This destructive habit can cause significant problems between couples. Both feel that their daily life is the most difficult and that the other just doesn’t understand. It is easy to then let resentment fester under the surface and spend valuable time and energy arguing about who has the worse deal.
This behaviour can occur regardless of the type of birth you have had. Remembering that your birth partner has also gone through huge upheaval and stress is important.
They are sleep deprived, they are anxious, they witnessed their loved one in pain. They may have felt inadequate during the birth blaming themselves for not having prevented unwanted intervention. Then and once back at home they may be taking roles and making decisions on your behalf that they are not used to.
For example, unless discussed in advance your partner will, in the case of a general anaesthetic, be making decisions about feeding and clothing your baby for her first few hours. Unless you have discussed it in advance they are unlikely to know what you are planning to do and may not know the potential impact of giving formula instead of breast milk immediately after birth. Try not to criticise decisions, particularly if you did not discuss such eventualities beforehand – they will have done what they thought was right at the time.
Similarly, while you are recovering, some jobs you have previously done within the home probably now fall to them. Some may relish this, but others may feel the pressure, particularly if you are overly critical. This will all be in addition to their working day so quite quickly they are going to end up as exhausted as you. Appreciate what they are doing and try not to criticise when things are not done your way. Does it matter if the washing is left in the machine for 24 hours before going into the dryer? Probably not. Nor is it the end of the world if they gave the kids the wrong drinks in their lunchbox.
Ask each other for help and support and try to remember that you are both going through a huge learning curve while extremely sleep deprived.
It is only in truly believing the roles are totally different and have extreme and unique pressures of their own that you can hope to remove this barrier to emotional recovery.