I'm 26 and my husband is 27. We've been married for 3 1/2 years. We got pregnant with our daughter quite by accident. We were that wonderful mixture of scared and excited. She is now 11 months old.
I am so deeply devoted to her in a very primal way. I became a new person when she was born. So clearly a mother. It has been nothing but a privilege to care for her. I love every diaper change, every nursing, every bath. I do a very good job of using my time with her to actually *be* there with her.
She is an absolute delight! She has always been an extremely happy baby. Easy doesn't even begin to describe her. She is such an outgoing people-person. She loves "meeting" new people on the streets and buses of downtown DC and the Metro system. When I am walking with her, she is constantly peering over my shoulder to smile and play peek-a-boo with my shoulder and the people walking behind us. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful and happy child.
He is a wonderful guy. He loves me so much and is devoted to me. He's not a perfect husband but he is a pretty darn good one.
So what's the problem? I think he is a terrible father
He "likes" the baby. He is affectionate towards her. He always asks me how her day has been, what she's been doing, etc. He would be a nice uncle. I can't see any evidence of a bond or deep love for her. I think he would be fine going weeks without actually seeing her. He doesn't want to spend time with her. If I do ask him to watch her while I take a shower or something (really it's always just a ploy to get him to spend time with her) he will simply block off the door and play on his iPhone or computer until I come back. She's easy enough to not demand any attention.
For the first nine (!) months, I happily did everything by myself, not resentful at all. I figured that you can't force someone to love a baby... maybe it's just taking him longer than it took me... once she's bigger/more interactive, he will naturally want to be more involved.
When I saw that he wasn't any more bonded to her or interested in being with her, I thought, "hmmm, maybe me being so happy to do everything is actually a hinderence. Maybe if I relied on him more or needed his help, he would spend more time with her and develop into a father. Maybe you really need to share the burdens and the joys.
So at this point (9mo old) I forced him to change her diaper for the first time.... yes, the first time. Just wet diapers, he's never changed, nor encountered a poopy diaper. I made him undress her, and bathe her, and dress her... all for the first time. I was there helping him for all of this. I am completely confident that he can figure it all out on him own. I'm not worried about her, she'll be fine. I don't care if the diaper or clothes are on upside-down or backwards. He really wanted me there coaching him along through every step, and I obliged.
Hmmm, no more progress. No closer to the baby than before. Everytime, I still need to force him to do whatever task and then "help" him the entire time.
So about two weeks ago, I tried another method.
I sat down and told him everything above. About how I was worried that he wasn't bonded to her. I don't see any progress. I told him I would like for him to be involved in her daily care to as much extent as he can. I told him that I've created a little bedtime routine and I would love for him to be actively involved in that and possibly even put her to bed himself while I'm getting dinner ready or something. (Really, I would be soooo sad to miss out on feeding her dinner, and her little bath, and smelling her sweet little clean head while rocking and reading her stories, and I would sooo miss putting her down and arranging all her blankets and her sweet little sighs as she settles down. BUT, I would be willing to forego this, so that he could spend some one-on-one time with her instead)
So how did that work out? It is SUCH a pain. Literally, I have to FORCE him to do anything. He doesn't like feeding her... thinks it's the grossest thing. He rushes her through her bath... no games... no connecting... just getting the job done. The ENTIRE time, he is complaining and trying so hard to have me there with him so that he can talk to me and have me "help" him. I'm trying to remove myself from the situation so that he can connect/bond with her, talk to her, and become confident in his own fathering.
Yesterday, I was so frustrated. I told him that he was doing a good job of making it totally not worth it for me to force him through this whole process. I said that I would waaaaay rather do it than try to get him involved. I told him I was mad because I'm sure that's exactly what he wants. I said the only thing that makes me keep up with it is that the baby does get to spend more time with him. It's completely forced but maybe it's still better than no interaction?
What can I do to help him become a father? How can I get him to fall in love with our baby? Just give it more time? Back off and let him come into it on his own? Continue to force him to do things with her? Find opportunities to leave him alone with her?
Is he just one of the ones that doesn't have fun until the baby is walking and talking?
Is he just a terrible father, oh well?
WHAT SHOULD I DO???
~ Wife-and-Mother.... married to Just-a-Husband.