I had heard this while I was pregnant and laughed. We weren’t one of those couples.
Ryan and I had been together for 6 years by the time I had Gavin. Our relationship was about as close to perfect as you could get. Sure we argued here and there, but most of the time we just playfully teased each other about the little things that bothered us, or if something bigger did come up, we were great at communicating and getting to the bottom of it. That was pre-baby.
Post baby… Oh post baby is a different story entirely.
When we got to the hospital the night I went into labor, we realized it was going to be a while. Ryan’s thought process, bless him, was that he would sleep while I labored, so that at least one of us would be rested when the baby came. I should have said it then, that I wanted him to stay up with me for support, but instead I reluctantly agreed.
I talked in my previous post about how Gavin was a cluster feeder. Which meant that even though Ryan was more rested than I was, I had to stay awake anyways because this baby wanted to be on that boob 24/7. I’m not kidding. The nurses would come in our room while I was in the hospital, exclaiming “He’s still eating?”.
So by this point not only had I felt incredibly alone during labor, but what he was aiming to do with getting rested up for the baby so I could sleep, didn’t even work. I was beyond exhausted. I mean Ryan could not have began to comprehend if he wanted to, how exhausted I was. As I was desperately trying to get just 20 minutes of sleep. (Literally in my head I was dreaming of 20 minutes.) I handed Gavin to Ryan, closed my eyes, and about 5 minuets later I heard snoring. He just fell asleep while holding our newborn baby. I was livid. I snapped his name, took the baby back, and told him there is no way he’s that sleep deprived, I watched you sleep all night, and then, ladies, he said this:
“That bench wasn’t that comfortable you know.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman who’s just stayed awake for the better part of 2 days, to squeezed a HUMAN out of her body. Needless to say I was, in fact, starting to hate him.
The weeks that followed were hazy. I slept in 30 minuet to 2 hour increments for weeks. That kind of sleep deprivation will make you hate everyone, not just your husband. But he was there, he was there to hate. Every night I would sit awake nursing our baby, while I watched him sleep peacefully next to me. I felt alone, like he’d abandoned me.
I let this bitterness, and resentment build up for months. I didn’t ever tell him how I felt, I just snapped at him about everything all day long. I remember at one point thinking oh my gosh, this is why couples get divorced after having kids. I saw our future stretched out in front of me; 10 years down the road, each year growing more and more apart. The further apart we grow, the bigger the problems become, the harder it is to repair.
That’s not what I wanted for my family. Something had to change.
So I told him how I felt, it was not easy telling him that I felt alone even though he was there every day, and that I felt like he could have done more even though he was doing his best. But it had to be said. If I had kept those things to myself for fear of hurting his feelings, that future I laid out would be reality.
While it was not a fun conversation, it was a necessary one. I believe it’s important in a relationship to communicate, even if it means fighting, rather than to bottle it up. It will come out one way or another, and I wanted to be in charge of when and how.
Since that conversation, It has finally occurred to me how much he really did do during that time. While I was in that weary cycle that basically consisted of breastfeeding and trying to grab a couple hours of sleep where I could, he was helping our world go round. He did all the cooking (if no one brought us dinner), cleaning, running errands, back and forth to the store every time I needed something, driving to doctor appointments, refilling my water bottle 20 times a day, you name it. But all I had been able to see was when he laid down to sleep at night and I didn’t.
This is something we’re still working on, as Gavin is not even 6 months old. I still can’t help but make one of those “if looks could kill” faces every time he says that he’s tired. But things are on there way back to normal, well a new normal. A normal where a cute tyrant runs things, but we have a solid foundation to work through our challenges, and that is huge.
The biggest thing I want you take away from this is communication. It’s okay if you have these feelings of resentment and frustration towards your partner, it’s normal in fact. You guys are trying to keep a tiny helpless human alive for crying out loud, it’s going to be hard. But you have to be willing to be open and vulnerable or it will wreck you.
If you have dealt with these feelings, girl you are not alone. If you are currently experiencing these kinds of issues, and it’s not getting better, I can’t stress enough how important it is to communicate. I’m no professional, but I can tell you that for us it made things 100x easier. Remember, you are both on the same side here.