Doula observations · Postpartum

The Fires of Rage

I’ve lost it with my kids today. More than once. In fact, I’ve lost it with my kids all week long. I’ve been having “bad mom days” where every little thing pisses me off. We’re sitting right between a holiday birthday and another holiday in our family right now, and I am stressed to the max.

My current job on top of being a doula is retail, so I know I’ll be working a lot this holiday season. Working actually helps me, usually. But right now, with all the stress I’ve got going on in my life, I’m having some serious setbacks with my postpartum depression. Including the symptom I talk about the most, rage.

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Rage can be all-consuming. Many times after a fit of rage, I feel 1000% unworthy to be a mother. The guilt is unbelievable. Usually, if I’m well-rested, well fed, and hydrated, I can keep myself from raging by watching for triggers. Lately, I’m not well rested. I’m not well fed. And as for hydration, does Dr. Pepper count?

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I haven’t been taking care of myself. My house is a shambles, I think I showered this week, and my kids just had their first bath in I’m not even sure how long. My temper, already a little too close to the surface, has been exploding like mad this week.

I keep trying to pull myself out. I’ve tried all the things that used to work, time away from my kids, cooking in a clean kitchen, cleaning my kitchen, and even resorting to alcohol, which is never my first line of defense.

I’m in the trenches right now. Maybe I’m whining, who knows? What I do know, is I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t keep posting motivational memes on the postpartum group that I help to run while simultaneously hating and judging myself for the same things I tell women that they are not alone in. I cannot keep holding myself to this insane double standard, where I feel like I have to succeed, but I don’t judge other moms for not succeeding.

Let me be clear, succeeding is a relative term. For me, when I see other moms trying, that’s enough. But it’s never enough if I’m just trying. I’m never enough for my children or for my husband in my own mind. I will never be good enough. I will never be woman enough. I constantly berate myself for ruining my children.

They are two years old and 3 years old.

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I am basing my perception of their entire futures on a few bad days. I see in my mind’s eye them skipping classes, doing drugs, and having risky sex. All because I couldn’t keep my s*** together when they were kids.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I feel like my kids would be better off if I wasn’t even here, but I would reassure any of you that you’re doing the best you can? I’ve made plans to leave many times in the past. I’ve been having such a rough time this whole month that I wrote my husband note that basically said I give myself until Christmas to not be psycho anymore. I’m not sure that’s enough time.

A few months ago, I had a long talk with my husband. It was a big talk for us. We were deciding if it was worth it to try to have another baby ever based on how bad my postpartum depression is. We decided we wanted to try. Not right away, but to have that be an idea in the future. I kept restating that I didn’t want to put him or the kids through this again. I told him that I’d put him through enough the last couple of years, and that I wouldn’t blame him for not wanting to do that again.

Notice how I wasn’t even a thought in that? I didn’t say, “I don’t want to put myself through this again”. I didn’t say that I didn’t deserve this. I said he and the kids didn’t deserve this. I said I didn’t want to put them through this again.

What am I worth? I didn’t choose postpartum depression. If I could go back in time, and make it so I never had to deal with this, I totally would. But that’s still for my children’s sake. It’s still for my husband’s sake. Part of me really does feel that I did something to deserve this. And it makes me really angry.

All I wanted was a family. I was so in love with my husband that I wanted to make us a family. My first pregnancy, we did okay. I learned a lot, but I didn’t really think I was depressed. Even after she was born, I explained away all of my postpartum depression symptoms. I couldn’t be depressed. I had wanted this too bad.

My second pregnancy was a surprise. I hadn’t been planning to be pregnant again, it hadn’t even really crossed my mind. My first reaction was, “oh s***”. I wasn’t ready. I had already had a kid, and struggled through postpartum depression that I hadn’t even realized I was having. I just knew I couldn’t have that feeling in my life again.

But ready or not, my second baby was coming. And I did get excited throughout the course of the pregnancy. We thought of names, we got our toddler excited about her new baby sister. I had massive anxiety about her birth. As you’ll see when I finally finish my other birth story, I had legitimate reasons to be concerned. But the level of anxiety I exhibited before her birth was concerning even to me.

The rage was quick on its heels. I really think part of my rage was anger that I was depressed again. I wasn’t supposed to be depressed again! I had had a beautiful birth, with no NICU stay. I had two beautiful healthy girls.

What the f*** was wrong with me for being so angry all the time?

I self directed my anger. I blamed myself. And I never got out of that. I have studied so much about postpartum mood disorders, about anxiety, about OCD, about intrusive thoughts, and yet… That only applies to other people. I can’t extend myself that grace. I can hate myself for a disease I can’t control, and I can’t figure out how to stop hating myself.

I judge myself. My intrusive thoughts speak to me a lot, telling me how I should be a better mom to my kids. Facebook and Pinterest definitely don’t help. Especially with the holiday season coming up, the world is full of competitive mom’s right now. Those perfect moms, who seem to be able to run their entire household and have a beautiful pristine home, while also taking their kids to every activity, oh and did I mention their model- citizen kids all have straight A’s?

I can’t even manage to keep my house clean. Not even just clean, livable. I feel like I live in a hole sometimes. Just a vortex of toys and dirty and clean laundry lost together swished around until I don’t know up from down. I compare myself so much, and I always seem to fall short.

Even my friends who are more open and honest about their struggles with me seem to outshine me in many ways. I am by no means the only mom who rages. But I feel like I can’t keep my s*** together. I’m ready for a change, I just don’t know if I deserve it.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to therapy. I can’t get myself to make that call, even though I know I need it. I’m ready to take the leap into medication and live with the side effects if it means that I don’t hate myself, but I don’t love myself enough to do it. I am too weak right now to make that call.

This is rambling, and I’m not really checking for typos. If you stuck with me this long, I just want you to know that even though I struggle to remember this for myself, I can remind all of you of your worth. I can remind you that you are worth fighting for, even if I’m losing the fight for myself.

I’ll fight for you forever. Please fight for me.

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4 thoughts on “The Fires of Rage

  1. I think it is totally normal (I use normal her pretty loosely. Lol) to hold yourself at a different standard than those you help. I know I do! Someone told me the other day “you sure act like you have your crap together when you talk to other moms. But sometimes your answers make me shake my head.” I think I said something about pretending my intrusive thoughts don’t exist instead of going to therapy. Totally something that would not be ok if my friend told me that. But when it’s you it’s a different story, even when deep down you know you know better.

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