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Baby & your marriage (aka dealing with two babies)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, I'm 12 days pp with our first child and its already taking a toll on our marriage. I'm trying to be patient with my husband but its really freaking hard to have sympathy for the fact that his biggest complaint right now is that he feels the house is messy and bit uncomfortable to be in. He is incredibly OCD about the cleanliness of the house, but this place is not messy or dirty. Yes, there is bottle and formula paraphernalia on the counter. Yes, I have all manner of food dishes, herbs, breast pump, and other things handy to me on the bedside table; and no, I haven't filed the ton of disability paperwork I've received in the mail since our daughter was born. But for crying out loud, I've been trying to heal physically and emotionally from having a baby and a very difficult labor, not to mention my time has been spent trying to get my milk to come in and feeding and providing for our baby. He hasn't taken any time off work, so he's been sleeping in the living room and barely helping at night, but then at the same time he's annoyed that my mother is still here helping me. And he doesnt even come in to say hello to me and the baby when he gets home, before he leaves in the morning, or before he goes to sleep. He asked me to have my mom leave a day early so he could clean the house for his mothers arrival and didnt seem to care that would mean me taking the baby to the pediatrician by myself, which I'm not ready to do yet. WTF.

Sorry for the rant, but I had to get it out. This stress is certainly not helping anything. Is anyone else experiencing this or have any insight as to if this is a normal way for a man to adjust to a new baby and a post partum wife?
post #2 of 7
I am sorry you are dealing with this! My dh doesnt act this way so maybe this is the way your dh handles the stress since everyone is different? It sounds like he is resorting to very childlike behavior, which is really frustrating. Is he jealous of the time you are giving the baby vs. him? Maybe try the advice they give to new parents with older children: make sure you spend time each day listening to the child so they feel loved. Give them small tasks so they can feel helpful. Spend a few moments a day connecting physically (hugs, kisses, cuddles etc). I hope that doesn't sound like I am being a jerk but I tend to think that when adults act like children you have to go with tactics that work with children.

ETA: My dh is usually very involved and helpful but I have to give him specific tasks to do or else his friends and family start calling him, since he isn't working right now, and asking him to do things with and for them and he jumps right in and goes off leaving me alone with the kids. But he is very much a "doer" and always needs to be busy.
Edited by talldarkeyes - 8/8/13 at 5:45am
post #3 of 7
I think sometimes men feel lost when a new baby arrives. It's hard for them to find their role in everything and they often get forgotten (everyone asks after mama and baby, never daddy). It's a big adjustment for them too! It sounds like he is digging in his heels in response instead of jumping in and finding his place!

Have you talked to him about how you're feeling? Could he go to the appointment with you? Maybe he needs to feel needed... Which can be hard when our more experienced mothers are around.

Sorry, mama! It's such a transition... And it's usually not the baby that is the hard part!! wink1.gif
post #4 of 7
I think the mom helpin thing is really an interesting dynamic. My mom has been with us since July 22nd, and while we both know it's been an AMAZING blessing to have her help making meals and cleaning etc. it does change the dynamic of our house and it's been a little tough to negotiate.

Maybe he feels like his space has been invaded and like he doesn't fit in? Sleeping on the couch, mom around Maybe questioning the way things are done, baby taking up all your time... I can understand shutting down in the face of all that of you didn't talk about this time.

Maybe setting aside time to talk 1-1 about his role in your life is a good idea. I second talldarkeyes's suggestion to try and meet those basic human needs.
post #5 of 7
I don't tend to be very gentle at all when my DH starts slacking, especially if its for emotional reasons. Certainly the mens tend to get lost in the new baby shuffle, but SO DONT WE ALL, and while some new dads seem to naturally jump in many more need to be told exactly how the household dynamic is changing.

My DH didn't quite grasp how much more work was needed when our first little was born and kept on with the status quo- me doing the dishes and laundry and housekeeping etc.

It was not a nice conversation that we had but
I pretty much told him flat out not to make me chase him down for support and to quickly get on the bus to adulthood and look around him at what the needs of the house were. No matter how he felt about it, the work needed doing and his feelings were a separate issue from that.

It was some work, for months he came kicking and whining but honestly with a new baby and a slowly recovering body I had no time to help him grow up so that he would be supportive of his family.

We had to separate the emotional stuff from the practical needs so there want the opportunity for passive aggressive not doing what needs to be done because I'm feeling neglected weirdness.
That went for both of us. Because I was certainly guilty of that too.

So, jerk a knot in his ass about participating in the household/baby jobs, and then talk about how fatherhood is affecting his emotions and love him up. It's work for sure but at least you'd be having the conversation as adults.
And for me it's much easier to hear and support what he is going through when it's not making more work (and therefore, resentment) for me.

Now with #3 we have a pretty good system of work share figured out. And we can talk freely about emotional stuff without the baggage of having to talk about chore divisions too. So much cleaner.
post #6 of 7

harmonious-- hugs. i'm sorry it's so stressful. you've gotten so much wonderful input from other mamas. we are baby no. 2 and when we had our first it was such a huge transition. i have always handled the night solo too- and that means it's easy for me to feel tired and testy to feel like i'm doing it all. focusing on stating needs without drama is helpful. and it is a huge transition for hubs even if he's not doing as you wish...everything has changed. your focus isn't on him, or on you as a couple etc. for when he doesn't say bye, i'd ask him to directly telling him you miss him and want more interaction--if that's what it is. lay it on the line. i also agree that having mom in the house has good and bad. they can get away with doing less because you have so much help. but sometimes, it's not good for them either. it's definitely something that could be talked about...

 

our transition this time is smoother in many ways because i knew what didn't work well last time. and addressed those. we have a loaded adjustment of helping our 2.5 yr old adjust as well, so it makes it different. instead of me feeling i am carrying a lot of the load i see how my husband is carrying more this time because he is helping our little guy as i take care of our little girl. anyways, just know this point of stress and fatigue will come to an end, but it takes a while. focus on needs, keep it simple. and hugs to both of you!!!

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ladies thanks so much for sharing your experiences. DH and I talked a bit last night and I've realized as well that my mother is not completely blameless in this situation. She's been so helpful to me but actually not in a way that was supportive and inclusive of DH and I didn't see his side of it at all since I was in the thick of just needing help and not seeing what was going on when both if them were interacting away from me. My mom left today and his just arrived, so I imagine things will change, and hopefully for the better for all of us.
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