I have been meaning to post to a message here for some time.
I am 38 years old, and am a father to a 15 month old daughter. My partners pregnancy was not planned, I never really wanted kids, never felt ready, always felt it was something for later in life, and had been saying that to myself since I was 21.
I think the fact that it was unplanned, was probably the only way it was ever going to happen, I dont think I would have ever agreed to it myself, but it happened, and I had to deal with it, after the inital shock, I became quite depressed for a few months, then realised I had to be there for my partner throughout the pregnancy.
I eventually came around to the idea, and really hoped it would be a girl, and sure enough, it was.
The first few months were hard, very hard, I couldnt get my head around what was happening and just how much she had changed our lives, we didnt seem to exist as a couple anymore, I dreaded going home from work, found myself crying and hating my life.
She isnt a baby that cries a lot, has always slept through the night, so some people would say I should think myself lucky...
She is quite intense however, I recently filmed her laughing her head off when she was 14 months old, and this is honestly the first time I have seen her laugh properly, I felt like I was getting nothing back from her this whole time, just this serious faced baby, who never seemed that pleased / happy. You read so much about how your baby is delighted to see you at the end of each day, thats something I have experienced very infrequently, its not personal to me, she is the same with my partner too.
She's now at the stage where she laughs a little bit more, but still never really lets herself go, never seems that happy for very long, am lucky to get a smile out of her first thing in the morning, shes always tired / moaning, bedtime has turned into a torture, getting dressed for bed, she cries so hard, I find it quite distressing, and dread it every night, this is only a recent thing, she never used to be like this every night.
Spent most of this weekend, trying to keep her happy, picking her up, moans, put her back down, moans again because I put her down, pick her, still moans, its just relentless sometimes.
I think I perhaps take things too personally, she has a lot of teeth for her age, and I am sure the teething has been going on for many many months, shes had several bad colds recently, but I personally am finding it very tough, I almost dread weekends, because I know the whole day will be filled with moaning and being totally restricted in what we can do, to the point where I would rather be at work.
Everyone who see's me with her, says I am the "doting father" and they can see how much I love her, but inside I feel quite depressed somedays, we recently let her stay at her Grans house for a couple of nights, and I felt this sense of freedom that she wasnt in our house, this makes me feel terrible that I think like this, then when she came home, I was overcome by anxiety, I dont want to feel like this...... I want to be that happy father, who rushes home at night to see his daughter, but when you walk in and you get a stony faced look, and barely a smile, is it any wonder I feel the way I do.
Like I said, I know for a fact I take things too personally, but it doesnt stop me feeling this way, and I just want it to go away.
I've had very little experience with children in my upbringing, so maybe this is what toddlers do, and I have to get used to it, I can have a happy day with her, then when she screams at bedtime, even if its just for 10 mins, its almost like it undoes all the good, my partner says I should let it go and forget it, move on, and I am sure that makes sense, but its almost like the crying episode affects me for the rest of the evening, then I have feelings of anxiety because I know its coming again the next night.
Thanks for listening, and apologies for writing so much!