My husband sent me an article today.
It was titled, “Postnatal depression and anxiety: Why we aren’t talking about mums and rage?” He sent the link in a text message. Two seconds later a second message comes through: “Love you.”
I am 29 years old. I have four daughters aged six months, one, three and four. Yes, we had four under four.
Over the past few weeks I have been struggling. However, these familiar feelings of explosive anger are not new to me. I had almost this exact experience when baby number three was also aged around six months.
The smallest thing the girls did would absolutely rile me. More often than not, their first interaction with me for the day would be me yelling at them. For bursting into my room and potentially waking the baby, for thundering up and down the hallway, it could have been anything. I would wake in the morning, filled with dread, knowing that I had to get through nine hours alone with the kids until Mr came home. I would pray that he wouldn’t wake any of them whilst he was getting ready for work, and then hope he wouldn’t choose to ride the motorbike because the roar as it starts always wakes at least one of them. I couldn’t tell him that though, “Honey, please take the car, I don’t want to see the children just yet”.
What kind of monster mother doesn’t want to see their children in the morning?
They want to be with me. All the time. They follow me around and look up at me with their eager, expectant little faces and I just want them to go away. To leave me alone for five minutes, to stop asking things of me, to stop pretending they can’t do anything so I will do it for them, to stop crying at the drop of a hat. The crying. Oh my God, the crying. Does it ever end?
Even as I’m thinking these things I feel like a dreadful person. After I’ve screamed at my eldest to help her sister put her gumboots on, because I’ve asked her to do it five times, but she’s still standing there watching the bloody television – I feel like a dreadful person. After I’ve ranted at my three-year-old that she should be able to put her own fucking gumboots on by now – I feel like a dreadful person. She looks at me terrified, bursts into tears and runs to her room. It makes me angrier.
Some days it gets to be too much and I cry. I ring Mr at work and sob that the baby pulled my hair, or I’m in the Aldi car park and my bags are too heavy and I can’t lift them into the car. Then I feel bad because I’ve burdened him at work, and made him feel helpless because aside from talking me through it, there’s not much he can do right now except perhaps call one of our mums and ask her to come and help me. My mother-in-law ‘drops in’ regularly on the days my mum isn’t around. She says she was in the area, and we both pretend it’s true, and that Mr hasn’t called her and asked if she’d go and give me a hand. At night I apologise to the kids, tell them I love them and that I’ll try harder tomorrow.