Advice... long, sorry — The Bump
Dads & Dads-to-be

Advice... long, sorry

My husband & I just had our first baby a few weeks ago.  Happily, she is perfect, despite a lot of problems during the high risk pregnancy, including me having major surgery at 4 months, among other things.  I wanted very, very badly to be surprised.  He was not thrilled about it, but agreed to go with it, because he knew he'd slip and say something if just he knew.

That being said, his mother went around telling everyone (& I mean everyone to the point that someone actually knitted us a blue sweater), that it was a boy.  She even had me convinced, and my husband too on some level because she is friends with a few of my doctors.  I thought for sure she somehow found out,  Adding to this was the old wives tale of how I carried - every single person I met told me "it's a boy."

 Cut to the operating room, baby comes out, and it was a girl.  All I cared about was having a healthy baby, so I heard that and immediately started crying happy tears.  My husband just looked shocked.  He spent the first night in the hospital with us, but barely spoke, and left as soon as he could.  I came home a day early just to be with him on Father's Day, and found a ton of pages he left open on the computer about gender disappointment, etc.  I really, really thought it was something he'd get over.

We're now 5 weeks in and he is still not the same.  He has somewhat bonded with her, telling me when I called him out that "of course I love her, that's my daughter."  He does hold her, change some diapers and give some bottles and all. But he comes home from work pissed off, doesn't talk nearly as much, keeps blaming his mother for "setting him up to think it was a boy this whole time" and on some level me for "insisting on my damn surprise."  He said he isn't mad he got a girl, he's mad everyone else seems to have gotten a boy.  Which to me seems like the exact same thing.  He already talks about what a headache it will be having to pay for sweet 16's, a wedding, tons of dresses for things. He keeps avoiding speaking to a few of his friends who just recently had boys, and asked me to take a birth announcement someone sent us (of a boy) off the fridge.  

I asked him repeatedly to go for counseling, or come with me for it, but he refuses.  Both because he is utterly stubborn and doesn't believe they do anything, and because the nature of his job would have it show up in his file and he doesn't want that there.  He also gets mad at me for getting mad at him/about this because "he can't help the way he feels, and that doesn't make it wrong just because I don't understand."  I'm just not sure what to do here.  I love my husband but I'll admit, that baby girl is the world to me and right now my priority is her, and protecting her.  I don't want her growing up thinking he resents her.   Frankly, I'm still mad over his treatment of both of us the last 5 weeks, even if he has gotten somewhat better.  Because anytime he has a good day or two, something else happens that brings him back down again.  

After everything we went through to have her, I admit, I thought her being born healthy would truly be enough.  It was for me.  When I tried mentioning that to him he said the people who say things like that are just kidding themselves.  I'm at a loss here.  Any advice? 

Re: Advice... long, sorry

  • I'm sorry. I'm gonna suggest you try another board. All the guys who post here are pretty psyched to be dads, regardless of gender. You should try to find some women who have dealt with similar stuff with their husbands.

    It sounds like your husband might be dealing with some work stress. I know the first weeks of being a parent were pretty hard on me. It sucks he can't talk to someone without it showing up on his work report. Is there a way to do so and not use your insurance and fly under the radar? Men can get a version of PPD too.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhqjipgCIAAOz7H.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • It sounds like he had gotten his hopes up for one, and is having to deal with the letdown and isn't dealing well.  He has no one to blame but himself, as his sperm determined that he had a daughter and not a son.  Either way, he should get over himself and love his daughter unconditionally.
  • I'm not a guy, but I heard about this post from someone and thought I'd share.

    I -know- that my father was disappointed that I (a girl) was his first born, and I think that a lot of that had to do with his father pretty much doing similar things as your MIL did/said. I know not because he said it directly, but because of how he acted toward me as opposed to my younger brother. He was incredibly involved with him, but distant and involved for the most part when it came to me. 

    Don't get me wrong, I love my dad and we have a much better relationship now. However, I saw the way that he acted toward me and I internalized that and it really damaged me. I thought for a LONG time that he didn't care about me. It hurt, I felt useless, and I searched for attention elsewhere, and made some bad decisions. 

    I'm not saying that I'd divorce my husband over something like this, but you said it - you have to protect your daughter. If he doesn't get any better over a reasonable amount of time and still refuses counseling, then it might be a good idea to take a good hard look at your relationship and how you want to raise your daughter. The way he acts toward her, even now, can REALLY hurt her psychologically in the long run.
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