Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Ready

 I haven't written much lately because I'm in a really bad place emotionally right now, worse than I've been in a long, long time. Why?  Well, Christmas pretty much destroyed me this year.  It wasn't all the kids around or thinking about all the Christmases during which we've said maybe next year. What wrecked me is the conversation DH and I had on Christmas night.  What wrecked me is that DH has decided that he's not sure he's ready to be a dad and he wants to slow things down.  

Here are his reasons:

His family:  DH has some major family issues.  He has no contact with his biological father, his mother, stepfather, or his half-sister. Their treatment of him has been horrible for many years and on many levels, so his decision to have no contact is completely justified.  However, though he would never admit it, I think DH feels like there's something wrong with him to have had people close to him treat him so badly.  How does this affect his thinking about parenthood?  I believe it makes DH feel that he's not good enough to be a parent, worthy enough to be a parent. He's also worried that he's going to screw up like his parents did.  

Us: We've been arguing quite a bit lately.  I think it's because of the stress of the holidays.  He's feeling the lack of family.  I'm feeling the lack of a child.  DH has always been supportive, but his attitude is that we can't dwell on what we don't have.  He doesn't get the whole IF grief thing. He thinks I'm too negative. He asked, "Do we want to have a child because we love each other or because everyone else has one?" Of course, I want to have a child because I love him and want to parent with him, but the fact that everyone else has a child is painful to me. And the holidays, with the daily onslaught of cute kid photo Christmas cards, shopping for other people's kids, and fun-filled kid-centered events, make it all the more painful. We've been picking at each other over little things.  In less stressful times, we do argue from time to time, mostly about housework, but I think we're pretty typical.   However, DH is concerned that we're going to become like his parents and that our child will grow up like he did with constant arguing.  I think once the holidays pass, things will get back to normal, which isn't perfect but is good.  

Me: Apparently, DH is worried that he's going to get squeezed out once we have a child.  He thinks he won't have any say in how our child is raised and that he'll just be there to pay the bills.  This one really pisses me off to be honest.  At the same time that DH says he's worried about this, he's encouraging me to read books like The Connected Child and Parenting the Hurt Child and to "just tell him about it," rather than actually reading them himself.  The thing is that I've always thought that DH will be very involved dad.  I feel like he is a great complement to me.  I'm a worrier.  He's pretty easygoing. I've watched him interact with my nieces and he's such a natural.  I don't know what to think about his view that I'm going to take over.  I'm trying to tell myself that is has more to do with his own insecurities than with a negative image of me. 

DH didn't say that we should stop the adoption process entirely. He said that he wants to talk to a counselor while the process is going on, before we get a placement.  He definitely doesn't want to rush things (no efficient follow-up calls, no harassing our social worker to finish the homestudy, no searching through photolistings). He has followed through and does have an appointment with a counselor this week. 

As you can imagine, what I heard during this conversation is that the adoption isn't going to happen.  I heard that voice again, the one that's been quiet lately, the one that says "nothing ever works out for you, how could you think it was actually going to happen this time, you should have known better than to actually believe you'd have a happy ending."  I know it's an overreaction, but nevertheless it's what I feel.   Recently, I was starting to view the future with excitement.  I was going to work on our kid room this week while I was on vacation.  My friends, family, and coworkers have been enthusiastically asking questions about our timeline.  I was actually feeling expectant. Imagine that, me--expectant.  Now I don't know what to think, what to feel.  All I know is that I'm hurting. . .a lot.  And it sucks. 


WaterBishop said...

I am sorry you guys are feeling all this stress right now. I am sure he is just nervous and scared.
I think TTC and infertility treatment leaves men so removed from the process, that when they move on to adoption, the whole thing is more overwhelming for them. It wasn't real for him before, but now it is.
I hope he can get what he needs out of the counseling. And in turn can also give you what you need.

Heather said...

(((Karen))) I'm so sorry. That's a lot to take in.

I hope the counseling is productive and that you're able to return to that sense of expectancy soon. It's good that he's working through this all now instead of after your child is home, but that doesn't make it any easier on you.

Torina said...

Wow. It is amazing how similar your life is to what mine was, mmm, about four years ago. Actually, it was right about this time four years ago that I had a little nervous breakdown and cried all night long because my husband did the same thing. I had to remind them that I wanted new children...not new husbands. That I was perfectly happy with him but that my life didn't revolve around him and he wouldn't like it if it did. And that kids were supposed to enrich our lives...and here I am...three kids later :) You will find a way to get through to him. He is just going through the motions of being a man. :)

Lost in Space said...

Huge hugs, Karen. I hate that the stress of the holidays pulls out more than we are ready for.

I can't say I know how this feels or how to get through it. Men are such different creatures with all of this and don't process things the right way (I mean, the way we do).

A counselor sounds like a step in the right direction and I hope can help your DH to work through the concerns and issues that are on his mind.

We're here to listen. Wishing I could give you a hug right now.

nh said...


I'm sorry for all that. I really hope that you can manage to work through all of that. I frequently have to remind DH of that saying 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'. It reminds him that we need different things - mostly that I need to talk!

Bri said...

Wow. That is a lot of info to take in. I don't really have any advice other than I think it is completely normal. Women and men do experience this whole thing very differently and it doesn't make it any easier. You guys will get through this! HUGS!

Barb said...

I'm so sorry sweetie. And it's so difficult to get them to understand that. I really wish they could better. DH and I went through a really rough patch recently with him thinking I should be "over" all this by now and that I was "getting worse" instead of better.

I think it is a sign that your relationship is good in some degree that he feels he can tell you all of that.

Lots of love and support sweetie.

Reggie Boppy said...

I'm sorry Karen. I hope your DH calms down and sees the light. Men do tend to freak out and I've found that if you just drop it for awhile, they eventually come around. Thinking of you..

Polly Gamwich said...

I just wanted to say that I'm sorry. I know what it feels like when DH has so much power to just pull the rug out from underneath you - or at least that's what it feels like he's threatening. I think it's wonderful that first off, he's talking about these concerns -- because that means you can address them and make them go away. And it's amazing that he wants to go to counseling to work on these things ... that's such a wonderful sign of hope! I know it feels scary but I think b/c he's willing to work on the stuff - it won't get in the way of your happy ending.

And my DH is also afraid of being squeezed out once a kid comes, and that does stem from a fear of his from childhood ... it would be really helpful to talk about that with the counselor ... if they are any good they'll be able to help.

I hope your New Years is better than you Christmas.

Big hugs,

Wendy said...

Oh, Karen. I'm so sorry that your DH is having such a hard time with all of this right now. I'm glad that he was able to talk about with you, and that he's willing to go to counseling, too. Maybe it will help him sort out what he's feeling.

I hope things work themselves out. I'm thinking of you both. Hugs...

melissa said...

Wow what a blow! It sounds like a really hard conversation but at the same time at least he was willing to talk about it and to go forward with counseling. Those are very positive and hopeful things.
I think this process is really overwhelming and probably in different ways for each of us. This is his Overwhelming moment, but yall will get through it.
You are in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

Those above me have expressed my thoughts. I'm so sorry.

Shelby said...

I'm so sorry things have been so rough for you over the holidays. I know what it's like to be on a different page with my significant other and it hurts.

Counseling will be a good place for him to work out his feelings. We all approach this business in such a different fashion, especially when it comes to grieving. I totally understand how you heard that he doesn't want kids in what he said, but I bet his words were more of a reaction to being wounded than wanting to back out. I hope that you both find a place of healing soon. I hope this for all of us.

Lisa said...

What tough things to hear, but as others have said it *is* better that you're hearing what's on your DH's mind. So glad you're talking to a counselor -- it can really, really help get things out in the open and stop them from being so ominously scary. Think of this as just one more detour on your road to parenthood. It sucks that they keep coming up, but your DH's fears can be addressed, and the fact that he is willing to do so speaks volumes. He's still in. He's just having his freak-out. You two can work it out!

Many hugs.

Hummingbird said...

Oh, Karen! I'm sorry you are going through this. As if you hadn't been through enough.

I'm glad to hear that he has followed through in scheduling with a counselor. That's an important step. If things with his family are this bad, the holidays must be very stressful for him as well. I hope with the counselor's help the two of you will be able to work through this and other issues that come with adoption.

Big hugs to you, my friend!

Mountain Girl said...

We're not even to the adoption conversation! DH decided he didn't want bio kids (and failed to tell me before we married!) because he didn't want them to have either of our fathers' genes! I'm still hopeful that one day we'll parent a child however just a few minutes ago he let my cocker spaniel go on an unsupervised field trip and so now I'm think what would he do with a child!?!

Me said...

I'm sorry I'm so late in responding to this. I've had my head in the proverbial sand for the last few weeks though and am just now coming up for air myself. I know I've never met the man but I think that you're perception of your DH's feelings are spot on. His family. You two. You. All of it. I think insecurity is biting him big time. And I think that's really fucking frustrating situation to be in as an infertile. If a fertile gets pg and their DH's get cold feet the guy has to just "man up" and get over it b/c there's only a matter of months before a baby squirts out. But in the land of IF, were everything has to be so freaking planned, there a lot of time and space for fear and second thoughts to wreak havoc. I'm sorry you're going through this.

P.S. I truly believe that something good IS headed YOUR way. And we both know I ain't no Pollyanna.