It’s confession time. I envied my husband after our child was born. At first, I felt ashamed to say it—that I was the woman Googling "jealous of husband after baby" and such. But now—after lots of mental unpacking, processing my emotions and talking with my spouse—I’m comfortable admitting it. And honestly, I’m sure I’m not the first woman who has been in this position of feeling envious. From conversations with my married mom friends, I knew I wasn’t alone—but I still felt isolated in my experience. 

Because while life as I knew it had been flipped upside down, my husband’s world didn’t really seem to change. I felt stuck behind this all-consuming role of motherhood—and from the outside looking in, he seemed to be doing just fine.

Related: A letter from a husband to his wife

Everything hit me all at once—the lack of sleep, the mom-guilt, the loss of self, the loneliness—and it seemed to be taking its sweet time settling in as a reality for my husband. 

So I felt deserted in a way. And then the envious feelings started to creep in. 

I envied the fact that he could get a good night’s sleep. I envied the fact that he couldn’t understand the pain that my body was going through. I envied the fact that I struggled with postpartum and often found myself a crying mess, while he seemed to keep it all together. And I didn’t believe that he understood anything that I was experiencing.

Related: Spotting postpartum depression can be difficult. Here’s why you should enlist your partner’s help

I envied the fact that he would throw out advice when all I wanted was to be held and be validated through the emotions I was feeling. I envied that he didn’t see the changes as deeply as I did. I envied that he could leave the house without having to pump enough bottles to cover the time that he’d be gone. And I envied that while he was out, he didn’t feel the constant need to rush home.

I envied my husband—and it strained our marriage as well as my bonding process with our child

My internal resentment came from how I perceived this shift as first time parents in our life and in our marriage—and from a lack of communication. 

I was harboring unhealthy jealousy that stemmed from a lot of self-pity and an inability to understand how this transition was truly affecting both of us.

Instead of feeling like we were on the same team, I felt like we were rivals—complete strangers within our home. I felt like the entire world had been put against me, and I was silently falling to pieces. I desperately wanted to feel seen and heard and validated—but I didn’t.

What I failed to realize is that we were both in a transition that we had never experienced before. Neither of us had the slightest idea as to what we were doing, but we were doing the best that we could. 

Yes, he didn’t have to figure out how to fill the hours with the baby—but instead, he had to figure out how to make up for the time he’d miss while his work hours kept him away from home. While I envied the time he spent away from home, he was saddened by it and desired to spend as much time at home as I was able to. 

Yes, he didn’t have to go through the emotions that I was feeling—but instead, he had to figure out how to get me to notice that he deeply cared and wished that I opened up to him during the postpartum phase rather than treating him like the enemy. 

Related: What I wish my husband knew before bringing a baby home

Yes, he didn’t have to rush home while he was out—but instead, he had to try to convince me to enjoy my time away and get me to trust that he knew how to be our child’s father and hold down the fort when I wasn’t around.

In the thick of postpartum, I didn’t realize all of these things.

I was harboring unhealthy jealousy that stemmed from a lot of self-pity and an inability to understand how this transition was truly affecting both of us.

But that had to change—in order for our marriage to get stronger and in order for us to parent together, as a team. 

Related: Yes, I’m a mother—but my marriage is still a priority

Even now, I envy my husband from time to time still—because of how easily he can get our son down to sleep or how our son acts in a completely different way with him than with me. But it has taken a lot of communication to learn that there is no need for jealousy—and that it does more harm to my marriage than it helps.

Marriage after kids is no easy ocean to swim, but I am thankful for the man and the father that my husband is—and fortunate enough to have him through this journey as we both transition.

Some days, it’s harder for me. Other days, it’s harder for him. But every day, we both experience some form of hard—and our duty isn’t to despise the other for who has it worse, but to learn how to step in and fill the gap in ways that we need each other to. After all, that’s what teamwork is about.