This post was a little harder to write than some of the others just because it almost feels embarrassing to admit.
I mean, I could talk to you about all kinds of difficulties new moms work through, such as breastfeeding struggles, and tearing during the birthing process, and uncomfortable weight gain, but being constantly annoyed at my husband after we had our baby?
About how hard marriage can be when a new little one overturns your home and your life?
And to me, it felt embarrassing.
And it was made so much more difficult when I saw so many new moms just gushing about how “beautiful” and “wonderful” it was to watch their husbands with their new child.
And, sure, I felt that sometimes.
But I also felt angry at him.
Like, really resentful.
Why was it ok for me to be up all night every night with a crying baby and he wanted kudos for getting up, swapping the kid’s diapers, and plopping back in bed?
And then he was allowed to bemoan how tired he was the next day to me?!?
Was I the only one who was capable of hearing our son’s cries in the middle of night?
If any of this sounds familiar, the good news is that you’re not alone! Unfortunately, a lot of women struggle with resentment toward their husband’s after bringing home a baby.
Its a time for a lot of communication issues, unmet expectations, and frustrations for a lot of new moms.
And to be honest, dad’s struggle with this stuff too.
But none of us want to struggle with our husbands/spouces after bringing home our sweet new baby. We want to have a healthy, strong cornerstone to help this transition to be a smooth one. Most of us want to feel like we’re on the same team as our husband.
How not to hate your husband after having a baby:
So what are some things you can do so that the resentment you’re feeling for your husband doesn’t continue to harm your relationship?
Don’t Expect a Mind Reader
Even if your husband was able to anticipate your every need, want, and concern prior to having your child (impressive!), you’re not the same person after having your baby and neither is your husband.
You have an entirely different set of needs and your needs can sometimes change on a dime depending on the needs of the child who relies on you!
It’s understandable if you feel that your relationship is breaking down after you bring home your baby if one (or both) of you has unrealistic expectations for each other.
It’s unfair to be constantly annoyed at your husband after baby and to expect your husband to “know you” as well as he used to and to be able to anticipate your needs when you’re a new version of yourself with a new set of needs!
Give yourself time to learn how to anticipate one another’s needs and expectations – you’ll be much happier if you appreciate the fact that neither of you are who you used to be and work to appreciate those new versions of yourselves and the new needs that come with your new roles as mom and dad.
And yes, I know that sometimes it feels like its taking too long for him to figure out how to anticipate your needs and feelings. But remember, he might not know unless you tell him.
Communication is Key
This may sound like an annoying, broken record that you just don’t want to hear, but: communicate, communicate communicate!
This is something my husband and I really struggled with after the birth of our son, mostly because I expected Daniel to read my mind.
Then one day he said to me, exasperated, “if you tell me what you need and I don’t do it, THEN you have the right to be mad at me! But if you need something from me and you don’t tell me, that’s on you!”
And you know what? He’s not wrong.
And I appreciated his candor – he wasn’t trying to regulate my emotions by telling me I wasn’t allowed to be mad at him. He was giving me permission to be mad at him if I made my needs clear and he didn’t help me, but he wasn’t about to take a personal responsibility for being a mind reader.
It’s made a world of difference.
Sometimes sitting down and talking it over can really help you to both figure out what’s working and what’s not. Maybe you just can’t handle waking up in the middle of the night constantly and you need him to step up and get up with the baby.
Or maybe one of you just really needs a break.
There have been days when I have just been so tired that I couldn’t get up with Little Man. If I turn to my husband and say “I need you to get up with him” then he does it without complaint. Even if he isn’t happy about it.
Remember, you probably both went into this with certain expectations. Expectations about how the distribution of tasks would be allocated and how you’d each handle the transition.
I can almost guarantee those things didn’t go exactly as planned.
So keep checking in.
You may be feeling resentment because you’re feeding the baby all of the time (even though you agreed to it before the baby came) and need a break and want him to intuitively know you need that break. But he may be thinking that things are just going along according to plan.
Your expectations will change throughout this process as you both learn your own needs and the needs of your baby.
So just keep talking to each other.
You won’t always agree and you won’t always get the help you want, but nothing can change if one of you is out of the loop on what’s wrong.
Prioritize sleep — for both of you
Bringing home a new baby will absolutely wreck with your sleep.
Even if you have a wonderful sleeper (our first. was a great sleeper — our second, not to so much).
So this can seem impossible, and some nights will just be a struggle.
But whether you have an amazing sleeper or a terrible sleeper, one thing you can both aim to give each other is some anchor sleep.
Anchor sleep is a 3-6 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep that you can grab at the same time each day.
And sure, that doesn’t sound like much when you just want to lock yourself in a comfortable dark room and sleep for the next 3 weeks, but anchor sleep can make a huge difference in your ability to function and communicate effectively.
Remember that you both need sleep in order to function well and anchor sleep will help your body get at least some REM sleep.
It’s also critical that you remember that sleep can play a big role in postpartum depression and anxiety, so don’t allow yourself to be a martyr. Make sure you’re both getting at least one solid chunk of sleep as reliably as possible.
His Needs May be Greater than Your Wants (and vice versa)
In the first year with our little one my husband was kicking off his second job, working crazy hours.
You can be insanely annoyed at your husband after the baby, but try to remember that your husband just went through a major life-transition with you.
While his sacrifice may not seem comparable to your own, your body having been ravaged by a human growing inside of it then bursting out and subsequently using your body to eat at all hours of the day, his life turned upside down when you brought home your bundle as well.
There will be days when he’s struggling.
And part of being a supportive partner means that sometimes you may want an extra hour of sleep, while your husband actually feels the need for that extra hour as a legitimate necessity (and vice versa).
Comparing whose need is greater does you no favors—you both need to rely on one another to trust that you can each communicate when you actually need something versus when you just really want it.
If you use this as an opportunity to play a game of who’s needs are more important then you’ll both lose. Try to remember that you both will have times when your needs will trump the needs of the other person and try to get comfortable with the fact that the person who needs the break or the sleep won’t always be you.
And in case you’re pissed off reading that because of course you’re the more exhausted one, I hear you. You probably are the one giving the most out of yourself.
But if you don’t approach this with an understanding that your husband can feel depressed, exhausted, and in desperate need of a break, then you’re already setting yourself up for a difficult time.
Try to give him the same benefits you need from him. If you both feel like your needs are being heard and you’re both at least trying, it will go a long way toward helping with that resentment you may be feeling.
Might be a great toddler/ school-age/ teenager dad
Honestly, some people just aren’t baby people.
Which is a weird way to think about the father of your child, but he may be so in love with your child and yet still be a bit awkward when trying to figure out how to hold your baby the way he or she liked it best.
It’s not a reason to be annoyed with your husband after baby (though if you are, then you’re totally entitled to feel that way).
My husband was great with our son, but he didn’t seem to treasure those infant moments like I did (which isn’t to say that he wasn’t perfectly loving and doting).
I had a really hard time with that.
I just couldn’t comprehend why he would shrug off the chance to cuddle or bathe him – content to do it but not particularly seeking it out.
Now that our son is a full-blown toddler, though, all of that has changed.
He’s always loved our son, but the amount of times he has sought out time with our son in new and fun ways was has really shaken my perspective.
He was made to be a toddler dad.
In those early days with a new baby it can feel easy to lose sight of what parenthood could possibly look like in the future.
After all, you are possibly struggling just to maintain perspective on this day.
But resenting the father of your child for not being the kind of doting, snuggly dad you hoped he would be doesn’t disregard his ability to be a fantastic job as a dad.
He may really surprise you as time goes on, so don’t write him off just yet.
And remember to give him bonding opportunities with your baby if you feel this way.
Because he may be having a difficult time with the bond not coming as naturally as perhaps your own bond with your son or daughter has formed.
So opportunities to bathe, diaper, do skin-to-skin, and other bonding opportunities can really help as well.
Men and women are wired differently
There were so many times, particularly in the early days after our son was born, that I would be so angry when our son would be crying and my husband seemed to literally be totally unaware – deep in sleep himself.
“How does he not hear the baby?!” I’d fume.
Being simply annoyed with my husband after baby would have been an understatement – I was absolutely indignant that he was pretending to sleep through such obvious crying or, perhaps just as impossible, actually sleeping through the sound.
It turns out, though, that men and women are actually wired to respond to the sound of a newborns hunger cries very differently.
I know, I know. This fact annoys the crap out of me too.
But a study conducted by NIH had men and women both let their minds wander and, while the brains were in state of rest the researchers played recordings containing white noise and intermingled it with the sounds of a crying baby.
Women’s brains actually reflected that their brain activity showed a sudden switch to a more alert state when they heard the sound, whereas the men’s brain remained in the relaxed state.
How annoying is that?!
But it may be a useful reminder next time you’re wondering if your husband is just pretending or if his brain, impossible as it may sound, actually doesn’t recognize the baby is crying.
I know, I know. It makes me hate my husband a little bit too (not really, but sort of… haha).
You may have a different relationship with the baby
You grew this beautiful person INSIDE YOUR BODY for approximately 9 months!
When he or she is born she knows you and immediately finds comfort in your arms and on your chest.
Your scent and your voice might be the only thing to comfort your newborn.
Add that that, if you are, or have been at any point, home with your child on a consistent basis (more than your husband), then your bond is already unique.
Your ability, therefore, to know and recognize your child’s various types of crying is nearly unbeatable.
Plus, if you’re breastfeeding, then you’ll have a truly uncanny ability to recognize feeding time (hello leaking breasts)! It’s not fair to expect him to have knowledge of the same way to relate to the baby with less time.
Instead of hating your husband for not understanding your child the way that you do, try to take comfort in the fact that you know you’re baby as well as you do.
Don’t be afraid to seek help (or encourage him to)
Something I was totally unaware of with first child is that postpartum rage can be associated with postpartum anxiety (or depression).
So yes, irritation with your husband after bringing home your baby can be a totally normal thing you need to come to terms with and work together adjust expectations, or it can be something much deeper.
With my first son I didn’t see a therapist until months into motherhood, when my maternity leave ended and I was having difficulty adjusting.
It wasn’t until after changing therapists that I learned some of the anger and frustration that I was feeling was likely because I was experiencing postpartum anxiety.
My husband also struggled during this time with some signs of depression and also took this as an opportunity to see a therapist as well.
Bringing home a baby is really difficult on both of you. You’ll have hormonal shifts, shifts in your relationships, and shifts in your responsibilities.
All of that can be incredibly overwhelming and difficult to balance.
So if you think you might need a little help, or a listening ear, I encourage you to talk to someone.
Even if you don’t want to go to therapy right away (that stigma is real — so I totally get that), it’s important that get help when you need it.
And not just mental health help, but help around the house or with the baby if it will help you to function better.
There is not perfect way to adjust to this life change, so be kind to yourself (and your spouse) and use your resources.
Make time to reconnect
My guess is that you don’t want to hate or resent your husband (just a hunch — since you’re here).
But it doesn’t mean you can just switch that mindset all that easily (at least I know I can’t).
So one of the ways to push through the resentment and discouragement you may be feeling is by simply setting aside a little bit of time to reconnect with your husband.
Go on a date night, either out of the house or make one at home.
Sit down and have focused, electronic-free time at the end of the day to check in.
Have sex (if you’re able and comfortable doing so).
Make a meal together.
Eat a meal together.
Just make time for each other.
There will be times when that’s a lot easier said than done, but you’re still a team. Make sure to find time to act like one.
Give Yourselves Time to Adjust
Having a baby is hard.
Like, really, really hard.
But I found that reminding myself why I married my husband, why I chose to have a child with him really helped me when I was most annoyed with my husband after our baby.
And honestly, having come out of those early months of having a battered and foreign body to call my own, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding difficulties, and social isolation, marriage can be so, so good.
The problem is, you really have to fight against the resentfulness and generally being annoyed with your husband after the baby comes come.