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Normal DH behaviour/support after giving birth? HELP! What to do?

(13 Posts)
charx Tue 09-Jun-09 10:32:49

SO SORRY THIS IS SUCH A LONG POST - I've got a lot of get off my chest.

So I gave birth to DD2 by c-section last tuesday. DD1 is 3.
I was discharged on Friday morning, we got home for lunchtime when I made a big fuss of DD2. By 2.30 DH had hi-tailed it out of the house to watch the first assembly of a movie he's making. (He just switched projects with very little notice and wanted to be there for the run through before starting on Monday). He returned at 7.15pm.
Luckily I had organised for my DD1 to have a playdate not realising that DH had asked my friend to keep her for as late as possible (!). So DH returned and headed out to pick up DD1.
While I was left at home with new babe I thought I'd go upstairs for a rest to discover nothing had been done since I'd been away a few days. I had (being superstitious) left out sheets etc for moses basket and also assembled stuff for changing area - but had asked DH to put them all out properly, make basket and set up stuff. So that annoyed me a little - coping with c-section, rumaging round to get stuff organised. He also had not done any shopping so we were out of food. Despite me giving him internet shopping details to do a repeat order. So my first job getting home was to order that lot.

And I was a little upset that, because I had dropped a few hints that it would be nice if DH took DD1 to visit me and choose some flowers or something on the way from M&S. But nothing.

So home on Friday - on Saturday we go to Doc in emergency as DD2 vomits blood (as it much later turns out it was from some severely cracked nipples) so I'm chivvying everyone into the car - and DH seems not to get the urgency and goes like a snail making sure he is all sorted with jersey, coat etc. Very frustrating.
Later that day, when I'm thinking of having a snooze, he announces that he is so so tired and is going to have one to. So he crashes out snoring, while I'm left lying there thinking that he surely had a few good nights sleep while I was in hosp, unlike me who had 20 or so screaming babies in the ward.
On Sunday, he does the same thing - apparenltly he doesn't know whats wrong with him, he's been on his feet all day, its been non-stop and he puts DD1 to bed after lunch and is in bed for just over 2 hours or so. DD1 was wide awake, did not want to sleep and so I got up and played with her.
He is so impatient with DD1 - who has been fab with new arrival if a little whiny and attention grabbing - but he gives her one warning - and then barks at her getting very cross. I'm like don't sweat the small stuff (which is trying to get her to go to bathroom on her own) and cajole her into doing stuff - granted it takes longer, but so much less stress and I don't want her at this time to have too much resentment towards DD2.

So with (D?)H moping around, I got really upset. He went back to work on Monday (having had 4 days off) and because I was so angry on Sunday I suggested that if he really did want a good night's sleep he sleep on the sofa. So he did. I've got a lot going on - new babe, who I have to express for at moment because of serious cracked nipples and rubbish latching on technique (did not b/feed DD1 due to cleft palate) and my mum, who lives 7 hours train away just diagnosed with cancer. So all I wanted was a bit of support and him to be a bit man of the house, take control etc. Needless to say I sobbed all Sunday night.
Monday night I am totally prepared for him to be back in our room but he says he thinks its better if he sleeps downstairs. Another night of sobbing - as I see him everytime I go to the kitchen to get b/milk in fridge.

The thing is, I know I can do this on my own - he was abroad working on a film for first 6 months of DD1's life. But the point is, that I want to be a family - but as I said to him I need him to pull up some man-socks, be patient and fun with DD1 too. I have got some help in au pair form - but it's not huge amounts, au pair is v quiet and he works longs hours and as you know, au pairs don't get paid masses and I am very conscious I don't want slave labour - so I have her help round bathtime and meal time.

Its so upsetting to have him sleeping on the sofa - I almost want to say that I wish he would totally go somewhere else instead (obviously I don't really, but want him to see what impact this is having - my b/milk seems not to want to come through very much due to anxiety (?))
How much support should I expect from him? I know he has to work, and that he needs to sleep well, but I can't help feeling that this is not the norm.

Any thoughts?

mistlethrush Tue 09-Jun-09 10:46:13

Sorry that he's not making things a bit easier for you - or thinking of you or your dcs very much at this time. You need to take it easy so that you recover properly.

Perhaps you should ask him what he would expect to do if he had had major abdominal surgery - would he be back to work immediately or would he take it easy around the house - and if taking it easy, how much time would he expect to be looking after the dcs?

booyhoo Tue 09-Jun-09 12:17:19

i could have written your post charx. apart from the section bit. OH just doesnt get it at all what ive been through and we actually spent the weekend not speaking because of a build up of frustrations from him not doing what i consider enough around the house. and not being emotionally supportive. we did make up as oH had to leave on sunday for 6 months so we are talking now but i think if he had been staying we would have had to have a serious talk about what i expect him to do in the house, how he should be a bit more forgiving with ds1 (aged 3) and also with me as hormones are flying round everywhere. i think this is what you ned to do. dont make it a dictation of what you want. discuss it with him. tell him what you would like and ask if he thinks thats reasonable. forget what hasnt been done so far, it will achieve nothing to bring it back up again. give him specific instructions regarding house chores. ie; he should do a daily wash, dress dd, prepare dinner, run the hoover round. as long as the basics are taken care of you can rest and enjoy your new baby. and really these things dont take up much time once he's got a wee routine going. if he is unwilling to help out and be a bit more sensitive to dd and you then i would begin questioning his commitment to being a father and husband. this is such a special time for you and baby, and dd so he should be making it as easy and stressfree as possible for you all. good luck

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Tue 09-Jun-09 12:46:54

He sounds like he needs a kick. After a section you should be taking it reeeeallly easy. Have you got one of those sheets that says what you are/are not allowed to do afterwards? - I got one and I think it really made it clear to my DH what a major thing it is - for the first week it said you are not even allowed to do light dusting!

Think you do need to have a serious talk and spell things out to him a bit. Like you say he needs to pull up his man-socks and show what he can do!

Merrylegs Tue 09-Jun-09 14:33:08

As he was not around for the first 6 months of DD1s life, and you 'did it on your own' as you say, perhaps he just doesn't realise what hard work it is?

That said, there is absolutely no excuse for his f*ckwittery and general uselessness.

I think you are right. This is not (or shouldn't be) the norm. They are his children too.

You absolutely must take it easy and you must expect his help.

Is your midwife still visiting? Could she have a short, sharp word with him?

It seems like no on is telling him to take responsibility, either at home (have you asked him to directly?) or at work. If a male colleague of mine turned up at work the day his wife came out of hospital after a c section, I would say what the blardy hell do you think you're doing here?! - film or no film.

No one is challenging him.

You have had major abdominal surgery and should be having bed rest.

Merrylegs Tue 09-Jun-09 14:35:36

PS Congratulations on your new baby, btw!

MakemineaGandT Tue 09-Jun-09 14:39:05

He needs a kick - print out your message and show it to him - it says it all in a very calm and mature way. You sound totally reasonable. It's not as though you want much in the way of practical help really - you just want to feel he is behind you and that he appreciates what you are doing. He is being selfish.

Congratulations by the way!

MakemineaGandT Tue 09-Jun-09 14:39:05

He needs a kick - print out your message and show it to him - it says it all in a very calm and mature way. You sound totally reasonable. It's not as though you want much in the way of practical help really - you just want to feel he is behind you and that he appreciates what you are doing. He is being selfish.

Congratulations by the way!

Sazisi Tue 09-Jun-09 15:05:36

Congratulations on the new baby

I'm quite pissed off on your behalf; he should be bending over backwards to make things easier for you and help you recover.
He's being an arse and very inconsiderate.
I don't think you are unreasonable to expect more from him; you're recovering from mahor surgery ffs - has he forgotten?
He could be sharing (if not doing all) the night feeds for a start

thehairybabysmum Tue 09-Jun-09 15:25:38

Congratulation also.

Agree with others that he needs a kick up the arse. Maybe worth taking time to spellout how you feel what he actually needs to do.

Also i had similar feeding problems with ds1, terrible latch and bleeding/v sore nips. A nipple shield worked a treat and meant i carried on bf when i would have given up. Longer term didnt need to use it and didnt seem to 'confuse' him.

missingtheaction Tue 09-Jun-09 15:30:46

he is the parent of both your children and he is your partner and he is an adult. He has a duty to share the work on an equal basis. Instead he is behaving like a selfish, spoilt teenager.

I assume he is not stupid. rationally he knows how much work there is to do and that you have been through major surgery. He is therefore choosing to dump you in it.

you have every right to have the hissy fit of the year.

however, you are also making it easy for him to behave like this - all that hoping and weeping, it really doesn't help.

You have to choose between a bit of short term unplesantness in teh form of harsh firm words and a sharp shock, and long term misery in letting him get away with it

When i was in your position i made the wrong choice - shouldered teh burden and was a bit of a martyr. Festered over it for years and really spoiled my life.

charx Tue 09-Jun-09 15:44:02

Thanks for all of this. I have told him to buck up. This isn't the first time we've had to have this sort of discussion, but it doesn't seem to get anywhere. His point is that he has to work to keep up mortgage payments etc (despite ours getting much much lower). But as I pointed out, we are not the only ones to have a mortgage and children. Everybody works hard.

The truth of it is that I really believe he puts job/career first, is a workaholic and REALLY enjoys works. (Which is something that attracted me to him in the first place). But I did think he would put us first most if not some of the time.

Everybody says to me that he must make the most wonderful father, and I'm beginning to cringe when they say that, because I feel I have to spoon feed him to do anything with DD1 outside of taking her to the park (again) or watching looney toons. Any opportunity to pass her onto a relative or go to a friends house and have someone else make the running is used - parenting by out-sourcing. I feel as though he is making very little contribution to her development - and she really is such fun.

In his defense - since our words on Sunday night - he has put the washes on, washed up bottles but the emotional support is lacking too.

And now I've found out that my mum's chemo starts earlier than anticipated making it idfficult to go and see her with DD2 when I'd planned.

Bollocks! Think I might show this though - because I can't think of another way of getting through.

helsbels4 Tue 09-Jun-09 16:09:56

So he wants to make the babies but he doesn't want to look after them? Yeah right!

I would show him this thread and hopefully he will wake up and smell the coffee. (Or you will when he lovingly brings it to you in bed with your breakfast wink)

Seriously, he should be pulling his weight way more than he is already. If he wants to be an adult and make babies then he needs to learn how to act like one and help take care of them - and you!

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