Why I was to blame for my husband rejecting our son (guest post from The Real Supermum)

I would like to introduce you all to Emma, Emma blogs at The Real Super Mum .  I don’t often have guest blogs, in fact this is just the second I have done, but when Emma offered to write guest pieces on twitter I decided to talk to her about it. I am extremely glad I did, as she agreed to write about her experiences with Post Natal Depression (PND) and the effects it had on her family and husband.

PND still isn’t dealt with or talked about as it should be, it is such a huge issue yet support and awareness is patchy at best. Especially in men, although officially now recognised as an illness, there is little or no support or recognition. It is subject I have written about here but the warning signs are often missed. Especially the fact that if found in men then high likelihood their partner is also suffering and needs to be supported.

I’m not particularly happy with the heading but its Emma’s heading so it stays, what I would say is in my opinion, in no way was she to blame, her actions were born out of illness not malice or selfishness. It is lack of support or awareness that is to blame and all of us that work with expectant parents shoulder part of that responsibility.  Awareness needs to be raised and parents made aware of signs to look for.

Emma’s Story

Matt & I met online, within 6 months of talking we arranged to meet for the first time. Two weeks later he moved in and within 6 weeks we were expecting our first child together. Matt already had 3 children from his previous marriage, so had I. Matt was a superb father, he did everything he could to take on an active role with our new daughter. He did nappy changes, feeding, bath times and did his fair share of wakeful nights. Our relationship blossomed and we were a very happy family. When our daughter was 8 weeks old it was not such a shock to find out I was pregnant, we had played Russian roulette on a few occasions, the gun was loaded, it aimed and fired. We were soon preparing to have our second child.

When our son was born, I was far too busy being mummy to 5 that I did not realise my own mental health was deteriorating. I have always for as long as I can remember had trouble with depression, this is when the nightmare with my illness started, it would last a further 2 years. It was something that had crept up slowly and then overnight it changed me.

I became extremely paranoid and became rather obsessive, with the children, the housework and even with very small trivial things. When our son needed a nappy change or feeding, I would do it. I did not allow anyone other than me to hold him. I was his mum, he needed me. I believe using him as an excuse to make me feel better about myself, needed by someone, it was my escape from the black cloud hanging over my head. If I kept myself busy with my new baby the depression could not win. While I was so busy fighting with my own demons I did not notice what I was doing to Matt.

Of course Matt knew something was wrong with me, I guess he did not know much about PND, not many men do.  Whenever he tried to intervene I would become angry and I even started to distance myself from him, did not even want him in the same room as me. I took it that he was judging my parenting capabilities and I even spent the first 4 months of our sons life sleeping on the sofa, using our son as an excuse.

“Both of us were suffering and it pushed us so far apart.”

My depression lifted after a few months and by the time our son was 6 months old Matt had taken a back seat to caring for our son, while he was still an amazing daddy to our daughter and to my other 3 children, he had barely had the chance to hold his new son. It was then I noticed how much damage I had done by pushing him out. It broke my heart when he admitted he felt he had no bond with his son, I knew I was to blame.

Matt did go to speak with the GP, was prescribed antidepressants and even spoke to a counsellor. The counselling was remarkable, it revealed that the relationship Matt had with his own father was not a positive one, with me also refusing him to be allowed to bond with his son, the inevitable happened, he rejected him instead.

Within time that bond did happen, the two of them are now inseparable. The way our son’s eyes light up when daddy walks into the room or picks him up, can melt your heart.  To look at them now you would have never have known at one time he never bonded with him.

I know to this day he still beats himself up, so do I. I still feel guilty that I played a huge part in his depression. Matt was never diagnosed with PND, he was diagnosed with severe depression – I am under the belief that health professionals still to this date do not recognise that PND happens in men too. This is something I feel very strongly about. The focus is always on the mum, never the dad. ( Post Natal depression in men)

Within a year our second son was born, when our third child together was 6 months old, Matt would have to take on the full time care of all my 6 children, but that’s a different story, for another time.


18 thoughts on “Why I was to blame for my husband rejecting our son (guest post from The Real Supermum)

  1. you are one very strong lady hunni and a fantastic role modle for us mummies who think we are sinking , you’ve show it is possible to pick yourself up and fight ….. totally in oar of you … and Matt sounds like the best rock/shoulder any women would love to have as their own , big hug xxx

    • Hey Angie,
      Now there comes that word again, strong. I would never use that word to describe myself 🙁 I will and believe will always have a very negative view on who and what I am. I am still fighting my demons daily and it can be hard. One thing that does help is knowing that by sharing my experiences it does help others see that we can come out of that place and fight to live another day x

  2. I’m very conscious that I try to do everything for my baby son and his dad doesn’t get much of a look in. This has made me think more carefully. Thanks Emma.

    • Hi Helen, Thank you for your comment. I think its something “many” of us mums do. We feel we can do better perhaps and its “our” job. Sadly dads do get pushed our, yes my experience was extreme, but with our without PND I think we as mums need to give dads a change to get involved. We have had those extra 9 months to get to know our baby, its all very new to dads and they need a chance to bond too.

  3. emma this is such a touching post .. and has made me look at my own life i am very much like this with my oh and it has opened my eyes to how he may be feeling !! i have said it many times you are a fantastic mum and a great role model you should be very proud of yourself XX

    • Hey Saphire,
      Thank you for your kind words. To be honest everything Matt & I have been through has made us stronger than ever. I will always feel guilty about my illness, that is something that will never go away but I do hope by sharing my experience it will make other mums stop taking the lead and allow dads more involvement.

  4. your an inspriation to us all Emma! You’ve shown many of us mums that no matter what problems we have that we can get past them. Your a very strong woman and Matt sounds like the perfect partner! Love ye lots x

  5. You’re an inspiration to all mums emma, and i mean what i say when i say you’re one of the most caring, loving and strong people ive ever had the pleasure of knowing. im proud that i can say i know you. Without even trying, you’ve made my life easier, and you’ve given me friends when i needed them most. You’ve always been there to listen to me, and the other mums on the group, and regardless of your own problems and stresses, you always help!!! I can think of no better person i would want for a godparent to my children, and im so glad you accepted!
    stay strong hunni! x

    • Hey Kirsty,
      You are one of a few who had the chance to meet Matt & I when you attended our wedding a few months ago now – gosh feels like years ago … he is my soul mate and without him I am not sure I would be sat here now writing this reply to you. We will be visiting you and yours very soon and lots of cuddles await my new godson x

  6. Another Fantastic piece, Emma always tells it how it is she is right, no one ever thinks of the Dads !!
    People took the mick when my partner development pregnancy cravings when i was expecting our 2nd child,ok it was a bit odd but it happened, he also put on 2 stone in weight it was a hard and strange time for him. So when I had my own battle with PND it was no surprise that he also had similar feelings. Probably lack of sleep caused alot of it he was holding down a hard job looking after our eldest child and trying to comfort me, although I did the same as Emma and kept pushing him away,When my meds finally kicked in, I didn’t feel quite so on edge,I let him start helping as well. The black smoke lifted that had formed and I can now say we are both coping very well I still suffer with bouts of depression but have learnt to let my OH and others help rather than shutting everyone out.
    Mummies think of the Dads they may be feeling the same xxx

  7. Emma, you shouldnt blame yourself and i’m sure Matt doesnt. you were ill. You’re an inspiration to everyone. And as you’ve said Matt and his son have a great relationship now. No harm done. And you are a great mum. I’ve seen you in action remember. Love to you and MAtt, and the rugrats 🙂

  8. Ha ha oh yes I ALWAYS tell it as it is. I am one of few mums who will stick up and shout from the roof tops about how amazing dads can be if given the chance. So glad you came threw it too hun x

  9. Pingback: Life with a new born, things to expect! | DaddyNatal

  10. My husband and I talked about this post. I had some postpartum in the first few months after our daughter was born. I still have some every now and then. It really stinks. It’s interesting because my husband and I went into a whole new role when she was born and now that she’s almost a year old were starting to want to cuddle more and such.

  11. I went through almost the exact same thing. My daughter was in intensive care for a week after her birth and I had to watch nurses and doctors changing her, feeding her, doing all the things I wanted to be able to do for my new baby. When we did eventually get her home, I became (and am still now, to an extent) a complete control freak, wanting to do everything myself. I think my husband felt alienated by my ways and I had to work really hard to loosen my grip on my daughter’s life.

    These days she’s a Daddy’s girl, through and through, but even now when she asks Daddy to do something instead of coming to Mummy, it still smarts a bit, but I just silently deal with it!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story, Supermom! I’m a mom of six and know how challenging it can be.

    You’re very lucky to have such a supportive husband who was and is willing to stick it out and not ‘check out.’

    Best wishes to you and may the sun shine for you everyday! 🙂

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