Postpartum Pain: I Hate Your Face

Mr. T and I personify opposites attract. I’m loud and he’s quiet. I’m impulsive and he’s thoughtful. I’m war and he’s peace. 

His calm has, at times, driven me nuts, but that feeling intensified after our baby was born — to the point of rage.

I hated my husband after our child, Baby Bird, was born. I didn’t want him dead, but I would’ve been fine if he’d disappeared. I hated his smell and his voice. I hated hearing him breathe at night in bed. I hated having to share my daughter with him.

The feeling crept up on me. It started in the hospital when he slept through Baby Bird’s cries, and it rapidly escalated once we got home and the realities of parenting set in.

In my mind, he was no help with the baby, and his presence infuriated me. He hovered and made me feel self-conscious. He left me at home to struggle with a newborn who’d lost too much weight in the hospital and didn’t want to wake up to nurse. 

In my mind, I didn’t need him, and neither did my baby.

I was convinced he didn’t really care about us, so I was cruel to him. I talked to him like he was stupid. I blamed him for my exhaustion, frustration, and sadness.

But he kept coming back, and that pissed me off. He kept peeking into the nursery at me and Baby Bird. He kept asking whether I was hungry or thirsty, or if there was anything he could do.

I reached my breaking point on New Year’s Eve. I told him he could spend the evening with his family, and I’d stay home with the baby. He went, and I was livid.

When he got home, I lit into him. What kind of man leaves his wife and newborn alone on New Year’s Eve? Who would think that was OK? 

I told him we weren’t working. I told him I felt like a single parent. And since I felt like a single parent, I might as well be one — and we should separate.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m an idiot and an ass, and none of this makes sense. He was trying to be there for me and Baby Bird, but I was keeping him away. You’re thinking he wanted to be a good husband and father, and I was stopping him at every turn.  

It’s crazy, I know. And I felt crazy. I didn’t want to be without my husband, but I was so angry and so tired and so confused, and I didn’t know why or what to do.

So I broke down and called a therapist.

The decision to ask for help was tough. I’m not one to be vulnerable, and I felt like telling a stranger about my problems would make me not just vulnerable, but a failure.

But I couldn’t imagine raising my daughter as the hostile woman I was becoming. 

I started counseling in late January, and Mr. T has gone to every appointment with me. The therapist said I could have postpartum depression, on top of feeling like I’ve lost control of my life (Type A personality struggles are real). 

I still have days when I’m cold, can’t stand my husband and don’t know why, but they’re nothing like before. (And let’s be honest: I’m not the only woman who just doesn’t want to be bothered sometimes.) I still have days when I’m distant or I talk down to him, and the hurt in his eyes breaks my heart. But I’m trying to be better. And therapy has been a tremendous help.

Through therapy, I learned that Mr. T felt I kept him from bonding with Baby Bird, and that kills me. And despite how horrible I was to him, he loves and misses me — the old me who was sassy, bossy, a little wild, and loving.

I miss me, too. Hopefully, with some work, the therapist’s help, and a little luck, I’ll be back soon.

Postpartum Pain: I Hate Your Face