I am upset that he wants to go to the wedding, so far away from where we live, so soon after our baby is due. Not only am I nervous about being alone to take care of the baby at only three weeks old (he thinks that if I have help from my mom or nanny I should be fine), I’m very insecure about the fact that I am going to be overweight, I will not have had sex with my boyfriend for a month at least, and he’s going to be alone with unlimited alcohol and partying with gorgeous bikini-clad women.
I know that that’s insecure, and I can’t help it. I’m 42, pregnant, and emotional. I’m feeling insecure right now.
I already suffer from clinical depression and I have spoken with my therapist about the probability that I will have postpartum depression as well. I’m really afraid of being overwhelmed with the depression after the birth. My boyfriend is very attractive and is in the gym four times a week. I know that, at 43 years old after giving birth, I will be feeling overweight and uncomfortable with my body. I feel like he should be more considerate of my feelings and want to be there for me to comfort me and make me feel loved and beautiful and important after giving birth to our first child.
Is it unfair for me to be upset with him about wanting to go and party for a week with these friends instead of staying home with me to help me with the baby? — Mom To Be
It’s not unfair for you to want your partner to be with you as much as possible to help with the baby in the weeks and first few months after the birth. You will be exhausted, overwhelmed, hormonal, and potentially dealing with depression. A new baby is a ton of work, and if you have a partner who can take on some of that work, he needs to be there. Leaving you and the baby for a week to attend a wedding in another country just weeks after your due date doesn’t seem an appropriate sacrifice. And the fact that you are not OK with it should be reason enough.
I am curious about how you’ve framed your request that he skip this wedding though. (You have made that request, haven’t you? If not, you should—right away.) Because while it is fair to ask him to stay and help with the brand new baby, it isn’t fair to put responsibility on him to make you feel secure and comfortable and confident. This insecurity that you’ve already projected on your postpartum self is not about him. It’s about you. And YOU need to be the one to… well, deal with it. It’s a little alarming that you’re already thinking about your postpartum body so negatively. (“I’ll be overweight,” “I’ll be uncomfortable with my body.”) Maybe you WILL feel negatively about your body — I’ll be the first to admit, there’s nothing glamorous or sexy about the postpartum period when you’re wearing enormous maxi pads and mesh panties, applying cream to chapped, leaky nipples, and watching your abdomen morph into a deflated volleyball. But there’s also something incredibly empowering and beautiful about giving life to another human — growing it for nine months, giving birth, feeding it and nurturing it (often with your own body). I hope you are able to feel that sense of empowerment and pride and wonder. To be 43 and able to give birth to your first baby is truly a gift.
That said, it’s really common — and totally ok — to not feel sexy or attractive in those early weeks and months after giving birth. The sleep deprivation alone does a real number on a person. So I applaud you for thinking ahead about your emotional and mental health and talking to your therapist about how you’ll manage your clinical depression and potential PPD if you have it. But I am concerned that there seems to be so little trust between you and your boyfriend that the thought of his being around bikini-clad women after you will have gone a month or more without sex between the two of you has you so worried. That’s not healthy. It’s understandable that you’d want your boyfriend to stay and help with the overwhelming task of caring for a newborn, but if part of your reason for wanting him to skip the wedding is so he won’t cheat or be tempted to cheat on you, you’ve got some problems — really, more problems than I can address in a brief response to you.
You’re about to have a child together, and I would assume you are at least considering a long-term commitment together. You need to address your trust and jealousy issues asap, preferably with the guidance of a therapist. Even if your romantic relationship doesn’t work out, you are looking at at least 18 years of co-parenting a minor together, and you need to have basic trust and communication to do so successfully for all involved. That is way, way more important than some wedding you don’t want your boyfriend to go to. I mean, that’s just a symptom of the problem, and until you actually address the problem, you will continue having disagreements and fights that will seem to be about one thing but will really be about the lack of trust between you two and your demand that your boyfriend be responsible for your self-esteem.
So, in short: Tell him you don’t want him going to the wedding, but frame that request around the demands of having a newborn and not your insecurity about his being around other women. Make an appointment with a couples counselor to work through the trust issues you have. I’d also schedule some parenting classes to help give you both a better idea of what to expect with a brand new baby.