new baby syndrome...or how to not hate your husband after birth

lunarmama's picture

So here's my question new mamas. How do you not hate your husband after you've given birth to your second child and you hear shit like this come out of his mouth:

When asked to hold the newborn during the 24 hour later exam he tells you "his back hurts".

After being up for three days breast-feeding, changing, cleaning, etc baby. Recovering from a natural delivery, and so on...DH comes in with toddler and lays on bed and says' he's "broken" because he's so tired. This after at LEAST 5 solid hours sleep the night before. Granted, he did have to go to the grocery store TWICE and he's had to actually interact with his daughter 24/7 for the last 3 days, but I wonder...does it cross his mind that this is my day EVERYDAY? That I have to wrangle her all day long? That I have to go to 1, 2, 3, 4 different places with her in tow MOST DAYS. That I was PREGNANT for the last 9+ months? And that I haven't seen this side of 5 solid hours sleep in months? I mean, really.

After going to bed at 8:30pm I wake him at 2am because if I don't get sleep NOW I will start killing things and Kailyn is not sleeping 'cause she's gassy but she's clean, fed, etc so she doesn't "need" me. He takes the baby, walks her around a bit brings her back. I snuggle up to her, fall asleep for like an hour, wake up around 5, again at 6 and then Dee is up at 7:30. He sleeps from 8:30-2 and from about 2:40-7:30 and has the nerve to tell me he's still "beat". WTF?!

To be fair, I did ask.

Oh, there is so much more, but really? I just want to cockpunch him.

Thankfully I have my sister-friend here to help out and Dee has been pretty awesome so It's not as bad as it could be. But really, any advice to give would be helpful. I keep trying to remember that he's a loving father and a good husband and he's not intentionally an ass. But wow, it's hard when shit like the above comes out of his mouth.


sweetdumpling's picture

its pretty normal though, they just dont seem to get it. i wish it could be easier. it'll pass, but it *should* be more enjoyable.

Get great free widgets at Widgetbox!

idyllia's picture
Submitted by idyllia on

since we did just go through this.

Here's what he had to say: "Each of you have had your daily routines thrown, suddenly he (if your situation is like ours) has been charged with full-time care of his older daughter, some thing you have had two years to get awesome at, and you just want him to step in and be able to take your place. He likely is exhausted, taking care of a toddler is monumental - plus he's likely full of anxiety over you and his new babe, think of how much effort it took to keep your head above water when you were caring for Dee during anxious times. Then consider that you've had years to learn her routines, likes/dislikes, her unique language, her tiny preferances that make your days so much smoother. Trying to be all that is hard." Now, I agree with Andrew on all of this - but I also know where you're coming from and I can tell you, my brain almost exploded every time he had the audacity to complain about things where there I was unslept, milk-stained, sore and tired. But it wasn't until I took the time to understand where he was coming from that things started to get better.

I eased up my expectations of Andrew, I realised that I would often hold him to a higher standard than I might hold myself under the circumstances, so I let him find his own ways to parent - he fed the kid more junky food than I'd like, re-introduced juice to our lives (which resulted in a screaming match and a box of juice being thrown unceremoniously out the front door), used TV a LOT and played trains with the kid almost exclusively... but it worked for him and gave me the break I needed. I also eased my expectations around the house, I made myself crazy trying to keep the house clean, and man I would seethe if Andrew left a mess anywhere. I took so much personally during that time when it was just normal growing pains.

It is great that your friend is there to help. Andrew and I look back on the week that my mom was here and agree that it was such a turning point. We could have gone on being bitter and miserable, but we didn't (though life ain't perfect). I know I pm'd you about this already, but you two need to take time and give each other breaks. The best thing we did was to leave Sebastian and Rigby with my mom a couple of times (at night, after Sebastian was in bed) and get a coffee together and just talk. We talked about so much in those stolen hours and I really think that helped keep us from doing anything drastic (believe me, I started thinking about divorce, or just running off in the night). We used the time to catch up and to talk about how we would make things work for us once my mom left. We made a commitment to one another to give each other breaks, without resentment (that's kinda key when you're the one home with the kids and suddenly your pre-schooler has decided, just as you're crawling into bed, that tonight would be a good night for screaming). We also made a commitment to becoming more patient/less anxious people - this is hard to give advice on, we both sought medical help separately and have come together since to work on becoming better adults and parents.

Two books really helped guide me through the difficulties - eat, pray, love and screamFree parenting.

This is a tough time, don't be too hard on yourself or on your husband. I have yet to talk to a mother who didn't want to cockpunch their partner at least a few times in the first week. It does get better, though, but it takes some work. I'm slow to learn and went off the deep-end while sitting around waiting for things to just mystically resolve themselves.

a tangled path

meg's picture
Submitted by meg on

I still have pissed off flashbacks to two days after Flora was born, at midnight, in a boiling hot shower with Devon (who had croup and pneumonia). I 'm standing in the shower with him, dripping boiling water and sweat and (urg) blood as the kid tries to get his breathing back to normal and I hear DH call from his bedroom (not the room Flora was in) to let me know that Flora is awake and crying for me. Like I could teleport from the shower with my wheezing 2 year old to my bed, nurse the newborn and teleport back...Like DH couldn't even fathom taking on any of this stuff. It took all my strength not to just scream FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK at the top of my lungs.
So, I feel for you, lm, I really do.
Men can just be shits.

enygma's picture
Submitted by enygma on

I'm sorry, but what a dick. Who cares if it's "normal" behavior for a man - it's totally unacceptable.

My husband simply felt too horrible to stay with me in the hospital the first night after our son's birth, despite promises that he would. He also sleeps in (we're talking a nice 10 hour stretch of sleep) every single day that he's not at work. It's not like I don't try to wake him up, or fantasize that suddenly the great guy that promised me the world would suddenly appear to take some of the burden of motherhood off of my shoulders so that I too might enjoy something over two hours of sleep or have a chance to write either for school, work, or my personal satisfaction.

Personal satisfaction, you ask? HAHAHAHA. Doesn't exist here. He's too busy with his "art" while I'm taking care of all the adult stuff.

I remember how hard it was - worse than being a single mother, because the object of your wrath is thrown in your face.

And trust me on this one - men can be responsible, good, decent parents who actually take half the burden of child-rearing upon themselves, sleepless nights and all. Unfortunately we're not married to those guys.

My heart is with you.

star's picture
Submitted by star on

and work hard on the equality thing- thats one thing guys seem to get.
For us we generally (I say generally because I still do more of course) take turns on dishes, getting up with N and grocery shopping. Also because he takes so much time working on his hobby while I am with both the girls I get to take 20 minutes here and there- as long as I make it clear he needs to watch both of them and not just be there.
I think most guys' heads just aren't there.
good luck, it'll get better if you both stay open to changes

we've got to let love rule
~l. kravitz


idyllia's picture
Submitted by idyllia on

but I have faith that lunarpapa can be held to the higher standard. I have no evidence to back up my assertion, but I do think lm can expect more.

I don't know if your "normal" dig is a comment on what I said, but I have to wonder what the adversarial language you've used here is supposed to help. Basically you're telling her - give up now, all hope is lost, you have married an asshole. What does that serve?

Being able to look back now, is there anything you would have changed to make that time easier? I am not sure who you are, but this isn't the first time I have read you berating your husband - maybe there are things you did that worked? Maybe you can think of things now that might have worked.

I am sorry you can't find time for personal satisfaction, it doesn't seem at all fair to me. Have you considered just *taking* the time?

a tangled path

Wildraven's picture
Submitted by Wildraven on

That's the title of our parenting book, but it sounds more like my relationship to dh lately . . .

Because though we are doing ok, and I really can still feel some love toward him, and I am proud of us for getting through this (because it is HARD) I still want to lob large heavy objects at his head most days.

So here's what I keep coming back to:
1)I am very glad I am not doing this on my own. As much as he is driving me crazy, I took care of the fledgling alone for two months this summer, and I know doing this alone would be much harder. I also try to remember, dh is more than an (annoying) house mate and childcare provider, he really is my friend and ally. So for now at least, I will feign gratitude for his presence.
2) I know how hard it is to be with a toddler ALL DAY. It is hard. It may not be as hard as being a new mom with a high-needs newborn and a family and a house to keep organized but it is still hard. I may be having a harder time, but he is also having a hard time too. Like Idyl said, he's never done this before, he's anxious and new to all this too. Keeping the new-mom chip on my shoulder doesn't really help us get along. What does help is for me to tell him when he's being an ass, and could he please, for a moment, recognize how hard it is for me, and then, I might be able to be a tiny bit more sympathetic toward him. But generally the whole "who's suffering more" conversation doesn't get us anywhere useful.

and now, in the spirit of commiseration, here are some highlights from our last two weeks:

-The morning after I gave birth, dh wakes up and says to me "Oh, my shoulders are really sore from where you were leaning on me"
- On the same day as above, it is 2pm, I am still in my pj's because I haven't had a chance to put on anything else, I've had some tea and toast but nothing else, and the fledgling is trying to sit on my lap on top of the baby that is trying to nurse . . . and dh says as he heads up the stairs to the bathroom "I absolutely have to shower right now, I feel so gross!"
-Last weekend, we finally get all of us out the door to go grocery shopping. I've got the baby, and the cookbook and all the diaper bag crap, and he's sitting waiting in the car with the fledgling, wondering what's taking me so long. . . I meal plan on the way to the store, make the grocery list, get the baby into the sling and into the store, where he's waiting (impatiently) with the screaming fledgling in the shopping cart. He says to me "I dunno, this is really hard, she's being really tough right now . . ." And all I can think is "SO WHAT" and then I realize, he's never shopped alone with the fledgling! I give her an apple to eat in the cart and they both finally shut up and started filling the cart with groceries. Phew.
- The other night I was putting the fledgling down to sleep, and ten minutes later I hear the (well-fed) baby crying downstairs (with dh), another ten minutes later and the fledgling is almost asleep, BUT, dh opens the bedroom door, turns on the light and says all panicky "Can't you hear the baby crying she NEEDS you!" Arrgghhhh.

Oh there's more. Involving dirty dishes, poopy diapers, kitty litter boxes, and other mundane household maintenance. But the truth is, we're figuring it out. We've always been good at talking through this stuff. We both get mad, we've had some spectacular blowouts (resulting in all four of us crying, and a dead plant), and we're still getting the hang of it. But we're doing it. And for all of my dh's infuriating short-comings around home-life, he's sticking with it, he's open to well-intentioned feedback (not so much to critical ranting), and he really does step up. He does the dishes almost every night, he gets up every morning at 6 with the fledgling, he lets me sleep in with the baby, and he does a lot of laundry. And the truth is, there are many times during the day when I wouldn't want his job. So I try to remember that, and keep hold of any gratitude I can muster. (And btw, I really don't think this is the same as male-enabling, in my case it is relationship-enabling. As in, gratitude allows our relationship to happen)

And here's one thing that has saved me in the last two weeks. At the end of every day, after I put the fledgling down (and after I stop yelling at dh for being a lame-o). We sit down together for a few minutes, take a deep breath, and notice (out loud) what IS going well. It might sound dorky, but it works for us.

And finally, our book of choice is the one I mentioned above "Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline" by Becky Bailey (it's about toddlers, not husbands, but it's also about how we relate to ourselves and to each other when we're stressed). It has helped us be more supportive and unified in how we parent, and just discussing the book helps us be friends when we're having a hard time together.

Aurinel's picture
Submitted by Aurinel on

I don't mean the DH but the baby!
So please remember: He hasn't hormons to help him through sleepless times *verybiggrin*. Of course he should be more helpful but maybe it would help him if you tell him what you are expecting.
I seem to be lucky. Okay my daughter is my first child and my stepson is not living with us (what is a pity in a way), so it was much easier. He had a long holiday when I gave birth and he is used to dishing, cooking, going to the grocery. But sometimes it's hard with him, too. Especially when little screamer has a bad night (teething or whatever) and he has to go up at 5:15 in the morning, looking forward to a day of hard work. Because he almost always awakes, too.
The worse thing he ever said was: "And, do you really want a second child?" while I laid and every labou-pain went into my legs (very wrong but I couldn't help it).
I'm with you!

...the lover, the dreamer, and me (Jim Henson)

Aurinel's picture
Submitted by Aurinel on

there are times when I get enough of family life. Then I look for the next possibility to let him take care (hoping for at least two stinking pampers for him to change) and take off for an afternoon of my own (hair cutter, a little bit of shopping or just walking the streets and enjoying myself). Then the best thing to do is sitting in a café drinking some cappuccino and look at other mamas and their children. Then I am looking forward to get home again.
You see, he can if he has to. Why don't you let him go to the grocerer with you elder child? Both of them all alone? It'll do them good! It will give more respect for your daily work, so I hope.

...the lover, the dreamer, and me (Jim Henson)