your OH and baby as best you can.
I don't think he was suggesting going back to old habits and not doing his part.
I assumed he meant to stop making himself emotionally vulnerable to the whims of his partner and whether or not she feels like taking a cheap shot at him whenever she feels like it.
I took "just do my jobs and hold myself back a little" to mean that he keeps doing everything he needs to and his fair share but that he'd just be more guarded with regards his emotions.
If he meant it the other way, as in "well I'm not getting the praise I deserve for doing my fair share so why bother? I may as well just do the bare minimum" then I'd agree, that's a terrible idea and selfish.
The majority of the replies will be from females (me included) that have experienced and can emphasise with what happens emotionally, psychologically, biologically (hormonal changes, physical body changes), socially (feeling shut out from the world- first babies in particular if now on maternity from a bustling full time job) etc etc
However, many many men will also be able to emphasise with the OP here too (as do many of the replies already posted but they've predominately still been from an understanding the wife's POV).
The huge shift of no child to first baby has had an impact on you too. You've already explained that you're doing chores, food shopping, cooking x5 per week and no doubt helping with baby on top of working full time, even with a migraine.
This needs communication stat. But maybe a different approach. Whilst eating dinner and prior to baby going to bed was maybe not the right time to 'talk' as it ended up being an argument. Plus you were probably both knackered and tensions understandably run higher when tired.
You mentioned having lunches everyday? Does she come to meet you or do you come home? Why don't you suggest having a talk to try and see how the time you have together can be more positive.
I personally would have done the food shopping during the day with a 4 month old baby in a seat so that then when H was home he was home but perhaps that's not an idea in this case as I fear she will take that as an insult.
Talking, more talking.
So, I need to say thank you to everyone for your responses. Just having the input and seeing the situation played out safely is really valuable.
I'm really glad to see an awareness of PND being pushed as I know mental health very well and it's important. I don't think she's suffering though, she's still able to get out and about, with or without DS, she looks as beautiful as ever and is motivated to do stuff when DS allows.
I guess I was a little ambiguous in my original post (amazing really, given how long it was) but I'm certainly not talking about doing less. I have friends that act like it's still the 50s... the blokes have 3 kids and have never been pee'd on. I won't be that guy.
DW is incredible. She's intelligent, healthy, sometimes blunt but she's doing a great job. She's just exhausted. I doubt she has more to give until DS demands a little less (or demands differently, I know they don't get easier as they grow). And that is just the way it goes, I just need some out of the box thinking, or some encouragement to keep taking it on the chin without a child free cuddle in sight.
I'll also say yay for all the pushing of communication. I'm the half that always says 'we can talk about this, no matter what'... I'm just running a little low on other cheeks to turn.
four months is really hard actually, i found it harder than having a newborn because they're still not sleeping but need more entertainment when they're awake. it was at this age that mine started to express very strong feelings about things like being put in their bouncy chair while i cooked or had a shower, or going from being pushed along in the pram outside to going into a shop. there's the sleep regression as well; mine both started getting their teeth at this age too, and it can just feel like breaking point. I got through the newborn bits fine but the 4 month sleep regression had me on my fucking knees both times.
are you sure that remark about her hardly seeing you was a dig? she could just have been expressing the same regret you feel about never getting any couple time together. it sounds like you felt you were put on the back foot a bit and needed to somehow justify yourself. what do you think would have happened if your reply had been along the lines of 'i know. it's knackering isn't it, hopefully it won't be this way forever'? so expressing empathy but not taking on any blame that isn't yours to take, iyswim?
you honestly sound great, and like you have the will and emotional intelligence to get through this. good luck.
Don't dance around to her tune anymore. Quimby is spot on
Your feelings are important too OP. You sound like a nice guy who is trying his best. I'd keep doing what your doing and you might find it easier to cope with emotionally now you've read the responses on here.
Congratulations on your boy and I hope things get easier for you both soon.
You sound like you're doing as much as possible in the practical sense of things, it's refreshing to read on here when you get so many posts from new mums who are having to take on all the home stuff as well.
If its time with you she's missing though, maybe it's worth re-evaluating what's important to you both. It's wonderful that you're making sure she doesn't have alot of extra work to do on top of caring for the baby but would it be better to stick a pizza in the oven instead of cooking a proper meal every night to give you some time together when you're home? Could grocery shopping be done online? Would she prefer to cook some nights if you took the baby off her hands?
I think she needs to put less blame on you for how things are, you are doing your best to make things as easy for her as possible but a talk about your priorities is probably a good idea. Having a spotless house and fresh flowers is lovely, but maybe nicer for both of you to reconnect as a couple, instead of fretting about a few dishes in the sink?
My partner and I don't have young children, but I value time with him over anything else- sometimes I abandon the washing or studying so we can just be together when he gets home and its nice.
You sound amazing
Having a baby is the most testing time in any relationship. If I am honest I was abit of a bitch for quite awhile after my lo was born. Everything changes. You have raging hormones to deal with. Your body will never be the same and you never get to sleep.. But!! It does get easier and better. The first 6 months were the worst for us. But once you get a routine going and adapt to life never being the same it's get easier.
You spend 9 months preparing for a baby but I don't think mentally you really are. I felt like I was constantly winging it and it was terrifying! Still am winging it but I think I now know what I'm doing!
Our little one is 18 months now and life is much brighter.
You always hurt the people you are closest to and that unfortunately is you. But ride it out thing will get better and you'll settle into family life. And it is great xxxx
Your wife needs help. She may or not need a Drs help but she needs to do something.
Do you have a family near by? One of the things I remember from (6 months of hell!!) was just having somebody to give baby too. I wanted to sit with magazine and coffee for 20 mins uninterrupted. Just having some body else pick up the baby when he cries. Obviously more so at weekends.
Don't give up on her but equally don't let her get away with treating you like shit. It's hard and harder for some than others. I remember being physically sick with envy hearing about friends getting their hair cuts without taking baby, or pil visiting or anything that made their lives easier.
It does get better though and you both can help make it better by doing some normal stuff like going out to lunch or even pub with baby and also getting family member or good friend to babysit for a couple of hours.
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