having read a few pages now. . . :) *hugs to everyone* looks like struggles abound, and when I'm struggling, I withdraw. Perhaps that's not helpful to the rest of you, but even when I'm in my little cave trying to make things work, I *do* still think of you all. :)
In re: marriage:
After the birth, I felt like my marriage and my whole family went completely wonky. Nothing made any sense, so all I did was focus on Hawk. Seriously, I mostly mothered -- I think because it was the only thing that I felt really good at. I tried to keep myself from being isolated, but that first year was rough.
Everything that a marriage can tolerate within it when there isn't a child, it cannot tolerate once there is. I knew DH was needy and anxious. I knew -- at some level -- that I mothered him. I knew that he wanted that. I knew it wasn't healthy. For some reason, I figured it would manage itself. Instead, when my mothering was properly channeled, DH felt abandoned, and that kicked up *all* of his anxiety and rage about his own mother and the issues inherent.
This anxiety hit a fever pitch (even leading to a massive panic attack that sent him to the hospital) by the time hawk was 3 months old. I'd compltely shut Ryan out about 6 weeks into Hawk's life. He was constantly picking fights with me and constantly complaining about everything. I was hardly keeping it together between the pressures of learning to mother, handling his aggression, and then handling the incredible strangeness of my family and my deeper invisibility (eg, how everyone said hawk looked just like ryan or was just like my sister -- to name a particularly weird one).
So, I had to do something. I basically shut him out, and then resented him for having to do so.
It wasn't until fall of 2009 (northern hemisphere fall) that i was able to even look back and see what happened. I approached Ryan, and he was -- thankfully -- already in counseling. We were heading toward moving to NZ, and a new pile of effort and strain on us, but it has brought us closer.
DH has learned to not need me to mother him. I have to work hard to not rescue him either. I do snap at him a fair bit still, largely when I feel he isn't taking responsibility.
Our sort of second big-issue cropped up in Spring 2010 (southern hemisphere spring), wherein the stress was high and Ryan wasn't managing it well. He revered back to picking fights and complaining, and then he and hawk would "spin out" -- hawk would get very physical with Ryan, and ryan would freak out, yell, and scare Hawk. This is -- of course -- when I wasn't there, and hawk would tell me later that daddy was scary and I would ask ryan about it and he would explain what happened.
I got help in the form of parent counseling through our playgroup leader. She was really good at explaining things, and it was really great for us. Ryan was able to utilize the techniques (that I use and have used the whole time -- and kept explaining to him, but he'd go "no! ou don't understand!" and so on), and got good results. We got everyone on a strong rhythm, and moved forward.
Now, we are several months out and did a move into a new house. The stress and anxiety has kicked up for ryan again, and so he was very stressed about having to take care of hawk and they got back into scraps. I had to remind him to read the articles, and he has finally done so. I explain over and over how it works. Ryan says 'he just doesn't misbehave around you." and I tell him it's because *i'm* not misbehaving. If i am calm and everything is ok, then everything is ok and hawk goes along. If you are not calm, then Hawk is not calm and he acts out exacty what you (and therefore he) is feeling.
I don't know why Ryan is so slow to get this, but I guess that's his path.
It's taken a lot of work over the last 1.5 years to really get our relationship back in order. Our business is humming along, and everything is going very well on that end. We have a nice home and lots of good friends. It's a really nice lifestyle overall. We are quite happy with the whole process.
But, we are still working on it.
And people ask us when we'll have another child. I realized about a year ago that I had to choose: Ryan or more children. I chose Ryan. I just don't think he could handle having any more children. We talked about it at length, and he agrees. He wants to hold out the idea that perhaps in 2 years or so, we might feel more ready, but then he admits that he doesn't want to go through that first 3 years again -- because it's so intensive and it takes a lot of time and effort. And he wants to focus on his career and the way he wants his life to go (with us, of course).
I think I realized this before he did, but we think it's the right answer. I don't feel it's right to put that level of pressure on our family, even though it would be nice to have more children. It is also great with just the three of us, too -- and we are happy.
I feel like we are finally back on track -- and it feels nice to be in that place.
But yes, i was quite sure that having a baby was going to do us in.