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Any guidance from your experience would be welcomed. — Ballistic
Whatever is going on in your marriage and/or with your mental health is what needs your focus here. Your attention is completely misdirected, and your seething anger and jealousy is completely unwarranted. There’s nothing inappropriate or unseemly about two exes connecting on social media thirty years after breaking up – even if one or both are married to other people. People do this all the time, especially if there are mutual connections, as is the case with your husband and his ex. That you’ve gone “ballistic” over this and find it hard to forgive your husband and say the “trust is now completely gone” suggests some much deeper issues here that I urge you to address. Your reaction is not normal or healthy. It’s really alarming. I hope you will take this in the spirit it’s intended: You need the help of a therapist who can work with you over the course of multiple sessions to help you unpack the source of your rage and heal so that you can move forward as the healthiest — and hopefully happiest — version of yourself possible.
Being a new mom can be so hard, but it sounds like you’re really doing a wonderful job. I know this because you are thoughtful about your relationship with your baby and you took the time to write in for advice. That already shows how much you care and love your baby and want the best for him. That is a sign of a great parent!
But here’s the thing: Your baby is way, way too young to have the kinds of thoughts and feelings you are attributing to him. You seem to believe he doesn’t love you or doesn’t want to be with you. Did you know that at six months old, your baby doesn’t even know you two are separate people? It’s true! It’s not until between 7-12 months that a baby begins to recognize his or her mother as a separate person. So, any messages you believe are being communicated through his tears are NOT reflective of his relationship to you. He literally does not even know you are a separate person. At this point, his relationship with you is the same as his relationship with himself. And when he sees his daddy, he’s probably excited to have the company of someone besides himself/you (since, in his mind, you two are the same person).
If that doesn’t resonate for you, let me try this: I experienced the same thing with my son when he was a baby and I understand how devastating and stressful it feels. I remember so clearly all the tears – his, mine – and the frustration I felt that I wasn’t being the good mom I always thought I would be. I remember how rejected I felt when my son would turn toward his dad and be happy to see him but act like he wanted nothing to do with me. I wrote about it here, actually, when my son was a toddler and this was STILL going on. In fact, this rejection continued for about three years (and then off and on for some time after that), and it was hard. But eventually things changed, and I’m happy to say that my son, who turns 8 in October, and I have a really great relationship now.
This change didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen without a lot of self-reflection and, frankly, some outside help. I sought parenting advice from professional child psychologists and all of us got some therapy. While I was so grateful and relieved that my son was physically healthy, my husband and I made sure he was mentally healthy as well. For peace of mind, we had evaluations done to determine whether anything might be affecting our son’s development, and we learned some things that helped us help him and that helped us put into perspective behavior that wasn’t always typical of his age or reflective of his peer group.
Babies and children develop differently. I would advise you to try to find or form a social group for your son with similarly-aged babies so you can observe how he’s developing in comparison. If he seems particularly different from other babies, take mental notes about how and when he’s different and bring that to your pediatrician’s attention. There’s a very good chance that your relationship will organically develop into a connection you feel happier with as your baby grows and begins to realize that you and he are separate people and as he learns how to better communicate his needs to you. But if this doesn’t happen, or if it takes longer than seems normal to you, please take heart that it’s not a reflection of YOU or what kind of mother you are, that there’s so much help available to you and your family should you need it (even to determine whether there’s a neurological explanation for your son’s behavior, which remember is still in the range of normal right now!), and that nearly everything in the development of a child – and, subsequently in our journey as parents – is temporary (the good and the bad). This, too, will pass. And if it doesn’t in a way or at a pace that brings you some comfort, you can get help. And the help will help. I promise.
(Also, please talk to your doctor about PPD. I talked to mine early on, when I was experiencing what you’re describing. I did not have PPD, but it was very helpful to know my doctor was aware of my feelings and keeping an eye on me. You’re not in this alone!)
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.