Baby Bedlam

7 Aug

Dear LetterBalm: Earlier this year, a few weeks before our baby was born, I moved in with my boyfriend. Two weeks later I found out he was spending time with a 23-year-old woman. (I’m 38, he’s 40.) He swore it was a friendship and not an affair, and he ended it. But later I discovered numerous sexts from her on his phone, along with nude photos. I was shattered and left him to live with my sister. My boyfriend begged me to come back. He said he was sorry and had changed. I do love him, so, after our son was born in June, I came back. Since then, he’s bent himself into a pretzel to apologize and prove he loves me and our child. I’m still angry with him, but I’m really having a hard time forgiving the woman. I have terrible thoughts and want to hurt her. I’m screaming a lot and crying and saying horrible things. I really, really want to tell her off.

–Miserable New Mom

No, my dear. You really, really want to cope with all the pressures in your life, complicated by the biggest one: a new baby. You’re dealing with the huge change this produces, plus a troubled home life in recent months and a philandering father of your baby who might be in a midlife crisis and who wasn’t there for you (even though he’s trying to fix the hurt he inflicted). You’re swimming in quite an emotional stew. Ms. L.B. acknowledges your boyfriend’s betrayal and believes that you may still be in the grip of hormonal changes. You also might have elements of postpartum depression, which can linger after the birth of a baby and can include mood swings, irritability and anxiety. It’s more common than you think – and, you have good reason to feel out of control. Talk with your doctor right away for treatment and a family counseling referral for you and your boyfriend. You need to forget about the younger woman and, with his father, joyfully concentrate on the new little one you have in your life. Tell your boyfriend this:

Lamarr, things have been so crazy lately that both of us haven’t had a minute to breathe. I’m sorry I’ve been yelling and crying. I’m still angry and hurt at what you did, even though you’ve tried to make amends. I’m calling Dr. Arcus for an appointment because I’m exhausted and irritable and not really able to concentrate on caring for De’ron. I might be having a hormonal imbalance from giving birth. I’m also going to ask the doctor for a referral to a family counselor for both of us. You and I need to talk things out so we can enjoy the beautiful son we’ve made, who makes us smile just looking at him. I’ll ask my sister to babysit once in a while so you and I can be together for an evening, just the two of us. We love each other, Lamarr. We owe it to De’ron to make a good home for him.

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