Coping with the new mother in you
Marriage brings two people close, with a promise of support, love and care to last forever. However, when reality of life strikes with all its good,...
Marriage brings two people close, with a promise of support, love and care to last forever. However, when reality of life strikes with all its good, bad, ugly, it is those couple that cope with it and continue to be there for each other that stay happily ever after. Here's a couple that have grown apart because both approach changes in different way. Our experts' advice can make much difference.
I am a well-educated 34-year-old and a mother of a one-year-old girl. My family always complains that I am into too much mothering and do not trust others enough to take care of my child. I don't go out much. Even though ours is a love marriage, my husband was not supportive during my pregnancy, when I worried so much and experienced many lows. He wanted a 'fun loving' girl that he knew me as and continued to party. He never moved from his bachelor state of mind and now we have moved apart emotionally so much that I am neither a wife nor a girlfriend to my husband. Please help!
It is indeed quite difficult to search for your space in a relationship. Normally all the contributing factors are not seen or acknowledged.
Let us start with the present situation of you being in an over concerned parent role, as others are looking at it as this. For this to be understood we need to look at the situation of the whole pregnancy period and the post-delivery experience. As you have mentioned, you did have pregnancy blues, which include the low moods during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. This is one of the reasons that a pregnant woman has to be well cared for emotionally apart from physically.
In your case there was an expectation of having 'fun', which must have been exhausting. Your husband ideally should have been advised that it is not the right expectation at that time from you. Your husband then could have chosen somethings where you could have participated easily, like watching movies at home, having some friends over but having potlucks and early nights. As for your role as a parent of an infant now, ideally, you should be sharing the responsibility of raising the baby. But your over-concerned and emotional parenting is possibly not stemming from a lack of trust in the family members as is being perceived. Maybe it is because you have unconsciously diverted all your need for attention into attention-giving, where what you expected from others is transformed into a constant attention-giving parent. But it is now time to break this pattern as you need your husband's attention and affection.
Here's what you could do-
Set some ground rules of basic expectation in the role of your husband and as a father to your child. Parenting is a shared responsibility. Otherwise one of the two becomes a nagging spouse.
The more you involve your husband in your child's care and do it trustingly, he will be inspired to participate more.
Enjoy sharing the good things that have happened during the day, rather than just the difficulty with the baby's routine. Complaining creates the biggest chasm in a relationship. Enjoy the baby and all that comes with it.
Go on dates with your husband to recapture your early times together. It is completely okay, actually recommended, to have fun even when you have babies, as this strengthens the fabric of your relationship.
Both of you- communicate to each other that you are available to the other in all respects.
Anthroposophic Counsellor and Psychotherapist.
Not having a good support system, especially after birthing a child, can be tough and trying. This is when a woman is in the most vulnerable phase of her life.
Modern marriages have moved beyond the rigid patriarchal rules that dictate that a woman has to tend to home, family, and children, alone. Many still follow that age old parenting pattern and I feel your husband is also probably doing so too.
Or maybe; just maybe, he wasn't ready to be a father?
Many young parents are completely flummoxed and clueless on how to manage once children arrive.
Did anybody ask you if you were both mentally ready to be parents?
Did you ask yourself?
Very often, people have children to please the elders in the family, who are enthusiastic about becoming grandparents.
Or because 'people talk'
Or that time is passing by and children should be there before one crosses a particular age…
No one really asks the parents-to-be if either or both are actually really ready to be parents!! If they are ready to give up all the things and that they are expected to compromise on many others to make place for a child in their life.
A child is a huge responsibility and if one isn't mentally and psychologically ready, life becomes tedious.
I have a feeling this is what is happening in your relationship.
Your husband, while I'm sure loves his baby, isn't fully ready to make all the adjustments that parenting probably needs, at this moment.
As for you, you are still in the post-partum period.
Hormones, mood swings, sleepless nights, feeding, diaper changes - the list is endless. This leaves little or no time for partying or fun.
However, having said all this, all work and no fun can make a new mother frustrated and angry. Especially as she isn't getting help, and is up against expectations of fun, frolic and partying.
Before I suggest that you talk to your husband, here's what you could do
Establish a good support system; Parents, parents in law, extended family, friends, nanny...whatever works for you.
Get some sleep, go shopping, get a haircut or manicure or anything that gives you a breather for a couple of hours whenever you can.
Make friends. Mothers like you must reach out and help each other, plan mom and child outings, discuss your children's activities, health, behaviour. It can be very comforting to know you are not alone.
And now, time to have that têtê-a têtê with your husband.
Tell him you need help, and ask him what he can do to help out with chores, parenting etc.
Ask yourself...do you miss being girlfriend?
If the answer is Yes! The next question should be - What's stopping you from having a little fun?
motherhood is a pleasure and should not be so strenuous!
And there's no reason on earth why Mom and Dad can't have fun too.
Make time for each other, rekindle the love and the passion. Maybe he is missing your fun-loving nature too...or maybe you are missing your own fun loving self?
Be wife when he's husband; be girlfriend when he's boyfriend; be mother when he is father - be buddies always and remember you are Mom and Dad until eternity.
Enjoy your many roles and also enjoy life as you negotiate all the roles you will be playing.
Make sure your husband is an integral part of your child's life.
He's at a lovely age, learning how to talk, walk, giggle, be naughty...enjoy every bit of it. But, also, remember to live life to the fullest, in spite of all the frustrations and the angst.
Mothers are world class multitaskers!! I know you'll pull it off!!
Good luck,mommy, wife, girlfriend and buddy!!