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Postpartum Relationship Difficulties
My husband and I were married 19 months ago. In the time since we have been married, we had a child who is now almost a year.
The problem is this -- we are not getting along and have only had sex twice in the last year. We fight most weekends about chores. I care for our child and do most other things around our home in addition. I am exhausted, angry and finding myself resentful with my husband.
My husband is a competent, successful professional. I am now a SAHM and have been since our child was born. When it comes to matters around the house, my husband doesn't ''feel like doing them''. He is resentful of how much time the family takes up, that he doesn't have more free time, that ''marriage is hard work'' and that the baby has a schedule of naps and eating times that he perceives messes with his desired weekend play time. I have proposed a schedule when we can each go out and be with friends or relax but he hasn't ever taken me up on the offer.
Because he ''forgets'' what I tell him about what the baby can wear, what the baby eats, etc., he will ask me over and over again so that basically I do not get any kind of break on the weekends when he is supposed to be watching the baby.
I am concerned I made a mistake in the choice of a man I decided to marry because I do not feel that there is a partnership OR that he is willing to work towards one. We were together many years before marriage but there are many things I see now that I didn't see before -- or didn't realize would be so bad once we added a baby to the situation.
We are in counseling but have spent the first 7 sessions trying to work out an agreement that my husband will take out the garbage every day without being asked by me. My husband's mother did everything for him and he doesn't understand why he has to have any responsibilities at home. My husband says I am a ''great wife'' and give him everything he could ask for.
I am lonely, sad, depressed and feeling isolated. Has anyone been through something similar? I have heard the first couple years of marriage is hard -- is this typical?
SAHM in Bay Area
I suggest taking more control over the direction of the counseling sessions. Seven sessions spent on discussing ''taking out the garbage'' is not productive. Have you each gone separately? Maybe you should each go once on your own and then regroup. Please be very honest about how you feel in these sessions. Don't bury your feelings. If indeed you do feel you've made a ''mistake'' in choosing a marriage partner, don't beat yourself up about it but begin to take control of your situation. Don't have more children until you are absolutely sure this marriage will remain in tact. If he won't help out around the house, tell him you will hire a housecleaner to come in once a week. I hate to say it, but your husband sounds very immature and I suspect these signs were present before you married and had a child together. Marriage and kids require constant compromise. You're suppose to be a team working together. I sense this is not happening and you feel all alone. A frank, honest discussion about whether you two are in love with one another and how you two envision your future together should be the focal point of your next therapy session....not ''garbage'' talk. Marriage can and should be a beautiful and caring partnership. This should be a time where you two are sharing the incredible joy of bringing a new life into this world that you both created. If your husband cannot embrace his marriage and family from that perspective, instead of as a burden, it's best to come to terms with that now. You deserve to be happy. Good luck to you
My husband/marriage isn't perfect -- far from it, but we view ourselves as a team. I usually do the traditional 'stay-at-home-mom' things (cook, clean, change the diapers), but my husband is great at stepping up to the plate. I took the kids to the playground before dinner tonight...I came home and the dishes were in the dishwasher. Granted, my husband had sportscenter blaring the whole time, etc.
We have had our 'moments' since having kids (usually six month moments). But, I have been able to reshape things so things work. Your guy sounds like he needs some serious reshaping, but HE DIGS YOU! I have found that requiring my husband to have some time with the children has moved us into a positive place (I just went to NYC with some girlfriends while he had the daughters for two days...granted, I had playdates, dinner dates, etc lined up, but HE DID IT!) Can you rope yourself into some volunteer activity (soup kitchen ,etc) that will require him to spend a few hours each weekend with the child? Even if you have no interest in the volunteer activity, you will get some time to yourself AND your husband will get comfortable with your child (that is huge -- he may be avoiding because he doesn't know what to do). Also, join a gym... -husbands can be trained
I was a very successful hard working professional before I quit my job when we adopted our now 7 year old son. During the 4 years as a SAHM we did certainly have our challenges with negotiating time together, time apart, child care, etc. However, my husband continued to do those household tasks that he was responsible for when we were childless (i.e. garbage, all yard work, minor household repairs) without being asked to do so. He also took up additional responsibilities that he didn't previously have when we were childless, like doing his own laundry.
I am sorry to say that if it has taken you 7 therapy sessions to try and negotiate a deal as far as garbage removal, if you were my friend I wouldn't be too optimistic about negotiating much bigger issues like help with childcare.
I do believe that many men/people use the lack of knowledge about how to feed/handle/play with children as as excuse for not being involved with them. They aren't stupid people, their memories work fine at work, but they can't seem to ''remember'' what to do with the kids signals to me that it's just not important enough to them.
If this were me, I would think seriously about whether this is a relationship worth salvaging. I don't think it would be for me. There are definitely men out there who do their part and then some (I am married to one) well-partnered mom of 3
1) We found the best couples therapist in the world (not in Bay Area, sorry), after many mediocre ones. This one observes how we speak to each other and helps us find our ''adult'' selves in our interactions.
2) We agreed to take a parenting course together and agreed to parent whatever way the course said to do it, and let go of each of our own ways
What I wish we HAD done is flown to Seattle and taken the ''And Baby Makes Three'' course at the Gottman Institute, where the famous studies of why marriages succeed and fail are done. They have a special course to help prevent disaster after the birth of the first child, recognizing how horribly hard the birth of the first is on a marriage.
We also read John Gottman's other works on marriage and parenting, and my husband read Dr. Phil's Relationship Rescue, which really made sense to him, but he only read it when he saw that the whole marriage was in jeapardy.
I've really found one of Gottman's observations really helps: The times when husband and I make time to just chat for 1/2 an hour about what happened in our days, we have a lot more compassion and understanding for each other and it keeps us going.
As for sex, no, we're still not there yet, either, but that's a longstanding problem for us, ever since about the 2nd year of our relationship. Not feeling the hate anymore
2) Get a better therapist. Seven sessions spent on trying to get your husband to agree to take out the trash? Sounds like the therapist can't see the big picture. Also, that sounds like a You vs. Him situation that he's never going to agree to -- he can't save face.
3) When your husband is watching the baby on the weekends, can you leave the house for an hour or two? That way you won't be the ''baby care expert,'' and he won't be able to refer every little question to you. Also, does he have any ownership of the caregiving side of fatherhood -- can he become the bath expert? The dinner preparing expert?
4) How were household chores divided before you were married, and then before the baby was born? Maybe you can do the garbage yourself, since it seems a hot-button issue by now, and let him pick the chores he wants to have ownership of. Does he simply hate to be reminded? My husband does better with things he can do on his own, not be instructed that it's time to do -- he has a certain time of the week that he goes grocery shopping, pays bills, wheels down the garbage bins, etc., without me ever saying a word.
5) Do you have fun together as a family? That might help him see his child is a delight, not just a chore with a schedule. How about a fun outing to the zoo? Or someplace else where he can show the child something he cares about, to facilitate bonding?
I'm sorry things are so hard for you. Hang in there! Sympathetic
I don't know what the stats are of if what you are experiencing is ''normal,'' but I also went through that with my husband. Some things have gotten easier now that the children are older (3 & 5) but we still have ''chore wars.'' I lived with my husband for several years before having children, and house chores was not a big issue at all. Now, after trying many different things (except from couples therapy because he wouldn't agree to it), I've decided that we'll hire someone to do some of the housework, now that we finally have the money to afford it.
I'd suggest you look into cheap or for free options to create time for yourself, whithout counting much on your husband (and while you continue the therapy, of course-that's awesome). Maybe joing the YMCA and have someone watch your 1 year old while you exercise; join a coop, so you help a few days and others someone will take care of your kid; or join a baby-sitting group in your area (I know Lower Rockridge has one), or just exchange baby-sitting with a friend with children. Also struggling in marriage
Secondly, I agree with other respondents not to play the passive-aggressive game and take out the trash when you can (every day? you have high standards) and let the house get a little messy without expecting him to do anything. Harsh but true. Hire a housekeeper if you can.
We have lots of other problems in my relationship with the imbalance of one person earning money, the other not. He may see you as lazing about all day, while he does ''real work.'' My spouse has been cranky about no dinner on the table and then won't eat with us half the time anyway. We are continuing to work things out, but I agree with the other respondents not to expect to much out of the menfolk with chores. My spouse does a lot but is really tense about it, so I often wish he wouldn't do as much as he tries to.
Give him time on his own and you'll get some good childcare, but he has to do it himself. A lot of men really change when the kids are more ''interactive'' in the second year, I have to say. Good luck and don't give up! also struggling along on the second year
My husband and I have a 4 month old and I feel like we are going through the stereotypical phase of frustration that comes with being married and having a new baby... Where idiosyncracies have become annoyances. We're snapping at each other despite our best efforts to communicate. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation or the new dynamics of having this new person in our lives, but I was wondering if anyone has advice for keeping the 'spirit' of our relationship alive. I love, respect, and admire my husband, and he's been a real team player in taking care of our baby, so personally, I'm disturbed by the way he's gotten on my nerves lately... it just seems so weird and so constant. Any thoughts on why this happens to new parents and ways to keep things from escalating? We've had sex twice now since our baby was born (and it was better than I expected) and we've been out to dinner 'just the two of us' twice. I know having a sense of humor also helps... Any thoughts? Anon
The nights away from baby, sleep (and sleep, and more sleep), and time itself will help. Realizing that I was casting final judgment on every move he made helped the most. Take care of each other. happy with hubby (again)
I need ideas on how to stop yelling at my husband around my 10 month old baby.
My husband and I have had a difficult time adjusting to new parenthood and we often get into squabbles that escalate into loud yelling matches. My son is showing signs of being negatively affected by this behavior and, needless to say, this concerns me a great deal.
I have tried many things, including walking away, shutting my mouth, or speaking in a whisper when my husband begins yelling, but there are times when I fail to control my temper and end up yelling. I'm sure that 10 months of sleep deprivation have worn away at my resistance, but I am determined to find a way to have ''appropriate conflict'' with my husband around my baby.
Please do not suggest therapy (we have been) and if you are tempted to reprimand me in anyway, I ask you not to respond. Ive beat myself up enough around this issue. What I am looking for are suggestions on how to stop this particular behavior RIGHT NOW. Thanks. anon
We have 'reminder' conversations about 10 times a day! Meaning, when we are not in a fight, I'll say 'Remember, you said &*)^&*^ in front of our son again and for the billionth time, it is not appropriate - please stop.' Since we are not in the heat of battle, he will apologize and again make an effort not to swear. Or when we start to get into it, he will say 'You are using that tone and I'm about to blow up - please stop.' So I'll have to take a step back and reign it in. Believe me - this does not always work, but its a step in the right direction. We both have to constantly work at not pushing the others buttons. It also helps to have one person (usually me) simply not engage the other in the argument. Either by walking away, saying 'I'm not getting into this with you now', or saying 'we can discuss this later - not in front of the kids'. Anything to diffuse the current situation and lessen the heightened energy at the moment.
Being a parent is tough. We are usually arguing about very stupid things but we are just exhausted and frustrated and lash out at each other. You're not alone and as much as I try, I yell waaaaay too much. I figure as long as I try my best to cut it out, and make the episodes happen less and less, thats really all I can do.
I also follow up with my son and spend quiet, loving time with him to show I'm not mad at him. I also show affection to my husband in front of my son so he sees we're OK now - we were just mad. Good Luck - Here's hoping it gets easier
1. A MANTRA: Can you repeat something to yourself each time you feel your blood boil, that reminds you to cool it? I say the same thing that my mom used to say to me when she was ''warning'' me that I was getting a little cheeky: ''breathe.'' It's just a quick pause button for me that reminds me that I'm getting wound up.
2. A REWARD: Give yourself something each day you don't yell. A small thing, like some bubble bath or a glass of wine or a pizza instead of making dinner, and don't allow yourself to have it if you yell. My favorite ''me'' gift is spending time alone on my deck with a cup of tea (I take 20 whole minutes).
3. A VISUAL PUNISHMENT: I have a calendar up in the kitchen. Each time I do a bad food thing (like eat ice cream before dinner), I put a big red X on the calendar. There's no notation (only I know what the x means), but it's amazingly corrective.
4. ENGAGE YOUR HUSBAND. If he yells at you, say something gentle, but firm, like ''I'd like to talk about this, but I'm really trying not to yell. Can we sit down and talk about it.''
5. DON'T ARGUE ''ON THE FLY.'' For me, this is often a precursor to yelling. When I don't have time to talk about something that's wrong, I truncate my comment, leaving out the courtesy. Resist the temptation to fly off the handle. Just take care of the situation acutely, and make time to talk about it later. For me, I will say to my husband, ''I was sort of upset today when we were getting the baby ready for [fill in the blank], but I didn't want to lose it, so I didn't say anything. Can we talk about this tomorrow?'' I have found that as a general rule, men and women operate differently when it comes to dealing with conflict and it's good to give them warning.
6. TALK TO YOUR CHILD. Let him know that you are sorry that you lost your temper and that you are working to not do that. Share with him in ways he can understand that you know it upsets him and that you and dad will really try not to upset him. You will find he can help you stop if he knows you want to stop.
7. THINK ABOUT CHANGING THE STRESSORS IN YOUR LIFE. What's making the child-adjustment tough? That you have less ''me-time'' to do things? Do you have the money to get a housekeeper or a child care provider to take the boy more often? Despite what some will tell you, it's not a crime to get away once in awhile. Can you and your husband trade-off so that you have some totally free time (my husband calls it cave-time) where you don't have to worry about the baby or the bills or the house? Can you create a schedule that allows you to predict -- even a little -- what your upcoming responsibilities are? We have our child on a schedule and we think we and our baby are happier for it. He knows when he's going to go down for a nap and WE know that's when we can have some time to do laundry. He knows when he's eating so WE know how much lead time we need to cook before he cries. He knows when bed time is, so WE know when we are free to putter around the house, do our projects, etc. And, we upped our housekeeping so we didn't stress about a dusty home. Having a baby is tough. Neither of you should try to be super- parents or to keep up the same level of activity/cleanliness/outside committments as you did before you had a baby. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself. Love your child. -- understanding mom
The biggest help for me, and I have a serious yelling tendency, is to practice gratitude. By this I mean that many times per day, I repeat over and over again in my head how thankful I am for my beautiful child, and my wonderful partner. I imagine life without them, and I actively proclaim my thanks for them. I know, it sounds corny, but it really works. Even if you cannot muster a kind thought for your husband, just silently repeating the words ''thank you, thank you, thank you'' is really soothing, and reminds one how much there is to be thankful for. It has helped re-train my mind to think positively, which has really helped the complainer in me (especially the yelling complainer!!). Some days it is harder than others to find things for which to be thankful, but even on those days, I practice gratitude for my meals, water, clothing, home, car, friends, or whatever else I can find. This has really made a difference for me in terms of finding things to be happy about, and not complaining about. I thought it would be stupid, but it has profoundly changed my life.
I will suggest therapy, but for yourself alone. It sounds like you need a sympathetic ear to vent to, which may reduce your need to yell at your husband. Your therapist will help remind you to practice self-care, which means getting rest, exercise, asking for and accepting help from friends and family, eating well, etc. as much as you can. You do not have to sacrifice yourself to motherhood. After all, you need to model self-care to your child, right? I know, your child is only 10 months, and he needs you right now. But try to be loving and giving to yourself, too. grateful mama
So, what I did was to end any expectations I had of him, and I expressed gratitude for any little thing he might do. Slowly, the positive reinforcement worked, and he began to take on more and more of his share of the baby's care. During those early years when I was providing the vast share of the baby's care, for my own sanity, I arranged for outside help with child care and/or housecleaning, since my husband was not able to be there for me/us.
Sometimes when we talk about those times, when the baby was young, he tells me how scared he was during those early days. He is able now to express what he could not, for whatever reason, then. I wonder too, if your husband might be struggling with some of the same feelings. Good luck! anon
At a time when you are getting along, discuss your concern with your husband. See if you can agree to not raising voices in front of your child. Agree to stop the conversation immediately if it is heating up. Whoever requests that the conversation stop also requests that it be continued at a particular time, and get an agreement on the time. Regularly set aside a time of a particular length to just listen to each other's concerns. Take turns for 15 minutes each. You do not respond to each other's concerns! Just listen. Thank your partner for sharing them with you. Been there.
My husband and I have a two month old son. We both love him very much but it seems that all my husband and I do now is argue. I know we are both tired and sleep deprived, but have others gone through what I hope is an arguing phase?
He comes home and is peeved that the house looks as it did when he left, that dinner has not made itself, and that I turn to him for a baby break. He constantly talks under his breath about how he has no time for himself, that he only sees our son when he is cranky and not playful (not true) and that we still haven't had sex since I delivered. Am I crazy to expect him to help me? And am I crazy to expect some slack on my end when it comes to household duties? He keeps saying that he does more than his dad ever did and more than all of our friends.
At times I want to scream at him when he whines, since we have both given up some independent time to now be a family. And that is a sacrifice that I was willing to make wholeheartedly. And one we talked about before we became a family. His complaints now have turned from venting his frustrations in a productive manner, to downright childish whining. I feel as if I have one child already and am in no mood to deal with a 38-year old one who should be more interested and excited in his role as a dad.
And then there is the sex. How long did others wait before resuming activities in the bedroom? I am not interested in sex or any sexual activity at all at this point. I would rather sleep or do the laundry. He thinks that is selfish and mentioned last week (on my birthday of all days) that if he doesn't get some relief soon he is going to consider the idea of an affair.
My questions: is all of this normal? Have other mom's felt like their hubby has turned into a giant toddler? Is this a phase or do we need to look at counseling? And am I being selfish about not ''putting out''? At wits end with my husband
You don't mention if you have family in the area, or some other type of support network, but I think you both need time - alone time and time to reconnect as a couple. If family can't give you a break by watching baby for awhile, this is another great reason to join a moms group. You could offer to watch another mom's baby for a few hours in exchange for her doing the same. The first two months with a baby are the hardest because the baby requires such constant care and feeding, and baby barely even looks at you, let alone smiles, so there are few rewards. It will get easier. Hopefully, as it gets easier and baby develops more of a personality, your husband will come around. Hang in there. anon
What helped us get through that period was LOWERING THE EXPECTATION LEVEL!! There is no way that you can take care of your healing body, the constant needs of an infant, cleaning, dinner, etc. all the time.I did ONE thing every day. It was either an outing to the grocery store OR dinner OR the laundry OR making dinner. My husband understood that and would either make dinner or pick up something on his way home. He would also help by doing a load of laundry at night.
Another thing that helped us was LETTING ME SLEEP!! Since my husband worked and I was home, I was in charge of the nighttime care as well as during the day. My husband knew that I NEEDED a nap when he came home from work. Even if it was only for a half- hour, I got a break and he got to spend time with the baby. On the weekends, we let each other have one morning each to sleep in. He also did not expect me to cater to his needs (sexual or otherwise) when I was tired.
There are many other things we did, but most importantly we TALKED!! No matter how many blow-ups we had, we always talked them out. Having this baby was for us a mutual agreement. One person cannot be expected to do everything if both people agreed to do it together.
I don't want to assume anything about your relationship. But if your husband is threatening to have an affair, how much is he investing in you and the baby? I empathize with your situation and hope you both can work it out. evalun
So what to do...take some advice from a toddler discipline book. When the husband whines just ignore it. I know how difficult that is but if you respond to the under the breath whining then it will escalate into a huge fight. So just ignore it or say ''I can hear that you are upset. When you are ready to talk about it I'm here for you.'' and then walk away. This tactic has been remarkable successful with my husband even resulting in his apologizing later on for being a baby. Also please give yourself some slack and realize that you can't do everything. The baby is the most important, not the dinner, laundry etc. Hire a house keeper if at all possible. Even once a month makes a huge difference.
Your hormones may still be out of whack and that makes it hard to be calm and pleasant. Things improved a lot at my house when my hormones seemed to subside and even out my moods. Good luck and don't be upset please! Enjoy your new baby and things will work out in time.
It Will Get Better
Complaints about sex (lack thereof) are probably also pretty normal, but threatening an affair is not. Oh, and having no interest in sex yourself for many months after birth is completely normal too, and hardly selfish; but since it's important to him, it's worth making an effort to find the time and energy for it once in a while. Your libido may return within a few more weeks, or it may not really get back to normal until your monthly cycles do (which could be anywhere from a couple months to more than a year).
I suspect you need to find a time when you can really talk to your husband (ask a friend to come over and hold the baby for half an hour on a weekend afternoon) and tell him the same thing you posted, and ask for his help -- he may not realize you really need it. Maybe help him find a ''daddy friend'' or two to give him some perspective and provide an outlet for venting. Come to some sort of agreement about the best time for and necessary interval for ''couple time'', whether that means sex or just some time to focus on each other. (You may not feel the need for this for a while yet, but if your husband does, try to respect that feeling. Even if you can only leave your newborn with your mother for 30 minutes at a time, once a month, do it. When the baby's older you'll be able to hire a sitter more often, for longer periods of time, and have a regular ''date night''.) If your husband is willing to talk honestly about it and make an effort to change the behavior that's driving you nuts (and you are also willing to really hear what he has to say and try to meet his needs too), then you should be able to get through your child's first few months okay. It does get easier as the baby gets older. If not, or if the two of you simply can't agree on what's reasonable, get counseling.
Best wishes to you and your family! anon
That said, it does sound like your husband has unrealistic expectations about having an active sex life again. For gosh sakes, it's only been two months! If you are breastfeeding, my doctor told me, then your body fails to produce a certain hormone that causes sexual interest (or perhaps it produces a hormone that reduces sexual interest, I don't recall). In either case, my doctor said that lack of sexual interest is perfectly normal and that it's ''Mother Nature's way of keeping you from getting pregnant again too quickly.'' Perhaps your doctor could explain it to your husband in terms he would understand and accept.
If it's any consolation, my baby is almost 9 months old and because I'm breastfeeding, I STILL don't have any sexual desire. Frustrating for both of us, but we feel it's the best thing for the baby since breastfeeding is so good for him.
Good luck. Anonymous
I'm trying to remember when we actually resumed sexual activity, after the first child and a natural child birth it took me about 8-10 weeks and I needed some estrogen cream to make it not burn. With my second, I had a c-section and we were back at it after about 2-3 weeks. But I will say that my sex drive was directly related to how helpful my husband was with me and the baby. The more helpful he was the more I wanted him.
Your husband has no time for himself because you have no time for yourself either. It does get better once the baby gets older and starts sleeping better.
Have you tried leaving the baby with him for a day? I breastfed both of my kids but with my second child I made sure he took a bottle so that I could occasionally leave for more than a few hours. Also leaving the baby with your husband for a day makes him more appreciative of the effort it takes to take care of a baby.
The other thing you could try is to cook up a lot on weekends so that you can just reheat during the week. It also becomes easier once the baby gets older. I work in the morning and spend the afternoons with both kids and the younger one sits in his high chair eating cheerios while the 3 year old and I make dinner. The older child also helps entertain the younger one. My husband is usually astonished at the meals we manage to make together.
As for tidying up the house, I ask my husband to make sure that the dishwasher is empty before he leaves for work. That way it can be loaded throughout the day and turned on before bed. He empties it before leaving and we start over. It makes a huge difference if the kitchen isn't a mess in being able to start a dinner.
Sounds like you need to talk when you aren't with the baby. Perhaps schedule a date night.
Good luck and hang in there, it does get easier
Becoming parents is a HUGE adjustment. You are so much busier than you expect to be. And roles are compeltely different, too. No matter how much you do around the house, it never feels like enough. I know both my husband and I always felt that we were doing more than the other, and yes, we had some horrible arguments the first 4 - 6 months of our son's life. Over time, I'd say 6 - 9 months, we got used to being busier, didn't keep track of who did what when, and were able to let the little things go.
My previous comment not withstanding, I think sex is a key ingredient here. It was recommended by my family doc that it could be an important outlet at a very stressful time. I think we started having sex again 6 or 8 weeks postpartum. I can't remember how often, but we did it occasionally even though I was really not very interested. It seemed like the right thing to do for the good of the order and a good way to connect as a couple. I would never let the threat of an affair manipulate me into having sex with my husband, however. Not sure what to recommend about this one.
If you & your husband are the type, now might be a really good time for some targeted couples counseling. If you've weathered rough patches/transitions before, hang in there--it gets easier, but might take longer to work out than you expect. Good luck. Mama who's been there
MY husband and I were close to divorce because at one point he decided he just didn't care that I worked outside the home 50 hours per week and then did a lion's share of the care and housework during my ''free time''- he was late 30's and felt his last chance to enjoy a fancy-free life while he was young enough would pass him by if he didn't do it now. (Mainly hanging with the boys at pubs, going to after-work parties and sports events- absolutely no women were involved except as sympathetic ears for his complaints at how cold and controlling and what a real ''nester'' I had become.) He was absolutely sure I just had ''different interests'' now and we were incompatible- when I was exhausted and stressed and needed appreciation, emotional support and tangible help around the house- simply too tired for sex or parties. He moved out but couldn't bring himself to tell his preschool kids he was bailing on us and decided to give it another try. So the kids saved us, too, in a way. A year or so later, our sex life still stinks (if he'd try to romance me it would be alot better, but he justs tries to get quickies- not very satisfying and I'm not jumping at the opportunities) but he is at least making token attempts to help out more, and not blaming me for being ''just no fun anymore'', which goes a long way. I still can't ask him to even take out the trash without him getting all bent out of shape, but he didn't abandon his kids and respects me more so I'll keep on trying to get it all to work.
A close friend made a comment during her pregnancy, after seeing how my husband responded to the demands of our children, that she and her husband had made a strong commitment to co-parent more fully. When her baby was about 2 months of age, she came to me and apologized for her prior smugness.
Keep it together- your baby needs you and deserves two happy parents if at all possible- cut him a little slack, then try to reel him in when he's feeling more generous toward you. anon
That being said, based on your note, I think some counseling is probably in order. You didn't mention what your relationship with your husband was like pre-baby: how did you solve conflicts before? Did he want to have a child? His behavior right now does not sound conducive to trying to work together as a team to work through a stressful period of adjustment for all of you, which is why I think some outside help might be in order.
You may also want to consider getting a break: a babysitter so you can go out once a while, even for dinner or an hour-long walk, and possibly someone to help you out a few hours during the week so you can get a break. Another suggestion would be for you to join a new moms' support group -- they can be immensely helpful. Check out this month's issue of Bay Area Parent (free monthly) for an article and lots of moms' group listings.
I don't think this replaces the need for some joint couples counseling, though: based on your note, it sounds like your husband definitely has some issues he needs to address! Threatening an affair to get sex is not a terribly mature approach. As far as how long people wait: it's up to you. Just know that some people wait a LOT longer than 2 months. It's normal to crave sleep, but building in some cuddling time might help (of course, this is only if your husband is acting like someone you'd actually want to cuddle with).
Hopefully he will want to fix things too and will be willing to work on your relationship together. Good luck. Lisa
One dynamic that may be going on is your husband is suddenly having to share your attention. My husband has always loved having me pay attention to him - his perfect world would be for me to work with him, so that I would be there with him 24 hours a day! So when we had kids, I think he found it very hard to share me. We have worked through it, but it definitely took at while to adjust.
Don't underestimate the horrible toll that sleep deprivation takes,either. Everything looks bleak, and the smallest things become huge issues. Try to sleep whenever the baby is sleeping. Believe me, it is more important than folding laundry or cleaning the house! Getting some sleep can go a long way towards making you think kindly towards your husband again.
It does sound like your husband has a VERY unrealistic picture of what it is like looking after a baby! Is there any way to leave the baby with him for an afternoon, so he gets some first-hand experience? Then maybe he wouldn't be so hard on you. Also, is he unhappy about the state of the house? Hire someone to come in and clean every other week or so . It's not that expensive, and can really save a relationship.
Finally, sex....my husband wanted to make love again practially the day I came home from the hospital! We waited about 6 weeks, but in all honesty I wasn't that excited about it the first time we made love again - I was sooooo tired! But I found that if I made the effort, I got interested and ended up enjoying it. It certainly helps our relationship to make love - I always feel more charitable towards my husband afterward.
BUT having said that, I think it is unbelievable for your husband to say he's going to have an affair if you don't put out! Yes, I think it is important to sometimes make the effort to make love even if you don't necessarily feel like it at first, but only out of love - NOT obligation, or due to some stupid threat like that. I am going to assume, however, that he is basically a good man (or you wouldn't be with him, right?) and this is just bringing out the worst in him.
So, get some sleep, hire a housecleaner, downsize your expectations, and tell him he's lucky to have his lovely wife and beautiful son! anonymous, obviously!
With regard to your questions: First, let me say that I think your husband is being completely and absolutely unreasonable (maybe he's typical, I don't know, but he's certainly unreasonable). There is no way that you or your husband should expect you to keep a house clean and have dinner ready with a 2- month old and all the adjustments that takes. The ONLY things I managed to do were to feed and change the baby, maybe put some baby laundry in, and -- if it was a REALLY good day and I was lucky -- I might be able to feed myself, go to the bathroom, and maybe even get dressed. No house cleaning. No dinner for hubby. And, yes, you DESPERATELY need a baby break when he gets home from work after being with a tiny little one all day long.
As for sex: I think maybe we had sex once at about 3 months for the first time, and, if my husband was lucky, at most once a month after that (but I think I am exaggerating how frequent it was!). Frankly, I had no interest at all until my son was about 11 months old. Although no interest in sex is a well-kept secret, from what I've read in this advice newsletter and other places, this is really quite normal (and probably the norm). Mostly, lack of interest in sex was due to utter exhaustion, but it also didn't feel so great and I was also panicked I would get pregnant again (even with using a diaphragm, which, by the way, was also just one more energetic barrier to ''getting in the mood''). Although my husband didn't complain, it was not a good year for him and after about 7 months even he stopped trying to initiate sex because I probably said too often I wasn't interested (and since he didn't inititate things, nothing was going to happen for sure!). In retrospect, I wish we had gone to see a counselor, as I think it would have helped us get through the rough edges during the first 12 months. I did go for a ''tune-up'' to my old counselor for one visit, and she gave me the names of some great couples counselors, but -- guess what -- it was difficult to get up the energy and to make the time to do it. Again, it might have been very helpful.
Overall, I think your idea to get couples counseling is a great idea. I wish I had done it, and will do it next time if my husband and I have similar problems (we are expecting again). I also looked into having my husband go to a fathers' discussion group. I learned about one interesting one through the Announcements part of this newsletter group (it may have been part of an Alta Bates group in Berkeley -- very non- threatening since it didn't sound like traditional ''therapy''). It sounded really good -- for men to get together and do the whining among themselves that is (justifiably) driving you nuts right now. And to come to terms with the changes that new fatherhood brings by talking about it with a counselor in a group setting. My husband doesn't whine and was really terrific in understanding what difficulties I was having, so he thought a bitching session with other men was not what he really needed or wanted at the time. But it might be worth checking into for your husband so he can bitch to someone else besides you and can find out that *all* the other men are going through just about the same thing as he is (i.e., that *you* are not weird at all). anon
Of course you are not crazy to expect him to help you and give you some slack. And of course you can't get anything done when you have an infant. I remember a wonderful Baby Blues cartoon in which the husband congratulated the wife for washing two plates one day after having their baby (twice what she'd been able to do the day before!). And that's totally how I felt too.
My husband, fortunately, was and continues to be much more understanding. He never expects me to do anything house-wise, he's happy when I do it, but understands that's not my priority now. We also have an arrangement that the baby is his responsibility when he's at home. Yes, it's hard, but it's hard for me to be with her for 10+ hours in a row as well.
Then again, he wanted children more than I did.
With respect to sex, I had sex with my husband within a couple of weeks after giving birth (and I had a c-section). I wasn't necessarily in the mood, and I often am not in the mood now when we have sex, but I know it's important to him. Men get close, intimate, through sex. They need it to feel loved and valued. I do think you are being unwise (if not selfish) by not putting out. This is a very stressful time for him (as it is for you) and having regular sex might make him feel happier, closer to you and thus more willing to understand you. anon
My advice to you is to get a house cleaner. They are not that expensive when you consider the pay back. I am sure you can get plenty of referrals.
Second, consider going out with the baby and your husband for a night out. The parkway speak easy movie theater in Oakland has baby brigade where you can take your baby to the movies.
Third, consider getting a baby sitter for one evening so you can reconnect with your husband. He will be less resentful if yo uspend some time with him.
Lastly, consider joining a parents group of some sort so your husband can get exposure to other parents who go thorugh the same issues.
The sex thing is the toughest. It didn't happen for almost 4 months for us. But my husband was patient. I know you would rather sleep when you have time to yourself but let me tell you, sometimes sex actually helps you relax so try it!! Just use a ton of lubrication the first time.
It is ridiculous that your husband is talking about affairs. I think you should let him know how that has hurt your feelings.
Good luck and hope it all works out. Been there!
As a father of several kids, your problems sound par for the experience. All you can do is practice patience, sympathy, and restraint while you wait for time to make it all easier. Here are some specific suggestions from a father's point of view that should make it easier to deal with your husband:
--Don't bombard your husband with anything when he gets home from work. Let him get ''acclimated'' to being home for 15 min or an hour. Then ask him if he can help you with something specific.
--It's cliche but true: sex is different to men than women. And it's very different for each man. To some it's almost a drug. It's almost always difficult to go without sex for the better part of a year during and after a pregnancy. While you may not have any interest, it may make all the difference in the world to your husband. Try something simple, quick, and easy. With a little effort on your part, I bet you can get him to do all sorts of clever tricks and chores for you. If you are still sore, which is entirely likely, focus on oral sex for a while. Do not underestimate the value of keeping your man sexually ''maintained.''
--Eliminate little irritating issues that can be solved easily, like having dinner ready. With the right recipe and practice, you can have an incredible meal done i 15 min. Or, figure out ways to have other people make dinner for you if it's just not your cup of tea. You'd be surprised at the wonderful meals you can have at very little expense if you do some homework (try Rustica in downtown Montclair, they even deliver locally).
--Discuss your Top 5 list of gripes with each other and negotiate a way to eliminate each one, starting at the top. You might even ''trade'' a pet peeve for one of his pet peeves.
--Remember you are both under duress, and are apt to say horrible things to each other during this period. Don't get weighed down dwelling on these things.
--Men worry more than they let on. They worry about the baby. They worry about you. It can weigh them down because they feel helpless and removed from the situation. And any marriage counselor will tell you the same. Don't be cavalier about this.
--Men also suffer from feeling like the abandoned child. You now have a baby that is dependent on you and takes much of your time. Even the best guy has to make big adjustments to share his wife with someone else, even if it's his child.
--Your hormones are going crazy. It should not be a source of blame for anything, but you need to be conscious of it.
--Your husband does need to step up to the plate too on each of these issues. It's a 2-way street. Talking about an affair was a terrible thing for him to say. He needs to be more prepared to leave the office at work and come home and give you a mental break.
--Don't be afraid to talk these issues out with someone you trust. If not a counselor, perhaps there is a trusted friend or relative or clergymember.
Hopefully in a few years you can look back and laugh at yourselves, how stressed you were, how naive you were, and what a big fuss you made. You just have to survive a few years first. :-)
Fighting is normal but threatening to have an affair if you don't ''put out'' at 2 months postpartum sounds to me like a serious lack of understanding and support. You might want to join a mothers group for some other new moms to talk to about this stuff. If you can get him to go, your husband might benefit from a dad's group, where he could both vent his frustrations and likely hear from other dads that their wives didn't clean or make dinner, either (it's hard when you have a new baby!) But I definitely recommend counseling before resentment builds too far on either side. Good luck! concerned
In addition, I suggest you try very hard not to demonize your husband. Not necessarily because he doesn't deserve it (I have no idea whether he does or not) but because it's counter- productive. Things are tough for BOTH of you. Try approaching your husband with empathy and see if you can help each other rather than fight each other. Your husband feels the loss of his independence and his former life, and that's hard. You probably feel it too, so talk about that shared experience. Maybe he'll give you some empathy in return. Maybe you can put your heads together and think of ways to make life easier for you both.
Also, I don't know if you've explained to him exactly how you feel postpartum or what a typical day is like, but you might try that. I know that with my first child, my husband stayed home for two weeks and then went back to work. Well, the baby slept almost the entire time those two weeks. It wasn't until she got a little older that she was awake more, fussing more and taking up more of my time. I found that my husband had no real idea what a day was like. His being home on weekends didn't count because there were two of us there.
You might consider joining a new moms group. These can be very helpful in terms of venting and problem solving. Also, your husband can meet the new dads and learn from them that they are having similar issues. There can be something quite comforting in learning that what you are going through is ordinary.
Have you considered a baby sitter for the weekends or for evenings here and there? You could spend that time together, or you could spend it separate and alone (something that is just as important but that is often undervalued). If you don't think you have the money in the budget, really take a hard look. Do you get cable? That's six hours of babysitting a month.
Finally, the sex thing is a big problem on a lot of levels. If you aren't getting any sleep, and if you spend the whole day with a baby attached to your breast, it is almost impossible to get really excited about anything other than your pillow. In addition, your sex drive is lower naturally because of the breast feeding. You could try to explain those things to your husband and reassure him that you are still attracted to him and that in a few months -- when things are easier and the baby starts sleeping through the night -- you can both enjoy sex again. (I didn't have sex until six months after my baby was born.)
I hope you can work things out. Babies are incredible, and they bring amazing joy and complications to our lives. They also put a ton of pressure on a marriage. I think most marriages go through similar complications. You aren't alone.
And as for sex, well it took us over four months to try it again, mostly because I was still in pain. My husband was patient. If you husband is selfish and childish enough to suggest that maybe he'll have an affair, I say good riddance. Sorry to be so harsh, but he really needs a good kick in the pants. And I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you, but I did want you to know that you're not being unreasonable, AT ALL, and you deserve much more support than you're getting. I hope someone else can offer you advice. Good luck! anon
First take a look at your pre-baby habits. Were you both neat in your ways? Did he pick up after himself? How much did he help out before? Was dinner always done on time? If not, there is no reason for him to expect it now, even if he is the only bread winner. It sounds like your husband needs to take a step back and reflect on what he expected when you both decided to have a family. How realistic was he?
Even after two months, you can't be expected to be on top of things like before. Babies require a lot more care than most people expect. Sure babies sleep a lot, but they also wake up a lot in the middle of the night, depriving you of your sleep. Your hormones are still adjusting to normalacy too! My mom and mother-in-law's rule was, when the baby sleeps, you sleep. There are just some things that are not so important when you have a two-month-old. Chores and the house will not receive the same level of attention that they used to for awhile, and unless you can afford a housekeeper or he's helping out with the chores, it'll be that way for awhile. Eventually you will find your groove. Oh and no, it is not crazy for you to expect him to help you. His and your independent time for the time being will be dedicated to the baby and keeping the house in order so that you can be comfortable in your home.
The men of his father's day weren't really expected to do much when it came to babies and the raising of children so it's totally unfair for him to compare your situation with that of one from 30+ years ago. It's also easy to compare to friends when he doesn't have to live with them. He really needs to talk to a doctor or a therapist to get him straightened out.
As for sex after the baby, I put it off as long as I could. I was so tired and had so much to do plus I just didn't feel like it. Besides, why would anyone want to have sex with someone who complains or talks the way he does? I don't blame you at all. You may also consider documenting the threats of an affair. Find a pastor, a therapist or a close friend to lean on during this difficult period because it sounds like you really need one. You should even consider taking yourself out of that situation. It's not healthy for you or the baby. Plus it sounds like you really need one. Is there a family member or a friend that you or he can stay at for a period? It's worth a try.
Above all put you and your baby first. You're still in a period of recovery. It's not to say that you shouldn't be considerate of his feelings too. However it sounds like your husband is being unreasonable and plain childish.
Just the other day I had lunch with a girlfriend who is dealing with the same thing(her baby is 6 months old) and sharing my experiences w/her (my baby is 14 months old). i know very few (if any?) couples who don't go through this post-baby stress/trauma. i really believe post partum depression is agitated by this transitional period and lack of support.
In retrospect things have gotten better for me and my partner, but it took a lot of teeth pulling to do it.
I've heard the: ''i'm doing more than other dad's/my dad'' crap (to put it mildly), the resentment for no/little sex, and the awful expectations on housework.
My humble opinion is that many of us moms grew up with strong feminist ideals - but surprise! a lot of the fellas were not reading the same books or adopting the same ideals we thought had been adopted by society. There is nothing like childbirth to show you a man's ''real'' idea of ''equal'' and ''partner''! Sorry to all the ''progressive'' guys and dads out there (i suspect you exist), but my awful experience has left me a skeptic!
i know many of us were on the brink of ending the relationships because it has gotten so bad - not to mention the lack of any appreciation.
sorry i don't have better news for you! i don't think we had sex for 3-4 month's after, and still rarely do. if you are nursing the hormones really do play a role, as well as just being pooped!
One of the best things to do is to leave the dad w/ the baby alone on a regular basis, one or two hours at least once a week. That helps them develop ''some'' compassion and understanding for what work it is to care for a new baby! many dad's want to ''play'' with the baby, not ''take care'' of it. then you can also take a walk, grab some tea, read a book/paper and feel a little rejuvenated and maybe even a little ''randy!'' hehe.
We also hired someone to clean the house 2 x's a month and that helped to relieve some of the strain. Go to a mommy & baby support group and that will be a good place to get some support if you aren't getting it from him.
i am truly disheartened by some of the behavior i have seen from many new dads and i hope that by some miracle, they get together and decide to turn a new leaf! Hooray if you have someone/or are someone who is a faboo partner/daddy but i am not making a leap when i am saying your experience is probably much more common than not!
still bitter but surviving
Added note: check your own temperature too. Even tho it is hard, do try to find a grandparent or relative or trusted friend who will take the baby for a couple hours so you can remember what it is like to be your own person. It is easy to get completely baby fixated. Remember that in the old world, babys weren't raised just by the immediate parents. It is good to socialize the experience for everyone's well being. been there
I wish I could recommend something for your husband to read, but jeez -just look at most sitcoms and most plot lines revolve around these issues... It's very, very hard to see the big picture when your baby is so young since the impact a baby makes is so dramatic, and the changes keep happening, and you're sleep deprived, but communication is key, letting dads take over (completely! no hovering!) on weekends, night feedings, etc helps, and get him to talk to other dads, and moms! Best of luck Been there
What worked for me was to not look to my husband for much, but rather be grateful for what he could and did provide. I lined up help for myself and reached out to others to get what I needed. Even in the face of financial constraints I made sure I had the support I needed, in order that I might in turn, be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I feel that approach also helped my marriage. It was a great relief to my husband not to have me looking to him, for what ultimately, he didn't have it to give.
About the affair, the fact that your husband can even say such a thing suggests your marriage is at a very low point, indeed. Hopefully he will retract his statement and make amends. Maybe a date night would help. Or you might wish to consider counseling.
Good luck. Donna
But here's what we have done that has made things better:
Number one and so so important: no matter how little money you have, try to hire a housecleaner. We have sacrificed a lot in order to get a once a week cleaner to come in. She does the major cleaning, folds laundry and other stuff. It truly changed a lot of our arguments that prior to that point seemed unresolvable. I am a person (and it seems like your husband might be too) whose mood is very affected by the state of the house. I know it sounds simple, but having the major cleaning taken care of freed both my husband and I up for more free time alone and with each other..and more quality time with our child.
Same goes for a babysitter if you can afford it, but frankly, I think a housecleaner is more important.
Another thing that actually helped us was to sit down and go through exactly what each person was doing around the house. We calculated hours of ''work'' including working outside the house, working taking care of the child, and working doing household maintenance. Each task was considered equal. If you are watching the child and cleaning house at the same time, then that time gets counted double. We decided that nap time didn't count as watching the child...but I usually pay bills or something during the nap so still got credit for ''working''. I know it may sound petty, but this way we each got an objective picture of how each of us were spending our time. I think my husband was a bit blown away when he looked at everything I was doing (taking care of the child, managing the finances, working outside the home part time, cleaning, etc)all at once and he then had more understanding about why I was feeling overwhelmed.
The other thing is, is there anyway you can set aside a certain amount of time for both you and your husband to have ''independent time''? Can you have a scheduled time at least once a week in the evenings and then some time for each of you on the weekend where you each get a certain amount of time to yourself to do whatever it is you want to do? At first this would probably be good to do alone but eventually you can also try to schedule fun together time.
The way we do it currently is that my husband takes care of our child pretty much every evening when he gets home until our son goes to bed. But on the weekends he gets to go exercise: usually running or golfing or tennis; spending up to 3 hours of ''independent time'' on both days. He seems to be happy with this and so am I. Then I get the early evening when my husband comes home from work to take a bath or watch TV or whatever for an hour or so and take less time alone on the weekends. It seems to be working out well.
I guess what I am saying is that sometimes you have to schedule it and make it explicit instead of just hoping that you each will pull your own weight.
As for sex, I doubt you'll want to do it with him until you start feeling better about things. The division of labor issues are really loaded with lots of other issues such as respect, understanding, etc and those things definitely affect my level of desire.
And once again, as things change, you both need to be open to renegotion. Make it clear to your husband after you have established what seems to be a fair div of labor that you may need to renegotiate as responsibilities change.
Anyway, that is what worked for us. good luck to you
Some things to consider:
No, you are not ''depriving'' him of the sex he craves. No mom I know was ready to jump into the sack with her husband even 6 months after birthing a child. Nursing hormones depress one's desire for sex, and exhaustion certainly puts a damper on it. I think his intimation that he may consider an affair borders on emotional abuse, and you need to take strong issue with it. Get the support of your family and friends on this one, even though it might be somewhat embarrassing to discuss such personal matters with others.
He may actually be jealous of the baby, and of how much attention you are giving the baby. If at all possible, try to schedule some mommy/daddy time when the baby is sleeping, or have a friend come over and take baby on a long walk so you and your husband can curl up together and watch a movie or have tea. Perhaps just knowing that you are concerned for him, too, may help him make this difficult adjustment to ''sharing'' you with the baby. I think he needs to join a new fathers group or some other such outlet, too.
Bottom line: Get counseling, now. You need it for support, and he needs it for a reality check. Best of luck to you, Elizabeth
It can be extremely difficult to see the situation clearly when you are so sleep deprived, even when you THINK you are seeing clearly. During the first 6 - 10 months I felt sure at times that I had made a terrible mistake in marrying my husband, and I started imagining what my life would be like as a single mother after we split up... and didn't even feel sad about it - just relieved that I would then only have 1 baby to take care of! I'm sure he had similar feelings. The transition from being a free member of society to being a parent of an infant is just incredibly hard. My husband and I still grapple with it, but we are really glad we made it through that hellish early period.
As for sex however, I'm sorry but I believe your husband is REALLY over the line here. Threatening an affair after you gave birth 2 months ago is simply cruel and unforgivable. What an assinine thing to say. For that reason alone I would seek professional help, to try to get at whether he's really serious or just delusional from lack of sleep. I don't think we had sex for 5 months after our baby was born, and it was not at all comfortable for me (bordering on painful) for several months after that. The tissues are very dry down there after birth, especially if your breastfeeding, as I undertand it. My OB cautioned us to take it slow, use lots of lubricant, and maybe work your way up to intercourse with something smaller than a penis. But that's WHEN you feel ready to start at all. And I wouldn't blame you for not feeling like it yet. (And certainly not until he starts acting nicer to you.)
I wish you the best of luck. If you can both find a way to see that this is a relatively short period (long as it feels) in your lives together, you can get through it! Been (near) there
Unfortunately, your husband really needs to understand what it feels like, and it doesn't sound like he is interested. I'd suggest continuing to explain how you feel, and try to emphasize the joy you both have in your baby, and if you can, when the baby is napping, once or twice a week, try to straighten up just a little bit and/or make a simple dinner, just to meet him halfway. And/or ask him to watch the baby on the weekends so you can make a casserole or two that can go in the freezer to be pulled out for the week for an easy dinner. but this idea that he should have an affair because he needs sex is immature and self-centered. Nice birthday present! See if you can find some time just to cuddle togther first, and explain to him that you need to feel nurtured and energetic, not just a sex vessel, and hopefully you can get there with some real caring. I know there are folks out there who are excited to have sex right away, but for me it took a while. Probably tried at 2 months, but it was painful and scary. Cuddling and mutual masturbation was nicer, and it took several more months before I was interested in sex. And since we're still having some difficulty with the division of domestic chores (and I'm still frazzled), sometimes I'm still disinterested. I think some men assume that life should go on like it was before except now you have a ''bundle of joy''-but that bundle is lots of work--several more hours per day for both of you, at the very least. In order to find time for yourself, you need to carve out time for you and for him, dividing childcare and domestic duties, and carve out time for the two of you. And try to keep in mind that it does get easier as the baby gets older and you get your routines down a little bit. anon
At only two months postpartum, you might consider calling a girlfriend to ask her to activate a meal train for you.
But these words don't address the issue at it's heart. Someone is having a tough time adjusting to what parenting means and to the expectations you have for egalitarian parenting. You might have a counseling session or two on this topic re: expectations and reality for each of you.
I'm sure we didn't try to have sex until 10 + weeks post partum. If the laundry is all that's standing in your way, leave the clothes for later. If you feel emotionally or physically unready explain your concerns to your husband! Your hormones aren't exactly your best friend when it comes to reestablishing a sexual relationship at this time. But lots of marriage counselors suggest a benefit of the doubt mind frame when it comes to sexual desire. In this scenario, both parties are supposed to be occasionally willing to 'gift' their partner and go along with intimacy foreplay to see if they can change their mind a follow through for their partner.
That said for us the first few ventures back to sensuality/sexuality were a) non penetrative and b) very much about the female partner's feelings and readiness (Is this okay?) c) and when it came to intercourse more fraught with anxiety about pain than losing when her virginity.
Frankly, it doesn't sound like that is what your husband has in mind. He's talking about 'his needs' not your sexual relationship. But just as he needs to reframe the issue, you might think about reframing the issue so it's not your lack of desire and his unfair pressure, but your sexual partnership in its lifelong totality (both of you). If this isn't conceivable or worth it for either of you, then I don't think the problem is the baby! Sleep deprivation and hormones aside.
But two months is awfully early on for these worries and threats like his sound emotionally abusive to me. In some cultures the postpartum mommy is pampered by family and female relatives for weeks so that she can focus on her body's main job (and full-time one)...ensuring the survival of her baby! anonymous
Just to relate my own experience-we did not have sex for 3.5 months and my husband did not pressure me once. I would mention it on occassion and he would say ''whenever you are ready, honey''. I felt biologically inclined to focus on my newborn for a while (not forever, but at least the ''fourth trimester'') and he was fine with that. He spent a long time in the shower in the morning and made it through alright. When we finally did have sex it did hurt, so our sex life has not been exactly rocking and rolling, but he has been very understanding. I do try to find other ways to show love-back massages, time for him to work out, coffee in bed, etc.
In terms of time to himself, in the very early days I think he was a little shocked at how little time would be left for him. We had a few weekend squabbles until he realized that this is life now and he has since embraced it. He leaves for work at 6am and when he gets home at 6pm I directly hand him the baby for bath, PJs and bedtime stories. It gives him time with his son and gives me a much needed break (which you deserve). On the weekends we split childcare, with perhaps him doing a little more.
Given what you said about your husband's behaviour (mumbling under his breath, constant conplaining, talking about an affair), I woudl strongly suggest therapy with someone familiar with these issues. Although this is a hard transition time, what you describe is no way to treat his wife and mother of his child! You are barely (probably not completely) recovered from childbirth! What you need is love, support and lots of help. One infant is hard enough to take care of, who needs two? I would strongly recommend that you tackle these issues with a professional before your child gets older-it will only get harder from here!
My heart goes out to you. I wish you all the best. anon
We were probably not the norm, but I don't think we had sex for at least six months. We were both too tired. I am not saying that my husband didn't want to have sex, and even started thinking that I didn't find him attractive. We finally had a couple date nights that we were awake enough to enjoy and that helped alot.
And, I think there are few ''breaks'' at first. Remember, when you need a break in the evening, your husband has already put in his own full day. And the evenings are always tricky with a baby. It is their melt down time, aka ''the witching hour''. When you are both exhausted from a full day it is hard to continue to take care of someone else---but you do it, we all do it. And pretty soon six months have gone by and things are easier and you are getting sleep and you are actually nice to your spouse and you can find your ''self'' again and you can see that ole light at the end of the tunnel. Take it easy on yourself, you are doing a really hard job. And tell your husband to lighten up and take care of himself in the shower. And one of these evenings, have a date night so you can have some time together, even for a beverage. good luck
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