Where to begin? I wish I could come up with poetic words to describe the horror that was my life a little over a month ago, but it wouldn’t be fair or accurate to what was going on. Because I was ragey.
Now many would dismiss being short-tempered when adjusting to life with 3 littles, and that’s exactly what I did. I heard, “this is normal, adjusting to three is hard.” Or, “give yourself a break, you just had a baby.” After all the words of encouragement were right, but they also helped me mask the real problem.
Evelyn was born and things were great! Her labor while long was followed by my easiest recovery thus far. Bar our little hiccup with nursing and weight gain, I felt like I was rocking the mom game. Heck, I even showered in the morning and did my hair! I was killin’ it! But to quote Father of the Bride, “not so fast George Banks!”
The weeks went on and what I thought was my succeeding, quickly turned into a major reality check. There would be days where I was on top of the mom game. I would have all three down for naps by 10:30. I didn’t rely on movies to get me through the morning, and I even managed to make breakfasts from scratch – I thought, watch out Martha, here comes Martina!
Then, the other side of the coin would show its face. Laughter that once made me smile filled me with a rage I couldn’t express. An anger I couldn’t pinpoint. I tried to rack my brain as to what logical reason I was feeling this way. Did the boys do something unforgivable? I yelled. A lot. I made my boys cry. Seeing the looks on their sweet faces broke my heart and only angered me more. The feeling was overwhelming and all I wanted to do was throw something! I have never felt so out of control in my life. I just apologized over and over. Hugging them as they cried. Yet internally screaming as I couldn’t handle the sound.
Then it happened. The point where I couldn’t take it anymore. Both boys were crying, due to my having just yelled at them, for who knows what, Evelyn was inconsolable, so I put her down and backed my self into a corner. I closed my eyes and covered my ears. I needed to escape! All I thought was that my boys deserved a mom who could appreciate their sensitivity, their unending love, their humor, their generosity. Yet I didn’t think I was the one to do the job.
I don’t know what lead me to open my browser and google “rage and postpartum depression”, but I did. Maybe it was Divine intervention after many a cry for help. I immediately saw that rage was one of the most under diagnosed symptoms of both postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. I immediately broke down. I cried and cried. Thinking I had been spared, only to realize the PPD/PPA was so much worse this time. I had failed. I had failed to see the signs. I had gone weeks without seeking help and allowing my family to suffer. Allowing me to suffer.
I immediately contacted my OB, who being the amazing provider she is, calmed me down. Reminding me that I am a good mother, and that the PPD and PPA was to blame. That I wasn’t alone. She asked if I wanted to speak with anyone. This time I didn’t. I had gone the natural route after Theo was born, having my hormone levels checked, even supplementing with Vitamin D 3 when I tested deficient. However this time I just wanted to be me again. She prescribed Zoloft as it is safe for nursing mothers, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Mental health is something that is still so taboo in our modern society. Mothers have this mentality that if they admit to having PPD/PPA or if they admit to needing help, that they have failed. How do I know this? Because I used to feel this way. I felt this way after Sebastian was born, and let me tell you, all it does is cause pain. It helps NO ONE!
That night EM picked up my prescription and the following morning I began taking that one little blue pill. For some it can take a week or several weeks to feel the effects. To feel normal again. It took me a matter of days. It was as if a light was switched back on. The darkness was now light again. I remember when Theo broke something, I didn’t react with absurd anger, I simply cleaned up the mess and explained that we need to take better care of our things. I stopped and thought that I felt empty. Not empty because I was lacking emotion, or because I was lacking the normal frustration any mother would get when a child breaks something, but because the rage that had once taken over was gone. It was no longer there. It felt amazing. I felt like me again. Like the girl EM married.
Both he and I, and I know my boys, are so much happier now. I laugh more, and enjoy the silly moments with my kids more. No longer do their kisses make my skin crawl. That is a feeling no mother should feel.
I urge anyone reading this, that if this sounds like you, please take this survey, and contact your provider. Contact me if you need a listening ear and I’ll gladly be that person for you, but please take that first (albeit scary) step in getting help. Breaking the chains that PPD/PPA entangle you in can be difficult, but it is truly liberating!