Friday, March 2, 2012

Family

It's funny how life works. It seems like no sooner than you conquer one mountain, but there's another in the horizon.

Anxiety has been good. I'm not 100% cured, but I'm fully functional and I feel like myself again. Sometimes in the evenings, I get a faint feeling of not-rightness. But the days it blooms into full fledged anxiety are rare. Paxil is my new BFF.

Of course, with the increased mood has come the weight gain that my doctor warned against. I've managed to regain 20 of the 60 I had lost. I will take the 20 pounds over feeling like life isn't worth living, but I can't say I'm happy about them. I'm trying to cut back here and there, but I'm afraid to do too much for fear of losing my milk supply. I'm in the process of re-weaning myself off of soda. It's such a bad, bad, bad habit but I was really relying on the caffeine to get me through for a while there. And then the anticipation of the withdrawal headache kept me procrastinating doing it. But this week, it's on. That's a lot of wasted calories, so I hope that helps with the weight thing, too.

But that's not really even the biggest hurdle I seem to be facing currently. It's really my marriage.

Don't be alarmed, we're okay. Or at least, I'm confident that we will be. What it comes down to is that David feels neglected. And frankly, he has a right to. I'm pretty much a boob slave these days as Charlotte has decided she's anti-bottle. Between having to be at her beck and call, the fact that she's not reliably sleeping through the night (we do get the occasional 5 or 6 hour stretch, but it's infrequent and that's the longest stretch we get.), and just everyday mundane "stuff", there just isn't a lot of time left for him.

But when he gets (understandably) pouty about it, I get defensive. I feel like I'm letting him down. I'm angry that he's making me feel guilty, even though I know his feelings are reasonable. He gets overly dramatic, I get defensive and that just leads to even less connection between us. And it's became a habit.

A few weeks ago when we had this same argument, I asked what he expected with a newborn. He said he expected more than he was getting. I reminded him that we talked about this before we decided to have another baby and that he accepted what the first year was like. His response was that he thought it would be different. He thought the only reason things were tough after Robbie was born was because of the complications of his birth. Obviously he thought wrong.

I know that things are rough for most couples the first year. I have enough friends that have assured me that everyone goes through it. (At least, a LOT of people go through it.) He doesn't have that. He has friends in a similar stage of life, but none of them are in marriages that David is likely to think of as "normal." What the means is that when I am struggling to get a baby to sleep when he wants some attention, he somehow thinks it's a reflection on him. Or worse- a reflection on my feelings for him.
I've tried to reassure him, but there's only so much I can do.

There are certainly things he could do. He has a tendency to disappear off to his man-cave the minute Robbie goes to bed. That leaves me with the nightly chores and tending to Charlotte. He's not a lazy husband by any stretch of the imagination. He does more housework than most of the men I know combined. But he goes off-duty where I always remain on-call. It's hard to focus on paying attention to him when I know I still need to wash the dishes, there are wet clothes in the washing machine and Charlotte is going to need to be fed any minute. I wish that I could shut those things (minus Charlotte, of course) out of my mind, but I just can't. The curse of womanhood, I suppose.

The good thing is that I know this is temporary. Charlotte will eventually sleep through the night. Maybe next week, maybe next year. She will wean and my body will be my own again. I know it's temporary. But in the mean time, David feels unloved and I feel like a failure.

This family stuff is hard.

--Trish

8 comments:

Bridie said...

Trish, I hear you! I've so been there the last few years. Men just don't get it. They also seem to want attention on their own time, and that time isn't always the time you are best suited to give it. The last few years my hubs has been building his business, which meant lots of late nights working in his home office. So it was always when HE felt he could break away to hang out some evening after the kids went to bed that I would have to make that time - no matter if it had been a crazy day for me, had to wake up early the next morning, etc.

It was the source of most of our arguments. Him: you don't give me attention to show you love me. Me: you don't pull your weight around the house to show you love me.

It's recently gotten better. I think he's finally pulled his head out of his ass and realized that if he does even little things like unloading the dishwasher, it speaks volumes to me "I'm showing I care by taking something off your plate" - no matter how small the task may be, I appreciate it - and it makes me more willing to carve out time for him.

It's a precarious balance. I keep reminding myself in ten more years the kids will be out with their friends and we will have plenty of alone time waiting up to see if they make curfew.

The days are long, but the years are short, my friend. It just occurred to me that in ten years Gavin will graduate high school. Only parents understand when I say that like it's right around the corner.

Trish said...

Thanks Bridie. David really is helpful around the house, but it's on his time-table. He does a LOT of housework on the weekends. But during the week, once Robbie's in bed, he's off-duty. When I'm trying to manage a fussy baby, the dishes, trying to get the house in some sort of order (and lately we've been doing lots of little home improvements, so I've had that stuff to deal with, too) and he's just blissfully oblivious down in the basement, I just feel resentment building. Then he comes upstairs at bed time and wants some affection. I'm like "EH? I'm TIRED, dude!" Hell, yesterday I hadn't showered in 2 days. All I wanted to do was smell better and he's talking about sex. I was astounded.

It really is funny the differences between men and woman. I know we both MEAN well, and that's what keeps us going, but sometimes I still want to throw a pan at him. *LOL*

Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples said...

I'm sorry you're going through a hard time. Hopefully things get easier soon!

Adriane said...

I was sorry to read this. Having a new baby is so hard in so many ways. Its especially trying on even the most solid relationships. You're so right - it's temporary. Just give yourself a pass from feeling guilty. You have to get through this period and things will get better.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trish! I'm so happy you are doing better. I'm sorry about the husband stuff - seems like an all too common theme! But it will be OK. I'm just so glad you're feeling so much better. I am actually right now working on a half hour special on PPD and PPA (in my real life - I am a television producer for a public television station) - I didn't come up with the idea - but when presented with the opportunity to produce the special I jumped on it. Hopefully it will help other mommies realize they CAN feel OK again! Thinking of you. :-)

~ Alicia

JnealeT said...

While I'm not happy that you are going through this, I am happy that you've blogged about it because I'm going through the same thing and wondering if its just me.

Once Emily is asleep, Dave is off duty too. And I'm dealing with grumpy Lucy and not totally potty trained Emily. I've started telling Dave that its his turn to get up at night, so I still wake up but I don't have to get out of bed. He's tired but he also understands more of what I've been going through for the past 3+ months.

A and W mom said...

(((HUGS))) I'm sorry, Trish. That's a lot to juggle. Like you said, it's totally normal and understandable. Does it help at all if you guys agree to work together to get the chores done so you're then both free to relax at the same time? I know it's SO different w/a 3 y/o and newborn but I can relax so much better in the evening if we take care of all the kitchen and toy cleanup before the boys' bedtime.

ChloeB said...

Delurking just to add, we were so here a few months ago. We have a 3 1/2 year old and a now 6 month old and it seemed like once the 3yo was in bed my husband was retreating to his study or the workshop for the rest of the evening. One thing that helped us was spending a few minutes at dinner time (amid the chaos!) to plan out what else needed to be done before our bedtime (dishes, packing lunches, laundry, paying bills, etc.) so he had some idea of what else needed to be done (hopefully by him!) that evening. I finally realised that he just didn't have the same mental to-do list in his head that I was working from (It only took me 3+ years.)
The other thing that's helped a bit in the last month or so (now the baby is sleeping better) is designating one night each week (for us its Tuesday, when the server for the online game he plays is down for maintenance) to be a night we spend together. Usually its just to collapse on the bed and watch something on the DVR, but sometimes we'll be fancy and sit up in the living room for a bit. It also makes sure we're in the same room for a while so we can just talk about things, without feeling like you have to start a serious conversation to talk about any issues.
Big hugs, and hoping things get better soon.