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PND/anxiety and rage towards DS(18 Posts)
DS is 14 months old. I have struggled for months with feelings of frustration surrounding certain things eg not settling for naps, continuous grizzling/whinging, DS rolling over on nappy changing table and refusing to be changed etc - I know all these things are normal to be frustrated about but in my case the frustration is immense and turns to feelings of rage and I literally have to leave the room I am so wound up.
I have been seeing a therapist and she has diagnosed me with PND and anxiety and thinks the angry feelings stem from my anxiety which makes sense. I have also just started my periods again after 14 months postpartum (still BF) which hormonally could be contributing to the feelings. We have discussed medication but right now have decided to try to make some lifestyle changes to see if that has enough of an effect.
I feel so guilty. I know that rage can be a manifestation of PND but I've never read much about it being directed at your baby. Obviously I don't hurt DS and never would, but I have shouted at him, picked him up too quickly in frustration and put him down a bit roughly. These are times when I should leave the room but I react before I've had a chance to think straight. I also bite my hand during these "episodes" purely to relieve the anger/frustration and have marks all over my hands. It feels like my rational brain disappears and my fight or flight response just takes over.
I can't believe this is happening to me. I'm not an angry person generally and I don't show rage towards DH or anyone else. DH is massively supportive and currently is doing all the nights so I can get some sleep. We are having a nanny start asap 3 days per week so I can get back to work and hoping that this will help.
Has ANYONE ever suffered from this? I feel like a monster. 99% of the time I am an attentive loving mother and DS and I have lots of fun and cuddles together but when these episodes happen (they are happening most days at the moment) I feel like a monster and the worst mother in the world, once he's gone to bed I spend the evening in tears racked with guilt. Please can anyone relate.
Didn't want to read and run
I can certainly relate. I think all mums feel that frustration. It sounds like you are really hurting from it, though. I am glad you have sought and are receiving help.
I can relate as a mother of small children, not even necessarily because of PND. Being with a baby all the time is exhausting and frustrating. It is a great idea to go back to work 3 days a week and get a change of scenery. Don't be too hard on yourself- it's really good you're asking for help and have a supportive partner and the main thing is that you don't actually hurt your baby. Half the battle with babies and little ones is being able to walk away or deal with the feelings of frustration when they are pushing you to your limits, and to understand that it's normal to feel angry sometimes but important to find an outlet for it that is not your child. Exercising can be really helpful. I find if I run every morning I get much less frustrated when they are being difficult. Good luck.
Thank you @Trifleorbust and @Rockinghorsehay for your replies and support. It's good to know I'm not alone. I think what I feel most upset about is not that I get frustrated, but the fact that I don't seem to be able to contain it - yes I'm not hurting DS but equally being rough with him as I've described is terrible - I feel like I'm the only mother to do this when everyone else can just walk away. Am I the only mother that this happens to?? Feeling so guilty and low :-(
I have PND and my youngest, DC3, is 13 months. I also have anxiety.
I go to counselling and I'm on medication. I know where you're coming from in trying to avoid medication and obviously I would prefer not to be on it.
I didn't feel anger towards DS, but I felt that me being down was detrimental to the happiness of all my DC, and that's why I started the medication (6 months ago- I'm beginning the process of stopping it now actually).
Without being judgemental of you in any way, would it not be better to be a bit more open to the idea of an anti-depressant if it stops the negativity towards your DC? My advice would be to go back to your GP and discuss it.
Youre definitely not alone, I think you are incredibly brave for posting so honestly about this. I was like this when my DS was born but in my case that RAGE (all consuming screaming rabid rage) was felt towards my DD who was 2yo when DS was born. It was like my bond with her had just severed. I couldnt stand her, didnt want to go near her, felt such huge negative emotions towards her. I had to walk away a lot, she had a lot of early bedtimes, watched a lot of tv and I tried my best to fake it. It was so incredibly hard and I was TERRIFIED to tell anyone incase social services came and took them both away. I basically plodded along, day after day, got out the house a lot, so that my interactions with her were diluted and crucially I wasnt on my own - in public or at toddler groups there are people around and you CANT lose it. It got better and once I stopped breastfeeding that bond started to come back. She was at nursery from 2.5 and then school at 4 which really helped. Shes 6 now and those feelings are a distant memory. Shes my gorgeous funny beautiful girl and I love her so much it hurts!
With hindsight I should have gone to the doctors and got some help. It made my life v hard for the first year of my sons life and it neednt have been so hard. Please go to your doctor and say everything you have here. You are unwell, its nothing to be ashamed of, and that guilt you feel is unwarranted. You are a good mum, you will overcome this darkness, and you are not alone.
I've experienced this too. I have felt such irrational rage towards by baby and, I'm ashamed to say, have shouted at her. I feel so horribly guilty about it. I think I felt so resentful towards my baby for taking over my life and from stopping me from sleeping. I haven't lost it for a while now, so am hoping it has passed. I've been meditating for just 5 minutes every day before bed and I think that is helping.
Thank you for speaking out. You're right that there's not much said about maternal rage towards baby. It is absolutely horrible though. It certainly made me feel like a monster.
Thank you ladies for your kind and honest replies. One of the reasons I don't want to start antidepressants is I'm still BF DS, admittedly on a couple of times a day, but I love the closeness and cuddling time that it gives us and despite everyone saying it's probably ok, I'd be worried about BF on medication, also we are thinking about ttc no 2 - obviously right now is NOT a good time to be doing this but I don't like the idea of being on meds a minimum of 6 months (what my therapist has said) and thus delaying things quite a long time and having quite a big age gap between DC1 and DC2. Obviously my mental health is paramount but I guess that's what's putting me off.
Why is this such a taboo issue, rage towards DC? Is it that it is just so unthinkable that we could feel negative emotions towards them? People I have spoken to say they have felt frustration, anger etc but have NEVER acted on it, always just walked away. I feel sick to my stomach that I HAVE acted on it, i.e. by being physically rough with DS by picking him up too quickly, putting him down a bit roughly etc. and the guilt of doing this is literally killing me. It would help to know I'm not the only mother in the world who has done this. It seems worse than shouting, so much worse and I am struggling so much with what kind of person I am to do this even though I have never and would never hurt him.
Another one here that has been rough in the same way you describe.
Tbh DD1 has not long turned two and for a long time now I have been aware that she observes how I deal with things and this has made a massive difference in managing to react better. I don't want her responding the same!
If you do anything that you don't beleive is appropriate - such as shouting - apologise afterwards. They understand and it teaches them it is not okay and it's good to tackle the issue head on rather than pretend it never happened.
I just wanted you to know you are not alone.
Honestly I think everyone feels this way at some point. It's hard. Really hard. Please don't beat yourself up. Try to get out the house as much as possible.
I needed to read this today.
I have a 26 month DS and I'm 42 weeks pregnant. I'm being induced tomorrow and my head has been all over the place today. I've been a horrible mother, I've shouted, I've cried, I've been a bit rough when fighting to get him dressed, I've stormed off and slammed doors. I feel awful and riddled with guilt.
But we did alternate these awful moments with a singing class, a relatively successful shopping trip to Tesco & lots of cuddles on the sofa and finished with stories & him falling asleep in my arms so I wasn't all bad.
I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.
I think a pt time job and some help sounds like a wonderful idea. I hope it helps you. Being a SAHM is literally the hardest thing I've ever done, people don't realise what a mental strain it can be sometimes.
Munchiemoo I had the rage too when DD11 was born; I remember telling the doctor I had this ANGER in me all the time since she was born but I obviously didn't have PND since I wasn't depressed.... I used to scream at her (4-week old baby) and then literally beat myself up about it. The doc took my word for it on PND but did refer me to a CBT class with other ragey people - a lot of them with young children, which made me feel slightly better but that's about all the benefit I got from it, tbh. The biggest help was going back to work when she was 1 and then it all got much easier when she started talking. If it helps, I had DD2 when DD1 was 6 (large gap not my choice) and I NEVER had the rage with her. I think it prob was PND first time around but the doctor didn't realise it could manifest as anger. just so you know you're not alone
You are not alone. You are not the worst mother in the world, not even close.
I had really severe PND and felt so much anger and rage and it was all directed at my son, my DH (who was and is wonderful) and myself. I did terrible things to DS. To DH too. I did hurt DS. How I could feel so angry towards a tiny baby I couldn't (and still can't really) understand. The anger and then the guilt and shame would eat me alive. I self-harmed a lot. I didn't get help until DS was 18 months old. I was ashamed, confused, terrified.
DS1 is 6 years old now and I'm expecting DS2. DS1 and I have a great bond. I still struggle with the depression which still manifests as anger and I am terrified of it getting worse when DS2 arrives but antidepressants and coping techniques really help me. I am very open now about my PND and so I have family and my doctor and midwife helping me keep an eye on it.
Thank you so much for this. I am so grateful for your honest replies letting me know I'm not alone, and that you have struggled with similar. Especially @Fizzball and @BayeauxT, you have had such a traumatic and difficult time with PND. It's so hard. We go through so much as mothers and blame ourselves for everything.
Those who have been rough - for you has it happened just one or twice, or a lot more? I am looking back and thinking how many times it's happened to me (multiple) and feeling hideously guilty.
I seemed to have turned a corner in the last few days in that I'm less quick to anger and have been able to slightly detach myself from the rage and angry feelings, so when I am finding DS frustrating I can realise it's a feeling that will pass and either carry on what I'm doing or leave the room calmly (then lose my shit in a different room!)
My PND seems now to have become guilt. Crippling, paralysing, all-consuming guilt. I shudder to think of all the times I've lost it and picked DS up roughly. What have I been thinking??? How could I have done this over and over? I feel like I will never ever lose the guilt and will have to live with this pain forever. Can anyone else help with the guilt - did you/do you feel it? Is it just the depression talking? I so badly need to find a way to move on.
I really think you are giving yourself a hardtime OP. Do you think you hurt your baby when you 'picked him up too quickly'? You feel bad because you had lost your temper but did he even notice!?
I've not had PND but had feelings you've described sometimes when DD has been particularly challenging.
I'm struggling right now with similar OP, DS is very hard work and as much as I love him to bits, sometimes I find my temper gets the better of me and I have shouted at him and been a bit less than gentle in a few moments.
I too feel guilty. This post has really helped me as I realise I'm not alone in this. How are we supposed to move past the guilt...? I don't know, I'm struggling too! I guess we have to just accept our imperfections as parents? I always feel too like I'm the only mother to have ever treated her child like this and that is hard to tolerate.
OP, I felt like this when my eldest was born. He's now 11!
I definitely think I had PND but I was also dealing with my own dysfunctional childhood and family.
Rage, screaming, being rough with him. He wasn't a sleeper and cried a lot, which didn't help. The guilt ate me up and made the depression worse. I'd always wanted motherhood too.
Now a decade on and two more children later, I am so much more forgiving and understanding and I have a lovely relationship with my kind, clever, wonderful boy.
I wasn't well. I was hugely sleep deprived. I was grieving and hurting about my own childhood. The breastfeeding was bloody and painful.
I did eventually take medication and found a wonderful counsellor. I cut toxic people from my life. It was easier 2nd and 3rd time round.
I often look at my ds and thank him. For making me face my demons. For making me stronger. He doesn't know about those low points when I shoved him on the bed, almost shook him, shouted at him. I know I wouldn't have hurt him really. I'm not proud but I do forgive myself. I'm very patient and gentle with him now and would never lift a finger to him.
You will get through this and it might ultimately help you grow as a person. You aren't a monster. Neither was I. I also bet many more women go through this than anyone realises.
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