Originally posted on Life with Huddy and Harry
After my second child was born, I felt pretty good. Aside from a moment I had in the hospital where I was sure I just made a huge mistake in having a second child. But the moment was fleeting and I was in love.
Having two kids was hard I’m not going to lie. Thankfully my husband was off work for 10 weeks and was SO incredibly helpful with taking care of the boys and I worked through breastfeeding issues and letting me sleep when I needed and when the baby did.
I felt like I was doing well, for someone who had seasonal depression and having a baby in the middle of winter, confined to a house, sleep-deprived and new responsibilities of raising two humans. It wasn’t until I realized I was so angry all the time that I knew something wasn’t right. I had no patience for my toddler, for his constant questions, his inability to listen to anything I asked of him, to question everything, and just be a normal 2 ½ year old.
But I was losing my cool at things I shouldn’t. I was angry at the baby because he wouldn’t nap, he wouldn’t sleep, he would go on breastfeeding strikes, and some nights he would just cry and there was nothing I could do to console him. There were times I had real thoughts of getting in my car and just driving so far away. That’s not easy for me to admit now. It certainly wasn’t something I admitted then, and it’s not easy to say now. But I was just so mad all the time.
Anger as a Side Effect of PPD
I joined a moms group on Facebook to connect with other mamas because I know it truly takes a village. And sometimes I didn’t want the people around me to know what I was actually going through because I was terrified of what they’d think of me for how I was feeling toward my kids and myself.
In the group I noticed quite a few other moms talking about anger being their number one side effect of postpartum depression. I was never aware of anger being a side effect of PPD. Everyone just always asked if you were crying more than usual, having suicidal thoughts or homicidal thoughts.
After a particularly horrible evening that involved an incident with Harry that I won’t get into detail about I knew I had to get help. I wasn’t myself and more importantly, I was scared of myself because I didn’t recognize this person. I didn’t know who she was, why she was so angry, why she didn’t want to be around her kids, her husband, her family.
With my baby in tow, I went into my doctors, breaking down in her office, sobbing while she held him for me. I felt so bad about how I was feeling toward him while simultaneously never wanting to be apart from him because I loved him so much.
It was also at this point that my husband had gone back to work, and just having both boys for two days alone every week was getting to be too much for me. I was overwhelmed, overtired, feeling under-appreciated, overworked and in need of a break. I decided I needed time for myself – something I hadn’t had in lord knows how long.
He didn’t understand it and became angry and a little scared when I called and told him I had booked myself a room at a hotel for the night. Granted, I could’ve handled my explanation to him a bit better, but I knew he wouldn’t understand. I had a baby on my breast for 18 of the 24 hours a day, a toddler who wasn’t coping well with sharing his mama, and I was fighting a demon I oftentimes felt like I couldn’t beat.
That night at the hotel alone was the best thing I could do for myself and for my husband. A part of me felt guilty for a little bit about going alone and not being there to put my boys down for bed or get some alone time with him. But more than all of those things I needed alone time with myself. To realize I was still me. I was still in there. I was more than just a wife and mom.
Take Care of YOU
I can’t stress this enough to new moms, and seasoned moms with older kids – take care of YOU. You truly cannot take care of everyone else when you are simply hanging on by a thread. And don’t you dare for one second feel bad about it or let anyone make you feel bad about it. Going to that hotel alone saved me in more ways than one. And it shed a lot of light on everything I’d been doing solo in my marriage, and Mike had a greater appreciation and realized he needed to help out more in dealing with the boys.
I continued to take my medication and work through this shitty season in my life for the next few months. The older the baby got, and the warmer the weather became, the less I needed my medication and was able to wean off of it when he was about 8 months.
Postpartum depression takes shape in many different ways for every person. For some it’s anger, for others, it’s severe depression. Whichever way PPD manifests itself in your life, don’t let it control you. You know yourself better than anyone else. There is no reason for feeling bad about needing help. You may need an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant in the same way a diabetic has to have insulin. Listen to your gut and your heart, and always take care of yourself.
Written By: Abby