Question: Dear Luise: I was working in software field till the birth of my son. I took a break for one year to be with my son. In this one year, I changed so much. I became very impatient, always angry, sometimes violent like throwing things, hurting myself, etc. In all of this, my husband contributed to some extent. He is a good man who cares for me and my son. Takes a great care of our baby. But what happened in that one year is he didn’t do anything for me. I was at home, day in-day out. I had no opportunity to go out. Stayed home, took care of baby, household chores. He didn’t bother to take me out for dinner or coffee or just a walk. He never called from office even once. He never came home for lunch just for a change. I think all this made me become what I am today. Today I do not feel any love towards him. I don’t care for him. Everything he does and says makes me go wild. He now understands his mistake and wants us to try to make our marriage work. But I am holding back. I feel like I am dead from inside. I want it work because I know my husband is not a bad person. But the way he talks, argues, analyses everything (even small things) just makes me angry. What do I do? Is my marriage over? I don’t feel love for him? Am I overreacting? R
Answer: Dear R.: I don’t think anyone who hasn’t gone through it can imagine what a cultural shock it is for some of us to go from career to “homebody.” Most of us probably think a year off with a new baby sounds like heaven. Surely, for some, it is. But for others, being alone all day without adult conversation or stimulation, cooking, cleaning and doing the endless chores that involve infant care can be a description of a very small world. There’s not doubt that it can bring on utter fatigue, a feeling of hopelessness and even an identity crisis.
I don’t know what you did in software but it may have been creative and challenging. Were you surrounded by like-minded adults and, together, did you get the job done while being paid well for your efforts? Talk about a parallel reality!
Husbands, or at least many of them, go merrily on and don’t have a clue when a wife takes on what you have. If you are finding it hard to love or even forgive a guy who didn’t even notice that you were going under, you’re not alone. What you do with his decision to try to put your relationship back together is up to you. People who fall out of love can fall back in love. It happens.
There is also a medical condition called postpartum depression that can make everything worse or even impossible after a baby arrives. Have you talked with your doctor about how you feel?
I would suggest that you put yourself back on an even keel before you make any decisions about your marriage. If being an “unpaid domestic servant and nanny”, as a friend of mine once aptly put it, isn’t your thing then you may want to stop trying to be a square peg in a round hole and go back to work. Finding that out about yourself isn’t about failure, it’s about getting better acquainted with who you are and finding that you don’t do well in isolation. Perhaps a “homebody” is someone you aren’t. That’s OK. Blessings, Luise