A few years ago I met a man who completely swept me off my feet. He was everything I had hoped and dreamed for in a husband. He was tall, handsome, kind, dedicated to work, took care of his physique, and the consummate do it yourself-er. He crossed everything off “my future husband” list. Things seemed perfect. That is until we decided to have a child.
Something changed the moment we brought that third person into our home. The man I once wooed over after our talks about raising our family had disappeared from plain sight. The man who once had met every expectation I had in a husband and father was no longer. I felt deceived and betrayed. Where did the man I loved and admired go? Who was this stranger sleeping next to me?
The descent of our marriage was so quick I felt the whiplash. I found myself staring at old pictures hoping I could somehow pull that happiness back onto my face and into our lives. I was falling into a realm of depression and there was no way out. Ashamed of how my life had quickly changed, I hid. I hid from my family. I hid from my friends. I hid from myself. I would look in the mirror and not recognize myself. I was alone. I had a child. I was a mess.
Afraid of becoming a single parent I remained in an unhappy marriage. I would make excuses for why he wasn’t able to attend functions. I lied about being happy with the addition to our family. I lied about how happy he was and how great our lives were. I lied about how helpful he was around the house. I lied about the bond he was creating with his child. I constantly lied and tried desperately to believe my own lies. Was this really my life?
Through the constant arguments and discussions, I was left to believe I was in fact, going crazy. I was dealing with postpartum. I was unbalanced. There was something “wrong with me”. I was empty. I did not feel loved. There was no joy in my life. It was just me, and my child. The person I fell in love and married was gone. I was holding on to a glimpse of what once was.
It became increasingly difficult to continue the lies. How many months can someone make excuses for their husband missing events? During a play date one of my friends called me out. I felt a heat wave take over, and as I attempted to deflect, she was relentless. She did it for good reason. She knew I was unhappy. She know I was depressed. She knew my once perfect life had ended. She knew I needed help.
I had to face reality. The man I once married was gone. But so was the woman I once was. Two free spirits were now anchored by a small little life that needed me more than either of us had ever imagined. I thought we were prepared for parenthood. I thought our relationship was strong. I never had imagined it was a facade.
So was I crazy? Was it postpartum? Was it a hormonal change? Although it all seemed like it was, the truth is, it wasn’t. Having a child changed us. My husband was simply not equipped for parenthood. He did not embrace the changes that came after we had our child nor did he want to. He did not know that someone else would need my attention more than he did. He wasn’t ready or willing to share me.
This truth broke me. I knew things changed when children entered the picture. I had seen it many times through observing others. I did not know that this change would tear our relationship apart. My heart ached and all I wanted to do was mend and get back the love I once had.
I continue to grasp at the hope that the man I once knew will come back…that he will really embrace the changing of our lives and will complete the love I have been missing and wanting from him. For now, we take a step each day and acknowledge our truth, no matter how painful. I will admit he is trying more than he did before. Will it ever be enough to mend the pain and erase the past few months? I don’t know. There is always hope until there is no more.