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Help! how do I save my relationship

(33 Posts)
stilldazed Mon 20-Jul-09 15:55:26

which was great until DD arrived 2 months ago....

DP said yesterday that our relationship was never going to be as good as it had been before DD arrived....I expected things to be hard at first but thought we were strong and DD would bring us together in a different way.

I'm breastfeeding and obviously not getting much sleep and I think I feel resentful that his life hasn't changed that much. He says I can't stand to be away from DD for more than 5 mins...(This due to BF!).

I'm feeling isolated, he doesn't help me much with DD and I think i'm pushing him away because I'm angry that he can sleep/go out/go to the gym basically carry on with the life he had before.

We haven't had sex since the birth at first this was because I was sore (I had an episiotomy) and now it's because I'm nervous that things aren't the same down there!

Please,please give be some tips/advice, on how to save my relationship before it's too late.

ginnny Mon 20-Jul-09 16:07:56

Its only been 2 months shock
I think it takes a good 6 months to a year to get back to some sort of normality after a baby comes along so don't be so hard on yourself and tell him to be more patient.
His comment about how you can't stand to be away from dd for more than 5 mins makes me think he could be feeling a bit pushed out. I know the feeding is down to you atm but does he help out with bathing, changing nappies etc? If not maybe you should get him more involved so it feels more like a joint effort.

misschatterbox Mon 20-Jul-09 16:12:35

Hi, the first few months after having a baby are difficult. Newborn babies are hard work, but soon things will settle down. I resented the fact that my dh's life hadn't changed as much as my mine, it is a natural feeling. This baby is your dp's as well as yours. She needs both of you. After bf my 2 dds, my dh would get up and change their nappies. That way I felt better that his sleep was being disturbed too grinand he was spending time with them and letting me get back to sleep. I think you need to sit down together, explain how you are feeling and that he needs to be a part of your dd's life. As for your sex life, you aren't advised to have sex before the 6 week check up anyway, but don't worry about things not being the same, just relax and take your time. Having a child together is a very special thing for you to share. I hope things settle down for you, but in the mean time, don't make a sudden decision about your relationship. Newborn babies do take it out of you and make you irritable with eachother

mrsboogie Mon 20-Jul-09 16:18:20

The whole thing is still very very new and you are both still in the very early stages of adjusting. There's no denying that a baby puts a strain on even the strongest relationship but it's a shock when it happens.

There's a couple of different things going on which seem to be quite common in your situation

Firstly blokes aren't generally great with new babies - it takes them longer to bond because they haven't been carrying them for nine months and when the baby finally does become a reality for them it is, to be fair, not the most pleasant of realities; it can seem exhausting, pointless, thankless and all that crying for what seems like no reason (and that's just mum!)

It often takes until about 6 months before the bloke gets the point of his baby; when they start interacting back and smiling and playing etc. My DP is getting better and better with our 10 month old DS all the time. At first he had less patience with him than I would have expected and he seemed to find the newborn stage quite difficult.

Then there is the fact that he probably feels left out because you and baby are cocooned with the breast feeding thing and you might think "grow up" but he can't help his feelings. the only advice I can give here is to make him feel as involved as possible, make him feel important and as if there are things that you really value his input on - even if its just buying things for the baby.

this difficult stage really starts to ease off after the 12 week mark and gets easier again from 6 months on. So you can offer him assurances that, much as he might think so, it is not going to be like this forever. It goes really fast and in a few months time he will be bemoaning the fact that she is growing up so fast!

Wherever you can try to make him feel included and try not to harbour any resentments but try to get him to pull his weight with bating, changing etc. She is his child too and you had to go through the hardest job of all in carrying her and giving birth to her. It doesn't hurt to remind himof that.

It is so easy to lose sight of who you both were before the baby came along. As soon as you can express some milk perhaps he could feed her the odd bottle? then you could have a bit of freedom as well.

then in a couple of months you might be able to get a babysitter and go out.

I know some women would find this a horrendous impostion on their feeding of the baby but I am not one of them. Your relationship needs to be nurtured alongside the baby and it is her best interests that you do so.

Tell him it will get easier very very soon and that he will fall in love with his daughter and the relationship between the three of you will be even better than what you had before.

as for the sex? 8 weeks is nothing! Give yourself a break on that one.

posieparkerinChina Mon 20-Jul-09 16:22:24

Get a good book that might put things in black and white for your dp, it really helped my DH when I was pg. He was alright when the baby arrived, although the first twelve months have been difficlut each time, I threaten to leave at least once a month!!

stilldazed Mon 20-Jul-09 18:12:04

Thanks everyone, you're right that 2 months isn't that long I'm just worried that things have gone down hill so quickly! I want to try and turn them around before it's too late.

It was his comment about our relationship never being what it was before that upset me like he was saying the best was behind us!!

I am more snappy an naggy towards him she she arrived which I never was before I think because I'm resentful and v.tred!! How can I try and get us to connect as a couple and make him feel less pushed out....with sex being out of the question for a least a little longer!!

FabBakerGirlIsBack Mon 20-Jul-09 18:21:34

Of course your relationship will be different now you have a child but there is nothing to say it can't be better.

You need to talk, talk and talk some more.

motherinferior Mon 20-Jul-09 18:25:27

I am afraid I think he's being extremely selfish if he is going out and leaving you with all the childcare. I don't agree that men are any worse with new babies than women - I don't know about you but I was totally thrown by the arrival of my first, hadn't the faintest idea what to do with her.

Hand him the baby and go and have a bath grin.

mrsboogie Mon 20-Jul-09 19:46:03

are there any grandparents on the scene who could look after the baby for an hour or two?
if you could go for a walk or something and have a chat without the baby that would be a start. Doesn't have to be a night out raving!

Talk to him and tell him that he is really important and you can't do it without him and that things will get back to what they were like before and better, he just has to be patient.

It's perfectly true that women can be as thrown as the man by the arrival of a newborn it is just logistically easier for the man to bugger off out to get away from it all.

AbricotsSecs Mon 20-Jul-09 20:09:07

Message withdrawn

motherinferior Mon 20-Jul-09 21:22:28

I'd say talk to him, tell him he's really important as a parent, and then go to the pub.

Sorry, but I've read one too many threads about how tough it is for new fathers feeling all excluded and all. Personally, I'd have loved to have been a bit excluded from those first relentless months.

motherinferior Mon 20-Jul-09 21:24:44

Go to the pub on your own, obviously.

Or just go out to the library. Go for a swim. I'm quite serious. You need to feel like 'you' again. You are, in many ways, the important one here, the one who actually gave birth and is breastfeeding 24/7.

Haribosmummy Mon 20-Jul-09 21:35:06

Just another one adding that 8 weeks in, everything is still brand new and you are both still adjusting.

I could have written that post about me, DH and DS last year. I was worried sick that DH and DS weren't 'bonding' (DH worked away all week), I constantly felt knackered and constantly felt that swell of resentment that he got to do 'normal' stuff (of course, not only did I feel I couldn't, I didn't want to, as I didn't want to leave DS!!)

Now, 13 months in, I can honestly say that DH and DS are best friends (in fact, tonight I am sad because they are not together - DH is working away again).

PLease give the situation (and yourself) some time. Do try to talk, do try to ask your DH to get involved with the baby (DH loves bathing DS and it's become a bit of a ritual for us - DS loves his 'daddy baths' - they are so much more fun than 'mummy baths'!!! shock)

Take care of yourself and do try to get out on your own now and again... It'll feel weird to be out without the baby, but you will feel like YOU again. smile

ABetaDad Mon 20-Jul-09 21:40:22

stilldazed - you do everything with the baby by the sound of thngs so he just feels he has no role. Give him specific jobs, get him changing nappies and helping out around the house, cooking meals. Don't try and do it all otherwise you will hav eno time, be exhausted and he will just feel pushed out.

On the sex thing. There is no doubt part of the problem here is he wants some initimacy. His sex drive is stil there. You do not have to have penetrative sex (and you shoud not yet) and you can tell him that and why you are worried. However, it would be nice for him and you to go to bed for 30 minutes one afternoon at the weekend, just kissing, cuddling and touching. Give him some physical release and you might want to as well just be adults for a little bit.

Your baby is very important but spending a tiny bit of 'adult time' in the middle of the day occassionally with your DH when you are not tired and in return he spends more time with the baby while you have a rest at other times would restore some very welcome balance for both of you.

stilldazed Tue 21-Jul-09 10:26:18

great advice, will definitely get him on bath duty and try to spend some time just the 2 of us especially at weekends.

I just need to know we'll get through this and that he can wait for things to get better.

I am neglecting the relationship and being naggy with him but it's down to tiredness and I'm not sure he understands how knackered I am....when he comes in from work he makes comments about the house not being tidy!

mrsboogie Tue 21-Jul-09 10:55:32

grrr when he comes in from work you should be handing the baby over to him so you can get a break. he should not complain about the state of the house.

you might try telling him also that things would return to previous form on the romantic front a bit quicker if he wasn't being such a selfish arse!

Haribosmummy Tue 21-Jul-09 12:22:24

Right, that'll help then, mrsboogie hmm

I don't (and don't think I ever will) understand how the man is supposed to work all day (and earn 100% of the money) but then ensure he does his 50% of childcare too. Presumably, most men don't come home and expect their wives / GF's to go out to work to earn some money!

Let him start with some fun stuff - bathing (IMHO) is a good one, it's fun and most babies / young toddlers enjoy it - and it still gives mum a break.

I think having a young baby in the house is stressful enough - the last thing you need to do is fight with your DH about it!

I do appreciate that my views are probably pretty old fashioned - I will admit that, in the early days, when I was trying to aid the bonding process between DH and DS, I used to ensure the house was clean and calm and my DS was 'dressed' for his dad.. How 50s is that???!!?? blush but I felt it was important for all of us to start our weekend together calmly and happily.

But, I equally feel that it did help and that my DH and DS have a better relationship for it.

motherinferior Tue 21-Jul-09 12:27:15

Two months in, I reckon I was in a far worse state than my DP. Who had a proper job, and the opportunity to get away, out of the house. And wasn't leaking from every orifice, most of them painful.

motherinferior Tue 21-Jul-09 12:29:26

And presumably if the OP is on maternity leave he isn't earning 100 per cent of the money anyway!

somewhathorrified Tue 21-Jul-09 12:30:38

could you express and give him the opportunity to feel needed and involved?

motherinferior Tue 21-Jul-09 12:33:59

I think the breastfeeding/expressing thing is a bit of a red herring, though, if he is out at the gym and getting cross about the housework. There are plenty of nappies to change, baths to give, hoovers to run round the house and meals to cook (for the OP)already.

The chaotic involvement of early parenthood isn't purely dependent on breastfeeding!

Haribosmummy Tue 21-Jul-09 12:38:56

LOL at motherinferior... I guess I was lucky that I had a very happy, calm birth and wasn't leaking (painfully or otherwise!) from every orifice.

I stand corrected on that though.. I appreciate that many women DO have painful births and are in pain for many weeks / months afterwards.

secretskillrelationships Tue 21-Jul-09 12:53:19

I think men (and women, of course) experience a huge range of emotions when a baby is born. For men, the ones I've observed include: jealousy (of the baby and also of the speed with which a lot of women seem to become mothers), fear (of responsibility, being 'the provider' or 'sole provider', the future, nothing will be the same again), resentment (of all above) and feeling bad about feeling all the above which tends to come out as grumpiness.

My observation is that when people become parents there is a process of growing up which needs to happen (not disimilar to puberty). In my experience, women seem to go through this process more quickly but this is probably because they get a 9-month head start and, let's be honest, someone has to!

It's very easy in this situation for men to behave like sulky adolescents - don't know how they feel, don't want to grow up, scared by the process. I think it's really important to let them have some time alone with the baby. Let them get things wrong, make different choices etc.

I went back to work (1/2 a morning) when my first was about 8 weeks old. DH had to get him up, dress him, entertain him and (fail to) persuade him to take a bottle! To start with he did the 'what should I dress him in?' stuff and I just said 'whatever you think, you're in charge.' It worked really well for everyone and it helped DH's confidence no end. In fact he loved the time, spending most of it at a local coffee shop lapping up the attention of being a man out with a small baby on his own!!

mrsboogie Tue 21-Jul-09 13:33:32

haribosmummy I wasn't suggesting he should do 50% of the childcare shock how silly.

that is rather a leap from what I was suggesting, which is that after looking after a tiny baby all day (which is much harder work than almost anything that can be asked of you in a workplace) the OP should be able to hand the baby over and go and have a shower and a bit of time to herself.

I suggest that he is a selfish arse for being bothered about the state of the house when she has spent the day doing a much more onerous and important job which is looking after their child. The state of the house should not be of concern t o him at this time. And if it is he can do something about it himself - like every working mother has to.

stilldazed Tue 21-Jul-09 13:36:29

I'm on maternity leave so still earning half the money and will be going back to work (god knows how!) so I don't think there is any resentment about finances.

I have to say I agree with Haribosmummy I'm at home all day and I should be able to get myself together enough to keep things tidy and look after DD...it all seems so easy in theory.

He comes in from work tired and the last thing he probably wants is to have to help out when he's been working all day. I actually wish I could be a bit more of a 50's housewife DP might be happier and we might stop arguing. but looking after a baby fully time is a lot harder and more tiring than I imagined.

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