When I Wanted To Kill My Husband (Fighting After Having A Baby)
Ilan and I never fought…that is, until we had a baby.
Before Mila arrived, we had this 3-step system that could break us out of any fight at any moment. (Read about it here.) That all went out the window in wild whirlwind that embodies the beginning of motherhood. No one prepares you for this stuff.
When I was pregnant, we had maybe 3 or 4 serious fights which were mostly me getting so triggered about absolutely nothing. I’ve never felt more sharp, stinging anger than I did when I was pregnant. There was a moment where I literally tried to rip the skin off of Ilan’s jaw. I mean literally. I almost yanked the darn thing off.
It was scary. It was so freaky to even be able to feel that type of anger. I really wanted to murder him. We know of course that it’s all hormones, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it feels so murderous.
It was intense, but in a strange way, the anger and fights we had when I was pregnant were nothing like the fights we had the moment Mila was born.
I studied all about RIE parenting and respective parenting, where mirroring has a significant effect on a baby’s development. (Read article here.) I really thought that when Mila would be born, I would never allow myself to mess up as a human being. That I would never be triggered or lose my cool. I’d be the most perfect parent. I would surround my baby with love, and she’d never be around any living soul that had stress in their lives. Boy I was wrong.
There was this intense feeling of protection that came over me, extreme expectations that seemed to come out of the deep dark parts of my subconscious. Anything that was less than perfect made me hate him. It made me lose all respect for him. I didn’t want to appreciate him because I felt like he wasn’t putting in the work that I was.
EVERY little argument was a stone that added to my mountain of rage. Him not responding to Mila’s cries or her sounds, him sighing, him not wanting to hold her, him thinking working was more difficult than taking care of a small human, him criticizing our breastfeeding, etc. I would take one little thing and explode it into every direction possible. A lot of the things he did were indeed rude and uncalled for, but I was being a bit harsh.
As mothers who grow our babies in our wombs for 9 months (some longer, some shorter), we develop this bond with our baby through hormones. The moment we hold our child, look into his or her eyes, that’s it. As we breastfeed, more hormones are released in a frenzy, and the bond becomes unbreakable, all relatively quickly. Men don’t have that.
We’ve learned that men also go through hormonal shifts when they become fathers. Initiating skin-to-skin and spending more time holding their child creates these shifts that further their own bonds. But it takes longer.
Samantha Maria, a famous Youtuber that went by the name Beauty Crush, her husband made a lovely video on being a father. (Link here.)
What was so wonderful about the video was not only the filmography, but the honesty. He said he didn’t love his daughter at first, it took a while. It wasn’t anything immediate.
So there I am, huge hormonal shifts changing the chemistry of my body. My responses becoming sharp, instinctive, and quick. Any little sound from my baby sends a jolt of cortisol through my body and I’m there in a split second. I’m there whether or not I like to be.
It wasn’t fair that I expected the same from him. He’s learning.
We both felt that me being pregnant was surreal. That there couldn’t possibly be a tiny human being growing inside me. It honestly didn’t even feel real when she came out. Even as she is almost 4 months old now, it still feel so surreal.
It took me a couple months to relax a bit. I lowered down those expectations, and we agreed to not criticize on each other’s roles as parents. It’s important.
The hormones are dwindling down and evening out (even while breastfeeding).
Would there have been a way we could have prevented those fights?
Maybe…but so much of it was from lack of sleep, food, feeling judged, and criticized. Who wouldn’t be in a grumpy angry argumentative mood?
I would tear myself up about it because I prided myself on the fact that we never fought. We got through arguments so quickly. When Mila came into our lives, everything became more serious, and more precious. I wanted every moment to be perfect. But life is messy. We strive to do our best and we have to try to remember that.
The new parenthood version of our 3-step system.
We make sure we are well fed, well rested, and well hydrated before we even dive into fights. 99.9% of all fights are meaningless because they stem from that. So, we try not to talk to each other at all until that is resolved.
Then, if we need to criticize or recommend something to the other person, we write it down and bring it up later when we’re both calm, and not attacking each-other.
These crucial steps are more important than ever to do when you have a new baby. Whether you like it or not, the energy you put out, your baby receives. Energy is energy. Genuine love heals, and anger can overstimulate and make a baby upset and stressed.
Calm happy mother, calm happy baby.
What I need to focus on are all the amazing things Ilan does for our family. He’s such an amazing father, and I’m sorry for putting him through so much with my expectations.
I am an amazing mother, because Ilan takes such good care of me. He makes the earth safe for me to walk on. That’s all I asked from him when Mila was born when he said “What do you need help with?” All I said was, “I’ll take care of Mila, just take care of me.” And that’s exactly what he did.
Find gratitude in your partner. Find that love. Take care of your basic needs and self-care, and remember who you are and what’s important in feeling good. Your relationship with your partner and with your-SELF will flourish.
It’s so difficult transitioning. I had no idea that there would be so many fights, arguments, and trigger points between the two of us. But it happened. And my goodness, it’s still happening, but it’s truly part of the experience of transitioning into parenthood. It’s the biggest transition in our entire lives. Going through dark times with your partner, testing boundaries and expectations, it’s all part of the process. As long as you remember that you do love, respect, and appreciate the other person, and that the person that you fell in love with is still there, don’t lose that.
It’s harder than ever, but remember to keep on those rose-colored glasses. Have a great nap, a large meal, do some deep breathing, and think of him or her. Bring that feeling back. You’ll need it for when the times get tough. It’s temporary.
Marriage was easy until we had kids, but it’s been such an amazing life lesson about taking care of myself to take care of others. To treat myself well, so I can treat others.
It’s easier to lose it when you feel trapped as a parent with nowhere to run. Tensions run high, even in the calmest of mothers. (Our instincts are ON FIRE to respond to our baby’s needs. It’s biological.) It’s easy to just let loose on the other person. How funny and ironic is it that we yell and scream at the person we love most in the world. The person that we chose to be part of our family. That’s true love right there. Love is a choice.
So, chose to love him or her still and you’ll get through it. If you remember to love them through this mess, you’ll come out stronger and even more in love than you were before. Your heart grows 2x as big when you have a child. (Science.) You have the ability to give more love than you thought possible. So, give it to yourself, to your baby, and to your partner. Remember.