To My Partner — I knew having a baby would be life-changing in the best possible way for both of us. We prepared as best we could. We read all the books, took the classes, and talked to friends and family who had kids of their own. I felt like I was ready, and for the most part, I was, except for the postpartum emotions and how I would handle them. No one could have prepared me for the intense range of emotions that I’d go through after giving birth. I didn’t know that for weeks, and even months, I’d be faced with a roller coaster of emotions that are often hard for me to control. Feelings that I’m not proud to admit, I take out on you all too often. It’s not fair, and I am sorry for dumping my postpartum emotions on you.
I’m Sorry That I Get So Emotional
We both know I’m naturally an emotional person. But even I was not prepared for the wide range of feelings that come with having a baby. The day our baby was born was undoubtedly the best day of my life. I think I felt every emotion possible: excitement, fear, anxiety, and most of all, overwhelming love and joy. The first few days were pure bliss. But when that high wore off and reality set in, I was faced with so many feelings I wasn’t prepared for. The lack of sleep and elevated hormones haven’t helped. One minute I am elated and on top of the world, and the next minute, I am bawling like a baby after watching a Pampers commercial on TV.
Most days, I am exhausted and need a break, but I am also scared to put the baby down in that big crib alone. I am constantly anxious or worried that I am doing something wrong. That the baby isn’t eating enough. That he is too hot. Or too cold. This motherhood thing is brand new territory for me. I often feel overwhelmed at what a big responsibility it is. I also wasn’t prepared for these postpartum emotions and how I would feel towards you, my loving and devoted partner.
I’m Sorry That I Love You; I Hate You
You get the best of me, but unfortunately, some days, you also get the worst of me. Most days, I am overcome with love and gratitude for you. I am in awe of the life we created and the family we are building together. I want your hugs and kisses, and I constantly tell you how much I love you.
Then, there are the moments that I want to throw a spit-stained burp cloth at you for something that is entirely out of your control. When I’m awake for a 2 a.m. feeding, listening to you and your useless man nipples snore next to me. Or when you are at work interacting with other adults, and I’m stuck at home with our newborn, who just won’t stop crying. When I step on the scale to see that I still haven’t lost the extra baby weight while you are still comfortably wearing the same clothes.
I know none of this is your fault and that some of my feelings are a bit irrational. I know I’ll be back to that overwhelming feeling of love for you in no time. For these moments in time when I don’t like you very much, please forgive me. And please remember that I really do love you . . . even if I yell and throw burp cloths at you from time to time.
I’m Sorry That I’m Not in the Mood
I realize that in addition to these postpartum emotions, other things have changed between us, too. (Yes, I’m talking about in the bedroom.) I may not be in the mood as much as I used to be, but it’s nothing you have done wrong. My body has been through a huge change. Nine months of carrying and caring for our child, followed by delivering this little miracle, took a toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally.
While I am so grateful for my body and what it was able to do, there are also some days I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself. I am insecure and exhausted. If I’m not always gung-ho for sexy time, please know this is not about you or us. I want you to want me, but I also want you to understand that I need a little time before things are back to normal in that department. Don’t worry, though. I still love you and need you more than ever.
What I Need From You
I know I am not always the best at communicating what I want or need, especially during this unfamiliar new phase of life. I sometimes think I should be able to do it all alone. I’m often too proud to ask for your help. The truth is, I need it. That time I had a breakdown and yelled at you about the dirty dishes? It wasn’t really about the dishes. It was about me needing your help and not having the mental energy to ask for it.
I need you to take the initiative when it comes to helping around the house and with the baby. If you notice dishes in the sink or a load of laundry that needs to be folded, do them without me asking. If the baby needs to be fed or changed, take the lead so I can have a much-needed break. I need your love, support, and assurance that what I am feeling is normal and that things won’t always be this hard. Sometimes, I need you to listen when I want to vent or lend me your shoulder when I need to cry. I don’t want you to give me advice unless I ask for it, and I don’t need you to try and fix the situation. Just be there to listen.
What I Know Now
I know that you aren’t a mind reader. This is something that I’m working on so that I can communicate with you when I need help. I also understand that if we work together as a team, you can help me navigate this postpartum period with ease.
This is a new (and temporary) phase of life for both of us. I appreciate you being there for me through the ups and the downs. I am sorry for dumping my postpartum emotions on you, but I am also so grateful to have you by my side each and every day.
Thank you, and I love you!