Q&A: Losing Patience with Partner

Parenting is really hard. Anon writes:

"I just lost it on my husband. Like screaming at him while the baby is screaming her head off. Utter chaos. We're 2 months in with our first child and I have been trying so hard not to lose my patience with him. And he's a great guy. Helpful without having to be asked. Patient with me and with our baby. So what's my problem, right? Sleep deprivation I guess. But anything can make me furious — having to repeat myself, him asking me what he should do regarding XYZ (hello! This is new for me too! I don't know what I'm doing!), him sleeping soundly while I go tend the baby — even mundane stupidities like not washing the frying pan right away even though I know he didn't because it was too hot! I miss our relationship pre-baby. We were a great team. We had 10 years just me and him. And now it's like we have to learn how to be a couple again. I know I'm taking out my frustration, tiredness, anxiety, etc. etc. out on him and it's not fair. How can I make this better?? How can I make our relationship better?? Does it ever go back to "normal"? Or some semblance of the way it used to be??

Maybe it's not nice or fair to ask this of you after a divorce and I apologize if it's insensitive."

I almost started tearing up at that last line. Thank you so much for being so sweet, Anon, to be concerned about me! It's totally not insensitive.

I have some theories (ha ha ha, as if there was any doubt) about divorce, and one of them is that for couples who just disintegrate (like LOD and I did) it isn't because "the love died" or any of that stuff. I think there are lots of couples who just weren't right to begin with (raises hand) and we just get married because of some dysfunctional equilibrium, and once something shifts the balance is gone and it falls apart. If you had 10 good years together, I seriously doubt this is the case. If there's something to "get back to," then your situation is in no way analogous to mine.

In other words, at 2 months postpartum, all bets are off. Not only are you tired as @#$%^&ing hell 24/7, you (both) have completely lost your identity, and the one who gave birth to the baby still has hormone craziness (they don't really go back to pre-pregnancy levels until the baby has been out of you for as long as the baby was in you, so you still have 7 months to go). There is no way for this not to be a ridiculously stressful situation unless you have a lot of help.

So the good news is that I'm pretty sure that this is normal for 2 months post-partum. And couples get past it and go on to be the great team they were before they had a baby. The bad news is that it hurts while you're in it. That bruised, why-am-I-not-special-anymore hurt for both of you.

I have a few suggestions, and know for sure that many of the still-happily-married commenters will have more:

1. Be honest about it. Have a talk, and not in the heat of the moment when you're feeling rage, but when you're just feeling exhausted and normal, and lay it out for your partner. That you're scared and sad and confused and exhausted. And you can't be the one with all the answers because you don't have them. And that it feels like he's not helping because he's sleeping soundly. He is probably trying to do what he thinks needs to be done, and doesn't realize how you feel. So tell him.

2. Ask him for honesty. Men are supposed to be these unyielding sources of strength when the baby comes, but that's no more fair or realistic than expecting you to know all the answers. So ask him to tell you what he's feeling and what his biggest stresses are.

3. Call out the hormones. If you both know you're being held captive to mood swings for awhile longer, it'll be easier not to take the episodes for anything but what they are.

4. Look over on the left of this page, about hafway down, where it says "Download This," and download my "14 Tips to Prevent PostPartum Depression" sheet and keep all of that in mind. You're in a fragile place right now.

5. If you can hire or talk someone into babysitting, do it. A few hours once a week to spend just together will help out more than you can imagine.

Readers who have gone through it and are still happy to be with your partner? Lay it on us, please.

93 thoughts on “Q&A: Losing Patience with Partner”

  1. So yes, this is normal. I was in a new mom’s breastfeeding group talking about this very discussion a while ago – every single one of us had this story and felt this way. I’ll assume that of the 12 women in the group several were in “happy marriages” so it’s not a condition of happy vs. unhappy couples. The lactation consultant leading chalked it up to “you’re tired, frustrated, etc. and you can’t take it out on your baby, so you take it out on your husband.” This rang a bell in my head so I started paying attention to when I was taking unnecessary frustration out on my (sometimes) innocent husband. My suggestion is to find other outlets for these emotions – long walks by yourself, venting to other new moms, exercise, cooking, whatever it is you did pre-baby. This will pass, but damage to the marriage will not.

  2. I had to respond. At 7 weeks my husband and I had a HUGE fight. And we never fight. I felt exactly like you – what the heck happened to us? Someone told me that having a baby is like having an atomic bomb go off in your marriage. It’s true! Part of it is the sleep deprivation and the newness and that you haven’t gotten into a routine of who does what and who’s good at what. I know that when you’re in the middle of it, it feels like it will last forever, but it’s just a blip. It will pass. The baby will sleep, you’ll get into a rhythm, you’ll find new ways to just be the two of you. The best thing you can do is talk, and figure out ways to maximize sleep. I am much less liable to snap when I’m rested and well fed! And the husband needs a few hours in the garage every couple of weeks to regain his sanity. Good luck to you!

  3. Oh my, two months in is SO HARD! It will absolutely get better. My data point is thirteen years of good marriage before baby. So we knew how to work together. But two months in is floundering around in your new roles. And to be honest, I do not remember a lot of the details from that time. Because of all the not sleeping that was going on. I know that paying for help for two hours in the late afternoon, two days a week, was an absolute sanity saver after my husband went back to work. It was only for a few weeks, but it really helped me gain my footing (and insurance covered some of it!). I also remember that getting ready to move to the bedroom for the night felt like equipping to summit Everest (clean pump gear? check. cooler with yogurt smoothies for me during 3am nursing? check. etc.). And I second Moxie’s statement about “why-am-I-not-special-anymore hurt” to be dealt with. I was completely unprepared for the transition from lovingly doted-upon pregnant wife to just another slave to the tiny screaming person. I didn’t resent it per se, but it was one more kind of bewilderment to work through.Anyway, I am not sure that I have a good enough memory of that time to offer useful advice. But my 20 year anniversary was two weeks ago and we are a happy and (mostly) well functioning family of three these days. Best wishes to you. It gets soooo much better.

  4. Probably the best thing you can do is own up to it to your husband that you know your reaction was out of proportion to the “offense”. It’s the same thing we would do if we yelled at our kids because we were frustrated about traffic.You can tell your husband that you’re tired, hormonal, adjusting to this new life (and you know he is too), and apologize for overreacting. If he’s the stand up guy you know he is, he’ll accept your apology and hug you (and I would be crying while apologizing ‘cuz that’s how I roll).
    And it will never get back to “normal”. At least not the old normal. You’ll get a new normal. The days of it just being the two of you are over. Over, 10-4 over & out. You’ll get a new normal where it’s the 3 of you. Eventually (after a year or two…take the long view), you will function as a family where you can anticipate the needs of each member in the family, you’ll all know each other better, and things will be good. That’s probably when most people decide to bring a second baby into the family. Ha, ha, ha, cruel irony.
    As for divorce and whatnot, I would say you absolutely have to wait 5 years after you have kids before you know for sure whether it’s incompatibility or just the stress of change. So much can change in 5 years. It seems like a long time, but it’s not.
    In “Babyproofing Your Marriage” (which is not a great book, really, but I found this part interesting), they said that in studies and surveys when you asked people whether they were happy in their marriages and then went back five years later to see whether happiness was correlated with divorce, for the most part it was not. Many of the couples who were least happy were absolutely just fine five years later. That just tells me that some of these feelings are fleeting and resolve on their own without anything other than the gift of time and the perspective brought by a full night’s sleep.

  5. Oh boy, have I been there. To be honest, even though DS is 3 and a half, we still sometimes go there. DS has never been a great sleeper, and even if he were, there would still be less time for everything. I wonder if you get used to that, or if your kid just hits a certain age and the balance tips to their needing you less enough that you can have a life of your own. We have other stressors, too, which aren’t really relevant: what *is* relevant is that it gets markedly better throughout the first year, and is mostly better sometime around when the child is 15-18 months, in my experience.I like what Moxie says about being honest with each other and acknowledging the hormones. Acknowledge the exhaustion, too. Anything that can contextualize the anger/crabbing/what-have-you, even if the context is “Hey, this is serious.”
    DH and I have found that anything that helps us feel like we’re on the same team helps. And, while I’m mostly not a fan of parenting books, _What Mothers Do: Especially When it Looks Like They’re Doing Nothing_ is one of the good ones. It put this sort of thing into perspective and made me feel less alone.

  6. The year following the birth of our first child was so horrific on our (otherwise happy) relationship, I don’t even have words. I actually hated my husband, and saw no reason to stay with him (though, like yours, he was as helpful as he could be). And here we are, five years and two kids later, and I love him again. I don’t really have any words of wisdom beyond riding it out and perhaps ensuring that you both know that many couples go through this and that it is temporary (I felt, in the moment, like this was forever- it was not).

  7. Hi @Anon, you’ve described my marital experiences after the birth of each of my 2 kids exactly. This site was the first place I’d ever heard the term “Survival Mode” to describe the chaotic, tense, emotionally-wrought 12 month-period after the addition of any new baby or child to a family. We used to have an easily blissful marriage like your happy 10-years pre-kids; then we became parents and the sh*t hit the fan. We’d start having the same ugly, yelly fights over and over again. We could never quite resolve them or begin to unpack what was going on with us. We stopped doing fun couple things together as we over-focused on our roles as parents. This unfortunately lasted from April 2008 to July 2010, and it was the first dynamic we couldn’t seem to resolve ourselves, given lack of time and sleep and how long we had let it go on – so we felt we needed to call in some professional help. Best decision we ever made.We finally committed to 12 sessions of marriage counseling after the birth of our second child (she was 6.5 months old and we also had a 2.5 year old boy) – seriously, that’s what saved our marriage. I credit counseling with giving us the communication tools to keep ourselves happy. Much cheaper than divorce. 😉 We learned there are still a lot of echoes of our own early childhood pains that we still have to contend with, and they were coded pre-verbally making them hard to put into words or to even fully recognize until we had some structured guidance to start exploring these issues.
    After counseling we were given 2 excellent books to work through together: “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix, and “The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman et.al.
    In my experience, few couples are able to just talk it out and make positive behavioral changes all on their own – most of us need some sort of outside structure, but YMMV. And by the way, things don’t usually get resolved overnight – counseling might awaken some feelings in you that you’ve kept buried, so things may even get a little worse before they get a lot better, but things will stay a lot better if you’ve done your work together. It Gets Better.
    If you want more of the nitty gritty details of why we chose counseling and how it worked, I’ve blogged about it here:
    One final thought for you @Anon. You actually have 2 children who need looking after. There’s your real child who is only 2 months old, and there’s the proverbial one born 10 years ago when you committed to your partner – and that child is your marriage. (Don’t laugh, our counselor came up with the analogy, we made fun of it at the time, but have found out that choosing to think of it that way has helped us to finally prioritize our marriage.) Good luck!

  8. I am incredibly happy with my DH now. We have been married almost 17 years, had our elder son at the 11 year mark.1. The first year of our first baby we fought more than in the other years combined, I think. (There were years we had deeper challenges, but just for fighting.)
    Each of you is going through the transformation to parent – at different rates. That is stressful.
    2. The weekend never comes when your kids are little. You know the one. Where you sleep in, one of you brings in coffee and fresh croissants from running out to the store for that and the NYT, you make love, you cuddle, you read the NYT all spread out on the bed with your toes touching each other, then you skip lunch, you go out browsing – houses, antiques, whatever – stop at some lovely little bistro for dinner and drink too much wine. Go home and make love again. Wake up on Monday _radically_ in love.
    Other weekends come, esp. once the kids are old enough to get a weekend – pancakes – tickle fight – cartoons while mummy and daddy “clean their bedroom” with the door locked. But that’s far away right now. You might get baby smiles soon, but that only lasts so long at baby-age.
    But it’s hard, being a couple without those weekends.
    3. I am convinced that evolution has made mothers furious at fathers for the simple reason that they cannot be furious at their babies if the species is to continue. This is not to say it’s all right to give in, but whenever I feel it – which I still do with my second, who’s coming on 5 months, but not as strongly as with my first – I tell myself: Evolution. Evolution.

  9. Yep, 2 months. I did experience PPD, but later onset, or at least acknowledgment…so that’s not going to make the tough newborn time any easier, if there’s even a hint of that.Went to a therapist to give me some coping skills, and when we talked about how sad and guilty I was about lashing out (and neglecting) my husband, she basically gave the advice of the previous wise commenters: 1) Normal. TOTALLY NORMAL. 2) Acknowledge it with honesty, “Yikes, I’m sorry, so sorry. This is so hard for me, and it will be for a bit longer. I’m doing my best and I know you are, too. It will get better for both of us.” Rinse and repeat.
    Going on our second kid now (pregnant, and younger is 2.5 yrs), and I have to say, I am in love, love, love with my husband, and like, too. Almost to the point where we’re wondering why we messed with what’s working and went for another rascal.
    We came from the dark side of infanthood and currently we BOTH consistently 1) Give each other the benefit of the doubt and 2) Strive daily to make the other’s life easier. And neither pains me like it did 2 months out.
    Get a babysitter (or mother’s helper), go for a walk and reach out for just a bit more help than you think you need. You can always scale back. Hugs.

  10. it gets easier!Our little one is now 7 months old and we are well on our way to finding that balance again. I remember wanting to grab our child from my husbands arms a few times and I resisted with everything in my being. Hardest and best thing I have ever done!He has confidence and she can be comforted by both of us.
    I still struggle with asking him to help. Sometimes when I am just pooped and can’t take anymore, I don’t understand why he can’t just see/sense that I am at the end of my rope. When I say it outloud or write it down I understand how crazy it sounds to have your partner sense something. But, in that moment I just can’t understand why he doesn’t get it. But, I ask and he is always there….I just need to ask.
    – i second [or 8th!] getting out just the two of you.
    Our relationship will never be the same, but it it slowly being transformed into this crazy incredible thing that is pretty cool. Mind you, I miss our childless lifestyle sometimes- but when we get home from the winebar date where we were pretending to be childless again. The first thing that we both want to do is see our little baby’s face.

  11. As a PPD sufferer, I recommend making sure that is in check. It took me way too long to own it. So I would maybe consider finding a talk therapist that you could visit with ever couple of weeks to help keep you grounded and moving in the right direction.Second, I found that I really resented that my husband could leave and go to work and “get away” when I was “stuck” at home with barely a moment to shower, eat, or sleep. It seemed like I was taking the majority of night diapers/feedings while he slept (you know, had to protect his sleep since he had to go to work). Oh how I laugh about it now, but I was so miserable and so snippy and pissed off. I thought I was taking one for the team, but in reality I was making things worse for everyone.
    Ask your husband for help. Just tell him you need help. Tell him how you feel and that you are having a difficult time not being upset at him. Tell him you need to take a break every day and you need him to pitch in at night. Also, and this is going to seem unbearable, but if you can spend a weekend elsewhere, it will allow your husband to step up as a dad and learn that he CAN make baby decisions.
    Good luck. My heart absolutely goes out to you.

  12. Yep – the first 4-6 months were the worst (we were married 6 years before, together for 8 by the time we had kids). I was tired and hormonal and felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. He felt guilty for going to work and had no idea how to handle me and also felt like he didn’t know what he was doing.One day I fianlly, in tears, told him “I’m doing all of the feeding (she refused to take a bottle), you need to do ALL of something else.” He chose baths and from that night on I got 30-40 minutes to myself as he bathed her and got her ready for bed. It was awesome. A little step, but it was the 1st step to each of us having some balance. Honesty and open communication was huge for us finding our new normal.
    Good luck – it does get better!

  13. I went ballistic and threw a chair at my husband around two months postpartum. Luckily, I missed.I think it’s the big adjustment – everything is different now and it’s edge making. Or at least it was for me. After a while though, I just sort of found my groove, relaxed and started letting my husband’s annoying little habits slide again.
    Hang in there – hopefully you’ll adjust soon, too.

  14. One of the things that has really helped my husband and me strengthen our partnership is learning to fight fair. Everybody is going to fight and fighting itself is not an indicator that there’s anything wrong with your relationship. In fact, in some cases, not fighting at all may be more indicative of issues that need addressing. But you have to establish some ground rules for how you’re going to fight and do your best to stick to them.Some of the best advice I ever got was, “Only fight about what you’re fighting about.” Be specific when you argue. If you catch yourself saying things like, “You always…” or “You never…” try to stop and refocus. Once you tell somebody that they “always” or “never” do something, there’s really nowhere to go from there. It puts people on the defensive and once that happens you quickly enter into one of those awful fights where you go so far back in time that it starts to sound like the beginning of a Michener novel. Leave the past in the past, unless it really has a direct link to what you’re fighting about.
    Another hard and fast rule for us it that it’s okay to be mad, but it’s not okay to be mean. No wounding, no cheap shots. If you’re too angry to obey this rule, go cool off and talk later.
    An important thing for me to learn, especially since kids, is the importance of asking for what I need. If I need help or support or a couple of hours to drive around in the car and scream and I don’t get it because I didn’t ask for it, that’s my fault, not my husbands’. And the same goes for him. Like some previous posters have said, communication is the most important thing for a marriage, especially after a big change like the addition of a child. It may sound silly, but it can help to draw up a schedule and block out alone time for each of you and time off for you together. With all the pressures of a new baby, if you don’t create some structure for your own life together, you’ll find an infinite number of excuses to let you’re own personal needs, and your needs as a couple, fall by the wayside.
    Life with a baby is stressful. There is going to be conflict, especially if both parents are really engaged. You’ll both be tired, you’ll both be worried, and you’ll be bringing two different individual perspectives to every child rearing task. So don’t let conflict scare you, just spend some time deciding together how you’re going to navigate the inevitable arguments that come up as a couple. Think about the things you hate most about arguing with your spouse and see if there’s a way to fight without them. An unforeseen benefit will be that you’ll have some good groundwork in place for when you start fighting with your child!

  15. What jen and kakaty said — I remember the thing that helped me the most at 2 months was to talk to my husband about having a little bit of time for myself no matter what. I think it was almost nothing at this point — maybe 30-60 minutes a week to focus on a completely-non-baby-or-chore-related hobby (jewelry making, in my case) — but knowing that that free time was there, and that my husband supported my having that time to regroup and do something not related to the baby and that I did not have to feel any guilt about it, just made everything… so much easier.Also, what Moxie said about getting someone to help out!
    Also, yes, it does get better! I think around 3 months was the first time I drew a deep breath and thought, “I can handle this. Maybe.” And 1 1/2 years is delightful!

  16. My husband and I were only married 6 months when our son was born, so we don’t compare on that scale, but we both look back with sadness at those times after our first was born. It was so hard, and he slept so little, and we were both so tired — but without a doubt we both agree that it was SO MUCH WORSE on the nights when we turned on each other (read: I turned on him). When I shouted, or lost my temper … but I don’t know how NOT to. It is a completely different world you live in now — like the very smart commenter who said the ‘weekend never comes’ at least not like you are used to — and the rewards are many and plentiful and your marriage will be strong again. For now, just keep your head down, try to sleep, and … I know you two will make it through. We’re even expecting our THIRD in November, so … the happiness returns, I promise.

  17. Oooooooooooohhhhh, Lordy, have I BTDT!!!!! We were together 10+ years before DD arrived and shook. our. world.  I switched so wildly from scathing hatred at everything DH did (why does he have to breathe like that?!) to such intense loving admiration for him and his fatherness – it was quite the rollercoaster! In good moments, we could joke about the i love you/i hate you teeter totter. In really bad moments, I was disgusted I had procreated with him…. Then feeling riddled with guilt for hating him and raising dd in a horrible marriage. Need I go on? I agree with a pp that 15 months is when the light at the end if the tunnel starts to shine. Looking back I see many things were to blame:
    1) sleep deprivation!!!! One thing dh pointed out was that when I got so upset at him for sleeping through the night is that I’d been training for disrupted sleep for months while he was not used to it. All those late night pee breaks while pregnant had me
    More accustomed to waking every 2 hours where as he was starting from scratch. Not that it’s an excuse, just a good point. 
    2) hormones – as stated, super wacky until at least 9mo, depending on when you get your period back. 
    3) unrealistic expectations – we both want sooooo badly to be the best parents we can be and placed so much expectation on ourselves and each other to be perfect in a time that is really just about survival. Another unrealistic expectation we had was that everything would be 50-50 from the start. Well, being that I had the boobs and the extended maternity leave, that clearly wasn’t the case. Instead of taking care of the baby, what I really needed was dh to take care of me. 
    What feels like torture now will (most likely!) not last forever and is in no way indicative of how your relationship or family will be in 6months, a year, 5 years. It does (or can for many) get sooooo much better! Having a child has elevated our relationship to a whole new level that is indescribable – joy and laughter are our norm these days. Take time and space to nourish your selves as individuals and as a couple and it will soon get better. 

  18. @ Shandra: You just killed me with that description of weekends before kids. I miss that so much I have to force myself to not think about any part of it, or when it might return.You captured it perfectly!

  19. This is my first time commenting but I really felt like I had to on this topic.The first few days after the little one was born I was madly in love with my husband. The next several months I was pretty sure we were going to get a divorce, the fighting was THAT bad. Now, 15 months after I had my kiddo, things are good again. We have adapted to our new roles as parents and have found a way to be happy together again. It’s a completely different relationship than the one we had before but it is SO MUCH BETTER! So there’s some hope!

  20. Oh man, I remember this. DD is almost 2 now (and baby #2 is due any day) and I still have my moments of unreasonably losing it on DH. He is an awesome daddy and husband and really works hard at both jobs, but I still get frustrated and take it out on him when I’m exhausted.That said, I think we’re doing pretty well. We’ve been married for almost 4 years and together for almost 8. He wasn’t a talker when we got together but slowly has learned to talk about his feelings, and that has helped.
    After baby, what made the biggest difference? One, we consciously started thanking each other. “Thanks for changing that diaper. Thanks for taking her when I was getting frustrated. Thanks for the hug.” It feels fake at first but then comes naturally and wow, does a thank you ever go a long way sometimes.
    Two, we had (and still have) a hard and fast rule around here that if you’re getting too frustrated with the kid, you’re allowed to hand her off, no questions asked and no recriminations later. I think for both of us, knowing that we will ALWAYS back each other up when the chips are down makes a big difference.
    Three, I distinctly remember around when DD was maybe 3 or 4 weeks old, looking around my sty of a house, me in dirty clothes and unshowered, and realizing that this was our new life. Up until then we had been functioning as we had when we were both in grad school and a paper or exam was looming: we let everything go except what absolutely had to be done. But having a baby is not a temporary thing and at some point, you have to find a life again (I’m not talking going to the opera every month, I mean you need to cook a meal with vegetables once in a while.) I think I was trying to do that but getting frustrated because my hubby was still in survival mode. Once we talked about that realization, we both started setting little daily goals, like “hopefully today we can go for a walk AND wash a load of laundry.” It helped us to feel like there was a wee bit of order in the chaos.
    Hang in there. It gets easier.

  21. Aw! That first baby really was a killer for me/us too! We were married 8 fun, amazing, wonderful years before our son was born, and the whole thing just knocked up for a (big) loop! It didn’t help that our son was a VERY HIGH NEED BABY who nursed every 45 mins until about 8 months or so. And he didn’t sleep a 5 hour stretch until 11 months. Yes, I still recall those days with a shudder and the kid is 6 years old now! The first year was oh so difficult. The hormones were killer, and for me never evened out until nursing was well over. I yelled at poor husband on more than one occasion, and would blow up into tearful rages, and once sat down and wrote some sobby letter to him about how bad I felt, and how hard things were, etc. The only thing that helped me (besides getting some decent sleep) was to get some time on my own, like even just wandering in target for an hour or two, or going to the library and staring out the window.The good news is, that when baby #2 came along 4 years later, we handled it all soooo much better, and we enjoyed the baby soooo much more this time. The whole new baby thing was a very small blip in our relationship the second time around.
    Be kind to yourself and hang in there. This is a bump in the love/relationship road. A big bump!

  22. I’m struggling with this same problem as well, at 7-months out with our first baby. I realized the other night that I resent my husband, at times, because he can really ‘be away’ from the baby, and I really can’t; even when I’m away from her physically, I still have to pump every few hours, and I am starting to feel the wear of not having my body to myself. Because there always seems to be a kid hanging onto me, or a pump hanging off of me, and then there were those 10 months of a kid hanging out inside of me, and it’s getting old. I think I underestimated the toll of all that. I think we do need more couple time to ourselves. And we also just need to grit our teeth and get through the next few months, because I know it’s worth getting to. But man, it feels like this will last forever when you’re in it.

  23. My husband have a strong and healthy relationship, one that we work on daily and tend like a garden. That said, the angriest I have ever been at him was when our first was 6 weeks old. He came home from work and said, “Boy, it’s a good thing you function so well on less sleep than I do. I’m tired.” Looking back, it doesn’t seem like such a horrible thing to say, but at the time I was so flabbergasted that he assumed that I was doing OK that all I could do was sob uncontrollably. I was so angry.And I worried that I had ruined our lives and our relationship by having a baby, and that my husband would resent and hate me forever for it. But yes, things get better. After you get some sleep.

  24. My first thought was “Yeah, two months. That sounds about right.”Everybody has given really good advice. The important thing to remember is it’s just…well, it’s something that kind of happens.
    Go forth, carry on, work on solutions, but don’t worry. It’s not a Serious Harbinger of Doom.

  25. Oh MAN have I been there! I remember the first night that we brought our first son home from the hospital (he is now eight years old).We gently laid him on the bed, and then we reclined on either side of him, watching the soft lamplight illuminate his temples. I looked up, and saw how GROTESQUELY LARGE AND HIDEOUS my husband’s head suddenly looked next to my baby’s tiny, perfect one. I was taken aback — this was the love of my life! My husband! My rock! Why did he look HIDEOUS next to my adorable baby???
    For whatever reason, all the negative, overwhelmed feelings I had about our new life somehow found their focus on my poor husband. And he so didn’t deserve it — he was (is) a helpful, loving, and supportive dad/partner. I still don’t understand it. Shandra’s guess that this is an evolutionary “shield” to protect the baby from all of these feelings seems as good an explanation as any other.
    Anyway, like many others here, we had a tough first year, a slightly less tough second year, and we continue to evolve — heck, we’ve had two more kids!
    I think Moxie’s advice to find a way to express those weird, irrational thoughts, to assure your partner that they are not rooted in reality but in fear and overwhelm, is *incredibly valuable*. Oh, and the advice to find a babysitter and just be together for a few hours — yes, do that too!

  26. Yes, had same experience with DH! Feeling so resentful without cause. We got our groove back by trading off on weekends. He took morning duty (8-12) while I slept in (except for feedings), then I took afternoon shift. I had more energy for our marriage then, and he got some baby-time in without my interferring.We just had our second (6 weeks & sleeping on my shoulder right now). No trading off anymore, with 2 kids we’re both on duty full-time. And he’s sleeping in the guestroom so he can get up at 6am with our 2yr old without waking me.
    Our relationship is crazy again, but I’m hopeful someday we’ll actually have a conversion again. Right now I feel like a drill sergeant when I talk to him. Not the wife I want to be!

  27. Oh, boy. My husband and I were together for 20 years before baby girl. We’ve had serious issues along the way, but we were truly in love (and still are). But it took 2 years after baby was born for us to get back to mostly love. There are lots of issues (stay at home Dad who doesn’t want the role, long-term depression/anxiety) that may make it harder for us than for you, so don’t be disheartened at the “2 year” figure. And you sound more aware than I was. If you have a mother like mine — who thinks everything I do is perfect and everything HE does is awful — you probably don’t want to talk to her. 🙂 You are going to make it, and it may not be easy, but it is also wonderful — most of the time. When my 4-year-old went to sleep last night while I was singing her a song and I went downstairs to a smiling husband, I thought I could live through a million hard times (which is good because I will).

  28. “4. Look over on the left of this page, about hafway down, where it says “Download This,” and download my “14 Tips to Prevent PostPartum Depression” sheet and keep all of that in mind. You’re in a fragile place right now.”THIS.
    I didn’t recognize the PPD symptoms for months, and it sucked big time. One of my major symptoms of depression (PP or otherwise) is that if I stop taking my Prozac, everyone around me suddenly loses about 20 IQ points and becomes – seriously – so stupid you wonder how they manage to breathe every day. Everyone is stupid, and out to annoy me, and not listening when I explain stuff (even if I use small words), and forcing me to spell out even the most obvious (to me) stuff, and it just makes me want to hit someone.
    And then I take my pills, and everyone goes back to their normal brilliant selves, and I realize that – crap, that was my problem, not theirs.

  29. I would just like to really emphasize the part about giving him the benefit of the doubt. We have 3 kids (7,5,&3) and as partners/parents we each believe the other is doing their best all the time. It sounds like you feel this way about your husband so it’s worth trying to keep in mind when you feel like exploding. I wouldn’t ask him for more than he’s already doing because I actually don’t think that would solve your issue. Outside help would be helpful though if feasible. The baby years are very hard and it’s important to recognize that for both of you.

  30. I rarely post here, but I have to chime in to say that what you’re experiencing is TOTALLY NORMAL. This isn’t to say that you should just sit back and ignore it. Partnerships need tending to, and your partnership as you’ve known it these past ten years is forever altered. It makes sense that you both need to figure out your new roles.The first year for us was ROUGH. There were times I thought that our relationship would never recover from the birth of our first child. (Yes, we went on to have a second.) I did not adjust to motherhood easily, regardless of the fact that I loved my baby with all my heart. Add to that colic, breastfeeding failure, and lack of sleep… I certainly wasn’t at my best. My husband and I spent the better part of that year coming at each other with a negative attitude — we were always ready to assume the worst. Definitely NOT the way we’d interacted or worked together in the past.
    As we adjusted to life as parents, things began to get somewhat better, but we weren’t quite “us.” One night, we actually lay in bed and TALKED. We agreed that the only way we would be able to move on was for both of us to let go of our resentments. We agreed that we were each always going to think we were right, and that in the end, it didn’t matter. The stuff we were holding onto were petty resentments, not real issues. (I would never recommend brushing real problems under the carpet — they always come back to bite you in the butt later.) The important thing to us was that we really loved each other and wanted to be able to enjoy each other and be a real team again. And so we did.
    That evening was very freeing. I realized that I could be “right” and “justified” or I could be happy. Better didn’t happen overnight, but that evening set us back on track. I’m happy to report that 12 years (tomorrow!) after our son’s birth, we are happy.
    In the meantime, I have a couple of suggestions.
    1) Be a little more forgiving of yourself. Becoming a mother is difficult, even if it’s miraculous and joyous. I remember feeling so guilty for thinking “What did I do to our life?” when I loved my son so much. It didn’t seem like those two thoughts could co-exist in my head and heart, but they did. I’m here to tell you that those thoughts are okay and they’re temporary.
    2) Try to remember that the whole parenting gig really does get exponentially easier month by month. The sleep deprivation will get better, and your hormones will slowly get back to normal.
    3) You and your husband love each other. Even when you want to hurl him into traffic.
    I hope all of this helps… Just know you’re not alone and you can do this. 🙂

  31. It WILL get better. It helped me to figure out (which takes some trial and error) what *I* needed to survive so that I could cope. I slept better with the baby in our bed in a co-sleeper, so we started doing that. I realized I had to get a shower every day or I felt horrible. And I realized I didn’t mind getting up with the baby at night if I could hand him off at about 6 am and sleep until my husband had to go to work. Making small adjustments really helped me feel better and the whole house happier.

  32. Did I write this? Because I could have. I totally relate to your situation, Anon! My hubby and I were married for 9 years before our son (now 2 1/2) came along. The transition to a family of 3 has been very, very hard on our marriage. I felt the same way you describe and things got really, really bad. The first 2 years were excruciating. I can tell you that things CAN get better – maybe not on their own, maybe with some help. We started going to marriage counseling. It has helped both of us and we are healing and working on our partnership together. It also helped that our son finally started sleeping through the night just before he turned 2. The sleep deprivation nearly killed me (and our relationship). I also recommend that you look over the tips to prevent PPD. I think that this may have contributed to our situation and that I may have had an undiagnosed case. And, I totally agree with the babysitter idea. Any time you can find to connect with your partner is so, so important. Hang in there!You are not alone, but get whatever help

  33. There have been a lot of great comments already, but I wanted to chime in with one other consideration. Postpartum hyperthyroidism is something that can go undiagnosed for a long time because so many of the symptoms are assumed to be normal life with a baby. For me, being crazy angry at my husband (and then eventually my baby when I was further into the illness) was a MAJOR symptom. I also lost tons of weight, which I cheerfully attributed to breastfeeding. (Turns out the 70 pound effortless weight loss was not normal….ha!)It’s probably unlikely that it’s hyperthyroidism, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to put it on the radar screen.

  34. The stretch between 0-4 months is usually a nightmare, with 6-10 weeks being particularly disastrous.The baby comes and you are both overwhelmed. You probably both feel that you are doing 80% of everything.
    It is important to get help and get some time (even 30 minutes) to be a couple, without baby. It is also important to accept that this is the most stressful, least romantic chapter of your couple story. And that’s OK – it will get better when circumstances improve. Nobody feels madly in love with an infant around!

  35. Two words: DATE NIGHT. Say them, enact them, then repeat them – at least every other week if you can swing it. The only thing that kept me and my husband sane (and together) during the first year of our extremely colicky firstborn’s life was getting away, together, to do something completely non-child related.I think it’s crucial to keep your marriage a priority, even though the baby wants your attention every single second. If YOU are being good to yourself and your partnership is strong, you WILL be a good mom.

  36. Just as everyone has said, it’s so hard. The new roles, the sleep deprivation, but I also want to add to that: while sleep deprivation felt like a stack of bricks on my shoulders, the overwhelming sense of responsibility for this person, my child, was a stack of bricks on my psyche. It was such a combination of weight, that I really felt I couldn’t breathe.Our DD is now 5, and while years are far too long for anon to think about right now, it gets easier with each season. After 3 months, I felt slightly like I could be a member of society on good days. After 6 months, I was getting more confident and ever so slightly more rest. After 9 months, I was close to my new normal self.
    However, I sort of jokingly say that I suffer from Post Sleep Deprivation Disorder, and I covet sleep even now in ways I would not think possible.

  37. We got on fine at two months. That’s really true. Not a sarcastic comment. Whenever I am pregnant I want to divorce my husband and it seems a totally sane decision. Only one pregnancy went to term so DD arrived after we’d been a couple for a quarter of a century. And married for 22.18. I was when I got married in case anyone wonders. We were two teens from very terrible homes from which we were running for self-preservation. Statistically no hope.
    DD was and is a wonder as she never should have happened medically. Statistically no chance.
    The reason why we got on when she was two months is not because we’re the Wonder Couple but because the baby got severe, infected, all over her, looking like a medieval plague eczema after her first vaccinations at 8 weeks.
    At 9 weeks DH’s employer went bust in spectacular all over the evening news fashion. Its demise was kind of the opening salvo of the Great Recession.
    DH managed to stay employed but on gruelling terms. He was always gone or so it seemed. His tyrannical new boss would call meetings for 3AM to ” harmonise timezones” and the travel was endless. It was a job drought out there in the worst way.
    DD had colic, eczema that went from bad to worse until 8 + months when we found the great dermatologist and that took battles with the primary care doctors. I had her 24/7 and it was kind of one foot in front of the other. In a haze. She didn’t sleep either.
    Goodness knows what my point is. Concisely put we had real dangers that came from outside levelled at us and fought them like a team.Then the anaphylaxis came etc. We also had no energy to fight. None whatever. And we always were more comrades than love’s young dream.
    We didn’t hit the feeling of rotting boards in the bottom of the sacred boat of matrimony until DD was a lot older. Which we’ve sorted by accepting the past is gone and by working individual as well as couple happiness.We are also very much the right one for one another. But we sure had times when that didn’t seem to apply anymore.
    Also as the wee one gets older more of the old does return. It’s not the same of course, but as she is an only child and loves to imitate adults we can do lots of things that couples do and bring the young one with us. That probably makes us terrible parents. But I did my time at all those baby classes and such.

  38. We were married 11.5 years before our son (now 18 months) was born, and oh, man, did we have a tough first year! Much of what you describe here resonates for me. I also struggled with a bad case of postpartum depression, which made it even harder on both of us. (Here’s the post I made when my little guy was 7 weeks old: http://velveteenrabbi.blogs.com/blog/2010/01/another-mother-poem-besieged.html)I can tell you this: IT GETS BETTER. The whole thing does. Having a 2-month old is really hard. You’re not sleeping; you’re awash with hormones; you’re not sleeping; if you’re nursing, you’re being literally drained by your new child, and even if you’re not, you’re probably being emotionally and spiritually drained, at least sometimes; and to top it all off, your marriage has become unrecognizable to both of you. Oh, man, I have been there. And it gets so much better. The parenting, the marriage, the whole story.
    I want to echo those who’ve said, above, that it’s good to communicate with each other. Tell him how you’re feeling. Find out how he’s feeling. See if you can renegotiate who’s doing what. Try to avoid letting resentment simmer and deepen. A date night is a great idea, if you can swing it. So is time just for yourself — even if you’re nursing, find a way to go out for an hour or two. Pump some milk and go get a manicure, or read a book, or have a nap, or whatever will help you feel more yourself again, because if you feel more whole, then you’re more able to be present in your marriage.
    It took us most of the first year to really come to terms with the reality that our relationship had shifted. I can’t “be there” for my spouse in the same way I used to be, because there’s a new person in our house whose needs trump my spouse’s. That’s not easy for anyone, but we’re figuring out new ways to cope, and I can tell you that at 18 months, we’re in a really good place. I wish the same for you.

  39. I’ve had 3 children. With my oldest, I first lost my shit at my husband for not getting enough sleep (I was on maternity leave and decided he needed to STOP getting up to help in the night, because he was being such a ‘wimp’ about his lack of sleep). Then, at about the 7 week mark – I lost my shit again because he wasn’t helping in the night.He couldn’t win. And yes. It totally gets better. Definitly at 15 months, when they are sleeping through the night, but even at 3 months – kids totally hit some mark at 3 months that makes them awesomer (I think it’s to make you feel awful for going back to work).
    My second and third children were twins. One died in her sleep at 5 days old, and the crazy for me was ramped up 10000%. BUT. I was the craziest at 6 weeks. I was trying to stay awake 24 hours a day to make sure she was ok. She had acid reflux and milk allergies (un-diagnosed at this point) and I literally kicked my husband out of the bedroom and banshed him to the guestroom so I couldn’t take care of it all by myself. He was the one that dicovered that Nora wasn’t breathing, so I thought I was doing him a favor by taking him out of the equation. He thought I didn’t trust him with the baby. We had a HUGE blow out. HUGE. But we surived, and it was like releasing a pressure valve.
    It will all get better. Definitly take time – I even find goign to movies helps – you have a span of tim e driving there when you can talk, and then you get to sit, together, and relax. I try to get us to the movies at last once a month. We don’t have a lot of money, so going out every week doesn’t work for us – but we give each other breaks – like I go to the gym during bedtime sometimes, he’ll spend time with his buddies.

  40. The change in our marriage post baby definitely hit my husband and I square in the face. No one around you warns you about this, and I am convinced it gets everyone.Our son is now 18 months and it’s better, if not the same. However, on those weekends alone (thank you grandma and grandpa), we fall right back into being our old selves with each other, which is really nice.
    I’ve been told that it gets a lot better around four or five. But I cannot say, I am still three years out.

  41. You know….I’ve heard rumors of people who intentionally have a baby “to save the marriage” or “bring us closer together”. WTH? My husband and I joke that our first child was the hardest thing that ever happened to our marriage. But we aren’t really kidding.

  42. The first few months after our daughter was born were the WORST our marriage have ever seen. And we’ve been together since we were 16 years old. It gets better.

  43. You know, every now and again you come across some story about a couple that had a child to bring them closer together, to heal their relationship or what have you. To that I say, HAHAHAHAHA. That’s hilarious! Because, man, as these posts attest, you need to be rock solid to get through it. And even when you ARE pretty rock solid, it’s hard.Anon, I was so struck by how lovingly you spoke of your husband, even while describing how he is crazy- making. I’m rooting for you guys.
    Here’s the one small, very small, thing I would add to the conversation—I am only now, with our kids being 7 and 5, starting to be able to see the larger issues that were at play during The Exhaustion Years. I’ve been having a lot of a-ha moments. Time has given me some deeper perspective. Now I see that some of the problems we ran into had to do with crap from his childhood, crap from mine, etc. But it’s taken this long to tease those threads out. Because of the exhaustion. But these realization are helpful, I think perhaps they gird me for tough patches we may experience down the road.
    You WILL get through this period, it DOES get better. Hugs to you.

  44. i teared up reading this post and some comments and only wished i discovered you earlier mox (we are now 2 kids and 3 years into our marriage) and unlike the data point of some commenters pre-baby(ies), some of our huge fights in the first 6 mos of each child took us to the edge of separation. this is another post i am bookmarking, printing, etc for all my single, not yet mommy girlfriends!!

  45. While it is probably good advice, my shoulders still tense up now, 2.5 years later when someone reccommends just telling my husband what I need. I would ask him to bring me water while I was nursing and he would just say no. I would ask him to get up and feed the baby a bottle and he would just say no. The problem did not lie with my communication skills. The problem lay with the incredible diffcult adjustment becoming a parent can be.

  46. I’ll share a slightly different experience in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation. For the first four or five months of our daughter’s life, I actually found it almost impossible to be mad at my husband – he did everything right to an almost infuriating degree. He did almost all the housework after he got home from work, completely understanding that I couldn’t get to it while taking care of the baby during the day. He cooked. He changed diapers in the middle of the night. He took the baby without being asked and told me to go on a walk or take a bath. Logically, I couldn’t be mad at him, but I still had that new mom anger, so I managed to direct it everywhere else but my husband. I was furious with our cat. I haaaated my MIL for about three months, and seethed every time she came to visit. And after she was four months or so, some of it even spilled over to my daughter (not that I did anything with it, obviously, but I definitely had moments of being angry with her despite knowing she couldn’t help being a baby, duh). It has only been recently, as my daughter has gotten older and we’ve come out of survival mode that I find myself resenting my husband and getting mad at him over lots of little things. And I say this not to brag or make anyone feel bad but to point out that some partnerships weather crisis really, really well, but fare worse as the sun starts to come out. It’s as though our expectations were so low during those early months that we couldn’t possibly resent each other. Now that our kid is 8 months, it seems like we should all be functioning normally again, and the fact that our daughter is still a really disruptive (if amazing) presence in our lives is only just starting to sink in in affect our relationship.

  47. So much wisdom here today. @Shandra – “The weekend never comes when your kids are little. You know the one. Where you sleep in, one of you brings in coffee and fresh croissants from running out to the store for that and the NYT, you make love, you cuddle, you read the NYT all spread out on the bed with your toes touching each other…. Wake up on Monday _radically_ in love.” GENIUS!@T. – I love how you described a major communication challenge that it took counseling to help DH and me overcome: “Once you tell somebody that they “always” or “never” do something, there’s really nowhere to go from there. It puts people on the defensive and once that happens you quickly enter into one of those awful fights where you go so far back in time that it starts to sound like the beginning of a Michener novel.” LOL- a Michener novel is such a perfect analogy!
    @Cece – I am so sorry for the loss of your newborn daughter. Your comment made me both tear up and chuckle – when you mentioned how “kids totally hit some mark at 3 months that makes them awesomer (I think it’s to make you feel awful for going back to work).” So true!
    @Rudyinparis – Amen on the childhood pain seeping into marital problems: “Time has given me some deeper perspective. Now I see that some of the problems we ran into had to do with crap from his childhood, crap from mine, etc. But it’s taken this long to tease those threads out. Because of the exhaustion. But these realization are helpful, I think perhaps they gird me for tough patches we may experience down the road.” Yes!

  48. Man – can I chime in? I read all the comments and I just nod and nod…For us, our second baby was harder. The first one was super easy – just an easy-going little girl. The second one had thrush. Which is painful – and it didn’t respond to the first medication, so we had to move on to another one – it was a 3-week ordeal – UGH! When the thrush cleared up, I realized that I finally got the happy baby I brought home from the hospital back. But DD2 was a noisy sleeper, especially in the transition period between sleep cycles. She was in a bassinet in our bedroom. I can sleep through happy baby noises, my husband can’t. My husband complained about how tired he was (as if I wasn’t…) and I felt somehow responsible… I know, it makes no sense now, but when you are sleep-deprived and hormone crazy… We fought all the time. It was horrible. We tried moving DD2 to the crib, in a room that she shares with DD1, but she wasn’t quite ready. So back into our room. Finally, my husband went out of town almost every week for 2 mos. I moved DD2 into the dressing room off of the master. I could leave her there to sleep – she learned how to put herself back to sleep (she never cried, she would just make cute coos and grunts, but it woke my husband up)! I didn’t have to worry about my husband being woken up. Really, as tough as a 2 year old and a 6 mos old are to take care of on your own, it was nice to be running the show myself. And we are much better, now. It really helps once the baby is sleeping better. You’ll get there! Hang in there!

  49. It is super hard. Our midwife told us that she recommended to couples that they not have any talks about their relationship for the first year after having a baby. That seems about right to me, because the stuff that’s going on MAY be about things that are wrong in your relationship, but… they may also just be that you haven’t slept and your nipples hurt and you wake up in the middle of the night to nurse the baby and your husband makes a half-hearted show at waking up with you, but is clearly still asleep, so very unfair.Having a baby was a big adjustment for us. It really went from having to balance the needs and wants of two people (already sometimes difficult for us – we’re two independent people) to having to almost totally suppress our own needs and wants so we could take care of the kid.
    Difficult. But it does get better. That’s all I can say. I’m glad my husband I took our midwife’s advice and tried to avoid having a lot of heavy talks about What Was So Wrong in the first year, because most of those issues just went away when we started getting more sleep!

  50. I find that it helps to post up big notes to myself – on the mirror, the wall above the changing table, in the kitchen – with all the sane things I need to be reminded of: “You love each other” “He’s not doing that to be annoying” “Take a deep breath” “No, we don’t hit in this family”Massage really really helps me. When I am at the constant beck and call of teeny monsters who *quite literally* suck me dry, the last thing I want after their bedtime is be touched by my husband. I have actually *slapped* his hand away from my breasts, on occasion. I apologized immediately – it was totally unconscious, but totally how I feel in the early years.
    So get a massage. Your husband can do it, if he can do it *well* and without any other intention but to pour love into your skin. It doesn’t count as foreplay; it counts as survival medicine.
    I liked what hush said about the “other baby” being your marriage. It can really get neglected when the new baby comes along!

  51. This sounds so familiar! We went through the same thing in the first few months after the birth of our son. Everything changes, and it sort of feels like a bomb went off in your life. You start to realize nothing will be the same.It does get easier, though it took almost a year before we really felt somewhere close to “normal.” We finally found some baby sitters, started finding ways to take time for ourselves and spend time together as a couple.
    Highly recommend babysitters and date night. That helped us immensely.
    We also recently got some advice through a marriage counseling session. Schedule your arguments. Schedule a time to talk with your husband about what is bothering you. It may not really be about the dishes in the sink, or how much housework he does. (Or maybe it is.) Finding a time to talk about it without the emotion of the moment can help. It can be difficult to find the time with a little one, but it is important. Scheduling our arguments has helped us not blow up at each other.
    Good luck!

  52. These comments are all so good and often so funny. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.After my first was born, I remember feeling this overwhelming love for my husband in the first few days. It dissipated. We never had big fights but did feel like we were drifting apart at times. So hard. Today we have a marriage where we both feel so lucky to have one another.
    I am so rooting for your marriage. It sounds like you have a solid, happy base and that once you get caught up on sleep (whenever that might be!) and find your new normal, you will emerge from this phase and remember why you fell in love. All best wishes to you.

  53. I’m coming into this discussion late, and my kids are now 7 and 10, but I remember this clearly.I suggest time just laying down together- snuggling but not involving sex. Just have alone time while the baby sleeps when you can quietly talk like you used to and just enjoy being together. If you can do this with the baby between you ASLEEP then do that, but just take a break TOGETHER with no expectations.

  54. I think this is another voice in the chorus, but I think it’s important that you and your partner agree that this is not normal.Maybe, in your relationship, a snappish word or turning away or various other things are A Really Bad Thing normally that would usually be resolved with a fight or a heart-to-heart or both. But right now, you’re both constantly tired and you’re both constantly in a bad mood. So, if you can, agree that stuff that would normally seem like There Is Trouble In Our Marriage is just right now We Have a New Baby and We Are Super-Tired.
    Once we were comfortable that the other person was forgiving each of us and we were forgiving them for what would normally be Serious Rudeness, we felt happier.

  55. My DH and I had a similar experience as Hush. We were also together for 10 years before we had children. We chose counseling about a year after our second was born. We tried a year after the first, but the counselor wasn’t a good fit for us and we didn’t pursue finding a better one at the time. We should have.Anywho, there were a lot of pre kids issues that we didn’t even realize were there. After 4 sessions we felt like we had found each other again. We talked through a lot of stuff with the help of a counselor. Having to explain to a third party and having to hear it said that way from your partner was invaluable.
    Like @hush said, best decision we ever made. I agree that you are in the middle of a rollercoaster ride right now, but don’t hesitate to seek outside help if it doesn’t seem to get better over time. It just may save your marriage

  56. Thank you for this post! I thought we were the only couple who felt we made the biggest mistake having kids it felt like our lives have ended- I missed “us”. We had two kids 370 days apart so it has been a long two years. Why don’t people talk about this? It would definitely help with the feelings of isolation and failure.

  57. Inappropriate anger is one of the symptoms of PPD. It was my hallmark symptom. So, so much better after meds. Things aren’t easy at 2 months but you shouldn’t feel completely crazy either.

  58. Reading this post and the comments brings up so much emotion for me. My daughter is 22 months now, and I feel like my marriage is finally back on solid ground. It was not easy the first year, between PPD that I waited way too long to acknowledge, not sleeping well, and a baby whose reflux/milk allergy didn’t get diagnosed for the first 4 and 1/2 months. I was an absolute disaster, and took it all out on my husband, and resented him for being able to enjoy parenthood without the flood of pain that I felt. Things that helped were therapy (individual and couples), treating my PPD, and trying to get out as a couple (which doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but is so crucial). It’s also so important to find some stuff that make you happy- exercise, lunch with friends, etc. You can’t be good to your husband or your baby if you’re not good to yourself. Anon, please hang in there. I’ve been where you are, and I promise you that it gets better.

  59. @Rudyinparis, ‘The Exhaustion Years’…ha! nice. So, um, when exactly do the exhaustion years end? Trying to take the longview, but it would be nice to have an approximate date. ;)Also, ITA that childhood issues come into play and are a big part of what’s challenging in parenting and how that affects your relationship.
    It’s only now after 3 years that I can see how much our own life experiences, especially the experience within our immediate families, affects how we parent (or don’t), what we find challening, etc. And if there are bad experiences that either parent had within their immediate family, pain and shame and anger and a whole bunch of other intense feelings can really throw you (and your relationship) for a loop. Having a kid means these things are brought to the surface. So you have to deal with them one way or another.
    My new motto is ‘You are the best parent for your child. And that means DH too’. I try to remember this specifically when I think ‘WTF were you thinking?!’ about some parenting thing DH did that I didn’t agree with. It helps me figure out quickly if it’s just that I would have done it differently, or if it’s a matter of principle, and therefore something we should discuss more in depth, later.

  60. @babyinterrupted, take heart: you should be able to do less pumping soon. Breastfeeding changes with the introduction of solid foods.I worked outside the home for only a few hours a week at this point, but at 8 months I quit pumping almost entirely (exceptions for separations of more than a day). I wish I had done so sooner, because the trade-off for me would have been worth it. I loathed pumping, and I was never very productive with the pump (1-2 ounces per breast, max.) But by 8 months, we were able to make all of our breastmilk feedings from the tap.

  61. I think, You have to being honest with each other and acknowledging the hormones. We learned there are still a lot of echoes of our own early childhood pains. Hardest and best thing I have ever done.

  62. Umm… Mommy Anger? Why isn’t that the first chapter in all those parenting books?@Rbelle described it: “Logically, I couldn’t be mad at him, but I still had that new mom anger, so I managed to direct it everywhere else but my husband. I was furious with our cat. I haaaated my MIL for about three months, and seethed every time she came to visit.”
    I don’t know how old my kids were, but at some point I sent an email to a group of mom’s I knew asking if I was the only one who’s two-year-old knew the f-word and how to use it. I got back about a dozen emails from friends parenting small people with examples of anger out of control, hilarious now that it was past, but traumatizing in the moment. And these were my churchy, well-parented, well-partnered, well-supported mom friends.
    My theory is that parenting makes It All Bigger: our loves are bigger, our hurts are bigger, our joys are bigger, our griefs are bigger… And anger. Our anger gets bigger too.
    I didn’t come up with any solutions. Kids are 4 and 2.5 now and I’ve learned a few coping skills that take the edge off. Laughing helps. A lot. “Try funny first” is a family mantra around here.
    As for marriage, I don’t know about that either. A friend and I call these “The Lean Years”. It helps to remember that it’s not permanent and one day we’ll have more time, and more money, and more sex, and more of all the other things that seem inadequate these days. We’re glad we had awesome 20s, and are looking forward to really great 50s…
    Hang in there.

  63. There are a zillion comments so I’ll just say this: this topic is the very reason that my husband and I are not having any more kids (we have 2, ages almost-4 and 16 months). We both agree that we don’t know if our marriage can handle another year in the trenches, and we don’t want to spend another year in the trenches anyway even if we did survive it. It made me sad at first to give up the notion of a larger family, but I know its the right choice for us.Hang in there anon, the other posters are right; it gets better. And if it doesn’t on its own, you have options like @hush said.

  64. @Shandra, you really nailed it. Those weekends you live for as a pre-child couple aren’t there as a safety valve/blessing/relationship renewer for a good long while. And how do you help all those things happen woven into your daily lives…or at least, help other things that can be woven into daily life perform the same function. Good grief, does that make any sense?I have much the same story as others – friends for 16 years, together 9, and married 4 when Mouse was born. I remember being SO angry that Mr. C would put in the earplugs that I suggested he use at night, so I could just get up and handle the little bottle-refuser. SO ANGRY. How could he do what I told him to, the a**h*le? And we didn’t get help or date nights or anything like that – wasn’t feasible with a kid who wouldn’t take any kind of comfort except the boob – but somehow we made it, I don’t know how, to the point where I went back to work and Mr. C took 2 months to be primary parent. That helped us both see what the other was dealing with, a lot. Then I guess we just muddled on and it got better and before too long it was good, if never the same.
    I wonder if some it isn’t because we aren’t supposed/allowed to be sad. We’ve lost those weekends. We gained a child, which is wonderful, but weekends like that were glorious too. Still kinda missing them with a 7-year-old – but we’ve gotten a couple in the last 7 years, courtesy of grandparents, and boy did we enjoy them. And hey, at this point it’s one more year until SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Don’t think I’m not counting the months, adoring Mouse and our normal life all the way along. 😉

  65. It really went from having to balance the needs and wants of two people. It puts people on the defensive and once that happens you quickly enter into one of those awful fights. I definitely had moments of being angry with her despite.

  66. Oh, and I forgot to mention, one low point for us was when DS was just shy of two and DH told me he thought I should go to the doctor because I was forgetting things a lot.OMG! WTF? WHAT?!?!! Are you effing kidding me? I am forgetting things ‘all the time’ because I’ve been totally sleep deprived for 2 years…he who has gotten to sleep through all of the night wakings save for a handful of times.
    I lost it on him. Totally lost it. Nothing like sleep deprivation fueled anger.
    After I calmed down, maybe two days later, the light bulb went off for me that DH really did not know how much continual sleep deprivation affects you and that I would need to be much more forthcoming with letting him know, regularly, how it was affecting me. And also asking him to compensate in other areas more.
    Totally agree w/ @Charisse and others that experiencing the other’s reality goes a long way towards empathy and understanding for how hard it is for the other person.

  67. For us the difficult times came a later, when I couldn’t just blame the hormones. It came at about 18 months when my husband was deep into grad school and I was working full-time with zero time for myself. I became very snippy with him. Simple questions or comments set me off.What set us straight again was pretty much what Moxie laid out. We shared what we were feeling when we were calm. I vowed not to take my stress out on him and he promised to do more to give me time to de-stress. We had to re-establish our promises to each other recently because he’s still in school and there is still a lot of stress on me, so I see this as a continuing exercise and not a one-time fix. Constant communication (use “I” statements; I feel…) is really the key.

  68. @ scharkey…I am so with you. Our first, who will be four in less than a week, was almost a Stepford Baby. He had some feeding troubles at first, but once he figured that out, he ate, and slept, and I remember him being mostly happy all of the time. He was easy for DH to bond with because he smiled and didn’t act like his world was ending when Daddy held him. Yes, I was sleep deprived from getting up several times a night, but he was very good about going back to sleep once I fed him, so even though I was up I didn’t need to worry about him waking up again 45 minutes later after I put him back down. And he basically started sleeping 8-7 at nine months and never, ever woke up from that point forward (he’s still an epic sleeper). Also, we were in a different place in our lives. We both worked full time but DH was BY FAR the primary breadwinner (and frankly made so much money, traveled so much, and was in such a high-pressure job) that I felt like I, rightly or wrongly, should cut him some slack because he was contributing so much financially, which made it possible for us to hire a full time nanny instead of putting the baby in daycare, continue to take fabulous vacations, go out to eat, etc. All of which were very important to me. Yes, we had it pretty awesome, and, while I’m sure we had a few fights, it was not that hard of a transition.#2 is a different story. Now 4 months, and finally on reflux medication, he is slowly becoming a more pleasant person to be around, but it’s been a tough road. He has had a lot of stomach issues, is an early riser (I am not a morning person), has to be nursed to sleep and God forbid if he is jostled slightly on the to the swing transfer (no, we haven’t gotten him to sleep in a crib yet). He clearly prefers Mommy to Daddy, and I think it has taken DH a long time to bond with him. In fact, at one point, I asked DH if he liked X, because while I know he loves him, I don’t think he liked him very much at that point.
    Adding to the stress, our personal life has changed. DH has left the high-paying job to start his own business. We agreed he would take a certain amount of $ each year from savings to live on, but I’m the primary breadwinner now. We still have enough to do all of the things we like and have the nanny (for which I thank God every day), but it is much more of a struggle every month (and I’m sorry if this sounds obnoxious because I know other people have REAL money issues, but I just want to explain how things have changed for us). I hate my job and would love to leave, but I can’t until he starts bringing in money. It is great to have him around more but infuriating to me that he sleeps late on the weekends and doesn’t get up in the middle of the night when I am the one working all day for an income and then dealing with all of the newborn-related crap. And unfortunately he’s one of those people who finds it very hard to take criticism, so my ability to change the situation is limited. After a terrible fight (in front of the 4 year old, unfortunately) I finally came to the realization that I had two choices – I could leave him, which is not really what I want because I do love him on most days even if I don’t always like him, and, even if it were, would likely result in such a horrendous custody battle that I can’t even contemplate it (DH is someone who likes to win at all costs, which is great in the business world but not so much personally). Or I could remember that things will not always be this way, that eventually I will get a good night’s sleep, and that if I’m not willing to change things, there is no point to being angry at how things are. Which is easier intellectually than emotionally but I plan to repeat it like a mantra. And to focus on the good things, like the fact that at least he does all of the grocery shopping and cooking – that’s something, right?
    All that said, DH is already talking about #3, and there’s NO WAY that will happen unless he becomes a different person. 🙂
    So glad to hear that others have gone through or are going through the same, and thanks for the timeliness of the post!

  69. Ugh. I hate to even say this, but our first three years of parenthood were pretty much awful and I convinced myself I wanted a divorce. He handled early fatherhood really well, but did not handle being husband to a new mom well at all…like, the morning after I came home from the hospital (early) after a c-section he suggested I make muffins for us. He didn’t do it because he’s a dick, but because he was clueless….and speaking of clueless, I took his assumption I was back to 100 percent (three days after a c-section) as evidence I SHOULD be and went and DID IT. Add financial troubles, family stress and all the things everyone else has mentioned as strains, and it was not a good scene. It wasn’t horrible fighting all the time, but I was mega-resentful and when I get mad at him, he shuts down. While I had an easy pregnancy with my second, it also coincided with my MIL being diagnosed with cancer and that led to insane amounts of family drrraaaaamaaaa, and we were doing some work on our kitchen which he just totally did a hack job on, and money issues, and lots of pent-up resentment from me which led to a fight in which I informed him that if I was going to live like a single mother I may as well BE a single mother and not have to pick up his disgusting socks.Lucky for our family, he is an MSW and has done some marriage counseling (I KNOW: physician, heal thyself) and so we decided to take an hour every week while our daughter napped to work on us. I’m not kidding when I say it saved our marriage. Our ground rules were open and honest communication and no losing one’s shit over anything the other had to say. And, wow. Late pregnancy and early babyhood with our second was such a great time for us…he stepped up in every way I needed him to and continues to do so, and I do the same for him. But I don’t think we could have done that in the thick of it with a newborn. So I would say, talk to him…a lot of times we think our pre-baby, mind-meld communication style works post-baby and it doesn’t, because neither of you are the same people you were before. It sounds like you have a very good base to work from, that you really love each other and are committed to your marriage. So lay it out there and tell him everything; otherwise, you run the risk of being in your little silos of resentment and that’s no good for anyone.

  70. I remember the rage, and yes, I have to say I took it out on the cats (not physically, of course, just a lot of yelling). My DH went into a pretty serious depression after each kid was born (now 5 and 2 y.o.) and so I had no outlet for my anger. If I had yelled at him, he would have dissolved in tears. It was very hard.I remember calling my sister after our 2nd was born and saying, “I may have made a mistake wanting another child. I’m not sure we can make it this way.” Our family felt like it was falling apart and I was the only one holding it together.
    I suggest having a very honest talk (we did this, often). Say to him, “You know what? This time of our lives kind of really sucks, and it’s not at all what we expected.”
    The notion that we all have to pretend the first year of our kids’ lives is constantly magical can be really damaging. Even if we pretend for our friends, co-workers and family, we can be honest with our spouse.
    Like Moxie wrote, be specific in your needs. Men are as bewildered as we are after the baby’s here and need direction.
    And for some good news…we had our 1st child after 5 years of marriage, and now we’re about to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We’re very busy with 2 little kids, but we know what needs to be done, and (mostly) don’t take our stresses out on each other. I won’t say that our sex life is back to where either of us would like it, but we know it’s an issue and are trying to work on it.
    And–I wouldn’t trade having my kids for anything (despite the fact that my first didn’t sleep consistently through the night until he was 4).
    It’s the pain before the gain, definitely.

  71. Check out John & Julie Gottman’s “And Baby Makes Three” – it talks directly about your relationship post-baby, and it has exercises and stuff, not just “lecture.” And if you can, go to a Gottman-based Bringing Baby Home workshop. You can bring your baby, and it will be SUCH a big help. It’s like half parenting and half relationship stuff, and both the workshop and the book are research-based. You can find people offering the workshops at bbhonline.org.(Full disclosure: I’m one of those people who is trained to give those workshops, I just haven’t gotten my act together to actually offer one yet.)

  72. Thank goodness for meggiemoo (as well as Moxie). Hope you don’t quit commenting, even as your children grow up.

  73. Two months pp…sleep deprived…scared shitless…My husband walked into another room studying a takeout menu, and I LOST IT. Seriously? I thought he was going to order food for himself, and not for me. Crazy. Unthinkable, now. I was just so HUNGRY and tired. And paranoid. And shocked at how completely unable to cope I was.It will get a LOT better when you start sleeping. Go easy on yourself and him.

  74. I distinctly remember being about a month postpartum and asking my husband to make burgers and cole slaw for dinner. He’d never made slaw before, and I told him how to do it. Then I sat down at the table and saw that he’d used the wrong blade on the food processor to shred the cabbage. I burst into tears and wailed, “You didn’t listen to me! Why won’t you listen to me?”There you have it, folks.

  75. yeah. the first couple months are hard. For us, we got to add in the predeployment fights that you try so hard to avoid, but you can’t because they happen (he deployed at 8 weeks pp).A couple things stood out to me. 1) you are frustrated that he thinks you have all the answers and 2) that he sleeps blissfully while you get up all the time.
    He really does think you know. They think that the mommy intuition kicks in. They’re usually more scared – they just want help because believe it or not – you probably feel more confident in what you’re doing (even if you feel like a loser with no clue).
    and daddies sometimes really don’t hear the baby. It never worked really for him to take the baby downstairs and keep her so that I could get rest. I still woke up constantly to hear if she was happy or not. It’s now ingrained into you. This is a good thing! (I know, I know). Daddy was desperate for mommy to be well rested and it just wasn’t going to happen.
    I did wake him up sometimes and tell him it was his turn, I needed him to do whatever while I nursed, etc. Sometimes he moved too slowly and I got irritated, but he really did want to help and he would do his best.
    We were married 5 yrs before our planned baby arrived. There is this scary realization somewhere along the way that things are never going to be the same again. but, it will just be a different version of good.
    I think a lot of frustration can be eased away just by understanding that things have changed. If you continue to try to be the people that you were before the baby, then the baby is going to frustrate you. The changes will frustrate you.
    Instead, just recognize how life changed and start adapting your expectations (not the same as lowering them!). You will have to figure out how to be two different individuals and how to be a couple with a baby.
    Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. If you don’t like some new habit that he’s developing as a dad – tell him. If he tells you something – be open to the constructive criticism.
    Remember you love him. and now there will be more aspects of him to love. The foundation of your marriage hasn’t changed.

  76. One thing that surprised me was that we had been to counseling pre-marriage; we had worked through a lot, and come to recognize and deal with a cluster of “family of origin” issues. But, since having kids, some of that stuff resurfaced in an altered way, triggered by kids (because, surprise surprise, some of my parents’ and his parents’ big issues came from how to be kind and engaged when dealing with small children). And for a while I had this frustration beyond the issue itself of, “But we already DID this!” Accepting that part of this is just how we respond when we are exhausted, and part of this is that marriage is indeed like another child (you master one stage only to see it slip into the next stage) has helped.Heather

  77. Many of the couples who were least happy were absolutely just fine five years later. I was completely unprepared for the transition from lovingly doted. I don’t really have any words of wisdom.

  78. With so many posts already, I won’t spend too much time reiterating the fact that it does get better. I’ll just put up my hand and join the group of people who’d get angry with her husband, even though he was doing everything “right”. Sleep deprivation is a bitch. What worked best for us was if whichever one of us went off the rails apologized as soon as he/she (oh, who am I kidding, usually she) realized what had happened, and the other one graciously accepted the apology and we all moved on.And I’ll add- take all these suggestions about what to do, and then decide what works for you.
    For instance, for us, date night is pretty much a non-starter until the baby starts sleeping better. Even now, when my second is 19 months old, I struggle to stay out past 9 p.m. Early on, we went out to dinner a couple of times, but despite having excellent free babysitting from my sister who lives in town, we rarely go out for dinner.
    But… my sainted parents give us a full night away every few months, and that is a godsend, and worth every bit of extra pumping I had to do to make it possible in the early days (we started at about 6 months post-partum, I think).
    And we do date lunches from time to time.
    But my favorite marriage saving device is Friday Night Beers. I’ve posted here about it before. We get the kids in bed, crack open two beers, sit on the sofa and talk. And then I get to “sleep in” (a term that means something entirely different pre and post kids) Saturday morning.
    So to all of you in the trenches now… hang in there. It will not go back to how it was, but it will probably go to something good.
    And don’t underestimate the impact of sleep deprivation. It is huge.

  79. Oh gosh. I was reading this under the blankets last night while feeding my 8mo. She and I sleep in the study, he and the 3.5 year old sleep in the king size in the bedroom. Can I say that I find all of these comments SO calming? We were together ten years before our first babe. Things were a little mercurial, but nothing compared to what happened after our first baby was born.I had a baby who snacked on me every two hours at night for two years. The first year, I spent an unhealthy amount of time plotting howto do away with my partner and not get caught, or alternatively, fantasising that he would be (mostly) painlessly struck by a bus or a meteorite – ANYTHING that would get him the hell away. He is self employed, took three months off to be with the baby when she was born – which was the worst time – and he was/is completely besotted with her. To the detriment of everything.
    My resentment towards him was huge. That first year was just a kick in the guts for our relationship. Slowly we began kind of getting back up to speed. And then we had our second baby – and this was very healing for me. I was confident enough to take the reins with her from the start and he was willing to let me. There has been none of the fury and boiling resentment this time. We have little couple time, but are happy to put that on the backburner while they are little – I like the idea of Friday night beers!
    I have to say that you just need to cut yourself some slack. Also – I think I had undiagnosed PPD – but due to low estrogen levels. It has happened with my second, but was picked up by my doctor. Oh. My. Gosh. Taking estrogen supplements made a HUGE difference to my mood, my stamina, my everything…

  80. Oh and the whole husband not waking up when the baby cries thing? A lot of that is biology–at least it was for us. He’s a heavy, easy sleeper. I’m a light, crappy sleeper (hello to passing on my crap sleep genes to our kids, dammit).As much as I wanted him to wake up with the babies, in the end it didn’t really make much sense. He had a really hard time waking up, they never wanted him anyway (ha, the joke’s on me!), and as Emily N said, if he took the baby downstairs, I would just lie in bed awake, listening to the baby cry. Not very restful.
    BUT. I did make him get up to bring the baby to me for nursing, because he could fall back asleep very quickly, and it saved me getting up and walking to the nursery (it’s the little things).
    I think you always need a non-sleeper married to a sleeper, because if you were both sleepers or both non-sleepers, my God, what would you do? He needs 8 hours to feel good, whereas I can get by (and did for many years) on 4-5.

  81. Uh oh meggiemoo, I think we have the non-sleeper married to the sleeper but we’ve got it backwards. I need tons of sleep to feel rested… or atleast I used to. I can’t even allow myself to think about what it used to be like… sleeping all day… gah. I too have a baby who is up atleast every 3 hours round the clock (he is 7.5 months old) and I nurse him. I too have the “I’m going to hear him anyway, he wants Mommy, why should I lay in bed and not sleep while he screams with Daddy downstairs?” issues. No point to it, even though Daddy offered MANY times in the early months to do it. Again to PP’s: HOLY HELL YES the whole thing about him truly not understanding sleep deprivation, even though he feels tired all the time.And what about yelling at the husband who didn’t/doesn’t do everything right??!! Hope that’s OK too, cuz that’s what I did. AND I yell at my cats too. Suddenly they are the most annoying creatures on earth, whereas before-baby I worshipped the ground they pranced on. My female cat is literally up-my-butt on a 24-hour basis. Her fave thing to do now is psychically sense that I’ve *finally* gotten the baby to sleep and am now attempting the transfer to the swing (or about to get up off the bed) and she pushes the door open and screams/meows at the top of her lungs!!! It’s infuriating.

  82. “Sharing Child Caregiving May Increase Parental Conflict, Study Finds”http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126121734.htm
    I think it must have to do with expectations. We expect 50/50 when we both work full time, or in the hours he is not working if SAHM. It will never be 50/50 due to biology. Maybe if I had expected to do all of the caregiving/house work from the get go, I wouldn’t have felt cheated or taken for granted by him. Overwhelmed, yes.
    That said, life got much, much better after 18 months. The relationship didn’t survive, but that’s because I had one foot out the door before the birth. It’s very interesting for me to read about the couples who found their way back to each other after this difficult period. I hope Moxie’s right that if it’s a good relationship to begin with, it will survive this transition.

  83. I didn’t have time to read the comments, but I was you two years ago, and now that I just had a second baby 10 weeks ago, I’m you again. This time though, I know it will get better.For the first few months after my first baby I would feel utter rage at things that might have been mildly annoying before the baby, but were now grounds for divorce…..”So I get to be up every 2 hours nourishing our child from my body AND I have to wipe the counters/put the coffee away/replace the toilet paper roll/etc!!!”. Rage. I went back to work when our daughter was 8 weeks while my husband stayed home with her (she was super intense/high needs/bottle refusing/Happiest Baby on the Block Fourth Trimester crazy/only mama will do baby), which compounded the rage because I got to be up all night, go to work during the day, and then come home to husband that checked out when I walked in the door because he basically had PTSD from the stress of getting through each day with her. At around 4 months my hormones settled down, we got into a routine, our daughter was growing and able to do more and was more interactive, and everything was just better. As she got older, it got better yet.
    So, knowing what I do now and experiencing similar feelings (but with a two year old added into the mix) I count to ten when the rage comes over unwashed dishes or his inability to use the laundry basket. I know that even though its different, that we’ll be a couple again. That said, although I adore my babes and would never change a thing, I do mourn the time when we were just us, and I think that’s okay too.

  84. I really love you guys, and have laughed and cringing and even teared up a little reading these (especially Shandra’s description of the prekids weekend – man do I miss my husband). Basically, I don’t have anything new to add; we went through the exact same thing, and it was way worse for us the first time, even though the sleep deprivation was worse with #2 (between 2.5-7.5 months, #2 woke up 5-7 x per night), and we are both people who desperately need a lot of sleep. I was stunned at how negatively having a baby affected our relationship. We were so tight, I really believed the baby would be no strain on our relationship. He absolutely does at least 50-50 in terms of child care and housework. But boy was I wrong about the happy happy bliss of a new baby! Sleep deprivation is a form of torture – it has profound affects on our biology and psychology. It should never be spoken of slightingly. But as others have said, eventually you get enough sleep, and remember why you had kids with him in the first place.That said, there were a few rage-filled nights where I sat up in bed with a baby in my arms, glaring at his sleeping still form with so much anger that I finally started kicking him awake. I just thought, If I’m awake he should be awake, d*mn it!!!!!

  85. I have that cat too! And she is also black!She also screams moments after the baby goes off to sleep, and as soon as she sees me in the morning the meowing does not stop. Last night while I was reading the bigger his bedtime story she got tangled in the fisher price telephone and ricocheted around the room with it dragging behind her. The noise!
    And on a serious note, I know few people who didn’t struggle after their first baby. It often seems to me that the more the dad is invested in sharing everything, the more fights occur as everyone’s feelings are on the line. PPD and no sleep make this exponentially worse. But it does get better,our second was a breeze compared to the first. But then we co-sleep and he doesn’t wake us with a train whistle scream at night like his brother used to…and some days are good and some are bad. It just means forcing yourself not to think on a bad day that your life will be like this forever. That’s the hardest lesson I learned with my first.

  86. @Kelly, I think we may have the same cats. My little black cat has always been up my butt (she used to sleep ON my head), but after I had babies, she’s either touching me, winding around my ankles as I try to NOT trip going downstairs holding a child, or magically appearing the moment I am finally, blissfully, able to sit down by myself at the end of the day. Then WHAMMO…Cat. sigh.Oh, and she loves to scratch/meow loudly at the bedroom door just as the baby is falling asleep. Awesomeness.

  87. It really went from having to balance the needs and wants of two people. That’s hilarious! Because, man, as these posts attest, you need to be rock solid to get through it. No one around you warns you about this.

  88. Boy does this sound familiar! I have a 9 month old now. First timer too. We had some terrible TERRIBLE arguments right about 2 months. The newness was gone. The adrenaline was gone. The exhaustion was HIGH. Hormones were wacky. And hubby was exhausted too and feeling a bit helpless though he really was doing his best.We continue to have ups and downs. It became really clear about a month or so ago that we needed to put just as much effort into our marriage as we are into being parents. I started to feel as if we were just roommates.
    We hired a wonderful young lady to watch our little guy for 3-4 hours once a week for date night. Sometimes its a nice dinner – sometimes its weeding the lawn together and talking. But its our time. (I even have her come early once in awhile to just help watch the baby while I shower and get all dressed up!)
    It will get better. TRULY. But it takes some effort. Right now – you’re just in survival mode. That’s ok! When you start getting 5 straight hours of sleep every night you’ll both start to have energy to reconnect again!
    On the plus side – Good for you wanting to keep things happy in your marriage despite how tired and stressed you are. That right there says you’ll come out of this a stronger couple!

  89. I haven’t read all the other replies but here is my experience. The first year after baby KICKED OUR ASSES. Hardest year of my life by far. Colicky baby until 8 months who never slept. It was a effin nightmare. Fighting (for the first time ever really) with my Husband over stupid stuff like washing the bottles, diaper rash cream, etc. Really stupid.My advice to you is… check out if you are suffering from PPD and if you are, get some help, a support group and meds. No shame. Also, know that it DOES get better but you have to work at it. My Husband and I went to counseling and it was so great. We both were stressed and the sleep deprivation was a killer. I know why they use it as a torture treatment. It is brutal. Communicate with your Husband and if he does something nice or unexpected – be really thankful and praise him. It will make him feel better about himself and he’ll feel like a better Husband/Daddy.
    After 2 years, I feel like we’re get back to how we used to be before baby. It’s awesome and our Son is so much fun. It’s really amazing. So amazing that we have decided to try for baby #2 next cycle. This is crazy because when our baby was 4 months we both looked at each other at the very same time and said… no more babies. We can’t do this – we won’t survive. Something happened when our Son turned 2 and we made it alive!! We are so excited to try again.
    Ironically, we found Moxie by googling sleep issues with baby and her amazing blog popped up. I loved reading all the support and stories – it made us feel that we weren’t alone and that we weren’t bad parents because we weren’t in the blissful land of baby. It was hard. It is still hard but it’s life. It made us stronger and I love my Husband even more now because he is a great Father.
    I’ll suggest that you guys go on a date night every few weeks or so and take a weekend trip for your next birthday or anniversary. It will really help you guys. IT DOES GET BETTER!! PROMISE! Hang in there Mama!! xoxo

  90. Hello, I went through something very similar after my daughter was born. I’m training to become a psychotherapist and I thought it would be better to be out of counselling in those early months with my daughter.Boy was I wrong! 🙂
    Anyway, I just wanted to add my experience in the case that it might help.
    Before my daughter was born, I had been working in an office in central London, enjoying dinner dates with friends and had a lot of freedom. Becoming a new mother took a lot of that freedom away and brought me into a nurturing role that was quite stuck. Even though I didn’t crave to be away from my daughter, I really resented my husband who was able to go for a run, leave the house, had loads of energy etc.
    He was also great, cooked, washed, held the baby while I showered, cared, cuddled, got up for night feeds. I couldn’t understand why I was so angry.
    I felt it was really helpful to understand the loss of freedom because physically as mothers we go from being completely free and able to walk away to being attached to something that is completely dependent on us. I wanted motherhood, have done since I was twelve and I wanted to be enjoying it. Once I got to grips with the fact that I was going to be in “baby jail” for a little while, I got around it and started treating my husband a bit better.
    Anyway, everyone’s understanding of what is going on will probably be different – you will find a reason and feel better soon. I think Moxie’s advice is always brilliant. This site has saved me a few times x

  91. Hmmmm. I read carefully through all the comments, and am posting to offer a completely different point of view. Every single feeling expressed above is of familiarity, but I am commenting from the other side of the fence…where all that stress and newness and WTF resulted in me leaving my husband when our son was 18 months old. My pride and joy was born with club feet and the ensuing year of medical treatment thousands of miles from our home had a pronounced effect on our marriage. Rather than dwell on the trials and tribulations of that year, which included every single shitty thing about a new born, the added bonus of a medical condition, AND the 10,000 joys, I am including my voice to illustrate that sometimes motherhood opens doors of clarity that were shut due to whatever baggage you brought into the relationship prior to conceiving. My sole purpose was revealed in providing every single chance I could offer to care for my child, and my husband, though caring, loving and confused, was completely unable to deal. I realized my strengths, his weaknesses, and we parted ways. I am in no way suggesting anyone do the same, but I do think that having my son opened my eyes to a very wrong marriage. That being said, it DOES get better!!!!! My son championed through his condition, I met and married my true love…and guess what? We have different parenting styles!!! As do my son’s father and I. We struggle through co-parenting now… but I remember those initial feelings like they were yesterday. (8 years) Having a child forces you to define who you are, and these struggles are rewarding down the line, however they manifest themselves.

  92. I’ts normal to feel the PPD after give birth. but in my case God is really good I don’t experience worst that can happen if PPD strikes…

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