I love you, but I resent you.
“All you can do…
is be there for one another through this journey into parenthood.”
Pregnancy and kids can put a lot of pressure on a marriage. I learned that first hand in the first few weeks of having Marleigh. To be honest, it wasn’t my husband doing anything wrong – in fact, he was doing everything right. He was helping with the diapers, supporting me during my breastfeeding struggles, holding the baby to let me nap, and showing his unconditional love to me. So why was I struggling?
You often hear about Post-Partum Disorder or the Baby Blues that can happen after you have the baby. Your hormones can be a bit unbalanced, you’re exhausted on a whole new level, you’re overwhelmed with a new role in life, and this causes a change in you. Many have this idea that PPD is sadness, lost or disparity, a depressive somber mood – ya know, the common side effects that we associate with depression. At least, that is what came to my mind when I thought of it. I honestly had no clue besides whatever was on the questionnaire at the doctor’s office. Every time I would go, they would ask if I was crying without a reason, felt lonely or lost, or if I felt like I didn’t want my child. My answer to all of these questions were no. I didn’t cry except the time I cried because I felt defeated as a mom due to breastfeeding (that's a pretty good reason). I loved my child, she made me so happy and holding her was exactly what I wanted to do every day. I felt like I had a purpose and a great support system – so from that questionnaire I was never labeled with PPD. Except there was something that was weighing on me and I soon found out that was a common component of PPD. I feel like something that is often not talked about enough is that you may resent your spouse. Yes, you heard that right – RESENT.
My husband was doing everything for me. He was the #1 dad and it made me so happy, but I often found myself scrutinizing him. He would go to work and come home and I would just unload on him. I would tell him he wasn’t doing enough, I would criticize any mistake he made, and I just found myself trying to keep up with our old life and put all the weight on me. I realized he was doing enough, but it wasn’t enough for me. I was the one in the wrong and I was putting it all on my husband. I was envious, jealous, and possibly a little tired and my husband was the perfect person to place the blame on.
One night, I finally sat down with Glen and just told him how I was feeling. That is the key to getting through this – communication. I believe if I was not completely honest with my husband, we would have had a strain on our marriage. Of course, no husband wants to hear that their wife is annoyed with them and possibly resenting them, but it was my feelings. I know my emotions were way out of whack, but I also knew I had to tell him to move past this. I explained that I was jealous that he got to go to work and have a break from being a parent. I told him that I felt like I was putting so much pressure to keep up with what I was doing prior to Marleigh that I was feeling weighed down. I needed help cleaning the house, cooking dinners, and just doing the day to day chores. I felt like he didn’t have to change his lifestyle because of Marleigh but I was confined to our home. Every emotion I had, I laid on the table and just vented. It felt good – it felt really good. Not just to admit the truth to him, but to admit it to myself. I was finally seeing the real reasons why I was blaming my husband - to hide the insecurities that I was trying to hide myself. He listened and together we figured out a solution. He opted to do more around the house and verbalize what he was doing. He made sure I knew what he was trying to do because I was personally overlooking the good he was doing and focusing on the negative. It seems silly, but it was something that I needed. He took Marleigh so I could grocery shop alone or go for a run and take a break. Again, he was doing a lot of this before we had the talk but now, I was seeing it.
For me, this only lasted a week or so. Had it continued, I would have definitely reached out for help. You see there are so many ways you can experience PPD and sometimes it’s you taking out your feelings on your spouse. I felt like I was losing the time to do things I enjoyed and I felt like only my world was flipping upside down and it was easiest to take it out on him. Luckily, my husband is my rock and he understood. He didn’t judge me or fight back, he helped me. When I felt overwhelmed, he would take our daughter and let me sit quietly on our porch. He would ask me what I was feeling and try to help me overcome my struggles. It honestly put pressure on our marriage, but it made our connection that much stronger. It is important to continue to communicate with your partner and talk about the hardships. If you keep them in the dark, they cannot help you. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself because once you are at your limit, you will explode. Once I was open and honest with my husband, I started to feel better and this resentment I was creating in my head went away. I was able to focus on my child and I was so much happier in our marriage. This experience showed me that the love I have with my husband is strong and that our foundation of honesty could carry us through any struggle. If you feel resentment towards your spouse, don’t feel ashamed. It can happen and the sooner you tell them about it in a calm setting, the better you can overcome these feelings. If you can’t do it on your own, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor. It will get better over time, that I know now.
I am forever grateful for the love, support, and understanding that Glen shows. This Valentine’s Day is spent celebrating the love between my husband and I and the obstacles we overcome together. We celebrate the ability for our love to change over time and to grow deeper and wiser. I hope the same for you! You are not alone in your feelings. Post-partum is a rollercoaster of highs and low, but together with your spouse, you can get through anything.