Friday, August 15, 2008

The space between us

I never, ever, ever would have thought that starting a family would be so hard on my marriage.

Last night, my hubby told me that he doesn’t feel close to me at all anymore. He wanted to know whether I still loved him. If I knew that he loved me. He said that he feels completely useless and unwanted.

Not that any of this was really news to me. We have had abbreviated versions of this conversation several times over the past few months. There is such a distance between us now. I think it’s just the stress we’ve been under, but I don’t know. We don’t have time for each other. We are often in the same room but barely talk to each other. We snap at each other over seemingly minor things. I have absolutely no desire to be intimate with him.

David said that there are three things that really upset him: 1. He can’t “fix” Brooklyn’s medical problems. 2. Because of that, he can’t “fix” me (the post-partum depression). 3. He doesn’t think that I am at all attracted to him anymore. He feels like he has had to almost force me to have sex with him the few times it has happened since Brooklyn was born. He doesn’t feel wanted.

I can’t seem to make him understand that it really isn’t anything personal. I am so, so, so tired and so, so, so stressed out. I know he is both of those things also. But I can’t ever put it aside. I stay sad and weepy and exhausted. I feel guilty and inadequate. I am anxious and worried and scared. I use what little energy I have at the end of the day to take care of Brooklyn. To try to be happy around her. To try to be a good mommy. I don’t have any energy left for what he wants from me.

Furthermore, as a man, he doesn’t comprehend that I can’t be in the mood to be close in that way when I don’t feel close to him in any other way. And I can’t really explain why we aren’t close in any other way now.

David and I were so close and such good friends that we didn’t have problems with some things that are regarded as being hard on a marriage. “The first year of marriage is the hardest year you will ever have,” we were repeatedly told. Our first year was a breeze. No problems. “Working opposite shifts will put a toll on your marriage,” they said. Nope. We made time for each other and we were great. We felt like we were closer than most couples were and thought that was the reason we didn’t have a hard time with those things.

This is not to say that our relationship has always been perfect. Of course not. But when there have been problems, we have quickly worked through them. And now it seems that we can’t. I don’t know what to do.

“I wish I was better,” he said. I asked him what that meant. “A better husband. A better dad. A better provider so you didn’t have to work.”

“I wish I was better,” I told him. “I should be happier now than I’ve ever been. I have to take these damn pills just to deal with life, and they don’t even really work. I’ve always wanted what I have right now, and I can’t be happy. I don’t understand.”


Kate said...

It's really hard. I wrote a post about this a little while ago. No one really tells you how hard it is to adjust to the changes that a child has on your marriage.

edie & ella said...

It has been very hard on my marriage as well...the stress and sleep deprivation alone are enough with a healthy baby but on top of that you have the uncertainty of what is exactly wrong with Brooklyn...while you still have to work. That is alot to take long have you been on your "pills"? If they are not working and it has been a while maybe you can talk to your doctor about a higher dose or a different medication......they can take a little while to start working though. Don't be hard on yourself if you can help it----- your feelings are valid and in time it will all get smoother -- or so they say anyway!!! sam

Heather said...

I think the first year of having a child is WAY harder than the first year of marriage. I think the key is to make time for eachother.

If you are still depressed it might be time to try Brooklyn on formula so that you can go on a stronger anti-depresant. That way you can be the best mommy for her. (I know that this is a HUGE debate and I don't wish for anyone to attack me... I'm just making a suggestion.)

As for the marriage, what I REALLY struggle with is wanting to have sex with him. I, like you, am just SOO tired. It really isn't him I just want to sleep.

However, I've been making an effort "be there" for him lately because for guys they equate sex with being loved. It seems to be making things a bit better so perhaps I'm on the right track.

Cibele said...

Oh my friend, you are not alone! HUGS.If you read my blog you will see tht DH I and are at teh same place... IT IS HARD, VERY HARD and IT SUCKS! I am glad that we all talking about it. I never heard nobody talking about it before , and i felt so alone. It will get better, it has too


Beth & Steven said...

Thank you so much for being so honest about the hit a marriage takes when a beloved baby joins the family. It's good that you guys are communicating about it. Believe me, I am right with you...

Carrie27 said...

Hugs to you! The stress of not knowing what is wrong with Brooklyn is hard to handle, and of course she is where you put all of your time and energy.

You all will soon find that you need to lean on each other as you go through all the tests with Brooklyn, and I hope that it will bring you closer and not further apart.

Hope said...

It's hard on any marriage to have a new baby until you find your "groove", and since Brooklyn is sick, that really adds to the stress. I know you both feel guilty and hopeless because you can't help her. It will get better, hun.

Prevnar is the meningitis vaccine. It also protects against certain ear infections and Pneumonias. Just covering more bases with Ava. These babies of ours aspirate and it can turn into Pneumonia in no time.

baby~amore' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baby~amore' said...

I am so sorry. Gosh I do know what you mean and I am thinking of you.Having a baby and PND is very stressful on any marriage, less alone a sick baby undergoing tests.
We have been going through hard times too and I feel what you feel. that we should be happy we have it all just as we wanted but it isn't as simple as that.
It is great you can talk about it - my DH didn't he just decided to walk out and take a break.Though he is back at the moment he isn't talking much and there is a lot of space between us.
I don't push him because he isn't ready to talk.
I am in a hard place too and I had to talk about because I think it helps being honest and sharing these burdens and it gives others the chance or encouragement to share theirs too.
WE can learn from each other, support each other and perhaps work towards a resolution in our own marriages.

Little Brooklyn Bear is so so cute I am glad you have many reasons to smile despite her illnesses.Poor bubba I hope she is on the mend from the salmonella and her tests show what is causing her nretahing problems.

Jennifer said...

Oh man I really needed to read this tonight. I don't feel like I can write this stuff on my blog without certain family members freaking out and being WAY too noisy afterwards. My husband was away for 7 weeks this summer and came back when Avelyn was 16 weeks old. I had my way of doing things and everything got done all the time. I expected him to pick up some of the load when he got back. I know he was having to go back to work pretty quickly but come on, I am in school full time and taking care of a newborn by myself. Is it too much to ask that he wash bottles or get up with her in the morning ONE time without me asking or telling him to? It just feels like he never does anything to help, doesn't understand why I am so tired and stressed out and is hurt that I don't want to have sex with him. I feel really distant from him and angry because I don't feel like he's helping out. He thinks because he is the one working while I am in school, and I'm so happy to have the baby that it's not as stressful for me. I really want to say no actually, I'm not attracted to you right now you dumb cow... I cleaned, cared for baby, did some work and barely had energy for a shower. You watched the Olympics all day and picked her up a few times when I asked you to and surfed the web. Why on earth would I want to do anything but punch you in the face? Sigh. We had a similar conversation to yours this morning. I think we made some headway. I tried to explain how his (lack of) behavior made me feel and he seemed to understand. He said he would work harder. We'll see. My psychiatrist increased my antidepressant dose this week. PPD is getting much better but again - I am so glad we found each other!!!

Liz said...

I can only echo all the other comments here. They're full of wisdom & they all say exactly what I was thinking already.

I can tell you that we've been there...and that we have a rockin' sex life again, all these years later. It took us getting to about year 2-3 after our last baby was born before things in that arena got back to normal. Obviously we had sex now & then since I kept getting pregnant & having more babies--ha ha--but eventually things did straighten themselves out.

Tell David to call Larry & have lunch so they can talk. Maybe Larry can give him some "been there, done that" perspective.

Love ya!

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