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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?
You poor thing you've really been through the mill, hopefully things are getting better for you now.
It sounds like your dp is having trouble adjusting to being a dad. Instead of embracing his son he is distancing himself from what made you ill, the hypermeresis and pnd. Not right at all,but he may not be consciously doing it. Have you spoken to him about how you feel?
To me it all seems a bit doomed from the start - he hasn't really sounded on board from the get go and (as someone who was nearly hospitalised with severe pnd and an unsupportive partner) it seems very telling that you would go to your mums for support rather than your dp. What does he think about you going to your mums? Was he glad or is he resentful - maybe he feels he hasn't had a chance to be the parent?
I think you may be better off as a single parent if his heart just isn't in it. He sounds like a bit of an arse. I left my horrible ex when dd was 6 months old for similar behaviour and amazingly my pnd became so much better - still a long slog but I did get there and now 10 years on I am remarried and had another dc and the difference has been amazing.
Don't settle for this.
Blimey, I think it's a bit early to be advising OP to go it alone as a single parent
OP, you need to talk, talk and talk some more to your partner. He said he'd basically prefer your son not to be here but that's obviously not going to happen. I think he's just overwhelmed by it all - your baby arrives, you're ill and then you're whisked off to stay with your mum - I'd be very surprised if your other half wasn't confused and a bit unsure of where he fits into everything now.
I'm my opinion, it seems to be a fairly common thought on mumsnet that men just have to kind of "shape up" and get on with it once babies start arriving but I think that's unfair. It sounds as though it's been a difficult time for the both of you, perhaps even more so for your partner if he wasn't fully on board with having a baby in the first place, so rather than considering whether you've got a future together, I think you need to talk and try to work things out together first and I wish you both the very best of luck that you can get back on track and both enjoy your beautiful new arrival!
He sounds incredibly selfish.
To say he wished he didn't have his son in his life is very telling to me and a disgusting thing to say to a woman who is going through PND. He sounds completely self indulgent.
He can't sleep because of a little baby being in the room? Diddums. Maybe he should sleep in the spare bedroom or on the sofa then! What a selfish man.
He didn't even have to help because you were at his Mum's, so he's been able to relax.
He's showing what he's going to be like as a far now I'm afraid. I wish it wasn't the case, because as you say it would be lovely for him to have a supportive Dad but unfortunately you can only change your own behaviour, you can't make another human being bond with a baby, no matter how much you would like them to.
I really do sympathise with you as it just sounds horrible.
I'd go back to your Mum's, at least for the short term so he doesn't make your PND worse and you can have some hands on help with your son. Perhaps in a few weeks things will settle down. How do you think he'd feel if you walked due to this?
It sounds as if the while thing traumatised him in its own way as well.. its not something that would make me sack off the relationship though.
It might be time for a heart to heart to clear the air
. I agree you both need to get talking.. He needs to talk to about how he feels and both of you acknowledge the hard road you both travelled to get where you are.
He does sound traumatised, I know my SIL had a very difficult birth and BIL found it very difficult to deal with the fact that having their lovely child had caused so much hurt to his wife. He was able to get through that pretty quickly, but I think it is easy to forget that men can get a form of PND also or can just find it very hard to recover from seeing their partner in so much pain.
Having said that, he does need to step up, but you do need to talk about this.
You need to talk to your DP. It sounds like its been a really tough time for both of you. Yes it was you that had a tough pregnancy and pnd but it will have affected your DP too.
Sometimes men have a tough time when they become a father no matter how much they wanted the baby.
I agree its not on him saying he'd go back and not have your ds but why did he say it? If he's tired and finding it hard to adjust then its more understandable. When my dd1 was 5 weeks old and I'd hardly slept due to her having reflux I had a moment when I wondered what I'd done. I wouldn't be without any of my DCs now but it was a very hard adjustment to make at first.
Fwiw my DH is a brilliant dad but was more hands off when they were babies as he was worried about hurting them. He's used to throwing big lumps of steel round all day at work and coming home to a tiny person who is delicate and helpless left him feeling a bit lost.
He's also hardly done any night feeds as its more important that he gets enough sleep so he doesn't get hurt, or hurt someone else, while he's working.
You need to talk it through or it will lead to resentment.
On the other hand....
You did take the baby and go home to your mum. That was telling him that he was not enough for you. It also stopped him from having that primacy in bonding. You had it, so did your mum, but he was left out. 15 minutes in a car and you took the car, leaving him with no easy transport to you.
Add that to his having compromised for you after your miscarriage and his not being able to help/understand your PND and you have one unhappy and confused man.
The you come home and expect him to do all the things you have prevented him from doing by being at your mums. You have moved back in and are doing things the way you want, the way you and your mum arranged them, DS sharing your bed, then you say you are besotted with DS, so you are possibly offering a bit of a cold shoulder.
Yes, he is sulking. Yes, he is confused. Yes, he is being unreasonable.
But so were you.
Long talk. Apology. Re-start required. Oh, and ask your mum to keep a bit of distance for a while, so he can gain that special person/daddy perspective.
It's very premature to be advising the OP to leave. FGS having your first child is like a bomb going off in your relationship - or it is for many people - and this couple have struggled through a pregnancy with HG, followed by the OP and DS disappearing for weeks - its hardly surprising that dad feels disconnected and resentful.
OP, let the dust settle. Four weeks is really, really early days. If it's any comfort my DH was crap through both my pregnancies - both wanted and planned. He hardly touched me, was distant, not really excited, hated being present for the birth of DS1 (he missed DS2's - thank goodness!), and he struggled to bond with tiny, screaming infants that only wanted mummy and fussed when I handed them to him. Some men are great with babies and hormonal, struggling wives, others aren't, but it doesn't mean you should be separating - or certainly not yet.
What I did was tell DH it was okay for him to sleep in the spare room for a bit. He got his sleep, I got to BF in peace without worrying I was disturbing him, baby and I got to bond. It wasn't great for our relationship, but it removed a source of antagonism and he seemed more willing to help me during the day when he was well rested and ready for work.
It's not forever. Talk to each other. Try to be kind to one another. This is a tough time in many couples' relationships and you just have to ride it out and hope you're still both there in a few months' time.
I am concerned that OP says everything was fine until she got pregnant. What was his behaviour like then OP whilst you were going through your pregnancy?
The relationships board seems to be littered with men who are perfection but turn into arseholes when they impregnate someone.
Agree with Nomama. Did you go and stay with your mum while your DP was at home on paternity leave? I would place less emphasis on him doing things like nappy changes and feeds and just let him have some cuddles when the baby is peaceful.
Also, with regard to your miscarriage, did the two of you have any counselling? Maybe he was more upset than he let on when you miscarried, possibly wanted to be strong to support you, and his feelings about losing your first baby have not been resolved.
Maybe he would benefit from the chance to see someone to talk about his feelings.
I completely agree with gimme tbh.
As for this belief being unfair;
"that men just have to kind of "shape up" and get on with it once babies start arriving but I think that's unfair."
WTAF?! I mean oh dear how unfair it is to expect an adult man and father to behave as such(!)
Men are not special fragile little things who need to be cajoled and comforted and babied when a newborn arrives unless they are the kind of controlling and entitled misogynist manchild who feels threatened by the baby taking the attention of their mummy woman away.
I happen to think a postnatal (and particularly vulnerable woman if she had PND and a difficult pg) should go wherever she wants to get support after the birth, nevermind the apparently fragile ego of a man used to getting everything his way, the recovery of the mother and baby is most important and sham on the people trying to guilt the op over this choice.
He has made several choices in this described scenario which he is unwilling to take responsibility for and perfectly willing to sulk like a toddler over making the op responsible for two young children instead of one it seems to me.
He should absolutely pull himself together, grow the fuck up and stop the passive aggressive self pity. I too an wary about this having begun in pg which is common for abuse. I don't know whether it is too early to LTB but I definitely think that at this stage you need to be around supportive people not supporting unreasonable people and that you should probably go back to your mums if he can't pull himself together and not return until he does. If it's only 15 mins away he can visit as much as he wants.
I totally agree with everything offred said.
I am concerned about your dp's behaviour too op, after all that has happened he really should be a doting dad. Not everyone is gushy and hands on but saying you wish you could go back and not have had the baby is pretty awful. I personally couldn't be with someone who said that and who will probably resent the baby.
Maybe go to your parents and see if his attitude towards the baby changes after a few weeks. If not then at least you will know.
Nomama - some points to clear up...
I took the baby home to my mum after discussing and consulting with him. It was not arbitrarily done without him - he agreed it was the best thing for all of us as he was struggling to cope with me being so unwell with the depression and the baby. He was very much part of that decision. And yes, I took the car, but he has no license and doesn't drive.
DS is not sharing the bed, fwiw, he is in a moses basket beside the bed. A small difference, but there you go. I consult with him on pretty much everything - I involve him as much as possible. I am also NOT giving DP the cold shoulder, we still have lots of affection between us.
I don't think I am being unreasonable. I am not expecting him to be superdad - but I do want him to try.
As for how he was during the pregnancy - he was supportive but quite negative about how sick it made me. I think he views the whole experience in a negative light.
Update- We had a talk tonight. I told him I was hurt by his comment that he would undo it. We talked it through and he admitted that he doesn't feel like a father. I know these things don't always come naturally.
I suggested he think about the qualities that his father has that he respects, or even qualities that he would like to see in his father and then try to emulate those. I also said he needs to spend more time with DS, cuddling and so on. I said that I wouldn't just expect him to do the drudge work, we could do things together, bathing DS, taking him out for walks and so on.
I don't think changing nappies is going to make it happen - I think he needs to see the fun side of DS - he really is a lovely baby.
We are only 4 weeks in. I will give him time and as much support as I can to try to help him bond with DS. I am not ready to write off our chances to be a family.
Its really good that you talked and that he opened up about how he feels. Its unfair to just say grow up as some posters suggested. Women and men are bombarded with media images of happy smiling mum and dad with a smiley baby. The reality of parenthood is often very different and comes as a shock to many.
Glad things are improving, OP. My DH didn't feel warm and gushy when DD was born. I think our expectations for new parents of both genders can be very high these days. It wasn't until DD chose DP to smile at first - and coo at first - that he began to feel he couldn't do without her. I would give it time. It isn't at all uncommon for a new parent to think, 'What have I done?' when a baby arrives. Doubly so for your partner because in a sense, he lost you - first to a very frightening and difficult pregnancy, then to a terrifying illness. I was also ill when my baby was born and it definitely doubled the stress on DP. In terms of wanting your DP to 'try' harder with the baby - maybe he's experiencing a bit of depression of his own, as well as feeling 'out of step' because of not having lived with your baby for as long as you have. Again, in my own experience, I wasn't able to hold my baby for a long time and was horrified to find this made it easier to 'opt out' of caring for her at times. When you see someone else as the responsible one that the baby 'needs', it's very difficult to relate to that child as needing you. It could be that a little time on his own with the baby, perhaps not now but later, could help him feel on board and needed.
OP - I was trying to balance the negative comments your OH was receiving. Sometimes this place leaps on men as though they are quite literally the font of all evil when all that had happened is a breakdown in communication.
Glad you talked it through an I hope he manages to find that spark.
The problem is not being of the male gender or a breakdown in communication.
The problem is that this person who is supposedly jointly and equally responsible for a vulnerable newborn and loosely required to support the vulnerable mother of said newborn is choosing to opt out of his responsibilities and sulk.
He is not doing this because he is a man. That's a view that expresses serious misandry and is quite offensive to me and all the fantastic partners and fathers out there.
He may well be doing it because his ego is bruised or because he's put out about 'losing' his female but really why would anyone defend this behaviour or make it the op's responsibility. He is a grown adult, he can choose his own actions and so far he's chosen not to come to op's mum's (despite going home to your mum's after a baby nevermind difficulties not being uncommon), not to visit his baby, not to interact with his baby, not to help the op with the responsibilities and to sulk and wish the baby had never been born. The op has had much more to deal with and much less control over what's happened to her, why does he get a free pass to make life harder for her just because he is a man and he has a pathetic ego problem?
Op - I would advise against spending time just now trying to engage him with the baby. Don't make yourself responsible for his relationship with your dc, he is responsible for that and you'll do no-one any favours assuming responsibility. If he can't be supportive I think you should go back to your mums and not return until he has sorted himself out, must stress this is not to punish him - he is really irrelevant, but to ensure the physical and emotional safety of you and your baby.
This sounds really hard. I feel for you PND must be really hard and it's great to have your mum on hand. However, not to be with his DS for the first 3 weeks of his life is bound to make bonding difficult - it is a HUGE life change and if you're not there feeding/changing through the night and being with that baby all day then it is going to be difficult to switch it on 3 weeks later.
I think he needs time. You won't be able to push it - just carry on looking after the baby, and let him help where he wants to. Eventually, they could spend a few hours together without you while you get a bit of time to yourself. Eventually, as your son grows a little personality and pass through some milestones your DP is more likely to bond with him.
Why is no-one asking why he chose not to be with his baby for the first 3 weeks? Why make out like the op stole his baby from him and has now given him irreparable bonding problems?
The op's own words on the subject do not support that view;
"I took the baby home to my mum after discussing and consulting with him. It was not arbitrarily done without him - he agreed it was the best thing for all of us as he was struggling to cope with me being so unwell with the depression and the baby. He was very much part of that decision. And yes, I took the car, but he has no license and doesn't drive."
It may well be true that he improves over time but it may also be true that the pg unmasked him as an abuser and I wouldn't risk my baby or my health on finding out which it was. The op can't make him interested, small babies are boring as he'll and difficult, you have to be responsible for them and he has already opted out of this, I'm not sure what the op can do to change it. He needs to make the effort himself or it will just make things harder for op IMO.
You might find the Reluctant Father thereluctantfather.com/ an interesting read
OP, pleased you had a productive talk with him yesterday. Maybe your health visitor may be able to help you both at this time.
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