In the quiet corners of the night, a new parent grapples with the delicate dance of caring for their newborn. As the world sleeps, tensions rise, and emotions simmer beneath the surface, unveiling a tale of nocturnal struggles, whispered frustrations, and the quest for balance in the hushed hours of early parenthood. Dive into a story where the shadows conceal more than just the nursery, and the night holds secrets that beg to be unraveled.
Featured Image Credit: Elnur_ /Depositphotos.com.
Navigating Nighttime Nurturing
In the quiet hours of the night, 32-year-old OP (original poster) found herself entangled in the delicate dance of caring for her three-week-old newborn. With a low milk supply, she diligently pumps every 2-3 hours, sharing the nighttime duties with her 35-year-old husband. Their plan involves a synchronized effort for the first feeding/pump session, where she focuses on pumping, and he tends to the baby with a bottle. The catch? His chronic insomnia and a fit of surprising, explosive anger that disrupted the nocturnal routine.
The Midnight Discord
As the feeding time arrives, she always attempts to wake her husband gently, but his reactions are far from serene. In a knee-jerk response, he erupts into anger, complaining loudly about his recently disturbed sleep. The mother, burdened by guilt, grapples with the emotional aftermath, torn between seeking help and dealing with her husband’s irritable outbursts. The nightly routine becomes a battleground, leaving her questioning the balance between her own well-being and the demands of parenthood.
Resentment and Reflection: A Maternal Dilemma
In the sobering light of day, the mother confronts her feelings of resentment. However, he asked OP to overlook his initial frustration for the first 15 seconds after being awakened.
“Can you just ignore my being mad for the first 15 seconds after you wake me up? I’ve done a good job here, and I feel like I’m owed that. I need you to be a big girl.”
However, OP couldn’t shake the growing resentment she felt, realizing that the onus was on her to move past his outbursts. Despite this internal struggle, she acknowledged the brief nature of his bursts and recognized his commitment to waking up to assist during the challenging period of shared sleep deprivation. The complexity deepened as she considered his overall support in maintaining their well-being and emotional balance throughout the day, leaving her torn between resentment and extending understanding for the sake of their shared journey into parenthood.
As the narrative unfolds, revealing the complexities of the new parents’ nighttime struggles, online commenters offer a diverse array of perspectives, advice, and critiques, adding layers of insight to the ongoing story of this couple navigating the challenges of early parenthood.
robecityholly acknowledged the challenges both parents face during this trying time, empathizing with the husband’s insomnia but suggesting a more compassionate approach.
“This is the hardest time as new parents, and both of you have personal challenges adding to the difficulty! Both of you are exhausted and it’s expected that patience will be thin and emotions will be more difficult to control. As someone who has dealt with insomnia, I can empathize with his despair of just having fallen asleep only to be woken. However, he shouldn’t be using terms like ‘big girl’ when you are expressing sensitivity to his reaction. He should simply apologize each time to you if it really is involuntary. Tell him that your response to his outbursts is involuntary as well.”
Meanwhile, Cool_Relative7359 reacted strongly to the husband’s request for the OP to “be a big girl,”
“What in the infantilizing, transactional, condescending bs is this? I’d start waking him by turning on an alarm and leaving the room. Or by leaving the baby monitor on loud on his nightstand and sleep elsewhere. & he’s not ‘waking up to help you’. He’s waking up to be a parent to his child.”
czzyp offered straightforward advice to the OP, recommending she stop waking up her husband.
“Stop waking him up. The stress his anger (even though it is involuntary) is causing you is damaging. Tell him that he doesn’t get to tell you to be a big girl when you are the one having to deal with his outbursts. You are sleep deprived and emotional for a very valid reason. This is making things worse for you. There are so many ways he can help – this way is not working for you and your emotional well-being.”
An In-depth Analysis of the Situation
Relevant_Birthday516 suggested a possible gaslighting situation and advised the OP to pay heed to the red flags.
“Let me get this straight, your husband is gaslighting you into thinking you are the problem, becoming emotionally abusive when you explain his anger is an issue for you and then he infantilises you by acting like you’re a child who needs to be placated cause you’re not putting yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable? This is the bit where I’d say the pretty red flags you’re collecting are telling you to run.”
More interestingly, Emergency-Fox-5982 shed light on the hormonal aspect of milk letdowns and how the husband’s inability to control his emotions might impact the pumping process negatively.
“Also, milk let downs are very related to hormones. There’s a reason women are told to look at photos or videos of their babies while pumping. His inability to control himself could actually be impacting how successfully pumping is going for her. Anger and fear are not the emotions that get the good hormones going.”
The online comments predominantly rallied behind OP, expressing concern over her husband’s behavior and suggesting alternative approaches to handle the nighttime routine. Many felt that the husband’s request for the OP to “be a big girl” was condescending, and the consensus leaned towards her need for empathy and understanding.
The collective sentiment underscores the importance of effective communication, shared responsibility in parenting, and the recognition of emotional well-being, shaping a narrative where support and compassion are paramount in the journey of parenthood.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?