:( Help with DH...

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Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368
:( Help with DH...

So, DH and I kind of got into it today... I, of course, ended up in tears.... but basically....

a little background... I've been in Michigan since December on my maternity leave- DH was here in December, but had to go back to Africa in January, and just returned on Sunday. He will stay now through to the birth of the baby, but will then have to return to Africa to finish the school year- so he'll be gone for about 6 weeks post-partum.

So...I have been "on my own" for the last three months, and preparing for baby...

Well, DH says today that he feels completely unnecessary in this whole situation... like I make all the decisions without him, it doesn't matter what he thinks, etc, and that I don't even need him for birth, because I'll have my mom and have hired a doula.

Some of the decisions include...

Hiring the doula (he agreed initially, and even attended the first meeting with her, but has now changed him mind because he feels like there will just be too many people in the room). My doula also taught my natural childbirth class, which DH wasn't able to attend because he was in Africa. DH is not at all natural birth inclined, and I feel like I need the doula/my mom (who attended the classes with me) to help support me in actually having my natural birth- BUT, *I* am well aware that those two will support HIM in support ME- but of course, he doesn't get it.

Cloth diapers- he feels like I just made that decision on my own because I'm a "hippy" and don't care that he would prefer to use sposies. The thing is, while I am interested in the environmental pluses to cloth, it's also a decision based on the fact that where we live in Africa, you can't depend on being able to get the right size/brand of diapers... so, just having our own makes sense!

Circumcision- He's circ'ed and is really sticking to the "he should look like me" argument. Sad I feel pretty darn strongly about not doing it for all the standard reasons one may feel that way.

The thing is, I have been reading pregnancy books/birth books, etc since I found out I was pregnant. DH did read one book (which I know is better than a lot of DHs!), but, for a lot of things just didn't feel like we need to talk about things because we had so much time... he was the same with our wedding... he wanted to wait until like a month before to talk about ANYTHING...of course, it drove me CRAZY, because for one thing, of course, so many decisions needed to be made way before then, I felt like I had to do it all on my own, and I wanted his help! It felt like he didn't care. So, with the baby, it's kind of been the same kind of thing... but now I've made these decisions, and I have made them with my own and my child's best interests at heart- but it seems he doesn't agree.

The thing is I'm not sure if he's just feeling not included, and is just angry about not helping to make the decisions, or, if he really doesn't agree with the decisions and wants to change my mind about stuff.

I just don't know what to do... we have our first pre-natal visit with our doula tomorrow, and today he made a couple comments about just canceling the meeting and not having her. I would be more inclined to ask my mom to step out of the delivery than to cancel the doula at this point. I just don't know...

Any body have any advice???

morrisbuddy's picture
Joined: 11/25/06
Posts: 130

Maybe give him some time to cool down, then try to talk to him and just say "hey, I didn't just make these decisions on a whim, I've really been researching everything. Would you like to know more about these choices?".

I don't have much to offer I'm afraid, I hope you find some way to talk to him about it and find out what is causing his reaction!

Winky_the_HouseElf's picture
Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 292

"morrisbuddy" wrote:

Maybe give him some time to cool down, then try to talk to him and just say "hey, I didn't just make these decisions on a whim, I've really been researching everything. Would you like to know more about these choices?".

I don't have much to offer I'm afraid, I hope you find some way to talk to him about it and find out what is causing his reaction!

That's a good way to approach it. I'm sorry he's so upset about this. :confused: I know that when I first brought up natural childbirth and such he was initially just scared/concerned/out of his comfort zone. More information definitely put him more at ease. I know he was initially terrified at the thought of me giving birth without an epidural because he hated the idea of me being in pain. I learned hypnosis, so in the end I was comfortable without medication, but it may be that your husband is thinking along the same lines as mine was.

To be fair to your doula, I would let her know before your meeting that your husband is feeling uncomfortable with the idea so that she can be prepared to put him at ease.

WRT circumcision, my dh (circ'd) initially balked at the idea of not doing it, but once he calmed down enough to actually read info about how it's done, the risks, and the knowledge that it doesn't offer health/hygiene/etc. benefits he agreed that it wasn't something we should do. The males in my family are all intact, so circ was a completely foreign (and horrifying!) idea to me. I'm glad he came around without me having to force the issue because it was one thing I could not have agreed to even if he insisted. In the end we had all girls, but I still like knowing that we're on the same side of the issue now. Smile

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

Oh Mara, I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this now. :bigarmhug: Maybe DH is just stressed at the thought that he has to leave you and the LO so soon after birth. I don't really know. When my DH blows up like that I just let him cool down and then try to talk to him, he's not very good at communicating though so it's hard. He will step out of the decision making process then want back in when I have done my research and made up my mind.

I hope he cools down and starts listening to you. I don't really have any grand words of wisdom, but I wanted to let you know I will be thinking about you.

kvo's picture
Joined: 12/18/06
Posts: 902

I think he may be my DH's long lost twin...lol (my DH is from MI). I do feel for him in that being away from the family for such long stretches is probably causing him to feel isolated emotionally from you, the baby, the birth. I'm sure that is extremely difficult.

Given that you are in a marriage and will both be equally parenting your child throughout his life, there are certain decisions that you will need to agree on or at least be willing to adjust your thinking about (both you and DH).

My DH is willing to cave on most things that directly involve the birthing experience b/c he recognizes that he is not the one giving birth, I am. He can voice his opinion, but the decisions are ultimately mine and once they are made he needs to shut up and deal with it. That's how we came to agree on shelling out the $$$ for the doula. It was also a bit of a compromise since it was either hire the doula or pay for the entire birth out of pocket having it at home (which he is sooo not comfortable with) or at a birthing center (which he is okay with, but insurance will not cover at all).

Vaxes and circ---After a pretty big blow-up 3 years ago over vaxes (we knew we were having a girl) in which my mother and DH ganged up on me, I decided it wasn't worth the stress I felt over fighting him. I knew I wanted to do most if not all vaxes, just not necessarily the way/when it is typically done. I caved and luckily our DD has not had any adverse reactions. Circumcision is something I don't think I would want done if I were a male, but....I also understand that I am not a man and do not know what it's like to live with a penis. I have spoken with my DH about this as well as other uncirced men and the mother of an uncirced by who is now 19 years old and their stories and experiences allowed me to trust my DH's judgement on this even though my thoughts run counter to his.

CD-ing---I wanted us to do it the first time around, but I caved on this too b/c DH was the one home with DD for 3 mos before she entered child care where sposies are required. He is also in charge of laundry for the most part. This time, I will be home on leave 3 times a long as he will and I am willing to do the diaper laundry, so he has not objected. Your argument for CD-ing makes sense 100%. Especially if you are willing to take on the cleaning of the dipes.

I'm not suggesting you should cave on the circ thing if you cannot find peace with that decision. I just wanted to share my experience with what sounds like a similar spouse. I certainly hope you can come to some level of agreement so that you can celebrate the birth of your son rather than feeling tension or resentment during your short time together before he has to go back to Africa.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I can offer you (((HUGS))) and best wishes. I don't know that I have any real "advice" for you as each couple goes through such different feelings and struggles getting ready for a baby. I think it's really important for him to be involved in the birth on a number of levels, and I think you would benifit from trying to help him feel important. Can he be in charge of some things? If he knows what his role will be he may feel better. It can be just small things, but him being in charge could make him feel more involved. He could have a list of people to call at different times, could he take care of getting the carseat ready for the baby? Are there any things you can do together? I would see if you can talk to your doula about it, she should be able to calm him. (((HUGS)))

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

I can mostly only offer hugs as well Sad I do agree with pp that a lot of it probably does have to do with his sense of isolation, and that giving him some better sense of purpose might really help. Maybe your doula can even help suggest some places in the process where he can be and feel needed.

I also agree that lots of info helped turn my DH around from being pretty nervous about NCB/being my birth partner to being fully on board. I don't know if right now in the middle of an argument is a good time to present him with articles and statistics backing up your perspective, which might come across (if he's already feeling sensitive) as you trying to strongarm him or something, BUT if you can find a way to help him understand why you made the decisions you did but still leaving some room to discuss it, that might help a little; I don't know.

I do wish you luck in figuring and smoothing this out. The one thing I think you should REALLY stick to your decision on is the doula, though, because if your DH is not 100% on board with your birth plan, you are going to need her support more than ever.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I think it just sounds like he is not feeling very needed and involved. I would just try to make him feel more involved in any way you can. I know my DH can get argumentative about things he may usually agree with if his feelings or hurt or he is grumpy. I find just giving him some time and talking about his feelings, more than the choices usually helps.

faeriecurls's picture
Joined: 06/04/08
Posts: 790

((((Hugs))))) I agree with PPs who think he might be reacting to his feelings of isolation. It's got to be very hard on both of you to be so far apart for such a large part of your pregnancy. I think talking to him when he calms down a little might help you figure out what's really going on. Try to figure out a way that he can be more involved.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

It sounds like you've gotten some great advice from the pp's. He just needs to be brought along gently. I know what it's like to be the one doing the reading and the learning and then trying to quickly summarize everything for DH....it often is not that simple.

I would start with whatever is most important to you and share with him the reading materials that helped you make your decision. And then wait a little and see if he comes around on his own before discussing.

A lot of the things you guys are going back and forth about are things DH and I also had to agree on eventually, too. Some things he got on board with more quickly (like cloth, because he was for saving money) and others (like not circing) took time. (PS he was on the fence about that until DS was born and when he held him and saw how helpless he was he totally understood my feelings...everything just clicked into place.) Just try to bring him along gently and also pick your battles.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

My DH & I had the circ discussion long before we even thought about having kids. Not sure how it came up, but it did & we fought about it for a couple of weeks, LOL. I can laugh about it now, but it would have been difficult to deal with when pregnant. What finally brought him around was I asked in what other ways he wanted his son to look like him? What if he got my reddish-blond hair & hazel eyes, would my DH get him a dye job & colored contacts? The fact is that kids don't often look like one parent or the other, even when they have the same biology, and I simply could not see having usefull body parts cut off a perfectly healthy baby just so he'd "look like" his father. I said, your parents spanked you & didn't put you in a safety seat, should we do it that way too, or should we do things differently now that we know better? I also gave him an article about how super-sensitive the foreskin is, and how it's a sexual organ on it's own, and that helped persuade him, too. Wink

If my DH was unwaveringly adamant about circing, then I'd set some ground rules. First, we would both be attending the procedure because I believe if we are going to voluntarily put our child through a painful experience, we need to witness it & be there to comfort him. Second, I'd want plenty of anesthetic used, including EMLA cream so he wouldn't feel the needle for the local anesthetic. And third, I'd want it to be a "Jewish" type of circumcision, which only takes the tip off the foreskin and not the whole of it, which seems like kind of a balance to me on the sexual organ/sensitivity thing.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Thanks for your feedback everyone...

We had a big long talk about all kinds of things the other night with my mom and step-dad kind of mediating/helping. I think things are a little better. In a lot of ways I think he really was fighting back about certain things just because he felt leftout, not necessarily because he really didn't agree.

Right now our birth plan continues to say "no circumcision" and it's been given to the midwife and our doula that way.

Otherwise I'm just trying to include him as much as possible... I told him that we still have to decide on vaccines... that should be fun! Smile

Joined: 04/30/09
Posts: 2257

((Hugs)) It must be hard for you to deal with all of this and figure out how to approach things with your DH. As others have said, the isolation thing/feeling he's needed seems to be key with his problems.

Hopefully, explaining that you haven't intentionally left him out and that you want to be on the same page will help with things. Maybe if you showed him some sites/books with info that you've found compelling he'd be more open minded ? While my DBF has been a gem about whatever decisions we want to make, I have found that having something to show him (like the website for the brand of cloth diapers we like) helped him understand it all and be more involved.

Best of luck!

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

"Marite13" wrote:

I told him that we still have to decide on vaccines... that should be fun! Smile


I'm glad you got it at least somewhat sorted...hopefully things will just continue to quietly improve from here on out!