Why I Secretly Hated My Husband After My Daughter Was Born

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I fell in love with a classic tall, dark, and handsome kind of guy. He was not only those things — he was funny. He was thoughtful. He could be moody and a little distant, but he was also passionate, unendingly curious, and downright fun. I loved him more than the air that I breathed and all of those silly cliches. I loved him so much that we got married. And made a person! But I am going to let you in on a little secret. As soon as our little bundle of heaven was born, I hated him. Here’s why.

After months of ignoring the stacks of books and e-mailed articles I provided on how to be a good partner to a pregnant woman, my husband exuberantly perked up during the childcare classes to inquire about the potential risks of pain-managed birth and formula feeding. I became cognizant that the ever-appeasing man who brought home ice cream and at least halfheartedly rubbed my feet at night was going to be a stickler for the details. I tried to squash those suspicions and give him the benefit of the doubt. But sure enough, as soon as our daughter was born (Yes, it was a pain-managed birth. No, he did not dare question me on that choice), my husband became the worst possible combination. Forget tall, dark, and handsome. He was judgmental, apathetic, and jealous all at once. 

On top of the pressure to breastfeed, I hated my husband for having the balls to roll his eyes when I said we had to stop what we were doing (or delay going out) so I could nurse her. I hated that he just did not seem to get that she was running the show now, and instead of joining me in the trenches, he seemed to sort of sit on the edge looking down, one exasperated sigh away from a full-blown argument. I hated him because, on the other end of spectrum, as soon as he’d held her for longer than five minutes, the slightest fuss made him declare, “She’s hungry again!” before thrusting her into my tired arms.

I hated my husband for telling me how f*cking tired he was after I’d been up every hour and a half nursing, changing, rocking, or otherwise caring for our daughter throughout the night. It bears mentioning that I also hated him for sleeping while I was in labor. Every time I started to forgive him over the next few weeks, he would randomly mention how tired he was and the fires of passionate, loathsome rage would again swell inside me. 

After my daughter was born, I hated my husband for not noticing how much I was trying. He’d never gone overboard with the compliments, but now it seemed like it almost didn’t matter if I carved out a nonexistent 10 minutes to put makeup on. I hated him for not noticing the effort and telling me I was pretty. I hated him for not getting that my in-between body was hard for me deal with. And to that end, I hated him for discouraging me from buying any in-between clothes to fit it. “You look great! Just wear those jeans.” Those jeans were maternity, and I didn’t want to wear them. I wanted to have the husband who carved out a nonexistent $50 for me to get a pair that fit the body I found myself in after birthing our child.

I hated him for having both the energy and the time to communicate with his friends, and even to meet up for happy hour. I wanted to be the wife that told him it was fine and meant it. I told him it was fine, but I didn’t mean it. I hated him for having the freedom to get out of the house and have a few drinks without having to spend the three-plus hours on either end making it okay, like I would have had to do in order to go to happy hour. But of course, no one goes to happy hour in maternity jeans. 

I hated my husband for cringing when she cried — for changing exactly one diaper in the first two weeks that she was here. Sometimes I hated him for the way he breathed at night, sleeping so soundly beside me while I lay there, still recovering from childbirth, unable to sleep. I was somebody’s mother now, which automatically meant I had about 400 million things to worry about as he peacefully melted into a slumber that would last all night.

One morning I woke up. The sun was shining and my husband had already retrieved my daughter and changed her diaper. Sure, he couldn’t nurse her, but she’d been prepped for me. He’d done his part, or at least as much as he felt he could. I looked at him and felt a little spark from deep inside. I didn’t hate him! That’s right, I loved him. I remembered now!

I would go on to hate him here and there as we continued to learn the ropes, but the moments would be shorter and shallower. I came to learn, in time, that as much as I could hate him, I could also tell him what I needed, how he could help, and how this behavior or that gesture made me feel. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I still hate the guy. But the more we learn together, the deeper the love grows beneath the surface.

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Photo: Getty