If one more person says...

How do pregnancy and the first year after birth impact a couples sexuality?
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Dgenerous
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If one more person says...

Postby Dgenerous » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:20 pm

"I forgot you were pregnant!" I swear I'm going to lose it.

I'm really tired. DH's family came to stay with us this weekend and we had a little first birthday party for our daughter. (She won't actually be one until Valentine's Day). There was the ongoing rigamarole of his sister and mom telling me how lucky I am that DH helps me so much. I just smile and nod, but inside I'm thinking 1) he's way more helpful when they're there than when they're not 2) he isn't even here a whole lot and 3) the things they mention--changing diapers and vacuuming in this case--are not exactly going above and beyond unless I'm just being a brat. I see those as kind of a baseline regular life kind of thing. It feels like they are telling me I don't work hard enough.

Also, this trip really gave me insight into how DH's upbringing reflects in some of the recent issues we've had. While I made all the food and decorated for the party, his mom and sister sat on the couch and looked through his sister's most recent vacation pictures. His dad actually came over and helped me hang something. DH wasn't home. I forget why. My daughter was napping for two hours before the party. I guess they thought that, as guests, they shouldn't even offer to help?

DH says I should have just put them to work anyway. I would have delegated if they had asked, but I just wasn't comfortable going to another room and asking them to come help me.

It wasn't that big a party, but I did feed twelve people. And I'm pregnant and tired and I guess I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. And also scared because they both say they're coming out when the second baby is born in May. After this trip I'm wondering how that could possibly be helpful.

So anyway. I'm just struggling and needed to vent, although if you think I need correction on any particular point go ahead. My baby is teething so I haven't been able to get the house back to normal yet (which is also why I've been on TMB more than usual today). I guess I'm feeling conflicted between wishing I had a little help and feeling guilty because clearly other people think I've got more help than I deserve.

In my first pregnancy everyone tried to baby me and I was thankful DH didn't. This time everyone literally keeps forgetting that I'm pregnant and now is when I feel like I could actually use some help!

Also, geez, shouldn't I be handling this better?? I mean, I've only got the one kiddo. I know some of you have lots of littles and I feel like a loser because I'm overwhelmed with one! AND she's like the world's most even tempered baby. A fact that people also like to remind me of. "You're so lucky to have such an easy baby" is a refrain I hear a lot.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby HisLadybug » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:48 pm

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. First, do not feel like you are a wimp for being overwhelmed with one. I think it really depends on the kid, but mine is so incredibly busy all the time! I really don't know how people with two kids especially under 2 do anything during the day except keep them alive. You are a rockstar in my book.

I think a mom with a new baby and another one who is not even two yet needs special consideration, sensitivity, and help. I think you should start talking to your husband now, and let him know that he should probably talk to his family who want to come when the baby is born. This is his chance to step up and be protective of you. If they are going to sit around and expect to be served, or at least not help, then their presence shouldn't be allowed during the early weeks. Remember that your first obligation when you have this new one is that new baby, and then the next priority is yourself, keeping yourself fed and rested. Hopefully your husband can wrangle your older one for a week or so while you find your bearings with 2 kids.

I get the whole thing about feeling like you should have more help. My husband leaves around 6 AM and doesn't come home until 5 PM. Then he usually has stuff to do to prepare for the next day. He does play with our son when he gets home, but I am constantly jealous and sometimes a little bitter that he can just go into his office and close the door, or go to the bathroom by himself. Where is I have to put in a request to Washington DC and the US military to go to the bathroom alone. And I work two days a week now too, which really has made life interesting. Yet my load at home hasn't decreased. Funny how that works huh?

I also agree with you that vacuuming etc. are just baseline household things that adults do. Just because your husband works outside the home doesn't mean that he shouldn't have to put in some time at home doing housework. I think you know that. It's just that sometimes we think we should be supermom and a super wife and to do it all.

I wish I could show you my living room right now. It is a complete disaster and my son has watched more veggie tales than I'd like to admit today, but the reality is that I have been cooking and doing laundry and I just needed to keep him out of my hair.

Big hugs to you. Hang in there and PM me if you need to talk.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby beautyfromashes » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:32 pm

Sweetie, you are not a wimp! Having just one is still a lot of work. Being pregnant and chasing a toddler is a crazy amount of work!

I've been through similar stuff with my MIL. She always wants to come visit right after a baby. One time they arrived the same day we got home from the hospital. They usually stay 7-10 days. My MIL is very fond of telling me I shouldn't be doing laundry, or cooking, or whatever, but she never offers to help. With a couple of the babies, people from church didn't do meals at all because they figured my MIL would handle it. She didn't. I ended up doing all the cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc. for my family, plus guests, while recovering and taking care of a newborn. Not fun.

My suggestions? (And I didn't figure out most of these until #4 came along)

Take any help that anyone offers. If you think like me, that's hard because you want to prove you can do it yourself, and you don't want to be a bother. But seriously, let them. Start thinking about what you can let people help with now, so when someone calls and asks "What can I do?" you've got an answer already, rather "I'm fine. Thanks."

Talk with your DH about boundaries with the in-laws now. Maybe ask him to be the go-between and assign them jobs. It might be worth asking them to stay in a hotel to help take a little of the pressure off you.

You may have to be proactive and ask people for help. Do you know a teen/college age kid, who would (cheaply) come over for a couple hours a week and give you a hand? They could play with the toddler, if nothing else and give you a chance to shower, or take a nap with baby, or go grocery shopping.

The crockpot is your friend. So is the freezer. Double up recipes now, and freeze the other half for those crazy post-baby days.

Your most important job is keeping you and your babies safe and happy. All that other stuff can wait.

If I were closer, I'd bring you dinner and take baby girl off your hands for an afternoon so you could get a good nap. But instead feel free to message me or whatever. I'm hardly an expert in organization or childrearing, but I can at least empathize. :)
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby TilWeHaveFaces » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:22 pm

First of all, I'm not entirely sure if you're looking for advice or just sympathetic ears... so let me start with the latter. :mrgreen: Hopefully you have some girlfriends to come around, give you some hugs (and maybe drink some Shirley Temples -- pregnancy stinks in that regard) and give you permission to vent. Because imho, you have a right to. Numbers of kids are only part of the workload -- the ages of the kids and expectations (both from others and from yourself) are the other part of it. And any way you shake it, having a non-potty-trained toddler is taxing. Right now, even though we have four, the 14-month-old is a (supercute!) high-maintenance nightmare, getting into everything and already saying "no" constantly. I don't know what we'd do without our nanny and sitters.

Plus, I know that as a SAHM you have pretty high expectations of yourself, and your choices speak to some of that: cloth diapers, from-scratch cooking, etc. I know you like things to be "just so," and you are sensitive to comments to others that may indicate you are not hitting the mark. So all of that makes it tough.

What I hear you asking in all of that is, "Is this really all that hard? Do I really have a right to complain?" Yeah, you do. You are pregnant, and while your daughter is relatively easy, she is not at a particularly easy age. Plus, you don't have any help that I know of. No part-time nanny, no housekeeper/maid, no nothing. So yeah, it's OK to feel annoyed, and it's definitely OK to feel annoyed when you, the pregnant lady, are doing ALL of the work when you have family visiting. (Family cultures are obviously different: in mine everyone would be rushing to help.) Bottom line? If we were in your town I'd send my wife over with a meal and a few big hugs for you.

As for the advice bit (assuming you want that) -- how are you with asking for help? Is it easy for you to do, or is it like pulling teeth? (This may be an area of growth, I'm guessing.) I'm with DH -- next time I'd just draft 'em. They probably didn't realize all that you were taking on or how hard it was for you.

My $0.02. (Posted at the same time as BFA and containing pretty much the same stuff.)

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby TilWeHaveFaces » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:26 pm

PS- I am thinking there may need to be a "Come To Jesus" conversation with DH well in advance of this baby arriving. As I recall you trained him pretty well with #1 that you were Superwoman and didn't need to be coddled. It would be a pretty good idea for him to unlearn those lessons at this point, I'm thinking...

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Leah » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:51 pm

Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry.

Two words: Delegate. Delegate.

"Mom, could you please put ice in glasses?"

"Sis, would you please put these dishes out?"
Leah

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Dgenerous » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:07 pm

Family cultures *are* so different! My family wouldn't need to be asked. They would just go to work.

Asking is SO HARD for me. It's an ongoing issue with DH (mine--not his) and I don't even know what the root of it is. Pride? Fear of man? All I know is it feels impossible to me to ask his mom to do something. I feel like I've come a long way in that I would accept help if it was offered. But I don't think I've trained them in that regard, because she seems unimpressed with my housekeeping efforts.

There was the additional strain this time of MIL having recently gone vegetarian (basically the opposite of how we eat--more on the Paleo side) and SIL having gone gluten free (or so she claims. She seems to regularly cheat) and pescatarian. They all eat out a lot, so they would have taken us out for every meal, but eating two meals a day at a restaurant is gross and difficult with a baby/toddler. So I did all the cooking. (They did help with the cleanup.)
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby InGodsGrace » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:36 pm

Oh how I can sympathize!!! Hugs!!

As for asking... I'm working on this DAILY. It's a fear issue, fear of what others will think, that you (not you, you, but in general you) won't measure up etc. it's thinking you can do it yourself, you have it all figured out. Okay, maybe it is pride too lol.

I'm praying for you!

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby seeking perspective » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:00 pm

I'm sorry. This reminds me of family gatherings when my children were small. I would be fuming or crying in the kitchen while everyone else was enjoying themselves.

Dgenerous wrote:DH says I should have just put them to work anyway. I would have delegated if they had asked, but I just wasn't comfortable going to another room and asking them to come help me.

If this is the way it's done in your husband's family, then that's the way to approach it. My mother-in-law is very respectful of other people's kitchens and kitchen practices (due to her mother-in-law's habit of coming in and telling her she was doing things wrong and then rearranging the cabinets), so she waits to be asked. It took me a loooong time to get comfortable with this. When they are here, I try to think ahead about what tasks I can ask them to help with. It's taken a long time, but I can finally say, "Could you bring those pictures into the kitchen and peel some potatoes while you talk about the trip?" I still hate doing it, but it's the way my husband's family operates. It's much easier when my family is there, because they just jump in and help.

I guess I'm feeling conflicted between wishing I had a little help and feeling guilty because clearly other people think I've got more help than I deserve.

Why do you think they think you don't deserve help? Saying that you're lucky that your husband helps you doesn't mean you don't deserve that much and more. Did they say this, is it an on-going theme with them, or is this part of you feeling like you should be able to handle it all without complaining? All mamas deserve help (especially pregnant mamas with teething babies).

Asking is SO HARD for me. It's an ongoing issue with DH (mine--not his) and I don't even know what the root of it is. Pride? Fear of man? All I know is it feels impossible to me to ask his mom to do something. I feel like I've come a long way in that I would accept help if it was offered. But I don't think I've trained them in that regard, because she seems unimpressed with my housekeeping efforts.


Asking is hard--but the sooner you get comfortable with it, the easier it will be going forward. If you don't, you'll be standing in the kitchen fuming or crying when everyone's there for one of your kids' high school graduation parties, wishing someone would just come help you. Oh, never mind. That was me.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Leah » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:05 pm

I don't like other people messing in my kitchen, either. For one thing, it's very small and I need space when I work. For another thing, it's small and everything has its space.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby angellove » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:23 pm

If someone asks me to honor their dietary needs, they are going to need to help me with that. I am pretty good with various dietary issues because I have to work around them as a daily routine. What I've found is that people who are 'really' concerned are also involved in the kitchen.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it is okay to ask for help and that if I want something that isn't happening, I have to 'use my words' to ask. I figure that just letting my expectations go unfulfilled is asking for unhappy emotions.

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Dgenerous » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:50 pm

Okay, I am thinking I might need to lower my standards a bit on the house. DH and I talked about it. I don't think I'm being lazy at all. This is another ongoing thing I worry about.

Someone asked if my inlaws have actually said they don't approve of my housekeeping. They haven't, although my MIL did tell me once that she thinks some women like cleaning and are good at it and some women like cooking and are good at it. I think she was trying to compliment me by saying I'm a good cook, but being me and never thinking I'm good enough or doing enough I automatically see that from the perspective that I'm not the one who likes cleaning and is good at it. His family is critical of others and it's always bothered me the way they talk about people behind their backs. His sister is the worst. They are a ministry family so that makes it extra sad. Anyway, I'm sure they are more critical of me behind my back because that's how they are. DH is NOT like this at all--in fact he gives people the benefit of the doubt more than I would like sometimes.

I guess I'm realizing that it's probably not realistic for me to expect myself to be literally working all day. I wish this all wasn't so hard for me. I hope I can learn how to deal with this because I want to set a good example for my kids, you know?
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby TilWeHaveFaces » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:05 pm

So, two potential areas of growth for you:

1) Asking for help.

2) Defining "success" via living in grace before God (and with DH as a sounding board) rather than via the unspoken expectations of others.

Easy, right? :lol:

Anyway, I see in you a lot of the self-pressure my own ACOA bride puts on herself. She is her own worst critic, and her standards are higher than anyone else's. It's a tough way to live, and if I knew a good way out, I'd be applying it closer to home. But that's something to think about, anyway.

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Dgenerous » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:27 pm

1) I don't know whom I would ask for help on a regular basis. You talk to DH--you know how busy he is. I actually asked him to do a few things last night and somehow he didn't do any of them without actually telling me no. Sneaky. It's so hard to ask asking twice seems impossible.

2) I definitely think this one is a must. I'm just not sure where to start, or how to change my thinking.

Someone had suggested help from a teenager a couple times a week. That's something I've thought about. I need to run it by DH again. As I said in my other thread we are locking down our finances. It would be hard for me to justify paying someone, and I can't imagine expecting to come help and not get paid.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby TilWeHaveFaces » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:32 pm

Dgenerous wrote:1) I don't know whom I would ask for help on a regular basis. You talk to DH--you know how busy he is. I actually asked him to do a few things last night and somehow he didn't do any of them without actually telling me no. Sneaky. It's so hard to ask asking twice seems impossible.


I know he's busy. I wasn't necessarily thinking of him. I was thinking more the situation that presented itself, with family guests present, but not offering to lift a finger for the preggo toddler mom. :hb:

That said, if you asked him to do things for you, he said "yes" (or something to that effect) yet they remain undone, you should circle back and address that. Not to nag or ask again, but more along the lines of "if you weren't going to do that, it really isn't helpful to me to say that you were. I'd rather you just said no, honestly." (A line I have been on the receiving end of, oh, a few times. :oops: )

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Re: If one more person says...

Postby seeking perspective » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:55 pm

Dgenerous wrote:1) I don't know whom I would ask for help on a regular basis. You talk to DH--you know how busy he is. I actually asked him to do a few things last night and somehow he didn't do any of them without actually telling me no. Sneaky. It's so hard to ask asking twice seems impossible.


Would your husband do better if he had the same tasks every day as opposed to helping you when you ask?

I have a friend whose husband doesn't do well with unexpected tasks (such as anything extra she would ask him to do in the evening to help her out). Instead, she asked him to take one or two things off her plate for her every evening--something that would become part of her routine and that would free up a real amount of time so she could take care of the various things that pop up or even just sit and relax for a few minutes. He suggested that he take care of baths and bedtime. It's a significant undertaking with four kids, but because it's part of his daily routine at home, he no longer feels like he is getting barraged with requests for help or watching his wife having a meltdown every night. Although it doesn't sound like you are either barraging him or melting down, do you think this would be a way of involving your husband in a way that is genuinely helpful for you. It would also relieve you of the need to ask for help on a daily basis because it would now be his job, not yours.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Dgenerous » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:34 pm

I will ask him about that, SP. He sometimes handles dinner clean up. But I ask every time. It would be really nice if he would consider that "his" job.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Dgenerous » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:37 pm

TilWeHaveFaces wrote: I was thinking more the situation that presented itself, with family guests present, but not offering to lift a finger for the preggo toddler mom. :hb:


Oh, right. Yes. I can do that.
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Re: If one more person says...

Postby lee'swife » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:42 pm

(((Hugs))) you've gotten great advice. I also agree that you have a reason to to feel this way you are not being a wimp!


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Re: If one more person says...

Postby Leah » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:49 pm

Dgenerous wrote:Someone had suggested help from a teenager a couple times a week. That's something I've thought about. I need to run it by DH again. As I said in my other thread we are locking down our finances. It would be hard for me to justify paying someone, and I can't imagine expecting to come help and not get paid.


Could you barter for knitting, personal training, or nutrition counseling? There might be a young athlete in a high school near you who is looking for an extra edge.
Leah

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