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major maternal ambivalence(15 Posts)
Name change for this one.
Bit of background - got pregnant super quick after getting married. We'd planned to start a family but hadn't expected it so soon (honeymoon baby) so it was a bit of a shock. Anyway, was v excited about coming baby and all good.
A few days after birth, massive PND set it. Was borderline suicidal for first three months of DS's life. At three months I went on to sertraline and within a few days was totally euphoric.
From 3 months to about 8 months, things were great - I was totally in love with baby, couldn't even imagine going back to work (which had previously been v important to me), totally loved being a mummy, besotted by baby, etc.
He's 9 months now, and over the past few weeks it's like a lightbulb has just switched off. I feel like I'm either constantly annoyed at him, or just feel nothing. It's really scary how indifferent I feel to him. And all the old thoughts I had during the PND are coming back - wish I hadn't had him, feel like a slave, bored of dealing with him, etc. It's absolutely horrible, and I can barely raise a smile for him.
At the same time he's hit the separation anxiety issue head on and can't bear for me even to put him down (let alone leave the room). I think he can feel how cool I am towards me and I feel so guilty. But the constant crying and clingyness drives me nuts and sometimes I just feel like smacking him in the face. (I know this is TOTALLY wrong and don't believe I would ever actually do it, but that's how strong the feelings are).
Before anyone else says it, yes I know I'm being an absolute bitch. I hate myself for it. I hate myself for talking about this tiny human being as though he was just some irritating object. I want to get our mojo back. I want to feel LOVE for him again!
Please tell me (a) I'm not alone (b) I'm not a monster and (c) I'll snap out of this very soon. I feel like I'm sliding back into major depression, but I'm still on the medication and I don't understand what's changed. I'm like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. My baby doesn't deserve this.
OP, I have no relevant experience so won't say much, only that you are NOT a bitch. You clearly DO love your DS hugely, that is clear from your post, perhaps it is connecting to that love, or perhaps the the other millions of things involved with having a child that are the problem.
No doubt better and wiser women will be on to talk to you more knowledgeably than I can, but I did want to say that your post positively shouts out loud how much you love your son. This is massively important, and perhaps something to hold on to.
Incidentally, I also find my DD (similar age) annoyingly clingy, irritating and whiny to boot, and don't mind saying so. I am still the person I was before I had her, and would have felt like this about anything in my life that made these demands of me.
I hope you find peace soon.
Honey pie I'm not surprised you feel this way! The sep anxiety phase is draining and it's hard to see the end of the tunnel. Rest assured you are not a super bitch, just a mum going through a normal phase.
But, you would do well to get some help because you can't really change your circumstances. First stop is perhaps a friendly GP for a chat. Perhaps someone with more experience can suggest alternative avenues.
It is going to get better and you will feel normal again. In the meantime I'm sending a huge hug with knobs on xxx
You do love him very much, just as much as I love ddtwins. And I remember, very clearly, seriously contemplating driving to a hospital, dumping them in the foyer, and belting off abroad. To the point that I checked my passport, looked up ferry times etc.
I can definitively say yes to questions a and b, and as for c, depends on what you mean by 'very soon'. Probably not in the next five minutes, but definitely in the next 18 years <helpful>
Are you seeing any HCP regularly re your PND?
Yes, this is a normal phase- it sucks the joy out of you when they are so demanding. However, some of the other things you are saying about your mood are ringing alarm bells. I had severe PNI with both of mine, and sometimes you have to increase your dose. Go back to doc, get dose sorted and then wait to feel better again. Also, don't recommend reducing the dose til DC is two! This seems to be when ur hormones equalise.
Please get urself to the doc ASAP!! Let us know how you get on.
Finally, he is not picking up on ur mood- that is a stupid bit of 20th century pop psychology that we use to make ourselves feel guilty and shit. You love him even if you are snappy and feel bad. Don't beat urself up!
Oh you poor thing. You're not alone. And you're not a monster. Would a monster be beating herself up so badly? No. You're obviously a loving mother who cares deeply about their child. I've also gone through periods of ambivalence, as I firmly believe most (if not all) mothers have. There's even a book about exactly that subject - ie maternal ambivalence: The Monster WithinThe Hidden Side of Motherhood".
I really think that you will snap out of it. So often, whether it's your DC's behaviour, or your own mood, you feel like "oh, this is it forever", and one week in motherhood can feel like a year - but they're just phases that pass is my experience.
Dont' analyse it too much. Allow yourself to feel angry (that's normal) - just take deep breaths and try and get out and about to distract yourself. You're just going through one of the many hard patches. It will pass. You still love him, you're just finding him very trying which is swamping your loving thoughts. BOY can they be trying. I remember feeling wracked with guilt for days when my DS was crying and I all of a sudden just screamed OH SHUTT UPPPPP. It was awful...but we're only human. Just take each day at a time. If it doesn't pass within a couple of weeks, and due to your PND, go and see your GB. But till then, do things you enjoy, get fresh air, and give yourself a break! We all feel these things sometimes.
You are not alone and you are not a monster.
From what I can infer from your post, however, you are not yourself right now. You are very brave to write what you wrote in your OP, so please, seek help. I'm sure that your Health Visitor or GP can assist you.
I understand what you are going through, but not from a PND experience. I was besotted with my DD1, but I think I had some sort of depression when TTC DD2 (it took 2 looooooooong years); I'm ashamed to admit that when she was between 18-24mo, my feelings cooled towards her. I honestly think this was due to depression, caused by te situation of struggling to conceive again.
I battled through it without meds and thank God, I got pg again when she was 2.5yo. My point though, is that I wish I'd got help. I was broken inside and my depression suffocated the love for my beautiful, vibrant, amazing and pure joy that is my eldest daughter. I can't get
those toddler years back where I didn't really feel anything.
Dont let depression take these months away from you and your baby. It might be that you need to up your meds - do not see this in any wu as a failure. Please do whatever it takes to ge well again and your baby and your life
I sincerely wish you good luck xxx
And enjoy your baby and your life, is what I was meant to sign off with xx
I think you are describing symptoms of bi polar depression. Your lows seem very low and what you describe happened on sertraline is not entirely normal. After a few days you were euphoric is not normal for this drug. I think this needs further investigation ASAP.
Wow, I didn't expect to many lovely responses and so fast! Thank you all so much.
I've been thinking about speaking to the GP but kind of procrastinating. Things were pretty dramatic in the first three months and I was being treated by pretty much every member of the perinatal psychiatric department at Kings and the Maudsley and I think they were trying to get me sectioned at one point. We were all so happy when I was discharged from their care a few months ago and I'm a bit nervous about contacting them again in case they decide I'm really a crackpot and it's best to take DS away. I know, I know, that's not how it really works, but it makes me nervous to know I'm building up some big mental health record there. Anyway, I will give it a few more days and if no big improvement I'll contact them.
And for those of you who have also felt really annoyed and snappy, thank you for letting me know it's not just me. I know that maternal ambivalence is normal, but it's hard to know how MUCH is normal, right?
Hugs back to all of you.
Forgot to put the <hugs> in earlier, op. Let us know how you get on xxxx
Molotov - meant to say, I'm so sorry to hear about your horrible experience, and thank you for sharing it. I can imagine how awful that must have felt at the time, and the guilt now. I hope now you are enjoying and loving both your DC?
Yes, thank-you - everything is 100% better and I'm back to being myself again. Hugs back to you xxx
You're not alone or a monster, you just need better coping strategies. It's going through these challenging times with children that mean we end up closer to them afterwards when all the squawking and other stuff that drives us nuts is a distant memory.
Coping strategies mean making sure you're getting as much sleep, rest and good nutrition as possible. I throw in the last one because - and this surprises a lot of people - even a minor attack of malnutrition can seriously damage your behaviour and it's very easy for food to take a low priority when you are battling. Talk to your partner, family and friends. Talk to your HV. Don't be afraid to ask for help, even if that's just a few hours to yourself so that you can get some sleep or go to the shops. Get out and about with other people rather than feel trapped in four walls with an unsettled baby. Consider using a nursery a few days a week rather than thinking you have to be with your baby 24/7.
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