My friend M. has always been the one I turn to for advice about pregnancy, children and life. She is happily married with 2 beautiful children. I remember like it was yesterday her telling me: Don't make any life changing decisions in the first two months after your baby arrives. You will hate your husband, but I promise it will pass and you will love him again... eventually.
I remember laughing a bit and thinking that although she was usually right, this time she was wrong. My husband is amazing, attentive, affectionate, goes out of his way for me, and will be the best father ever. There is no way I could hate him.
Fast forward a few weeks, baby arrives, we're in baby bliss. I am looking at the man who helped me create this beautiful and perfect little baby and I am thinking to myself that M. was totally wrong. How could anything ruin this perfect moment? My husband turns to me with this loving look in his eyes, opens his mouth and says: ."Sweetie I'm tired. I'm going to go to bed".
He. Is. Tired.
I pushed out an 8 pound baby that I carried around for 9 months (during which I didn't have a single good night sleep). I am breast feeding this screaming and colicky baby every 1 hour. I have stitches in my you know what that ache every time I breathe, and He. Is. Tired. I may have thrown something at him at that moment... It honestly is such a blur I don't remember, and unfortunately, it went downhill from there for the next 2 months. When I talk to the new moms around me, they all have different variations of the issues that I faced, but ultimately we all had the same sentiment: how were we crazy enough to marry our husbands and how do we get out of this marriage. I'll blame some of the hatred on the exhaustion and the hormones... but a lot of it is really because our husbands are just sometimes really clueless.
If I sum up the top idiotic things that our husbands did/said, it would include the following:
1. "Hunny the baby is crying and won't stop. Here, you take him... you know what to do!"
2. "I heard the baby crying all night... did you manage to sleep?" - yes. I slept through the high-pitched screaming of a newborn... said no mom EVER.
3. "It's so hard going to work when you have a newborn at home" - oh yeah? It's hard being able to pee when you want, and have adult conversations and to sit in your quiet office and gather your thoughts?
4. While the baby is screaming his head off "Is everything ok up there? Why is the baby crying" - for the same reason he's been crying since he was born you idiot.
5. "Your pregnancy wasn't that bad... we should have another one" - because you carried around a watermelon in your stomach that pushed on your sciatic nerve and gave you nausea that rivalled the worst hangover you've ever had? And you then pushed out that watermelon? I thought so.
6. "Can you please turn down the baby monitor. I'm trying to sleep and the noise from the baby is keeping me awake" (you may throw a pillow at his head when he says that one)
7. "I'm going to go for dinner with my friends while the baby sleeps... is that ok?" - ok so first off, the baby doesn't sleep. Second, no. It's not ok. I want us to suffer together.
8. "Sweetie the baby is crying! Are you going to go see what's wrong?" - thanks for letting me know! I was momentarily deaf and didn't hear the screaming baby down the hall. Let me run faster so that you aren't bothered by his crying.
9. "You're so lucky you're on mat leave. Where do I sign up? It is so much easier to be home than to go to work" - when he says that one, I recommend leaving him with the baby for 1 day while your cell phone is turned off. That's all it will take, and I guarantee you will never hear that again.
10. " Why are you so tired? Just sleep when the baby sleeps!" - yes... and all the laundry will magically get done, and the dog will get walked, and the groceries will appear in the fridge.
Being a new mom is such a whirlwind of emotions and unfortunately your husband will never understand what you are going through. He will never understand the shock of seeing your own body postpartum, he won't understand the surging hormones, he won't understand the exhaustion, and he definitely won't understand the physical recovery from labour and breast feeding.
I promise you however, that as things get easier with the baby and you start to fall into a routine, your husband will be able to contribute more and he will get on your nerves less (I didn't say not at all... just less). You will start to remember why you fell in love with him.... until the next baby arrives :)
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