On My Own, Pretending He's Beside Me
Updated: Oct 31, 2018
Getting pregnant was never going to catch us by surprise. It was a part of our plan. While my husband and I were dating, we talked about life goals and ambitions. For me, getting married and having four kids was the goal. My husband, on the other hand, was unsure if wanted children at all, but understood that marrying me meant compromising at two.
When I found out I was pregnant, we hadn’t been trying very long. We were extremely blessed and I became pregnant shortly after stopping birth control. At first, my husband was not sure how to feel about this. As time went on he seemed to be getting more comfortable with the idea of a child entering our lives. However, things shifted as my belly began to grow. I was enjoying the feel and the thought of a tiny human growing in my belly. My husband had a hard time processing how are lives were changing. He quit sleeping with me in our bed; he said it was uncomfortable. Our sex life decreased and the amount of time he spent at home also diminished. I was unsure of how to deal with his new demeanor but I was also wrapped up in the magic of being pregnant and nesting.
Time went by and my sweet baby boy, Knox, was born. My husband was around during the birth and made himself very available as we transitioned home. Maternity leave was filled with visits from family, numerous learning moments, and sleepovers at my sister’s house with the new baby.
Maternity leave sadly came to an end and our new reality set in. I had to return to work and learn how to juggle a 40 hour per week job, all the household chores, and a newborn, boob-attached baby. Sleep deprivation consumed my time to think and process anything that was not happening in the moment.
I soon began to acknowledge to myself the lack of support I was receiving from my husband. Everything fell on me; multiple, nightly wake-ups (my baby is NOT a sleeper), wake up, get ready, get the baby ready, drop off at daycare, work all day, squeeze in a workout at lunch, pick up from daycare, come home and immediately make a snack, entertain the baby, make dinner, clean up from dinner, bath and bedtime routines (which we all know how trying this can be), and finally a quiet moment for me. About that time, my husband would walk in. I was exhausted and not always in the best of moods. Most nights he was asleep on the couch before I even put the baby to bed. Night after night, I took on the role of a single mom. (Kudos to all the single moms out there!) No breaks. No moment to myself. No one to entertain the baby while I try to cook or clean up from dinner. Dinners began consisting of Hamburger Helper and sloppy joes; which, I’m not knocking by any stretch, because who doesn’t love sloppy joes? But, I used to enjoy challenging myself in the kitchen and I no longer had the desire nor the energy.
My husband is a farmer so his schedule is very different from mine; but when he could be home, he was choosing not to be at home and that was very hard. I know he loves me, but it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. He wasn’t bonding with Knox the way I had. I had countless breakdowns and thoughts of moving out.
His lack of desire to be involved broke my heart. Every time we talked, we seemed to argue. How did we get here? What happened? Prior to Knox, when did we ever fight? Communication was difficult because we could not see each other’s side. What do we do?
I went to bed night after night crying while my husband slept on the couch. Did I mention that Knox is NOT a sleeper? From day one, my son would not sleep in any mechanism longer than thirty minutes at a time. My arms, on the other hand, were the magic key to sleeping for hours on end. This led to co-sleeping, which for anyone who is against this, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. It may be the answer to your prayers, as it was for mine.
I started soul searching and wondering if it was all me. I prayed and prayed for God’s help. Was I a bad wife? Did I not give my husband the attention he needed? After working all day and fulfilling all of my typical nightly duties with my son, I did my best to keep myself awake to spend time with my husband.
While this helped a bit, I still did not feel any reciprocity. My love language is acts of service. I wanted my husband to help. I needed him to help. I started making actual requests of my husband and this turned out to be a step in the right direction.
So what have I learned in all of this? Well, at 35 years old, my husband was not ready for a baby. He had never been around a baby, or even held a baby before. When Knox was six months old, my husband shared, “When you said we were having a baby, THIS is what I thought we were having.”
I have learned quite a bit about communication and perspective. In my husband’s mind, he was not doing anything wrong. He was not sure how to handle the new stress, therefore, he retreated. I chose to look at this new world through his eyes. Does this excuse the way he acted? No way. Is it easy for me to forgive and forget? Absolutely not! But, I have chosen to be with him and will continue to work on our relationship, having faith that the second time around will be smoother.
Knox is now a year and a half and things are FINALLY turning around in our little family. Are we perfect? No. But who is? I remind myself that my husband may never show Knox the same love and attention that I do, but that does not mean he doesn’t love his son. My new goal? Be the best mom I can be.
I hope you will take this part of my story with you -- People change. How you decide to react to that change makes all the difference. It may take time, and there will undoubtedly be hardships and tears along the way, but if you truly love someone and want to make it work, I encourage you to do whatever it takes. Be the bigger person and be the first ‘to do.’ Be the first to give a kiss and say hello, even when you are exhausted and anxious. Be the first to give up something for the other; for me that was sleep and pride. Be the first to admit what really bothers you; do not make them figure it out on their own. Be the first to make a change.
Without faith, prayer, love and persistence, we could be divorced. We are not. We are learning together each and every day.
Kyndra Haggard is an Assistant Director for the Ball State University Career Center. She is a two-time graduate of Ball State with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Adult and Community Education.
She loves spending time with her son, Knox, and her husband, Spencer, on their family farm where they raise Registered Angus show cattle. She is driven by her passion for fitness and black coffee. Each day she strives to be a better mother, wife and asset to the community.