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Postpartum anger

Guest Author: Amy

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

I don’t have postpartum depression. I have the pamphlet in my hand from my doctor’s office and I only have one symptom – worry about harming my baby. Nothing else fits. Yesterday I asked my doctor for help and he said, “you’re just a stressed out new Mum.” So not helpful. Then he said, “little people, little problems,” when I told him that Aras* cries all the time and I can’t handle it.

When he left the room I stayed sitting there, feeling stupid for bringing it up. I found the pamphlet in the waiting room on one of the empty seats, grabbed it and stuffed it in my pocket so no one could see. Now I sit at our kitchen table looking at Aras in his bouncy seat and reading and re-reading the pamphlet. I should just call the number. No. I won’t be humiliated again. I should be paying attention to Aras. Plus, I need to clean the house and make dinner before Mark* gets home.

I force myself to stare into his big green eyes.

“Never break eye contact with your baby,” the book says, “always let your baby be the one to look away.” I force myself to stare into his big green eyes. Am I allowed to blink? Oh never mind, I can’t do it right anyway. Can’t I just start the day over? Fuuuuuck, it’s only 8:30. I move Aras to the floor and go into the kitchen. For the next 45 minutes I scrub the counter tops, the sink, the window. I rearrange the cupboards. Then I sit down to plan meals for the month and…Aras starts crying. Oh right, crap, I have a baby. I feed him because that’s the only thing I know how to do, and then I put him down in his cradle. I should shower. I’m so gross. But I’m not done planning the meals. Work first, then shower. Don’t be selfish.

Aras wakes up 17 minutes later. He hates me. I sit down on the floor with my back towards him and I bury my head in my knees, grinding my teeth. I’m not done planning the meals and I still haven’t showered. I put my hand on the cradle and start rocking it harder and harder. I want him to be tossed out of it and go crashing into the wall over and over again. Maybe I could pick up the cradle and throw it. No, it’s too heavy. Just shut up! Shut up and go away. Why won’t you stop crying? I want to throw him so badly that my arms are vibrating, so I walk out of the room and slam the door, making him cry harder.

I hate you! I yell into my knees as tears soak through my t-shirt. I gasp through my sobs and bang my head against my kneecaps. Why are you torturing me? I hate this I hate him I hate me I hate everything. I bang my head back against the wall as my body shakes. Aras starts screaming louder. That awful pain-filled scream. He feels alone and rejected. Take a number. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I can’t go in or I’ll hurt him. So I sit here sobbing until I’m out of tears. Now Aras has stopped crying. Silence. He’s given up. Fail. I don’t deserve this life. My baby hates me. I get up and go into the shower and just stand there until I stop shaking, and stop hating. Now I need to finish planning the meals, swearing that as soon as Aras wakes up I’ll be a perfect mother. I’ll start over and this time I’ll get it right. I’ll maintain eye contact and play and he won’t cry anymore.

All the time I can never get back, lost to my own stigma

Many years later I wonder how different our lives might have been if I had persevered in getting help when Aras was a baby. Maybe he wouldn’t have spent so much of his childhood in anger. Maybe he wouldn’t struggle so much with anxiety now. I think of all those years lost in anger, all those firsts I don’t remember. All the time I can never get back, lost to my own stigma in thinking that getting help equaled weakness.

*Name have been changed

Comments

Lyricgal63
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Those are horrible thoughts to have when everyone around you is telling you how blessed and happy you should be. I know. I used to be changing my baby and a thought would cross my mind that I should just smother her with a pillow. It’d be so simple. It scared the hell out of me. No one ever knew. Our chemistry gets thrown out of whack when we have children. We are supposed to be instant supermoms. We are regaled with the success stories of other supermoms it’s all a lie. It takes us 18 years to become one and by then, our cape is dirty and torn and the kids have survived their childhoods despite our efforts to damage them completely. Thank you for sharing. You made me feel less alone.

Amy
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Thank you for your comment, now I feel less alone too! I remember thinking that no one else is feeling this so I hid.

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