Husband Slammed for Forcing Mother of 11-Week-Old Baby To Sleep on Sofa

A young mom has prompted outrage in a post on Mumsnet describing her living situation with her husband and 11-week-old son.

In the post, she described how her husband works as a police officer, and is a light sleeper. She said that before their child was born he would fall asleep on the sofa, "but now that DC [darling child] is born wants to have the bedroom himself and thinks that I should take the bassinet into the living room as he wakes up when the baby wakes and then can't get back to sleep.

"I understand he has to be alert for his job, but feel like it's unfair I have to lug baby and bassinet downstairs every night. we don't have a spare room, live in a one-bed and can't afford to upsize yet. Our baby is 11 weeks."

Parenting difficulties
Parenting a newborn. Stock Image. A new mother is struggling with sleeping on the sofa because her husband is a "light sleeper." Getty Images

She added in a later update: "I wouldn't mind so much if he helped me more on his days off, but on his days off he thinks he needs a rest so I don't really get a break.

"He also still expects me to clean and make food still. I've talked about this before but accepted that nothing will change. Now I'm banished to the living room so I'm really fed up now: probably do just need to have a proper conversation with him on this and look at moving."

Male Postnatal Depression

Many people in the comments were quick to condemn what, on the surface, can appear like unreasonable behavior but one user shared a different experience. "My DH [dear husband] did this to me when our DC [dear children] were born (multiples). I think he was really just having some sort of mental health crisis...expected me to sleep on the sofa a week after giving birth and I was doing all the night feeds, etc... Not to be sexist, but I think women get on with things and men dwell on the hard parts. I feel for you."

Postnatal depression, for instance, occurs in both men and women and symptoms often go unnoticed in men for many reasons. Research suggests that it occurs in 10 percent of men, yet experts believe this number to be far too low.

According to U.K. charity the National Childhood Trust, financial pressure can be a leading cause of postnatal depression in men, which can often go undiagnosed, especially if they are the only one working. The symptoms of postnatal depression in men can show themselves in different ways including:

  • Insomnia
  • Withdrawal from family life
  • Frustration, cynicism, irritability, anger
  • Marital conflict
  • Negative parenting behavior

In updates posted later, the mother described how "he was great when on paternity [leave], apart from the housework etc, but since he's gone back to work I feel like I have two jobs and his enthusiasm for our child has gone a bit as it's mostly all left to me now. He doesn't appreciate it's a 24 hour job."

male post natal depression
Male post-natal depression. Stock Image. Research suggests that one in 10 fathers experience post-natal depression, but experts believe that figure is much higher. Getty Images

She went on to say that he lacks interest or ability to do basic tasks, "when he does look after DC to give me a break it's never really a break as he I still have to help him with something. Or he will watch DC while I make food as he refuses to... I asked to let me have a nap earlier in the day time and baby was with him, when baby woke up and needed a feed (we are bottle feeding) instead of dealing with him himself he brought him to me and woke me up and he carried on watching TV."

Split Opinion

The majority of people in the comments slammed the father's behavior, with some urging the mother to leave him. "Surely this is a joke thread—if it's real, you need to tell him to f**k off and sleep downstairs or better still, dump the selfish bastard as you'll be better off in the long run. Sorry, but this has made me extremely angry on your behalf. You and your baby deserve so much better."

One slightly more lenient person suggested: "I think he's so tired and exhausted he's not thinking straight and is just desperate for sleep."

One user suggested he may be overly stressed urging them to communicate: "He will also be frustrated that he can't earn enough for you all to upsize adding to the stress. How would you feel if he loses his job? He needs to know it makes you feel like crap being forced to move to the living room. Again you both need to discuss it."

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.