Husband Is Ambivalent
By Judith Lolas, MSW, ACSW
Q. I'm 29 weeks with my first baby. It was an accident, and there's the rub. I've been feeling a mixture of scared, excited, nervous, disbelieving and many more emotions as I contemplate becoming a mother for the first time, and how our lives are going to change. My husband feels pretty negatively about the whole experience. He started off quite excited, but has since gotten more and more depressed and bleak about the arrival of our child. He admits he doesn't really want it, can't imagine ever loving it and mourns everything he feels we're going to lose as a couple (freedom, sponteneity, money!). It brings me down so much to hear him, and I worry about the future, even though our relationship is strong, loving, we have a home and jobs and supportive parents etc. I don't want him to bottle up his feelings, but it's really hard to hear this kind of thing and feel positive about the life that is growing within me.
A. Many men feel "left out" or fearful of losing the love and attention of the woman when a child comes. Some also are honest enough to admit they resent the infringement on their freetime. However, I have learned that even the most set men melt when they first hold their child. Yes, they may become panicked now that they have a child depending on them, and some may even fight it at first. However, taking care of the child together--through its first illness, its first word, its first tooth--creates a very strong bond between those who already have a good start.
I would advise keeping the lines of communication open, reassuring your husband of your love and closeness with him, and letting him voice his fears. I also suggest that he may want to talk to someone else besides you about this. Does he have a good male friend who's been through this? You can also explain to him, or perhaps your doctor can, that this is a time when you need his love and support most, that even if he thinks he can't care for the baby, he does care for YOU. And you need him now . . . I hope this helps a bit.