- Family and Parenting
After Having My Baby, I Don't Love My Dog The Same
When we took my pug home as a puppy, my heart filled with so much love; I never realized how much a dog could feel so vital to my daily life. He was my baby, my entire day revolved around letting him out and taking care of him; we have one other dog as well, she bonds more with my husband. They are both good dogs, but both of them tend to be very high maintenance; When my pug continued marking after being neutered I simply cleaned and scrubbed with a smile on my face, he was just a stubborn ball of love I told myself. When my dachshund began to poop on the floor as a nightly ritual I just cleaned it without batting an eye, and although they both barked incessantly when visitors came over, we shrugged them off and laughed at their persistence. I recall uttering the words “I can't imagine loving anyone more than I love my dog” more than once, even when I was eight months pregnant rubbing my swollen belly. My pug and I were inseparable, snuggling together in bed every night and cuddling on the couch all day. I paid special attention to what he ate, when he played, and took him out for each bathroom break. The thought of sending him to be boarded made me go into a panic attack all on its own. The day I was induced, my main concern was my dog; would be be wondering where I am, will he be anxious, will my parents take good care of him? The minute my child was born like most mothers my only focus was on her. My dog suddenly and abruptly took a backseat in my brain, and he didn't cross my mind until we arrived home from the hospital. The dogs merely ignored our newborn after a few curious sniffs, I was fine with this as I barely could keep my eyes open. As I regained the ability of move farther than the changing table and open my eyes wide enough to see all around me, I realized everything I felt about my dogs had changed. My once “sweet but stubborn pug” because anything but sweet in my eyes; each mark I was scrubbing off the wall made my face turn purple, the pounds of fur that shed into the couch forced me into the rocking chair when watching tv. I realized just how disgusting the amount of dog hair that took up our bed, and the thought of my sweet baby girl having a coat of dog hair over her body made me sick. Each bark that woke my daughter became an extra annoyance that I just couldn't deal with and I realized the impossible happened, I simply did not love my dogs the same way anymore.I had heard stories of what was happening to me being common, but I couldn't believe the shift in my emotions. I felt guilty for my dog, it isn't his fault I had a baby and don't feel the same about him, and the effect that my changing emotions had on him was noticeable. I began talking to my friends with children and realized this is much more common than I ever thought, which made feel a little less guilty. I almost felt resentful towards them, and longed for an imaginary world where I could focus solely on my child and my home. I kept asking myself what was wrong with me? Will I stay this way forever?
As With Everything, It Got Better
It wasn't until my daughter was seven months old when relations with my dogs began to improve. I resented my dogs less and less, and although they added to my everyday stressors I accepted that my relationship with them would be different; although they had a slightly less lavish life, they are still well taken care of. I took steps to cut out the behavior that drove me nuts; the dogs were no longer allowed in any room aside from the main living area/kitchen, and they were kicked out of of our bed to the couch for sleep. Because we had tried unsuccessfully for years to train our pug to quit marking to no avail, we decided to crate both of our dogs anytime we couldn't watch them, and this has worked out well. It is all about finding solutions to lessen the burden they put on me and my baby. Although they are slightly less spolied, my dogs get two meals a day, a comfy place to sleep, regular vet visits, and two parents that will take care of them.