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Not so much AIBU as Am I Normal...

(31 Posts)
Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 16:45:34

...to sometimes feel resentful/scathing of other mums and their relationship with their little ones? (Y'know, when they do that cooing, kissy thing with their baby)

I will point out that I have PND. At least, my GP says I have but I think my depression/anxiety has obvious causes so not really 'proper' PND.

Does anyone else get this? It's making me feel like a really horrible person

jeminthepantry Wed 05-Aug-09 16:49:31

You are not horrible.

It is really common to look at other people and think they have 'perfect' lives or relationships etc.

Doesn't mean they have btw...

I am sorry you are feeling like this- why do you disagree with GP (which you are entitled to do!!)- when I suffered PND, I didn't feel like I was 'properly' depressed either, if that's any help, but looking back, I really was...

MummyDragon Wed 05-Aug-09 17:00:20

You are not a horrible person.

PND - and all other forms of depression - are very common. You are not alone. Your feelings are common amongst people suffering from depression, and certainly more common than a lot of non-depressed people might think.

The most important thing is that you are getting help with your depression/anxiety, which it sounds as if you are ... is that correct? Do you have someone to help you look after your baby? What sort of support are you getting? Is there anything that you would like MNetters to help with? - e.g. advice/support on particular baby issues other than the (PN)D? I hope you feel better soon, and please don't add self-induced guilt trips to the things that are dragging you down; you obviously have enough on your plate already and the fact that you have seen your GP about it is a step in the right direction - well done.

Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 17:01:49

Thank you jem, it's very reassuring to hear that others think mean thoughts too!

My confusion arises from the fact that I think of PND as being caused by chemical/hormonal imbalance whereas my depression seems to be related to my personality. I am a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak so it stands to reason that I find motherhood hard because it's all so unpredictable (and impossible to get 100% right!)

I'm definitely on the wrong board here aren't I?! Probably not the best place for navel-gazing!

Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 17:03:02

Ooooh, and thank you mummydragon!

Just digesting your post (and dealing with the miscreants here so may be a while before I post back again!)

Thanks for your kind thoughts and ideas.

halfbakedcookie Wed 05-Aug-09 17:05:59

Don't look at others and compare yourself to them, appereances can be decptive.

To the outside world, I have the perfect life, but it's all a veneer. I am bearly holding myself togerther, but you would never know that by looking at me.

Comparing youself to other people will drive you crazy, just concentrate on yourself smile

squilly Wed 05-Aug-09 17:07:21

YAN horrible at all. I have lots of days where DD and I look like the perfect mom and daughter team, to the outside world. She's quite affectionate and huggy and always holds my hand when we're in town, even though she's 8. BUT...when we're at home she can drive me nuts and vice versa.

All that glistens isn't gold. All those cooey mummies aren't necessarily all cooey cooey all the time. Scrape off the veneer and they're still dealing with some of the stress and shite that most mums have to deal with.

I think you'd be ABitU if you DIDN'T look at other people and envy them their perfect offspring occasionally.

Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 17:08:12

Sorry to hear you're struggling too half-baked. I think I give off a similar impression to others. I've confided in a couple of friends and they were very surprised to hear I've been finding things so hard.

Fairynufff Wed 05-Aug-09 17:14:01

Please don't be down on yourself. My 3 aren't babies any more but I still look at mums who are in love with their young babies/toddlers and wonder why I was never like that. I fell in love with mine when they could do things for themselves, when we could have a chat, when they make me laugh... that to me is soooo much more interesting than all the screaming, fussing, mess, repetitive, boring stuff associated with very young children.

I often wondered if I had PND because I didn't really 'feel' the whole yummy mummy thing but my DH told me once, and I clung on to it: "it doesn't matter to the child how you feel, only if its needs are being met, and you feed him, cuddle him and do all the right things...don't worry so much" He was right - me and my kids are fine.

You will be too.

oneplusone Wed 05-Aug-09 17:19:32

I think what people show to the outside world is often so very very different to how they actually feel inside and behave behind closed doors at home.

Don't compare your 'inside' to other people's 'outside' is a great piece of advice I read on MN ages ago.

And I in fact am opposite to the mums you may have noticed who are all 'cooey' with their babies in public. I was never a publicly cooey mum, but at home, i was completely different, very huggy and kissy and cooey.

I also had PND without realising it, alongside 'normal' depression caused by other obvious factors. I thought i just had 'normal' depression but now with hindsight i can see that I also had severe PND.

You are perfectly normal, keep posting and I am sure you will find lots of other people who feel just the same as you.

screamingabdab Wed 05-Aug-09 17:27:43

Olifin I know what you mean about not thinking it's PND because of thinking of PND as a hormone imbalance etc.

The fact is, nobody really know what causes depression, but of course depression and anxiety (the latter of which I definitely felt after the birth of DS1) are associated with certain stressful life events. Having a child is of course one of the most stressful. You are right, that your personality is going to have an effect on how you interpret certain events.

I too have found it very hard along the way to not really feel that I know what I'm doing (perfectionistic tendencies here, too !!)

It gets better. I am sad to say that i did not enjoy DS1s babyhood as much as DS2s. With DS1 it was more a case of getting to know him and a slow process of falling in love.

Also, as Fairynuff says, tiny babies aren't inherently as interesting as older children, IMHO.

As others have said, feeling drained, at sea, resentful at times are all more normal than you realise. It is only when I talk to friends now (mine are 6 and 8), that we admit how crap some of us felt in the early months.

piscesmoon Wed 05-Aug-09 17:28:28

I think that you are perfectly normal-get below the surface with anyone and you find that they have their own problems and insecurities-things are not always what they seem.

screamingabdab Wed 05-Aug-09 17:31:15

oneplusone I find that saying very useful as well. I have even used it to explain emotions to my oldest son

stuffitlllama Wed 05-Aug-09 17:31:17

agree with everyone else.. you are not horrible

well, I had a similar thing with first baby so I hope you're not horrible because that would mean I am too

I actually did something that helped a bit, I copied them, and the doing it (though I didn't feel like it) helped it to come a bit more naturally

in the end it sort of goes away

I'm sorry, it does sound like PND

Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 17:49:12

Thank you so much, all of you.

I'm not really a regular poster so I'm especially touched to get such a lovely response from people I don't know at all.

I'm not a new mum. Have a DD aged (nearly) 4 and a DS, aged 16 months. I have found it much easier to bond with DS than I did with DD, yet I seem to be depressed this time, whereas I wasn't after having DD (was definitely lonely and a bit isolated but not depressed).

And the affection thing...sometimes I am VERY affectionate with the DCs (possibly overly so) but it's very often on MY terms- when I want it. When they want to climb all over me etc.. I can find it stifling and sometimes it makes me feel quite angry. There is an anger management issue too. I get the 'red mist' descending (as I'm sure many mums do) and find it hard to cope with. I seem to be unable to do the whole 'count to 10, deep breaths' thing once I'm angry. I end up shouting and even swearing. All a bit horrible but it's happening less now than it was a few months ago.

But...I do feel resentful quite a lot of the time. Sometimes feel trapped and dream about a life without my children. This is making me cry to write this because it sounds awful. Of course, I love my children and I wouldn't change them for the world but sometimes I want more space, more time, more quiet and opportunities to do things for myself.

I saw the GP a while ago and she was lovely. Offered AD's which I declined (didn't think I needed them as there seemed to be obvious causes of my anxiety). She referred me for counselling, but when the appointment sheet came through, I was feeling ok and also started worrying about how I was going to be able to attend counselling on a weekday (who would look after the children?)

So....I realise now that declining the counselling appt was a mistake and that I should go back to the GP but a bit concerned she'll think I'm wasting her time.

DH is wonderful, very supportive, but he's got a lot going on and sometimes crumbles a bit under the strain of supporting me.

Gosh...bit of an essay. Thanks so much to all of you for your thoughts. It really, really helps to hear that there are others in a similar situation.

halfbakedcookie Wed 05-Aug-09 18:08:09

Olifin - the way you describe your displays of affection to your DCs, SNAP. Do you think it's anger, or frustration? With me, it is frustration. I am capable of getting on with things if left to my own divices, but sometimes the frustration with my situation overwhelms me, I think sometimes
the feeling of being stifled brings everything to a head, then the anger/frustration shows itself. I used to let rip over the littlest of things, it wasn't fair on DS. Now I go upstairs and scream into a pillow. It helps.

I sometimes dream of a life without DS, but then when I am being rational, its not him that I want to get away from, it's my own feelings if that makes sense?

I don't have any answers, but you are certainly not alone.

screamingabdab Wed 05-Aug-09 18:10:57

Do go back to the GP - I had counselling when DS2 was a baby and dS1 a toddler. I had to get a childminder for a few hours one afternoon a week to do it, but looking back, having to get the childminder saved my life, as much as having the counselling.

Do you have any childcare ? Could you get some time off during the day ?

screamingabdab Wed 05-Aug-09 18:15:41

I identify with the red mist. Difficulties controlling your temper can be a sign of depression, and are a sign, for your children's sake, that you need to find a way to get help.

x

oneplusone Wed 05-Aug-09 18:39:16

"I do feel resentful quite a lot of the time. Sometimes feel trapped and dream about a life without my children. This is making me cry to write this because it sounds awful. Of course, I love my children and I wouldn't change them for the world but sometimes I want more space, more time, more quiet and opportunities to do things for myself. " You have summed up exactly how i feel a lot of the time, too often for my liking really.

Sorry have to go, DC's are hungry.

oneplusone Wed 05-Aug-09 19:11:01

I would definately recommend you go for the counselling. I had to put DS in day care a couple of mornings a week purely so i could go and see a counsellor. It saved my sanity. Not just seeing the counsellor but the child free time. That's not to say i didn't feel horrendously guilty for putting him in day care, but in the long run it was definately for the best. If I hadn't done it and not had the counselling, i honestly think i would have had a complete mental breakdown at some point and probably ended up in hospital. Far more distressing for all concerned than a few hours in day care per week for DS and an hour of counselling a week for me.

Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 19:22:11

Sure, I see your point oneplusone. I think I'm probably making excuses re. the counselling. DCs do go to a childminder occasionally while I work so it's not like I'm too worried about that. I must admit that the cost is a bit of a worry but...how long is the average counselling session, an hour? So, allowing for travel to appointment, maybe 2 hours with childminder =£14 per week for the two of them. Sure it won't break the bank.

And I could always ask my mum to have them...but the thought makes me cringe a bit. My parents are those sickeningly healthy kind of 60-somethings who are a bit bewildered by 'depression' and other such things that they don't understand. I'd rather not tell them about going to counselling but I guess it'd be better out in the open.

Thanks screamingabdab- didn't realise anger could be a sign of depression. The children are safe with me but the atmosphere isn't always pleasant and I don't want to do any psychological damage with my ranting

halfbaked: 'I sometimes dream of a life without DS, but then when I am being rational, its not him that I want to get away from, it's my own feelings if that makes sense?'

That makes perfect sense. When I get angry and frustrated 'at' the children, it is myself I'm really angry/frustrated with, I think. I spent a ridiculous amount of time feeling guilty and wishing things were different, instead of taking steps to change things.

TEJQ Wed 05-Aug-09 19:36:41

Haven't read the other responses but hopefully you are getting help and support because all the kissy, gooey stuff is actually very important to tiny babies to promote a secure attachment and healthy emotional development.

Something like Theraplay might be helpful, or something you can do together which promotes closeness and eye-contact.

screamingabdab Wed 05-Aug-09 20:00:17

Sorry Olifin, I didn't mean to imply that you would physically hurt them, and I speak from experience.

screamingabdab Wed 05-Aug-09 20:02:10

I mean I speak from experience of getting very very angry and shouting a lot (not making myself very clear ....)

Olifin Wed 05-Aug-09 20:14:46

screamin Ahh ok, I did wonder if you thought the children might be at risk (and a perfectly reasonable concern that would be- I wasn't offended by it) but I see that's not what you meant anyway!

Sorry to hear you've experienced the same. It's ever so draining, isn't it? For me, the anger has been better of late but seems to be replaced by a sort of apathy. I sometimes feel like I'm not that interested in the children; or only when the time is right for me. I get incredibly distracted by preoccupations such as housework; that might sound a bit blithe but in all seriousness, seeing the house untidy or dirty makes me feel extremely anxious. I think it is a control issue, i.e. I feel 'out-of-control' of my situation as a mum so I transfer that onto other, unrelated (and trivial) things.

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