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Dad suffers mental break after birth of newborn; ' I don't want to do this for the next 18 years.' UPDATED 10 MONTHS LATER

Dad suffers mental break after birth of newborn; ' I don't want to do this for the next 18 years.' UPDATED 10 MONTHS LATER


When this new dad has a mental breakdown in response to having a baby, he asks the internet:

"I hate my life now. AITA?"

New dad here. I need to rant and I have nowhere else to go.

It's been 3.5 weeks since we gave birth to our first child. I'm now the most miserable numb I've ever been in my entire life and numb to everything around me. Nothing gives me joy anymore and I've lost any sense of purpose.

My wife and I were always planning on having kids, planning to start trying in a few years, but got bored during the pandemic and accidentally got pregnant. If I knew what my life would be like now I would have never had a baby.

One could say everything with the pregnancy went as good as we could have possibly asked for. Optimistic mommies and daddies would call it the greatest gift and tell us how we are so lucky we had an easy time getting pregnant and smooth pregnancy.

And although my wife had to have a c section because the baby was too large, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. And I hate everything about him and what he's done to our lives.

I hate the constant 24/7 attention. I hate the seemingly never-ending screaming. I hate how useless he is. I hate that he put my wife and her body through 9 months of torture and now months of slow, post-birth recovery.

I hate that I no longer have free time for myself. I hate that I don't get any alone time with my wife and our dogs.

I hate that we haven't been intimate in weeks. I hate that even if we were t try and be we can't be because the baby needs constant attention. I hate that we moved out of the city we lived into more space and have a more flexible, car-dependent lifestyle.

I hate that my wife and I sleep in separate bedrooms because I am a miserable, grouchy man if I'm woken up 4 times throughout the night.

And I didn't realize how irrationally angry and triggered I would get by uncontrollable newborn screaming.

Everyone told me being a parent is so great but I just don't think it is, it seems miserable. I don't want to do this for the next 18 years.

I can't believe that I now get joy out of running errands and getting out of the house that I pay for each month. And I'm happiest now that I am back at work and not focused on being a caretaker (of course is I also work from home because of covid so I don't ever really get to escape).

I'm tired, I'm annoyed, I get no pleasure spending time with my kid, nothing feels rewarding, and although I help my wife as much as I can after I wrap up work, I feel a constant sense of guilt that she is doing the heavy lifting.

Ironically, I should be happy. I'm further in my career than I ever could imagine at my age, financially stable, have no real issues, and have a generally flexible and comfortable lifestyle.

But I am so over this phase of my life. I feel like I want to fast forward to the time when this kid is at daycare all day and daydream about moving back to where our parents live so they can watch the baby all day - but they live on the other side of the country and this would be devastating to my career.

It's been 4 weeks that feels like 4 months and I just want to be happy again.

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

arishhh writes:

First of all, this is a great throwaway username. Now - I have a couple thoughts, but my first one is that you could easily be suffering from postpartum depression.

This time can be the hardest for any new parent, so if you feel this way in a couple weeks, it may be something more serious - but honestly it wouldn't hurt to speak with a therapist right now anyway, so I recommend you consider it.

This is a legitimately hard time, and you should feel no shame in getting help.

Now, two things: One, have you spoken with your wife about this? You might be assuming some things about how she actually feels: that she experienced 9 months of torture, that you are a miserable grouchy man (I know you feel that way but maybe it doesn't bother her that much) and that she does the heavy lifting.

That's all stuff you can communicate with her about. Don't just assume she feels that way. She may be doing okay. She may be happy.

Not saying it's an easy time, it is going to be hard for both of you, but communicating actually does make it easier. You can commiserate in the hard stuff, and share in the joys too.

You can be honest and open and vulnerable. You can talk about how hard it is, how hard it really is, for both of you. Maybe she has had some of these thoughts herself.

By the way it is okay if you have these thoughts and it is okay if she does too. If it's a problem to where it interferes with your life, you should work with a therapist to address that. But these are understandable feelings, so don't feel shame.

Two, you don't want to do this for 18 years. But trust me brother you will not be doing this for 18 months, or even 18 weeks. Things change very quickly. I know it may not help to hear that when you're in the middle of an all-nighter, but you're not doomed to change diapers for the rest of your life.

This may end up being the hardest time, right now. Anywhere from 3-6 weeks or so there's a phase where some things shift and change around. Things start to improve after that. I can't say when or how, and it won't make everything better, but a lot of people start getting more rewards at that point.

The baby does more than shit eat cry and sleep. Sometimes it wakes up and smiles at you. I'm not going to pretend it counterbalances everything and makes the hard stuff go away. But it's nice, and it gets you past the feeling that it's totally thankless.

Good luck. It sounds like you're doing a lot of things right. Just remember to take care of yourself too. See if you can talk with your wife about trying to set aside some time for intimacy, bearing in mind it can take months for her body to recover to a point where that will be pleasurable.

But the time alone together is important no matter what you do with it, so take that time, and communicate that you both will take it as slow as necessary. She may be very apprehensive. Sometimes just lying together and holding each other can be worth a lot. I bet she misses you too.

cralwdoom writes:

You need to talk to your doctor. Everyone tells you about PPD in mom but in my experience hardly anyone medical will check up on how dad is doing mentally.

It sounds like you could be facing with post partum depression or something a like. As a relatively new dad myself I completely understand your feeling of having your life as it is being taken away, but the realization needs to be there, that that life no longer exists. Note that while your feelings are always valid, it’s not okay to resent your child.

Have you taken the time to bond with your child, skin to skin contact? A baby is a lot of work for sure, when you take the time to bond your feelings towards them could shift.

You’ve made the decision to have a baby, and while your feelings of grief of that old life are something you need to go through, you need to realize that having a child requires sacrifice from both parents.

Realize that it’s not just a big change for you, but also for your baby. He or she has been in the safety and comfort of the womb for 9 months and now all of the sudden they have to eat, stay warm, poop, pee and explore things on their own.

All the while every newborns colons aren’t even completely done yet so processing food is something that can lead to pain.

Imagine having unfinished intestines yourself but having to process a food for the very first time in your life. That’s one of the things your baby is goin through.

And the only way they have to communicate that they are feeling some kind of feeling, be it hunger, pain or sleepiness is crying.

If we could consciously experience being a baby again I think we’d all be scared shitless. Please try to emphasize and understand that.

jdunc writes:

I have been following this subreddit for a few months and I have seen a few post like this, which is to say you are not alone in this feeling. I always try to reply to these because I have been there man. I know what you are feeling and it was tough and I hated myself for feeling that way. I regretted having a child the first few weeks, I thought it was a mistake that I couldn’t take back.

Me and my wife waited almost 10 years to have a child, so that is 10 years of forming a life together. We were focused on careers and traveling, did regular date nights in the city. But we also spent a lot of time just relaxing on weekends.

When we had our son in the middle of a pandemic it changed our whole world. No more traveling, no more date nights, no more just relaxing together. Everything we enjoyed doing was pretty much gone. I had to leave a job I liked to get a more flexible job.

So I was pretty unhappy and regretted having my son for a while. I think the hard part was that I to give up on the things I wanted and cared out and someone else had to be put first over my wants and needs. It is a huge adjustment that I wasn’t ready for.

And I hear what you are seeing about the baby being useless, not being able to do anything for himself. But it gradually got better for me, I got use to my new way of life but also my son started growing and developing and interacting with me and it got so much better.

But men go through post partum issues too and it doesn’t really get talked about much. I would talk to a professional if you are feeling depressed. Hang in there man and hope it gets better.

adfragg writes:

This sounds pretty normal. Whoever convinced you that parenting was something amazing and wonderful was bullshitting you. I don't understand how that is still the common narrative when it comes to being a parent. Being a parent can be an incredibly challenging experience and yeah, it completely alters your life.

The lack of sleep is a killer and it's no surprise to me how common post natal depression is. I am convinced that if parents truly knew what it was like then 75% just wouldn't do it.

I could give the same old cliches about the kind of love you feel for your kids and how this is a unique and special experience blah blah blah. Forget that, for now. This shit is HARD. You deserve to have a rant.

You need to express these feelings because they are real and justified. No need to look on the bright side or try to romanticize it. This is life now. It's not easy. It's not magical. It truly and honestly sucks.

The hard truth? You need to accept that and find a way to be ok. It will get easier, we can all tell you that. You will find positive moments in your life. It's not guaranteed to be this bad forever. But right now it's bad and no one is going to change that for you.

So please, rant and shout and scream and say whatever you need to say. No censorship here. I do not judge you at all. It's your experience and you're just telling the truth.

I can only hope that by doing that you can feel 1 or 2 percent better, find a bit more strength and start to figure out how to do this and not hate yourself and your family for it. You're going to be ok, but it's going to take some time to get there.

valkryiemadien writes:

So me and my honey just had our first kid last year. Our baby is now 9 months. It was the shittiest and roughest birth ever. I had a botched c section. My epidural was given incorrectly i felt all the pain went into shock almost died had to get a transfusion.

Have such bad back problems I have days I cant hold our baby for more than 30 min. I do almost all the house work and take care of the baby the most even on days my back is on fire. He even after longs days at work has started to step up and help more around the house.

I lost my job due to covid so hes the only one that works. And he has a very high stress job. There was a period he didnt help at all. And barely interacted with our baby. It caused issues and huge strain on our relationship. Long short I almost left him.

We had a long convo and came to the conclusion we both were overwhelmed going through post partum(dad post partum is a thing) and eventually have been working things out, communicating, and making sure the other gets their me time but also that we have family time. Its not easy to time manage with a new baby but it can be done.

I say all this bc maybe you're going through male post partum. However, if any part of you really feels like youd be better off without your wife or kid the issue is deeper. If no part of you feels like they are worth the effort to push yourself you may just actually be regretful.

Im a young mother and despite the shit we went through and how hard its been I still would have my baby girl again. If you feel that miserable i suggest you have a serious talk with your lady about separation.

I know it sounds harsh but if things dont change itll only get worse. And the situation doesnt sound good for anyone. And it can become toxic if not addressed and thats not fair for anyone.

Your baby deserves a father that loves and wants them. You have the right to want to feel happy and sane. And if being in your situation doesnt make you happy only you can change that.

Either sit down and have a heart to heart and try and figure out a system and start help create the change or face the reality splitting may be best. People always say its not thay simple but it is. If you're not happy then why stay besides you love her? Love really isnt enough.

You need balance effort peace communication understanding. Not saying you dont have these things there but if you feel any of that is missing you should have a talk. She and the baby deserve more and you deserve to be happy.

momthnkssmart writes:

I went through the same with my daughter. The first couple of weeks, I was absolutely wrecked by sleep deprivation and on edge about this new life I was supposed to feel responsibility and unconditional love for. When I didn't feel that, I just retreated into myself and started to feel resentment towards the baby.

Finally I talked to the nurse about it, and she said I was probably suffering from a potential post partum depression, exacerbated by a lack of sleep. She more or less ordered me to sleep separately from my wife and child for a week, and see if that helped (my wife was coping much better than me).

After I got to sleep through the week, the feelings of resentment started to fade, and I was just left with a bad conscience for not helping my wife out during the night, but the numbness stayed for a while.

The nurse suggested that I do some if the other chores with the baby, to compensate for not helping out at night, like bathing her, changing diapers, taking care of her in the morning to let my wife sleep in. This would also help me bond with her.

Today, my daughter is 5 years old, and thinking back on looking at her, not feeling a thing brings tears to my eyes. I love her more than I love life itself, and I would happily throw myself in front of a truck, if it meant saving her life.

So, know that it's not uncommon to feel like you do. It's an adjustment period, and meanwhile the sleep deprivation hurts your brain and turns you numb.

My advice is basically the same the nurse gave us. Get some sleep, and try to do stuff with the baby. Bonding takes time, before that happens, chores feel unbearable and annoying.

The first phase is tough, and tiredness makes it feel like it goes in forever. I know it's hard, but try and keep in mind that it will pass, and it will get better. Every time you do chores for the baby, you actually get a little stronger, a little better at being a dad, even if you can't feel it yet. But eventually you'll have adjusted to your new life, and will find strength within you to do whatever it takes to make your little one happy.

BTW don't listen to anybody telling you to just 'suck it up'. That made me feel like I was less of a man for feeling like I did. That helps no-one. You're allowed to feel like you do.

And now, OP's update, 10 months later:

Anyway, to all the new dads reading this and currently worrying that their lives are over... it gets so, so much better, I promise. Take it from someone who seriously thought his life was over.

I think we had a particularly challenging baby - colic, restless, not at all calm or enjoyable to be around. I was severely depressed for about 5 months. Reading back on that post and I can hardly remember the days - the first few months were a blur, but I do remember just how painful the feelings were.

Around 6 months is when it got better. We finally figured out what was causing the colic (GI issues, pressure your doctor for baby pepcid) and realized we needed to be closer to family (we moved halfway back across the country to be closer).

Little man started to get a personality, started to learn and embrace the world, and my wife and I finally got back into a routine and an understanding of our new life.

Wife and I had some really open talks during the first few months. I wasn't the only miserable one. Looking back, I'm absolutely selfish for not thinking that she was also experiencing similar and even worse feelings than I was. But we got through it with really open conversations and our relationship is stronger coming out it.

11 months in and we are now planning for a first birthday party with family, about to move into to our new family home, and living in a city with a support group of other young parents with babies. It's just a world different from where I was mentally this time last year.

And the kid is just so much fun. He's taking his first steps, babbling, goes swimming with me every day, sleeps 12 hours a night, takes naps, eats food, and laughs at all my dumb jokes :) I honestly never thought I would like him and here we are, I'd take a bullet for him.

Anyway, my messages are always open for new dads going through post partum depression. It is real. Do not let anyone tell you you are not supposed to be feeling what you are feeling.

My main piece of advice - just genuinely give it time. Find what makes you happy for the first 4-6 months and do that thing. Your kid might not make you happy and it's ok. Be patient and give it time.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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