Is this just hormones?(5 Posts)
I have a 2.2yr and a 14wk baby. We live abroad. I have friends here, but my close close friends (who've known DH and I for over a decade) and family are in the UK. We moved here when I was 4m pregnant for DH's work.
DH works very very long hours, often travelling abroad for 2 or 3 nights a week. The nights he is here, he gets home to bathe DC1, then goes back to work. He spends Saturday mornings with DC1 at sports, then goes to a sports club himself on Saturday afternoons (I think this is important, since his job is so sedentary: he needs to exercise more). Sunday afternoons he generally spends working.
Last week DC2 was admitted to the ICU with a fractured skill. She fell out of her bouncy chair as I was moving it (only a foot off the floor but enough), since I hadn't strapped her in. Totally my fault. She's going to be fine, but I feel so guilty I want to die. Social services are involved (automatic referral) and I'm waiting to hear when they're coming round to inspect our house/my interactions with the children. I've spent the last week either at the hospital (am BF so had to stay 24/7 with her) or running over the city with her taking her to various appointments her pediatrician insisted she have.
I feel utterly shattered. Totally drained. Am almost physically shaking. I haven't contacted DH today whilst he's been at work and he hasn't bothered to get in touch with me. I have to go pick up DC from nursery soon (she goes two days a week) and I honestly don't know if I have the energy. I'm scared to hold DC2 or do anything with her in case I hurt her again.
I was walking back home today and it hit me that this is my life now, and I just felt empty. I don't feel love for DH anymore: he's just in the way. I felt like this before DC2's accident, but it's now intensified.
I remember feeling a bit like this after DC1 but that was more a lack of fancying DH (totally went off sex for months). This is just a total void. I want to walk out of the house and not come back but I know that's not an option.
Friends have been announcing pregnancies recently and I've just felt sorry for them. No jealously, no wistful happiness, just pity. I see newborns as I walk about and I'm scared to go near them in case I harm them.
What do I do? Ride this out?
No, don't ride it out. It sounds like real PND and it is immensely hard to get better from that without treatment, most probably some medication, at least for a while. PND's especially common when you are isolated form close friends and family, or alone with DC a lot of the time. You're a real prime candidate, from the situation you describe. (Newly arrived in foreign country, husband working long hours, no close family or friends nearby, wanting to walk out, thinking you don't love DH, wanting to die, utterly shattered, totally drained, obsessively worried about the accident etc.) These stack up to suggest you are more than just a tad hormonal.
You need to find a really good GP urgently. It's crucial that you are articulate enough to explain how ill you feel and at the same time clarify to the GP that the injury was an accident, perhaps due to your feeling spaced out by PND but not because you have any urge to harm your child.
PND takes many forms. One is child abuse. I had severe PND but because I adored my babies, the GP didn't believe it was that bad and refused to treat it on the grounds I was breast feeding and there were no drugs that were compatible (actually, apparently there was one and there are probably loads more these days, in case that's an issue.) Without treatment, it took me years to feel well (truly, years) and I only felt 100% when I did finally get some treatment. You really do deserve a GP who understands the breadth of symptoms.
Stay on here for chat and support - essential if you're isolated. And if your DP is earning enough - can you get some help - just to take the immense physical and emotional strain of you for part of the time?
Also, sorry to be blunt, but bollocks to DHs who 'need' their gym time when tiny baby number 2 arrives. My DH was just as bad. If he gets some, you get some. You're working very long hours too. Sort out a diary which gives you a block of three or four hours at the gym - even if you just sit in the whirlpool the whole time or drink coffee and read mags.
Better still, take the kids out together in strollers, get fresh air, exercise, bit of family bonding and time together. Don't let the arrival of a second child isolate you from him too. You have to grow balls about this. I was so resentful of DH, it ate me up inside, as he waltzed off to the gym and had long boozy work lunches when I hadn't the time to eat more than a biscuit all day. I started to hate him and then just insisted on changes in how he was behaving. He has become an excellent and very committed dad.
Un-MN hugs to you. It will get better, but you sound like you need a helping hand.
I've just re-read your original post and am now not sure if you are trying to find a way to say what must be so difficult to admit - that the PND is taking the form where child-harm is a genuine possibility. If this is the case, you need to head immediately to the doctor for an emergency appointment. This really is as serious as it would be if you had suffered a severe fall. You need it treating now, not tomorrow or soon. Don't underplay it to yourself out of shame or a sense of failure or any other nonsense like that. Just get treated.
Thank you for your very kind and understanding words.
I'm feeling a bit better today. I told DH last night that I felt like a single mother (probably not the best choice of words, but I was beyond thinking straight), which I think shocked him. He's not a workaholic, but works hard, if that difference is understandable: he doesn't need to work (he's not 'addicted') but he is very dedicated and reliable in respect of the work his boss/colleagues expect of him. So he's in a very difficult situation. Ultimately, for him to be around as much as I need/want, he'd have to totally switch jobs (to a 9-5) which would involve a total change in everything.
I therefore think that I need to start reaching out to the support available to me. I'm so independent and hate to seem weak. My friends here would all happily help, but something stops me asking. I think I need to swallow my 'pride' or whatever it is and ask. In my head, being at home with the children should be easy compared to the job I had before/the jobs DH and my childfree friends have, so I shouldn't be complaining.
I have had visions/flashforwards(?) of hurting the children. Just of bad things happening to them: of the stroller rolling into traffic despite having the brake on, or of the crib collapsing underneath DC2 despite it being very sturdy. I look at things in the house and imagine how much they could hurt my babies. I am suddenly and brutally aware of how fragile their little bodies are.
Added to this is how special DC2 is to us. I was told that I would likely not be able to conceive her due to medical treatment after DC1 was born, only to fall pregnant first cycle we tried.. Throughout my pg with her I had considerable anxiety: in my head it wasn't meant to be so straightforward and so I was just expecting/waiting for something bad to happen but it never did. So maybe I built up this time as something which was going to be perfect, which it obviously was never going to be.
My health insurance company here has a hotline I can call at any point for assessment/counselling so I'm going to reach out to them once I get the chance. They can hopefully point me in the right direction.
I'm really glad you replied.
Those images you have of the baby getting harmed are not of you harming your child, but of life or chance harming her. They are very normal and natural I think. We do have a hyper-alert state when they're tiny - seeing everything as a pitfall. Some of us (you, me) are more uptight about this than others, but that's still within the spectrum of good mothering, not a desire for your child to get hurt.
What did your husband say when you told him how you felt? If he can't do shorter hours, would he at least forego the gym and spend time with you and the children, out and about, all getting some exercise and getting fit together - parks, swimming, (babies can do this from a pretty young age) country walks, garden visits, the seaside etc. Plan a short outing each week as a family that you can all look forward to.
This was crucial to us as a family - getting out each week together instead of thinking free time always had to be clawed away from the family, as though the family were some awful yoke around our necks. It's the best fun in the world, really. I've never had more joy than the days we muck about together - all four of us, in the woods or on bikes. When they were tiny we used to take them for long walks through markets in papooses and they'd grab at food from stalls.
Please will you sort out that health assessment as a priority. It's so easy when you have a small child to think their needs must come first above your own, but if you entirely ignore your own, the whole family suffers. Marriages, family life, all are so fragile after the birth of the second child, and what glues them together is the health and happiness of the primary carer. that's you. You need and deserve to feel great, so you can not only do, but also enjoy the job of caring for yoru children.
(Oh and btw - isn't it the greatest myth in the world that being a SAHM is the easy option over a tough career? I had a job that took me all over the world, responsible for teams in several countries, working very long hours, often seven days a week pre-kids and it was a walk in the park in comparison.)
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