It's been a little over two months since my last post but it feels like FOREVER. I thought I'd never post again. I did go into a pretty serious depression but not over the baby or what he's meant for my life. Does it count as PPD if it has entirely to do with something completely unrelated to the baby? I never really got over the dog incident. For those of you who haven't read the previous posts, one of my rescue dogs bit a guest at our house as he approached, this was about 4 weeks after Dom was born. The dog thought the guest was an intruder and was out of control and the worst happened. This was the second time she had bitten a person in 6 months. The first time she instigated a scuffle with a huge dog at the dog park and the owner of the other dog stuck her hand in to get her dog out and got bitten. My DH and I hired a professional trainer which helped, but the dog and her management was taking over our lives and causing a lot of fights between DH and I. I am convinced she has some pit bull in her and have heard one too many stories about pit bulls mauling or killing kids to be comfortable having an aggressive one in our house. DH thought he could handle her and everything that would go into keeping her and I just knew that he couldn't and him trying would not be fair to me or Dom because he would always be preoccupied with managing her. Plus I could see the innumerable fights that would occur between he and I. I know dogs. He doesn't. And I know how consistent and strict you have to be with them, especially if they're aggressive and think they're dominant. And he doesn't. He thinks "killing them with kindness" is a good tactic. As any dog person knows, it's not. And I knew I'd constantly have to be on his case to keep the dog headed in the right direction. And I don't want all of this for my life. So I stubbornly held to my position which wasn't even that harsh. I maintained that we needed to give the dog away, we don't have time to manage this problem and I was not willing to risk letting Dom get caught in any crossfire and I was imploring DH for three months to please PLEASE at least ask people he knew if they could take her. I told him I would not give her back to the shelter or have her put to sleep but please meet me halfway. He let me cry myself to sleep most nights and watched as I lost weight and downed more zoloft than I really wanted to take while breastfeeding and went to therapy appointments when I was supposed to be calling contractors about remodeling our kitchen. He was utterly unyielding because he loves this dog and didn't see any risk to the baby. Granted, she is very loving to people she knows, including Dom. But she's bitten two people. Not only do I not want Dom to get hurt, I don't want him living in a household where we all get pits in our stomachs every time someone comes over for fear that the dog will get aggressive. I don't want him to be subject to the stress the dog was causing in our marriage or our social lives. God forbid we all get attached to her and the authorities determine someday that she needs to be put down. This was not what I wanted for my life and I figured there had to be another option. Like giving her to someone who doesn't have kids or other dogs and who needs a watch dog or would like a running partner. DH would hear none of it and screamed in my face that he was giving up on me.
We started talking divorce.
This didn't help my depression. It's kind of a tragic irony. I LOVE dogs. I am the kind of person who takes in the most pathetic and helpless of animals. I didn't know if DH would be open to dogs when we first got together, but it turns out, he has a bigger heart than I do. I admire this about him, and yet it is this which has cost probably upwards of 10 years off my life from the stress and anxiety he and his heart have caused over the last few months.
I won't recount the details of our heated conversations here, but I disclosed them to a friend of mine who is getting her second masters in psychology and she said DH's behavior is easily classified as verbal abuse. He gets violent too, slams things together in my face - one time our smaller furbaby scrambled under our couch while DH was screaming at me, smacking his hands together, telling me (who was in tears telling him that I loved him) that he didn't love me and didn't want to be with me anymore. Later I couldn't find the little dog and finally found him stuck under that couch. He had wedged himself in to escape the madness and couldn't get himself out. I had to lift up the couch to get him free. Another time DH was throwing his arms around in anger in the dark and hit my leg, accidentally. It was definitely an accident...but what if it had been Dom? He has a temper that's a little out of control. And all because he didn't even want to ask around about a dog that was making me physically and psychologically ill. He kept telling me to work on my anxiety. Like that would make my fear for my son and his upbringing disappear.
Finally, after a lot of drama and weeks of accepting that I might soon be single and in need of a good lawyer, he did find a family to take the dog. They are really close friends, they live a half hour away, they know all about the dog's history, and they're really smart. In four days they did more for the dog in terms of training than we did in a year and a half plus $600 in professional training. We spent a day dropping her off and acclimating her to her new surroundings and new family, and when we left, DH cried. I've known him for 11 years and have only seen him cry two other times. Once when his mom died and again when his dad died. He wasn't kidding when he said he loved this dog and I almost turned back around to get her back.
But days have passed and he hasn't brought it up and I feel like I'm slowly healing. I know I did the right thing. But as the days pass I can't help but notice that our marriage is not healing. I feel like he meant what he said - he's given up on me, he only did it for Dom, he's afraid of being away from his son. He doesn't love me. There has been a theme in our relationship of him not really wanting to be in it. Before we started dating he maintained that he didn't want some girl messing up his life. When we first started dating he insisted that we be "friends with benefits," not really dating. And then we were together for seven years before he'd marry me. He didn't want kids. What have I been doing? I picked the wrong guy. We don't want the same things. All those cliche revelations are raining down upon me. And surprisingly, I'm ok. I still feel better than I did when we had the dog living under our roof. Dom has made me stronger. The only thing that keeps me in this house is the fear of being away from him even for a day. I do not want to share custody. I know he needs his dad, his dad loves him, he loves his dad. I'm just saying, if I could be guaranteed sole custody I'd have left weeks ago. His dad can visit. That's it.
Our unruly furbaby is on a trial run with this new family and while most of me prays every day that it will work out, another part hopes she comes back so he can have his dog and I can leave and use the dog as a reason not to give him an inch in a custody battle.
DH is like a co house manager right now. He helps around the house, helped me create a christmas for my family, and I went to his on christmas eve. But he doesn't sleep in our bed anymore, he calls our room my room. And he's weird about the baby. He hasn't changed a diaper since the hospital, I'm constantly letting him give Dom a bottle, but he gives up at the first sign of fussiness and I end up doing it. He's never bathed dom, never taken him for a walk. He's good with him when they play but it's always short-lived. He blames it on work. He's really buried himself in work lately. He booked four hours on christmas day. W.T.F?
I'm torn these days, I go back and forth about leaving. I'm angry that what should have been the best six months of my life has turned into such a nightmare. But I have not forgotten to soak in every blissful moment that I've had with Dom. I've been pretty good about compartmentalizing the depression over my relationship and home life and distinguishing it from my experience as a mother. I have not taken a second with Dom for granted and he remains the most amazing and wonderful thing I have ever been blessed to experience. Even on days when I've felt weak from weight loss and sick from panic, my heart has been full because I've looked into his face and been able to smile, because I didn't want him to see the sadness in my eyes. I've kept smiling for him. Everything is for him now. But somehow that hasn't crystalized in my mind the decision of whether to stay or go. I want to make the right decision and I have resigned myself to the fact that it will take time to reach it.