Here was a very smart reaction to the "Mad at Dad" article: http://herbadmother.com/2009/02/other-side-of-anger/ from a woman with some self-awareness.
Here's another article about a mother's anger from a man's perspective: http://www.alternet.org/story/19562/
Obviously I'm not close to your situation and thus can't speak with authority, but my suspicion is that your wife's anger is not your fault.
From a message board post, it's hard to know if we're dealing with PPD or the all-too-common rage described in those posts. But you're not alone in having gone through this, and again, I suspect it's not your fault.
That doesn't mean there aren't adjustments you can make to make this time better for both of you, but if you think that if you just scrub the dishes a little harder and give up your workouts that you'll get your happy wife back, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, IMO.
Your wife is suffering from post partum depression and needs help before it gets to the point that she hurts the baby (or you). Call her OB and call a close friend of hers. Together you should be able to get her the medical intervention she needs.
Once she is being treated for her depression, she needs other help. Get her to a lactation consultant to help with the latching. One thing that may fuel her depression (but will not cure it) is that she may feel she is failing as a mother since she cannot breastfeed "properly". Make sure her treatment includes therapy for her poor body image. Drive her to a New Mom's group (many hospitals host them). It might help her to see others struggling and having similar feelings she has - to know she is not alone.
For the next few months you need to put as much of your life on hold as possible and simply be home. I know it sounds unfair, but as a mom of an 8 month old, who had no complications, no depression, and an angel of a baby, I STILL needed my husband 100% and am just beginning to be okay with him doing things outside of home. I too felt like when he did chores he was ignoring our baby, but I also felt overwhelmed by all that needed to be done in the home. And yes, I could keep it together, even feel "free" when with friends, but I think I expected my husband to "just know" and it made it very frustrating when he didn't. It eventually evens out, but in your wife's case she needs more than just time, she NEEDS her depression treated.
Don't have her go out of town until she has at least seen her OB and depression has been discussed. You don't want it to go untreated.
I'm not convinced that we are competent to diagnose PPD based on a couple of second-hand posts to a message board.
It is worth investigating PPD and treating it appropriately if that is what's going on.
But I also think it is important that you not lose yourself in the process. Because if you do, your family will consist of one person with anger issues, one person who is a shell of his former self, and a baby. That's not a recipe for success.
If you think it's in your family's best interests to stop going to the gym, then stop going to the gym. But that needs to be *your* decision, not something you submit to at emotional gunpoint.
I'll also clarify another thing -- we all entitled to our feelings, so your wife has a "right" to be angry, so I would not argue with that. But there are manifestations of that anger that you do not have to accept.
JohnMcG: I haven't read the second post you listed yet, but the first post, http://forums.parenting.com/showthread.php?t=12535, was awesome! Really does put some things in persepective. Thanks for sharing.
We may not be qualified to say its PPD but it is more common than anyone wants to admit. I have relatives close to me who have had it so I have seen first hand what it is. Most women who have PPD are embarassed to admit they have it. Along with PPD can come thoughts so suicide and potentially hurting the baby. I do not feel like PPD should be blown off as something she can control either. Scientifically proven it is a massive hormonal imbalance and is REAL! On top of everything else, she just had a new baby and she is tired, and lack of sleep does very bad things to a woman's emotions. I honestly think you need to investigate the PPD route NOW. Don't tell her she has it, don't ask her if she has it because that will come off as an accusation more than anything else and it will just make it worse. Call her doc and her best friend, maybe even her mom if you think she would take it well. Also try calling the PPD hotline 1.800.944.4PPD.
Prefect, If you're checking this I would love to know how it is going, and see if you have taken the advice of anyone on here.
I will be totally honest and say that when I delivered my dd almost 2 yrs ago, the things you're saying about your wife, was me EXACTLY!! My husband told my ob and I had a "follow-up." My Ob asked me how things were going, and told me to be honest about everything, I broke down crying and sat in that office for an hr and a half with my dr explaining how everything was really going! It's not your fault in any way, I didn't actually have PPD, but I was depressed because of personal issues I was having with my parents not taking any action in my new child's life. Believe it or not, she won't know she has PPD or not. After talking with my dr he explained that even just talking to someone once a week about the things going on, and being able to vent would help me immensly. So I saw my family therapist the next week for every week throughout my dd's 1st yr of life. When my dr would call to cancel or I couldn't make it, it was like things would start pilling on my shoulders again, so it definitely helped immensly.
Something I did after delivering our daughter, was join a mother's group, because like your wife, I was in a new place, with no family or friends around to help me. The only support I had was my husband and my friends that I could only get in contact with over the phone. Joining a mothers group is a great way for her to get out of the house and meet other moms who are going through the same feelings as her. It's actually quite necessary for her to b*tch and vent to her friends, although, unless they too are mothers, there is no point, bc they will take her side no matter what. Sometimes venting about a spouse will let off more steam. I'm sure after posting this you felt some sort of relief when you clicked post, perhaps a deep breath like, you finally got it off your chest somewhat? I don't want to blame either of you for what is going on in your relationship or household, because no one on here really knows both sides of the story. I do want to offer the best advice I have and if you are willing to listen or ask more questions I will be happy to answer anything! After looking back at all the hell I put my husband through during our first baby's birth, I can't imagine how many times he thought, OMG my wife is crazy!
Def. please give her time to do things, even just giving her an hr or so a week to go grocery shopping without the newest addition will help her. Let her do a dinner night every two weeks with a g/f, to get her out of the house. Being "caged in a house" with a newborn is terribly bad for a new mom with any type of depression. Take it from me, because I went through it all!
As for being put down about being a bad parent, perhaps when she says stuff like that, you offer up a come back like "then how do I do it?" or "why don't you give me 3 things you want me to definitely do everyday, that way you can get some help when I get home from work?" or even, "I want to help, but you make it look so easy, that I get overwhelmed." When you show your wife that you know what she is doing is amazing, and that you really appreciate her hard work, she will start to lay off. Just make sure you're buttering it on, lol, it really does work. You'd be surprised at how many times you can tell your wife in one afternoon home from work, "you amaze me as a mother," or "You're such a great mom" that she won't even realize you're saying it over and over, because she'll love to hear it THAT much!
Other things you can do to help:
1. If she's doing the cooking at home, just calling her and letting her know not to worry about it, that you will pick up take out, will give her a few extra minutes to herself.
2. Offering her 30minutes directly when you get home from work, that she can have to herself, not having to talk, touch the baby, or do any work will give her a feeling of satisfaction after being with the baby all day by herself.
3. offer to give her 30 minutes after her free time when you get home from work, for her to take a bath or shower. You wouldn't believe how much a new mom will miss showering because 9times out of 10 when she's home with the baby, the baby will wake up or start fussing right after she gets in that shower or bath!
4. Maybe get her a gym membership and let her go a few times a week, or make a schedule where you both take turns going every other day, will let her know that you want her to feel good about her body image.
tmonfet101 gives good advice.
One amendment I would make is that it might not be a good idea to phrase things in terms of you "letting" your wife see friends, go to the gym, etc. It's a matter of what you as couple are doing to enable each of you to lead balanced lives.
Also a word of caution -- the things tmfonet offers are good ideas, but they are also not magic bullets, and to be honest, I would put the probability of success of each of them at about 50%.
"Why don't you [head to the gym| take a shower]? I'll mind the baby."
"Oh! So you think I'm a fat ugly smelly ($(U&# too! Thanks a lot!"
"Why don't you tell me 3 things I need to do each day..."
"Why don't you open your %$)_$(# eyes and SEE what needs to be done!? Why do I always have to be the one to know what needs to get done around this house!?"
"You make it look so easy..."
"It IS easy. You think someone sat me down and showed me how to change a $%)($*% diaper! Geez!"
Not saying you shouldn't do these things anyway, and absorb the potential hit. But there are no silver bullets.
Hi Prefect, I am Mary. a lot of good advice here!! and I agree with John, you have to watch what you say so she doesnt take it all out of context, it happens. Keep going to the gym and have guys nights, its healthy and you need it and it sounds like you deserve it as well. There are a few things I can suggest to you and I hope it helps.
1. after the baby goes to bed, try sitting with her and talking to her about what is going on. If she starts yelling and swearing at you, sit back and calmly ask her to stop.
2. offer to get a babysitter and go out on a date with her. Bring her flowers and take her out to dinner and/or a movie, she'll feel wanted again.
3. make her dinner one night, toss on some music and get to know each other again
I really hope this helps, having a baby is stressful! i had my daughter when my son just turned two and I know after a while of the same thing day in and day out you start to forget who you were before you had a baby. I wish you the best and my heart and prayers go out to you and your family
Thanks very much for all the advice!
Things have been going up and down since I first posted. Xmas was pretty good, and we had an enjoyable time with our families. My wife seemed to like me a little more . I've picked up a lot of slack with the baby, and I tend to him in the night at every chance I get, even if it means I am falling asleep at my desk the next day. I am constantly washing, cleaning, etc. and I still manage to spend an hour or 2 of quality time with my son every day.
We (she) recently (finally!) decided to break the VERY bad habit of co-sleeping with our son. The baby was in bed with us every night, and if he wasn't sleeping well, a blowup at me and the baby would soon follow. After a 2 week period of him waking in the middle of the night and neither of us getting much sleep, things got bad again. She was yelling at the baby and me. She still insists she wants to leave me. She doesn't wear her wedding or engagement ring anymore. She gives me no respect at all. I admit that I do ask a lot of questions about the care for our son, but that's because I'm deathly afraid of my wife's wrath at doing something she thinks is wrong. Now she just gets angry with me for asking questions. She's just really hurtful towards me.
She did finally have a girls night last week, and she said that she felt so much better then next day. She seemed happier too. She didn't look at our son with disdain, which was nice. However, she still insists the biggest problem is our lack of sex. I've tried to initiate sex a few times in the last 5 nights since our son had been in his own room. She won't have sex. It seems like such a contradiction to me. Up until now, I have been taking her punishment in stride, but lately it's becoming so disheartening that I don't know what to do.
Sorry for the rambling. The lack of good sleep and the problems at home have left me a little scatter-brained.
I guess I should also mention that I haven't been to the gym in over and month, nor have I seen or spoken to any of my friends outside of them visiting our home (with my wife's invitation, not mine).