Resentment After Having Our Baby
How Could I Resent My Husband After Having Our Baby?
It was surprising to me, as a new mom, how much having a baby changed my relationship with my husband. What I imagined would be a blissful connection as we both snuggled our newborn became a series of resentment, rage, and disconnect. For many couples, resentment after the baby is an unexpected part of parenthood. We will look at the possible causes of resentment, how it can be present in couples, and ways you can decrease this complication in your relationship after having a baby.
What is Resentment?
Resentment is a negative feeling about someone due to believing something is unfair or undesirable. This is common in couples with a new baby due to a number of changes all at once. If you have experienced resentment after having a baby, you are not alone. I first noticed resentment as a new mom when my partner left for work and I was still at home. Of course I wanted to support his work, and his work was important to our family, but I hated him for being able to leave the house and have adult conversations. This was alarming to me. I loved my husband, but I felt so much frustration towards him.
Things that Led to Marriage Resentment
In retrospect, most of the resentment I felt towards my husband came from my own frustrations. As a new mom, I felt disconnected from the things that made me feel like myself. I spent the days at home seeing all of the dishes piled up and the unfolded laundry. Nap trap was the game I played most frequently and most of my conversations were in baby talk. So much of my identity, purpose, and routine were changed and it was uncomfortable to me. When I saw my husband proceed with life as normal, or so it seemed, I would get so angry.
It really dawned on me that something was wrong when I found myself yelling at my husband. Postpartum rage is another marker that can cause resentment to feel overwhelming. Postpartum rage is an intense anger that can overcome you. For me, this was a big part of my resentment. In my fury of rage and frustration, I would have full-on conversations with my husband when he was not even there. He would return to a fight he was not apart of, but was to blame for it.
Many Causes of Marriage Resentment
I will never forget the first time I Googled “I hate my husband after having a baby.” I was met with a number of stories from women who felt this same way. Resentment coming from how much mom’s body changes but the partner’s does not. Resentment over how exhausting it can be to be needed by the baby, but the partner maintains more autonomy. There is resentment that comes from all the things that need to be done and feeling like there is no time and space to accomplish it. Women from all over the world have shared their stories of resentment online and discussed how marriage after baby can come with unexpected complications.
What You Can Do About Resentment In Your Marriage After a Baby
Resentment is a feeling towards your partner. These feelings usually come from an unmet need or desire you have. Sometimes you may not be able to identify what that need or desire is, especially in the midst of early motherhood. A lack of time, sleep, and opportunity for connection with your partner can make it difficult to see and address your resentment. These 5 steps will help you understand yourself and communicate with your partner so you can improve your relationship and connection.
Get Curious About Your Desires
Spend time asking yourself where the resentment is coming from. Do you want to feel more appreciated? Are you feeling stuck at home? Are you missing your social life and work friends? When you are able to identify what you desire, you can step out of the overwhelming feelings.
Step Away from Areas of Comparison
For many moms, comparison can trigger feelings of shame or “not enough.” This can quickly spiral to feeling upset with yourself and with your partner. If you find yourself resenting your partner because things do not look for you like they do for others, it is time to cut back on the areas that trigger comparison. This might mean unfollowing social media accounts that you find yourself comparing to. It could mean choosing TV shows and movies with more accurate portrayals of the changes to life after a baby. Removing these comparison areas is essential for resentment as well as overall joy and presence as a mom.
Try for More Proactive Conversation
Resentment usually comes from a build-up of thoughts and feelings that are not expressed. Cut back on opportunities to feel resentful by being more proactive in your conversation. If you have expectations about how you share the housework, have a meeting and talk about the shared responsibilities. If you are struggling to feel like yourself, share this with your partner instead of stewing on it in your own mind.
Look for Friends Who Keep it Real
If you are feeling like you need to keep a certain image or façade for those around you, consider which friendships are best for you right now. Do your best to open up more vulnerably with those close to you and find spaces where you can relax and not try to perform as a “good mom.”
Ask Your Partner More Questions
Chances are, many things have changed within your partner as well. Ask questions about how (s)he is feeling and what has changed. Make room in your relationship for both of you to be going through transitions. It can be difficult to not fully understand them, but work together to listen and ask questions as you grow.
Resentment Towards Partner: It Will Not Last Forever
When you think about all that you have been through, it is no surprise that you will feel changes in your relationship or marriage after your baby. Like every part of motherhood, this looks different for every family. But, if resentment is part of your story, it should not last forever. You will find more understanding of yourself. You will improve your communication with your partner. You will, eventually, get more sleep and a chance to shower. If you continue to feel postpartum rage or other symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, talk with your medical provider about this so you can get the help and support that you need.