10/23/2006

Cliffs of insanity

I apologise in advance for the melodrama that is sure to plague this post. I'm not very good at writing emotional posts, as I always feel so self-conscious. In real life I'm not much of an emoter outside the comfort of my own home, and I hate hate hate crying in front of people other than The Dude. I guess this is why I'm so paranoid when I write about being sad or depressed, because I feel like it's just way too much drama. When I write like that, I think it comes off sounding like a diary entry by a very histrionic 13 year old. I'm very much a wipe away the tears and get on with it person, so to give in and express my emotions is difficult. Someone once commented on here that they felt as if I'm often holding back. I thought about that for awhile after I read it, and I'm sure that person is right. Of the 160+ posts I've done, only about 10 at most have a sad or depressed tone. Revealingly, a few of those posts have come post-P., despite the infertility issues I've written about here for almost two years.

I've arrived at the conclusion that I am so over motherhood right now. I spend my days lamenting the fact that I even bothered to go through everything to get to this. This is hell. I was starting to crawl out of the misery that I had been wallowing in for awhile, until it all started to go downhill again. P. started her medication to get rid of the GERD and for a day I had an almost-wonderful baby. Unfortunately the doctor neglected to mention that a side effect of these thickening agents is constipation. Glorious, glorious constipation. Constipation that makes my baby scream her head off enough all day to put all those colicky hours to shame. The constant screaming drives me to my bed, hiding under the duvet and crying uncontrollably. For the first time in years, today I wanted to do something to myself.

One night about five years ago, I locked myself in the bathroom and sat on the floor sobbing for two hours. At the time I was stuck in the same town in which I grew up, working a retail job I hated, and feeling as if my life was going absolutely nowhere. I hated my body, which is nothing new for me, but my self-hatred was at a peak thanks to the other things going on in my life. While sitting on the floor, I grabbed a razor, fully intending on cutting myself. I somehow rationalised to myself that by creating a strong physical pain, it would help alleviate, or at least diminish my immense emotional pain. Putting that in words makes it sound ridiculous, but I think anyone that has been in that position would fully understand what I'm saying.

I know near-cutting is just the cusp of what some people have experienced. Many women are cutters, not near-cutters, so this is where I feel very melodramatic. Why do I think my pain is so severe when I'm just someone who almost made a mistake?

Back to contemporary times. A couple of weeks ago I really thought the worst had passed. We were getting help for the GERD, and surely that was the problem, right? Maybe for once my baby would not be the one crying the entire time during one of my mums and baby group meetings. Perhaps I wouldn't spend every moment of my days trying to prevent P. from crying, and eventually I'd be able to relax. Not relax as in sit down and feel all the negative stuff disappear, but relax as in just have a period of time that I wasn't just waiting for the next set of wails to commence.

I have come to the conclusion that I definitely love P., I just don't like her most days. The Dude keeps irritating the hell out of me by saying, "This isn't her fault!", as if I believe that this three month old baby is orchestrating all of this just to piss me off. I am well aware that she cannot help crying in reaction to whatever it is she is feeling, but I am less and less able to deal with it and function normally. I don't have any sense of separation anxiety in the least. If someone in The Dude's family offered to take her off me for a day or a week I would be fine with that. I'm such a great mother.

I have been of the opinion since soon after P.'s birth that I wanted to go back to work. Now. I get a year of maternity leave, but I feel like I need to go back now to escape. I feel absolutely horrified for thinking this, as I know so many bloggers, including my dear friend Lumi, were completely eviscerated when they had to return to work after their piss poor excuses for maternity leave. Me, not so much. I had grand visions of what my time off would be like. Days would be filled with me bonding with P., playing with her, and just spending time loving and relishing her. Instead every day is a jittery day in which I pray she will only cry for 2 hours instead of 5. I'm not enjoying motherhood, not at all.

I've essentially stopped reading the blogs of women who gave birth around the same time as I did. Every single one is filled with adoration and ruminations on how much the mothers love the time they spend with their babies. As much as I am pleased for them, it is far too painful for me to realise that I am of a minority. I feel like an infertile reading the endless tales of women who got pregnant easily. Now I am the outsider again because I have a baby but I can't enjoy her. It seems like yet again other people have it so easily, i.e., what is to happen naturally happened for them and here I am with it all falling apart. Again.

I don't know what to do. Sometimes, well, most times recently, I just want to walk out the door and not come back. I feel guilty even committing these feelings to words, because in doing so it's all so much more real. I am at a dead end.

37 comments:

Dooneybug said...

I'm so sorry this is so difficult right now. I was where you are for awhile in the beginning. It's a very real issue and one that you shouldn't feel is silly or insignificant.

Do you get to get out of the house on occasion? Go to dinner with a friend? What's the maternity leave policy, meaning if you decided to go back for a little bit and after awhile felt you wanted to take more time off, could you?

Not suggesting you avoid the situation by going back to work but maybe it could help you regroup yourself and feel more normal, a different version of your formal self.

Dooneybug said...

That is, a different version of your FORMER self. Ugh.

Suz said...

Not me. I'm glad, so thankful, to get some time away from the twins. Night after night, they'd both be crying and I just didn't like them very much. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. It's a hard, hard, hard time.

I feel bad about giving you assvice, but I just need to say that baby constipation is the worse. They just cry and cry. Our pediatrician told us to give them a tiny bit of Karo syrup in their bottles and it loosened them right up. If you don't have any over there, I can mail you a bottle to check it out with your pediatrician. Okay. Assvice over now.

Jenn said...

*hugs*

You aren't a bad mother. Well, at least if you are, I am too. There have been many, MANY days where I didn't like them and wasn't even sure I loved them. I've fantasized taking them back to the hospital, dropping them off at a fire station, etc. My mom HAS taken them overnight twice and probably will this weekend too. I'm happy to just have them away from me for a little while. It's nothing like I'd imagined at all. We did have two good days in a row though and it made all the difference. If they were all like that I'd love this. But they aren't.

Hang in there. They say it gets easier. I have no choice but to believe them.

DD said...

Would it surprise you if I was where you are almost 4 1/2 years ago? I was dying to go back to work at 6 weeks but my husband thought I should "stick with it." I wanted to stick it all right, right up his ass, especially since he was the one leaving right about the time my son went into his screaming fits (6:00pm - 11:00pm daily).

For the constipation, do try the karo syrup and then you may want to ask your doctor to show you the best way to take P's temp anally. Why? Once you give the syrup, take her temp a little while later and everything should move along.

In the mean time, yes for some of us, those first couple of months suck ass. But I promise it will get better, even though it may never feel like it.

Maya said...

Please ignore the assvice if it doesn't apply.
Be patient with yourself. 3 mo. of this would drive anyone crazy. Forgive yourself and her. This will pass. I think if more women were more honest you would see your feelings more reflected with them. Is there anyway that someone could relieve you for a day or two?

Wavery said...

I'm so glad you posted this.

First of all Pru, your poor kiddo sounds miserable. You need help. Is a second opinion in the cards? A different medication? That much crying isn't a good sign, can't possibly be dealt with easily but the easiest way for any hope of relief is less crying. I hope hope hope something can give you and P. a longer leash. I know nothing about GERD, so forgive me if I'm being naive, I tend to get a little Pollyanna about these kinds of things, but you need less crying.

Second, poor poor poor you. My baby has cried for one forty five minute jag and I nearly shattered my molars. I cannot imagine. I CANNOT IMAGINE how hard it must be for you. My molars start to itch just sympathizing with you. I am so sorry that you don't feel at ease venting here. I wish you would do so. Consider this a request, you need to get some bloggy love, a big old break, and a plan. You've been so sweet to me for so long (um, years now) if there is anything I can do. You are not feeling sorry for yourself. I know you are not the type, so put the drama paranoia out of your mind, I don't see that at all. I wish I were closer. This is rough stuff indeed. I'm going to check on you.

Mary Scarlet said...

Pru, I'm so sorry that you and Miss P are having a rough time. You both are. She with the gastrointestinal problems. And for you, it might be the unrelenting crying, but it might not. You could have one of those happy babies (do they really make them that way, or is it just b.s. I have always wondered) and still feel this way for any number of reasons, including hormoneyblah, but also just 'cause. Please don't feel guilty or bad. I'm worried about you, hope you do get someone to spell you. Lots of love.

statia said...

Dammit. My blog friends need a serious break. Between shitty pregnancies and crying babies. This just sucks and I don't think you're abnormal at all for feeling like this.

The "unicorns and candy people" fuck it up for the rest of us.

Amy said...

Ya being a mom sucked for me too. Mine has ADHD and there were none of those sweet bonding moments. It was exhaustion, frustration and both of us crying. I think 3 months was about the time the doctor threatened to (and should have) put me in the hospital for severe sleep deprivation. I couldnt tell what was real and what was a dream. I dont have the answer because I never figured it out myself either.

Flicka said...

Pru dear~

First of all, you don't need to excuse or explain your feelings to anyone. There is no pain scale where you are frivilous and the rest of us are in genuine pain. YOU ARE IN GENUINE PAIN. It's not melodramatic to say so.

I have no assvice regarding poor P. since I know nothing about this. Seems like some of the other moms had pretty good answers.

I adore my mother to death and she me. But she confided in me once that after I was born she would sit out on the front steps of her apartment while I screamed and think about throwing me away. I was not a planned or wanted pregnancy and the screaming made it so much worse. And she didn't throw me away and she's an awesome mom who I love deeply. And I believe in the depths of my heart that you and P. will get there one day, too.

Hetty Fauxvert said...

Oh dear ... poor dear Pru ... listen, if I had half your provocation I'd be clinging to the ceiling by now!! So first, PLEASE do not feel guilty for the feelings you are having. After you get the kiddo fixed up, these feelings will recede, you'll finish bonding, and you won't be thinking about this awful time period anymore.

All my experience is with cats, not babies, but I am wondering if it is possible to give babies an enema? We had a Manx cat with chronic bowel issues and I became quite handy with giving him an enema. Obviously, this is not a do-it-yourself job -- make your health service people do it and show you how (if it can be done).

And indeed, it sounds like you are getting precious little help from your doc. Just a thought -- try making an appointment to see the doc at a time when you know Miss P will be wailing her poor little head off. Let them SEE the pain that poor baby is in. Perhaps then they'd be a bit more motivated to help you out. (Or better yet, maybe get a different doctor?)

All of this is assvice, I know, but please take it in lieu of the huge hug I'd like to give you. I hope the Karo syrup (or something!) works for you soon.

erinberry said...

I'm so sorry that this has been so hard... and I hate to see you beating yourself up about it. A baby who cries constantly will definitely make you feel at your wit's end - I don't think you're alone at all.

Julie said...

Shit sweetie - I'm so sorry you are going through this - I can't even imagine how you must be feeling.

Lumi said...

The Princess Bride reference aside, this was a very brave entry, and I'm very glad you wrote it.

I firmly believe that there are so many things that "everyone" does NOT tell you about having a baby and raising a child. This? This is one of them. Women seem to feel that we should be floating through our days, our angelic, cherub-like babies nestled in our arms, and nothing but love, peace and giggles exist.

Bah.

Motherhood is fucking hard. Motherhood is a battle.
The love a mother has for her baby is the strongest thing in the universe - it is so strong because it has to be FOUGHT for with claws and teeth and sweat and tears.

And nobody tells you this.

I think almost any mother you meet, if she were really, really honest with you, would tell you that THEY always love their babies, but don't like them very much.

All the above aside, I give a hearty second to Wavery, who is encouraging you to get a second opinion for P. Let's see the root of her evils could be calmed with different medication, formula, what-have-you.

And girl? If you and Baz want to get an excellent nanny for the honey-child so you can get yourself back to work? I will be your biggest cheerleader. You are a dear friend, and all I would want for you is to be happy.

love,
Lumi

laura said...

I think it's okay, and great, that you did commit these word to paper (or your blog, whatever). Because you will not feel this way forever. I'll be the first to admit it, I'm one of those moms who is all googly about how much I love my babies, think they are the best, etc. But you know what? It's taken six months to get here. I felt much like you do ... I loved them, but it no way shape or form did I LIKE them. I was just too afraid to actually say it. I hated their crying, their needyness, the fact that I had to do EVERYTHING for them. I beat myself up for making the choice to not just quit work, but actually close my business. No chance of going back to that.

It is so hard. It's so hard, and noone tells you how hard it is. Not just physically, but mentally too. And how to deal with having a baby after infertility? There are no instructions, no guide. That's one this you just figure out on your own.

Relish the very occasional, short moments you have to yourself. Lock yourself in the bathroom to cry, to read a magazine, whatever. Let the baby cry for a while, and go sit on the porch. And as much as I hate to say it, you will feel differently eventually. It seems like never, but you will.

laura said...

Oh ... part two.

I have one with GERD, one with constipation. We had to try three different meds to get one that helped the GERD. They say they have to keep on it for nine months...ugg. But, persist if the med isn't working, try another.

And assvice for the constipation ... Karo didn't work for my son, so we do a regular dose of prune juice (which he loooves and crys when the bottle is empty) and a nice, vaseline covered thermometer up the rear. Seems to do the trick. How unpleasant. For everyone involved.

Jen said...

Oh, Pru, I'm so sorry. I cannot fathom how awful the relentless screaming must be, and how draining it must be for you. No wonder you're at your wits' end!

I saw a study recently that found a strong correlation between PPD and colicky babies. My first thought was, "duh!", because I know that colic can send even the happiest mom into utter despondency.

You know, the first few months of motherhood are really hard, especially until the babies start becoming more interactive, usually around the 3-month mark. It can feel like you're pouring all this energy into an unresponsive or ungrateful little lump, with few rewards.

That being said, it sounds like things for you are way beyond the usual difficulties of the first few months--her health problems sound like they're making the both of you miserable, and I really hope that you can find some solutions that will help her feel better.

I'm sure you feel completely beat down now by her screaming, by the exhaustion, and by the lackadaisacal response of her doctor--but I think it would be very worthwhile to investigate some other solutions for the constipation and GERD. Neither of you should have to live like this (and I say that not in a "you should feel guilty about this" way, but with the utmost empathy and love).

I hope things improve, sweetie.

Millie said...

Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and hope P feels better soon. Here's to the karo syrup trick working.

I also hope it gets better for you soon.

susie said...

Don't feel bad for feeling bad, Pru. I was amazed at how hard it was, especially in the beginning. It sounds like you and Miss P are both having a tough time, and whatever you can do to help yourself will help her, too. I hope you can get a little time away, I think it would help a lot. I'm thinking of you.

Rachel said...

I don't have much to add except some virtual hugs and cookies for you. I'm sorry everything sucks so much and I hope you feel better soon.

May I suggest feeding P some burritos or other things involving refried beans? It may not smell nice, but would certainly help the constipation! What, a three-month old baby can't eat burritos? Phooey.

Thalia said...

Ms P, it sounds frightful, just frightful, and I'm so sorry that there's nothing any of us can do to help. Actually, I could help - want me to come down and hold the baby for a few hours while you sleep or go for a walk or something? I'll do it, I promise.

I wish Jen P's blog was easier to find. I think she's the same Jen P from My Reich Ovary, and she killed off her original blog during the pregnancy. About a month ago I found her new blog, just by doing a bit of surfing, and read with horror about what a tough time she's had. But she doesn't seem to be gooleable and I can't remember how I found her last time. Let me explain why it might help - not because she's got the magic answer, I'm not sure anyone has, but because at least someone else has had an equally crap time. That might help, no?

You are NOT a crap mother sweetie, you need to find someone (other than us?) who is going to tell you that. Lots of women feel this way, even with less to deal with than you have. Hang in there.

The Maven said...

Your post rings with such honesty and I have nothing but respect for your ability to honour how you're feeling.

My first son was very high needs. I was 20 (secondary infertility made me her bitch, our first child was a surprise) and I too was filled with a grand notion of what our days would be like, blissfully looking at each other and bonding and smiling and whatnot. Instead, I ended up with a baby who cried most of the time, couldn't stand being put down, hardly slept and needed more out of me than I felt I could muster. I ended up exhausted and depressed.

Fastfoward nearly ten years: he's an amazing little guy. Life with him is amazing. I wouldn't trade him for the world. I look back on his baby years with fondness, but also with a gratitude that they are OVER. It was hell. It was torture for all of us. I don't mind saying that, melodramatic or not.

It's ok to feel what you're feeling. You're beyond exhausted, I'm sure. Take care of your mental health as much as possible during the next little while and know that things will get better. One day, she's not going to cry as much. I promise. Hang in there *hugs*

mm said...

Thank you, thank you for telling it like it is. Because when I'm in a similar situation with LL (and I will be) I will be able to think of this post and know that I'm not alone. You're not either.

fisher queen said...

Other people have more helpful things to say than I do, but I do want to repeat that you should not be beating yourself up for feeling like this. You are not a bad person or a bad mother. You are exhausted and stressed out and not getting much help.

Can you find anyone to take her for even a few hours a week? You need sleep and alone time! I would also call your pediatrician and let him/her know about the constipation and screaming and just how miserable you are. Demand help for P and especially for you. You need support and your pediatrician should have some helpful contacts. In the meantime, keep telling us how you feel. That's what we're here for!

PortLairge said...

Pru:
I'm thinking of you. The other commenter have left great advice- I have nothing to add- I wish I did.

Demented M said...

If it helps...

I think GERD babies are just hard. Everything I've read, watching my friends with GERD babies, it's just hard. Lots of screaming and not very much sleep for anybody.

I have GERD and in case you don't, I will tell you the one time I didn't have meds, I was in so much pain I finally understood why some people with chronic pain killed themselves. GERD is horrifyingly excruciating as an adult--nothing at all like heartburn as advertised in Tum commercials-- I imagine it's not much better for an infant.

So keep at the doctors and just know that this too will pass. My friends' babies all 'grew out' of the worst of it. They're happy normal toddlers now. The moms are happy too (and they used to call me weeping, so they've made mucho progress).

Just take it day by day. Do what works--chuck out all the shoulds and just do what works. Get a nanny, a sitter, go back to work (although keep in mind, if your babe is a screamer and not sleeping very well, you'll not only be sleep deprived but required to be productive, not sure if that's a win-win), make your hubby stay home for a few days, pay to see a private GI specialist or pediatrician--just do what you think might help.

Throw out all the 'rules' of how you're supposed to feel, what you're supposed to do, and do it your way. It will all work out.

Good luck!

M

Mollywogger said...

You are so brave to post this -- and there is not enough people in the world telling the truth. I salute you.

I also think that you should go on vacation. All by yourself. We've got a guest room here in Wisconsin, and I would let you sleep as long as you'd like.

Panda said...

As far as I can tell, there are only two reasons babies scream like that: pain and hunger. For the constipation, diluted prune juice works well, as does pear juice. I second the advice others have given re getting more medical advice for Miss P.

As for you, my dear, you are SO not a bad mother, you are not melodramatic and its no bloody wonder you feel the way you do. I had 7 weeks of screaming and it wasnt as bad as you describe and there were times when I could see myself chucking the Spud across the room. It does your head in, it really does. You need sleep, you need a break and you need to be kind to yourself.

Seek help wherever you can for yourself and P. We'd all come over and help if we could.

Georgia said...

Oh, darlin'. If I had a fussy baby I'd want my MIL to take him too, for a while. I know I posted about not wanting her to touch him, but he's been easy. A few fussy nights of late, and my mom's here, and I can't wait to hand him off to her. Really, it makes a huge difference, their temperment. You're not a horrible mother--you're human. Listening to someone cry all day must be so incredibly painful. The times Lincoln's fussed in the past few days are heartbreaking and frustrating and annoying and if they were longer stretches I'd want to run away too...

Lawyer Mama said...

I stumbled on your blog, after I read a comment of yours on A Little Pregnant.

I can totally relate to your post. My oldest had awful, awful GERD. Much screaming, no sleeping, a feeding aversion, hospitalization for failure to thrive, tests, medication, more tests - it was exhausting physically and emotionally. I wish I could tell you that there's a magic bullet, but there really isn't. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that is does get better. A lot better.

I do have to admit that, as torn up as I was about going back to work, it made me much more tolerant and able to handle my son when I was with him. You're not horrible for wanting to escape. You're just human.

I won't repeat advice about getting out of the house - I'm sure you've heard that ad naseum - but I do have some practical constipation advice. I haven't read your archives, so I'm not sure what your little one is taking, but if you are using rice cereal to thicken feeds ask your pediatrician or GI if you can switch to oatmeal. Some of the reflux meds can cause constipation as well, but oatmeal counteracts it nicely.

Good luck and hang in there.

Anonymous said...

My baby was an aweful colicky baby, too, who made me want to run away screaming. I cried and cried. The only thing that really helped, and it only helped a little, was knowing that he would grow out of it. I kept chanting to myself, "you don't have to adapt. You don't have to learn to live like this. You just need to survive til it stops."

I don't know if that helps you any, but know that I seriously felt so bad I wanted to hurt myself and my baby - and he eventually stopped at 4 months.

Amanda

Em said...

Hang in there Pru and thanks for your honesty. Don't feel guilty for your feelings. You haven't walked out the door, have you? You love P and it's just such a stressful situation. I know it's an assvice thing to say and when I was going through a really rock bottom time a few years back I would go to AA and people would just say 'This too shall pass' and I wanted to smash them in the face. It did pass. And then other shit came up and then it passed. Keep blogging your feelings.

Anonymous said...

I too stumbled across your blog through someone elses. I had to share that I suffered from Post Partum Depression after the birth of my first son. I am convinced that the high needs baby I had given birth to had maybe intensified these feelings of hopelessness. I decided to get help after experiencing something very similar to what you did that day in the bathroom. I was put on medication and very quickly experienced a new sense of "I can handle this... Please consider talking to your doctor about these feelings you are having. It will seem easier taking care of a need baby if you are not feeling depressed. Three months after giving birth is the classic time for PPD to set in.

sparklykatt said...

Pru, please go get some help for yourself! For you, your husband, and your baby, you need to see a doctor and get some help.

Our son had serious constipation issues. We mixed all his formula bottles with 1 to 2 tablespoonsful of Karo syrup and about 1 ounce of pear or prune juice. That seemed to keep him ok for the most part.

When things were really bad we gave him a glycerin suppository.

You have lots of Mommy's out here thinking about you who know what it is like.

julia said...

I'm sorry you're going thru such a hellish time. Everyone else had such great advice that I can't think of anything to add, but you definitely aren't alone in feeling this way. I've been there. It sucks, but you do get thru it. If you need to go back to work, go. If you need to stash her with relatives for a day or two, do it. Do whatever you need to do.

Being a mother is the toughest thing I've ever done. Some days I hate it. Some days, it's fantastic. The fantastic days make the shitty ones bearable.

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Crap. I was here too. Sobbingly told Hubby that I thought I was depressed. He didn't answer, so I assumed that I simply wasn't allowed to be depressed at the moment, and just had to carry on anyway. Sleep deprivation's a fucker.

The doctors all ASSURED me that the fact that Harry's thrice-daily poos ceased THE SAME DAY as we started his reflex meds was CO-INCIDENCE! Stupid bastards. He didn't go for 9 bloody days at one point, I had to get laxative suppositories for his... wait for it... back passage. And five minutes later, it was a good job I was stood well clear... he damn near blew his nappy off. The problem didn't resolve until we put him on solids, and even now he tends to shit like a sheep. A rabbit, on a bad day.