Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Post Partum Blues or just Adjusting to 3??

“Would you just sit still?! Eat your dinner! Play nice with your sister! Leave me alone for 5 minutes, Stop crying!, How many times to I have to tell you, no I don't want to play right now!”

This is how the feelings of rage begin. I feet overwhelmed, stressed, and tired and then I loose it, I grab, I swat, I yank and forget who I am speaking to. And then I'm flattened by guilt. A crushing wave of shame crashes over me and I am suddenly the worst mom in the world. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I pull it together? Why can't I answer innocent questions, why don't I want to play?

I have a history of depression and felt like this after the 2nd and refused to speak to anyone about it, I hid any sadness, weepiness or other bad feelings that might have arisen after giving birth, after all I was "perfect" I've always strived for that and in public I was the perfect Mom. I went out and did things so I was in public and couldn't lose it. I found a great group of Mama's and activities to do and my "NORMAL" emotional state returned. Now, however, as I adjust to being the mother of 3 I find myself overwhelmed by unexpected emotions, expectations and anger. There is no where to go here, so I am stuck alone in the darkness and no where to go to be in public and act how I want to act, not how I am feeling...

Do I feel depressed? YES. Do I sit and weep inconsolably? Who has time? So, how do I feel? Angry. Ridiculously, illogically, uncontrollably angry. I am irritable, impatient, and resentful. Then I feel guilty, which makes me feel angry all over again.

After losing my temper at my two older kids 23 months and 4, screaming at my husband, feeling irritated at my newborn, and having unattainable expectations, I began to feel as though I am losing my mind. I love kids and I wanted my 3, yet I felt like such a fraud for not “being able to handle” 3 small children. I couldn’t wait to have my kids and here I am resentful of the time I have with them.

I thought briefly that this could be Postpartum Depression, so I did some research and found a list of symptoms:

• Feeling restless or moody
• Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
• Crying a lot
• Having no energy or motivation
• Eating too little or too much
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Having trouble focusing or making decisions
• Having memory problems
• Feeling worthless and guilty
• Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
• Withdrawing from friends and family
• Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don’t go away

Well, what I was feeling just didn’t seem to fit the list. I now begin to wonder if I am just a really bad mother. I feel like I love being a mom, but I long for time alone. I love my children, but I watch the clock while waiting for bedtime each day.
What is going on with me...


Sandy said...

You are so so so not a bad mom!! You're an awesome mom, I'm sure of it. I had a real bad patch a couple weeks ago and someone said to me "a bad parent doesn't feel guilty." It's helped me through a few low points since. You've got three young kids and your support network is long distance so it's no wonder you feel overwhelmed sometimes. I really am in awe of all the activities, playdates, crafts you manage - cut yourself some slack and let yourself feel mad, sad, whatever. I'm pulling for you! x

Sarah said...

There is nothing wrong with you hun. You are a new mum who has two little ones bearing down on you as well. children are wonderful but boy looking after young ones is RELENTLESS sometimes and it's no wonder you loose it. We all loose it and feel low and swamped but the kids will survive and they know you love them. Don't hate yourself for your feelings, deep in your core you love these kids and you'd do anything for them it just that the actual praticslities of three young kids is tough going. Hang in there and keep writing out your thoughts. xx

Jenna said...

Sandy requested that I come here and offer my thoughts on the subject, and I know I'm about to write a novel. I have four children, and have experienced ppd and "regular garden variety" depression.

My primary depression symptoms are rage, irritability, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts. I had untreated depression for 5 years because I was not an unmotivated, weepy, isolated person... because I thought that's what it looked like to be depressed.

Firstly, you are not a bad mom.
Secondly, post partum or any other depression is a biological/chemical issue, and nothing to be ashamed of. Please don't measure your emotions and experience against anyone else's and think that because you have a good life, or because you have different emotions than you see other people having, that it makes yours less valid or important.

Generally, what is happening in our brains when we experience depression is that there seratonin in our brains is not flowing through synapses correctly. Instead of flowing, it is bouncing off the next cell in front of it. Depression medication is a seratonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), meaning it keeps the flow of seratonin going without interruption.

So not wanting to take medication for the chemical issue is like expecting you to be able to drive as far on a half a tank of gas as someone else who has a full tank. Just because someone else's seratonin is flowing smoothly through their brain doesnt make them better than you, and doesnt mean you did anything to make the seratonin now flow correctly. It means you need medication so your brain works... like needing migraine medication, or insulin.

I do think you have ppd. I do think you should go speak to a doctor, and a counselor. The longer you wonder whether you "qualify" as depressed, the more damage its going to do to your self esteem. Its going to be harder to reach out. I have so been there. Please consider what I've said.

You're welcome to get in touch with me if you want to. jfarelyn at gmail.com

Mirjam said...

I started crying as I read this,I recognize so much of this! After everyone of my three kids were born I felt like this, but somehow after the third, It slowly got worse. I know the rage you are talking about. And I also thought that it was just adjusting to three kids.
But Because I felt like that before, I started thinking I was just a bad mom.
I never thought of post partum depression, because I didn´t met the criteria. I adored my children, I just hated myself and was convinced I was a bad mother.
By accident I discovered what was wrong with me, I started on medication and everything changed.
I´m not better yet, I´m still struggling. But my rage is gone, I´m so much more calm and patient. But most of all, I found out that I am not such a bad mother after all.
Getting the help I needed made all the difference in the world. What does your gut tell you? Go with that. Admitting you need help does not mean you are a bad person. It means that you are strong and brave.
I applaud you for writing this post! I Wish you luck and strength.

Carmen said...

In no way are you a bad mom. What you are is absolutely human! As moms we seem to automatically beat ourselves up for not being walking perfection at all times. Please know that there are millions of us who are in the exact same boat as you are, and that taking time out is absolutely crucial. Two months after the birth of my second child, I was diagnosed with ppd with the exact same symptoms you write about. I didn't want to acknowlge it, as I saw it at the time as a sign of weakness & being a "bad mom". Now, three months later, I'm so glad I got help.

Make yourself a priority. Reach out for help. Vent. In the end we are all just doing our best - what more can be expected?

Michelle said...

So I've been on a couple of meds and my Dr. after hearing my symptoms is upping one of my meds, so hopefully this will get me back to loving my life :)
Thanks for all the positive comments and letting me know I am not ALONE, and that this is a medical issue not a BAD parent issue.