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#1 of 16 Old 09-29-2010, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hopefully this is a good place to post this, but I just wondered if anyone had resources to share for marriages with a new baby or helping me deal with a DH who's struggling with depression due to all the adjusting?

So often, he's fine, but he has been having these shut-downs, holding the baby at arm's distance while she screams instead of comforting her. Walking away from stressful situations saying, "I need a moment". Not reading anymore (says he can't concentrate). And just apologizing all the time for anything and everything as if he's always doing something wrong though he's really not... I just don't know what to do. I feel super defensive of our DD and want to protect her from his moods and frustration but I cherish my marriage so much, I don't want to shut him out (though sometimes I DO want to shut him out, like now sending him to bed while I stay up late with her and contemplate when to try to get some sleep).

So she hasn't been sleeping well at night and she's been fussing and she interrupted us twice while we tried for intimacy today, but so much of this I think is normal for a 4 week old baby right? And I have so much grace for her and us as a family and this adjustment period... I just think I need some kind of support for how to get through this with my optimism and sanity in tact...

Thanks for listening friends.

Holistic nutritionist, WAHM, new mom of first DD 08/29/10 and a precious baby due 2/13/12!

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#2 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 02:39 AM
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Did I read that right? You have a 4 WEEK old? You do realize that you are still in what is known as the "Fourth trimester"? You're not even past the first 6 weeks, recovery.

And I do understand that you're not in a good position, it is obvious your husband has some difficulties coping, and he might need professional help. Hopefully someone else knows more about this, and can advise you on that.

But I think, personally, that it is much too soon for you to have to worry about your marriage, or intimacy (I don't think i even considered intimacy for the first 2 months at least, it was just way beyond what mattered then, this little new life in our arms!).

Getting to know the new family member and getting used to your new roles is what is important right now.

Of course you will need to support your husband if he needs treatment for example (as he would support you if you had PND), but I do think it must be ok to put working on a relationship on hold just for the first few months, at least until you are out of that newborn fog, when you know every different sound your baby makes, every expression, and it starts to matter what is going on around you, in the big world.

Hope this helps - I do understand that you are in a very difficult situation, and it can be really hard at the beginning.
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#3 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 03:46 AM
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Hope everthing is better now.
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#4 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 04:41 AM
 
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We had a rough landing into parenthood here too! I found the first two months, but especially the first 4 weeks to be a very, very difficult adjustment for both myself and my husband. I could not understand why everyone says this is such a joyful, blissful time.

Just FYI, there's a forum here on MDC called "Parents as Partners" that you could maybe cross-post in to get more advice. Good luck, and remember this is, for many people, the hardest time with a baby and it does get much much easier and better after the first few months.

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#5 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your replies - I will look for that posting-forum for my question. I do understand the newborn fog and the huge adjustment period - I am just looking for resources that might help us through this bumpy time, that's all. I love my DH - he is my best friend and I adore him. I hate to see him struggle through this and I'm torn between trying to support him or trying to support myself and this new life. Thank you for understanding.

Holistic nutritionist, WAHM, new mom of first DD 08/29/10 and a precious baby due 2/13/12!

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#6 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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i'm only going to speak to the intimacy issue, but in my experience, intimacy (or lack of) affects everything else in the relationship.

what we did was took the day that it would be 6 weeks postpartum and set it aside, BEFORE THE BABY EVEN CAME, as a "date day". of course we knew that it might be tough with a newborn to find the opportunity to be intimate on that first day it was "allowed", but at least we knew it would happen come hell or high water. we looked forward to that day every single day we weren't intimate, or were in a fog, or the baby was so much work it was insane. we made plans for a special dinner (take-out, not made at home, to keep it simple), candles, a together-bath, champagne after i had fed the babe and had a back-up bottle on-hand, etc. no, we couldn't get all of this in one uninterrupted "date", so our date started at 2 pm and lasted 'til midnight! we had a special reacquaintance, but really the most important part of doing this is that it kept us sane, and gave a prize for our eyes on our toughest days of the newborn period.

i wish you all luck. everything WILL get easier.

momma to samson, born 12/05/09 to grateful parents.
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#7 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 01:15 PM
 
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Is he resenting the fact that the baby is getting attention and he's not? Really with a 4 week old it's a MAJOR adjustment even for the strongest relationships. I can understand the frustration of the interruption of intimacy. He honestly sounds like he may need some counseling, maybe he's got some kind of male version of PPD, I mean I personally believe men can have hormonal episodes for sure. Having a baby can definitely make life a complete upheaval. As for the intimacy thing, well having a baby really throws that out the window, at least IME. Few and far between is what has happened with my pregnancies, first year, being a parent. My kids take all our energy and so DH and I have to do date nights, or get lucky on the off chance both kids are napping or something

Truth is you both are adjusting, he sounds like he's not fairing as well, is he bad with sleep deprivation? Is that taking it's toll on him? He also sounds like he's having trouble bonding with the baby, MANY men don't know what to do with a baby or honestly aren't that fond of the newborn period. I've read lots of times where they just aren't that comfortable with the baby period, but when the become toddlers or preschooler a new bond comes in full force.

I actually think him walking away from the situation is not a bad thing, if he needs a moment then let him have one. The alternatives are far more dangerous, a baby crying for a couple minutes is safer while he takes a break to regroup. It sounds to me like he's insecure in his new role and doesn't want to make mistakes with the baby, parenting comes naturally to some and others not so much. It's been a month, the newborn period can be very trying and testing of relationships, I think you need to give it a bit more time.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#8 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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Truth is you both are adjusting, he sounds like he's not fairing as well, is he bad with sleep deprivation? Is that taking it's toll on him? He also sounds like he's having trouble bonding with the baby, MANY men don't know what to do with a baby or honestly aren't that fond of the newborn period. I've read lots of times where they just aren't that comfortable with the baby period, but when the become toddlers or preschooler a new bond comes in full force.

This just reminded me, I didn't mention earlier: my husband had a really hard time at first too. He also felt like he didn't know what he was doing. It took a few months, but our son is 4 months old now and they have been really bonding and having a great time in the last month or so. What made a huge difference (for both of us) was when our baby started smiling, and then laughing, and generally interacting more. The first few weeks he was just sort of there, not really interacting. He could very clearly tell us when he was unhappy, but until he could smile we never really knew if he was ever having a good time. It made such a world of difference once we knew he was happy and he was trying to interact and be social with us. Hang in there!

Oh, and as for resources, I also just remembered there's a dad's forum on here too! You could always ask them, maybe someone knows of an online or offline group for new dads ~or, if your DH is so inclined, he could post there himself! Best of luck to you.

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#9 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that I think both moms and dads go through this. My son screamed at us for 4 months straight. I had the benefits of the boobs and the 'good' bf hormones. Our husbands have none of that. We had a rule-- if one of us needed a break, we'd say "I'm frustrated." and walk away. I think it was the best rule that we ever had.

It gets better. The adjustment to parenting can be a hard one, no matter how much you prepare. I would try to boost your husbands confidence in terms of kiddo (DH was expert swaddler and baby airplaner in those days), and give it some time.

DH and I joked that the first four months were like parent training for us. I would definitely, consciously try not to shut your husband out, but give him the tools to do better with baby so you have confidence in him as well.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#10 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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Wow, when DD was 4 weeks I was still in the trenches of new-baby hell. Kudos to you for wanting to work on your marriage... but I think you just need to give parenthood a little time to work itself out.

I called DH and my mom crying every day for about 4 months, I was just that frazzled. But over time it got better and DH and I both adjusted. Give yourself and your marriage a break and just try to go with the ever-changing flow. If things still look bleak in a month or two, then make some decisions to get help where it's needed.

Woman, Wife, Mom to beautiful DD (10/14/09), Copywriter, occasionally tearing my hair out but usually pretty happy about it all
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#11 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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You've gotten some great advice. I just want to say, in my limited experience men don't do well with screaming, crying babies (especially their first screaming, crying baby). It's ok for him to feel frustrated and it honestly sounds like he's handling it well-- when he feels overwhelmed he passes the baby back to you. That's good-- he shouldn't take it out on the baby.

The screaming will get better. You will sleep again. Intimacy will return-- in the meantime, why not try some shortcuts (if you know what I mean), if you can't fit in the whole shebang without the baby waking up? It takes some of the pressure off to "perform" and helps you both feel close.

Your life will look and feel totally different in six months. Remind each other of that!! You're in the trenches now.

GL!
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#12 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by toughcookie View Post
we had a special reacquaintance, but really the most important part of doing this is that it kept us sane, and gave a prize for our eyes on our toughest days of the newborn period.

i wish you all luck. everything WILL get easier.
Thank you ALL for your encouragement! Toughcookie - I totally relate to what you described and feel we did have the prize to look forward to, which was my birthday Sunday, our 4 week mark and we had SUCH a magical day - all day long specialness like you describe and really a special reacquaintance as well. I think that probably got us greedy for more and DD has not slept long enough to provide us with those moments again... put that on top of us having just moved here from across the country 2 months ago and DH job-searching and feeling hopeless... we just are struggling at times and I really do appreciate everyone who has chimed in.

DH is certainly an AMAZING support - he is the best diaper-changer (tries to do them all), he takes a good 4 hour shift at night when she's not going into deep sleep so that I can, and he even wears her in the wrap while he's washing dishes or doing things around the house. He's awesome... I just worry about him adjusting and you're right, he doesn't have the good bf hormones either!!!!

I think sometimes we both have a rough night at the same time and last night was one of those times. I slept in the spare room with DD and DH got a whole night's sleep. I think that made a huge difference. His attitude is much more positive today and he said the sleep felt so good. I, on the other hand, am positively dizzy from so little sleep! But I'm taking it one day at a time.

Thank you again for all your empathy and suggestions!

Holistic nutritionist, WAHM, new mom of first DD 08/29/10 and a precious baby due 2/13/12!

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#13 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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I think sometimes we both have a rough night at the same time and last night was one of those times. I slept in the spare room with DD and DH got a whole night's sleep. I think that made a huge difference. His attitude is much more positive today and he said the sleep felt so good. I, on the other hand, am positively dizzy from so little sleep! But I'm taking it one day at a time.

Thank you again for all your empathy and suggestions!
Oh how I remember those days! (fondly, actually). I think husbands can get a bad rap. Sometimes we all get a bit crabby when the baby is crabby. It does get better-- so fast that you'll actually miss it. I used to say to myself-- he'll only be 4 weeks and 3 days just this one day. It really helped me just to enjoy the cuteness while I could.

Best of luck, and hope you get some sleep soon as well!

ETA: being able to nurse sidelying was such a help to me-- if you haven't already, maybe ask an lc or lll to teach you how.(or you tube). I wasn't able to figure it out on my own, my mom had to teach me.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#14 of 16 Old 09-30-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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Aw, somehow I find his reaction to all this kind of sweet. To me it says that getting this right is really important to him. As a lifelong perfectionist, I had a very similar reaction to parenthood myself and am only now (um, with some help from Celexa) feeling more calm about things 6 months in. Make sure he keeps trying. DD's dad protects himself with incompetence (i.e. he convinced himself and me at 3 weeks that he could not put Bea down to sleep, so even when I have been in the depths of sleepless despair he has not "been able to" help). Another thing - perhaps personal, but our LO was very much not planned and both her dad and I still really struggle sometimes with, I guess, the sudden loss of what we used to consider our life. Don't get me wrong - we adore Bea, but I don't think it's wrong or unreasonable for parents to sort of go through the stages of grief over the loss of their old familiar life. When DD's dad and I are struggling, this is often the hidden culprit.
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#15 of 16 Old 10-01-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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Awww, the first few weeks are hard. My baby is only 5 weeks right now and it can be a challenge!

One thing that I think has helped DH and I adjust is having a sense of humor. We both try to keep things light and not take any of these new stresses too seriously. This can be hard but we've laughed so much at all the crazy things we've experienced lately and that makes it better somehow!

DH gets worried about things our DS does (breathing, congestion, sleeping, ect.) and I just happily let him know it is so normal for this stage. As long as he knows it's normal for DS to do ______, he feels better. As long I know it's normal to have a cry-fest once a week from the stress once a week, I feel better and DH responds to me better.

Also, I think just accepting that things are going to be tough can change everything. Just sitting down and saying "This is a challenging but wonderful time in our lives right now. Let's accept that, learn from it, and just live." can be freeing. The other day DS didn't want to be put down all day and was fussy, needing to nap on me. We had just moved 2 days earlier so I had tons to unpack. Finally, after stressing most of the day, I realized this is just how the day was going to be: spent with my son And THAT made it better. And expressing that to DH when he got home helped him be understanding!

Hope things improve!!!

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#16 of 16 Old 10-01-2010, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you again..
It's so true that she'll only be 4 weeks and 6 days ONCE and I do cherish my moments with her... perhaps my exhaustion turns into frustration and I just get upset with my DH who I love so dearly. He does throw down the card "I can't do this" right when I need his help the most... because frankly, I don't do anything special, I just have more stamina I guess, for walking up and down the hall for an hour bouncing and shushing until she's sound asleep. His limit is 10 minutes and he wants to know why she's not sleeping and what her problem is. That's when I want to curl up and cry... because I'm tired. When I'm NOT tired it doesn't phase me at all!
I hope I'll remember these times fondly!
And I totally empathize with the "unplanned" - we knew we wanted kids and we stopped using protection but were avoiding ovulation periods of time, not knowing we'd get pregnant exactly one month after getting married and stopping protection. It was unexpected. I was thrilled, viewing it as a miracle, and he was not, viewing it as horrible timing (his family agreed with him)... so my mind travels back to that first horrible month and how ferociously I fought for our unborn child to be appreciated and welcomed and loved...

Aaaaah, what complex beings we are.

Holistic nutritionist, WAHM, new mom of first DD 08/29/10 and a precious baby due 2/13/12!

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