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The parenting test: how not to hate your husband after giving birth and not divorce



The arrival of a child dramatically changes the lives of young parents. What to prepare for and what to do to maintain warm relations between the spouses during this stressful period - says

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Journalist Anastasia Prudnikova decided to reflect on how difficult the first months (and maybe years) after the birth of a child are, because it is this period that becomes a real test of the relationship between spouses. Further from the first person.

This column is for parents who have learned the truth of life with a child: it consists not only of joys, but also of the difficulties that are hidden behind happy family photos. Lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, love, powerlessness, love again. What's it smeared on the floor? And, plasticine, thank God. It will be about depression and guilt, shame and loneliness. And also about love and finding yourself again. Because the child rebuilds the parents from scratch, making them the best version of themselves. But first he takes it apart to the ground, and this is very painful. And there is no one to discuss with.

- Tell me, do you still love me?

- Yes.

- Then let's get divorced, before we hate each other completely.

About such a dialogue took place with my husband a couple of months after the birth of the child. This dialogue was preceded by a joint childbirth, a vacation specially agreed with his employer for the first weeks after them and the fact that from the very beginning my husband could and did with the baby everything that I did, except perhaps for breastfeeding.

I felt infinite gratitude for him, for myself - infinite anger for the fact that I still feel so bad that I cannot even express it in words. Could there be more support for him? I think no. We both did not sleep, both got up at night, both woke up at five in the morning, both carried the baby in their arms, both were like rags, while in the morning he left for work, and I stayed at home and immediately began to hate him for every minute, drawn on the other side of the front door.

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Is this a normal situation? Of course no. And I know for sure that I am not alone. It is impossible not to feel fear, resentment, loneliness, if you got an excellent student's syndrome from your parents, hormonal imbalance from your body, and from God - a demanding baby who does not sleep at night for 8 hours, does not want to lie in a crib, stroller, chaise lounge, but wants seems to live my whole life in your arms. And he is not interested that you do not remember the last time you ate and went to the toilet.

In retrospect, I understand that I so wanted to change at least something in this situation, that for some reason I decided that a divorce would be a great change of circumstances. In general, thanks to common sense, and then more antidepressants and psychotherapy - we are not divorced. But they could. According to data published in the media, the overwhelming majority of couples report a decrease in satisfaction from marriage in the first year after the birth of a child. Families that have not statistically broken up in the first 4 years after the wedding end up in divorce after their first child appears.

What's going on

Psychologists say there are a number of reasons for these situations. The first and most obvious is that we are not always ready to accept our changed roles, even if before everything happened, it seemed to us the opposite. You will never understand what a real parental lack of sleep is (no wonder sleep deprivation is considered one of the most sophisticated tortures) until you live in it for a month or two.

It is impossible to come to terms with the fact that your easy and pleasant life with spontaneous travel and sex when and where you wanted it turns into something that can only be dreamed of in a bad dream. It is impossible to rehearse these roles in advance, accept them, agree to them. I still argue that if parents were shown in advance a short promo about the first three months of life after the birth of a child, humanity would reproduce at a much more modest rate, if it did reproduce at all.

The young mother is in her personal hormone-depleted hell, the father is not in the best position. At the very least, he simply does not understand what to do and how else to help his partner. And this, mind you, we are still talking about some ideal conditions, when both participants in the process understand that what is happening is very, very difficult, sometimes not even completely normal (if we are talking about postpartum depression). Much more often you can find stories about women who are left alone with all this in general, and a partner who assumes that nothing extraordinary has happened, and he continues, for example, to demand from her a general cleaning once a week, a hot dinner every night, and also sex, yes. It is worth writing separately about what sex is after the birth of a child. Spoiler alert: sexual desire returns to a woman in full, according to various sources, after 6 months, or even 2,5 years after childbirth.

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The higher the expectations of both partners from parenting, the more difficult it is for them to accept the fact that everything did not go according to plan at all. It's already difficult for both of you, but instead of rallying and going through this period together, you start to drift away.
I read the psychologist's reasoning that most women who come to her with suspicion of postpartum depression are simply physically exhausted to the extreme. Lack of sleep, breastfeeding, hunger, thirst. And what they need is not drug therapy, but help, sleep and the return of the human regime of life. But where does all this come from?

"You're a mother!" The conflicting messages that we, as parents, receive from the environment also play a role. How to be a good parent when whatever you do is screw up? No way. And to calmly accept the surrounding information noise, grandmothers, coaches, instamaters - all this chorus that penetrates your brain against your will, it is very, very difficult to accept and not pay attention to them.

But a real blow can be struck here by a partner who believes that women "by nature" in some special way genetically inherit the knowledge of how to treat a child. For some, this may be a revelation, but a woman, just like a man, does not know a damn thing what to do with a baby when he first starts screaming as if he is being cut and he will die in 15 seconds. Also, knowledge about feeding, bathing, changing diapers, treating and raising children is not transmitted and does not arise independently in women. They do not exist, we also do not know anything about it. Even if during the decree they diligently read Petranovskaya and Katasonova. Dry, you know, theory, and the tree of life turns green. As a rule, from a sudden shout at three in the morning.

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The alienation of the fathers also cannot be discounted. Even for the men involved in the process, the baby's behavior looks like hellish chaos. Even after the umbilical cord has been cut, the mother maintains a very deep connection with the child, and over time, some things intuitively, some from the ever increasing experience in the child's behavior and reactions, become understandable for mothers. And sometimes mothers themselves, or with a hint from grandmothers, push fathers out of the routine of caring for a child. I do not urge you to be moved if a man does not know how to use a diaper correctly, but you should not even turn it off from the process of caring for a child after a couple of fakaps. Even if, from your point of view, he does everything wrong. Of course, if it does not threaten the health and safety of the child.

True face. Parents-to-be should distribute brochures with text like “soon you will wake up and realize that the person with whom you have lived together for several years is not at all who he pretended to be all these years”. Parenting reveals in each of us some completely new sides, and among them there will be both beautiful and terrible. Perhaps those that you yourself would not like to meet. "I'm screaming at a defenseless baby, so I'm some kind of monster." Agree, not the best news about yourself. Likewise, your partner: with the appearance of the child, you will either realize that you made the right choice, or you will be disappointed so much that nothing can cover this offense.

What to do

The good news: if you manage to survive this crisis, you will become very strong, and together - because three is cooler than two and each separately, because I do not know the experience that is more life-changing than having a baby.

The good news, but not so inspiring, is that you may need outside help along the way. Simply because you can stop seeing each other due to the tiredness accumulated in this short period of time. And the birth of a child reveals all the unresolved problems in a couple. And they will have to be solved anyway, because in the future there will only be more questions for each other.
What absolutely should be done before the baby is born? Better yet, before you decide to have unprotected sex.

  • Find out what each of you expects from this whole venture. What do you expect from each other. How each of you envisions the period of pregnancy, how do you envision childbirth and the degree of male involvement. Learn as much as possible about the postpartum period, do not neglect information about postpartum depression: ideally, your partner should get a checklist with signs that should alert him if something happens, and with the contacts of specialists who you can turn to. Better yet, you never need this list. Discuss the partner's involvement in helping with early child care.
  • Do you expect help from relatives? Are your relatives really ready, and not in words, to provide it to you, and to what extent? And if so, talk in great detail what exactly and under whose conditions will happen, so that later you do not have to drive your grandmother away from the bath with tincture of oak bark at the ready.
  • Agree on how and who will close household issues immediately after the birth of the child. No, not all women flutter like deer after the hospital. Cleaning, grocery shopping, food preparation.
  • Discuss your approach to childcare and parenting. Believe me, a lot of interesting things can come up here, and it is better to discuss this interesting in advance.
  • Discuss the need for personal free time. Without a child, without a husband, without a dog - one. Time that you can devote only to yourself. Whether it's a pool, a massage or just a walk in the park in complete solitude and silence. The absence of this time can drive you into depression more strongly than hormones that were playing out not in the business.

Seasoned parents will certainly be able to continue this list, it is not complete. But if you at least begin to discuss these issues, it will be a step to a new level of your relationship.

How does it all end?

Even if at some point you have an irresistible desire to divorce, you do not have to do it. For a start, it's worth talking. Tell how you feel, express all your grievances, fears, fatigue, disappointment. And listen to your partner with his set of feelings. Remember that at this point, you are both at the peak of fatigue. And it is not worth making hasty decisions from the physical and emotional state twisted to a minimum.

Over time, it becomes easier with children, you will start sleeping more, then remember that you actually loved each other and decided to give birth to a child out of love. And at some point you will see the three of you as if from the outside - as a family. Whole, strong, yours. Because you have not only had a child, you have born new you.

And here the hormones will whisper to you: well, maybe the second one?

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