How I Hated My Husband After Having Kids
"Parenting with a partner is a delicate dance. The key to that dance is communication." - Julie Wright
I found myself hating my husband after giving birth to our first child, although I wasn't exactly sure what he had done wrong. Everything had changed for me, but everything had stayed the same for him.
He is a great man; responsible, loving, and patient, and we had a solid relationship. We both understood and spoke each other's love language, so what went wrong? The answer was simple: I gave birth.
Having a child turned my world upside down, backwards, and twisted. Everything that defined me as a person before kids disappeared, and I didn't know who I was anymore. My body changed, my mind was in a fog, and I lost all motivation to make an effort or do anything. Meanwhile, my husband continued to live his life as he had before we had kids. He went on trips, had dinners, and provided for us, and everything remained the same in his world.
I think what made me bitter was the fact that I felt alone on my motherhood journey, and my partner of five years was no longer on the same page as me. This hurt me deeply. As the mother, I was the one who had a natural parenting instinct, while my husband didn't develop this until much later in our child's life. He had no interest in changing diapers, putting our daughter to bed, or playing with her. Unfortunately, he didn't have a role model for being an involved father, so I had to teach him myself. Dealing with that was not what I expected, since I grew up in a close-knit, loving family. I had assumed my husband would have the parenting instinct and be my partner in providing and taking care of our child, but that didn't happen at all.
We clashed on everything related to parenting: our ideals, our upbringing, and pretty much everything else. Our differences in how involved we were with our daughter showed me a side of him that I didn't like. Perhaps I already knew about his upbringing, but I didn't want to admit it and didn't think it would affect us this way since we never had issues in our relationship. My expectations were not met, and I felt alone and miserable to clash so much with my partner in crime during the time I needed him the most.
As any other couple would, we dealt with it by listening, accepting, and meeting halfway. Luckily, we had great communication with each other, which eventually allowed us to resolve the issues (although it took two years after our child's birth). I think what helped us was our willingness to listen and understand each other's perspectives. We both accepted the roots of our traits and forgave where we could, letting go of the assumptions we had to deal with what was at hand.
Although it wasn't the best two years, going through the love-hate relationship during our commitment to each other has made us stronger than ever. Our love evolved and renewed. Some of my friends weren't so lucky; they contemplated divorce after giving birth to their child, some ended up divorced, while others are still working on their differences. I wonder if there is a way to foresee and resolve parenting differences before having kids. Becoming parents is the greatest challenge you'll face since you have no control over what's going to happen, and dealing with tensions with your marriage is not an ideal situation for anyone to be in.
My advice to others is to attend marriage classes and talk about everything, especially the what-ifs, your values, and your expectations. I guarantee that what you expect and what you think you know may be the complete opposite of how it will turn out. Honestly, I have no idea if there is a magic formula to make your marriage completely divorce-proof, but we did take steps towards giving ourselves the best possible chances. We had open and honest conversations and tried our best to be on the same page about our needs, wants, and expectations, and lucky for us we are doing alright. Hopefully sharing this will help others know that they are not alone. Also writing this for Oanina was healing for me. Thanks!