Something happened yesterday that tipped me over the edge. It was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a day just like the day before and the one before that. A day just like today really.
Baby J woke up at 9:30ish. The nanny was here. He fussed for her almost all morning. She tried rocking, a chilled teether, playing. I took him from her at 1:15 when she had to leave and he was okay. And then, all of a sudden, he was not.
We played on the floor while I stared at my laptop thinking of all the things that I needed to do and how incompetent I felt lately. The anxiety started to build. Even while playing, he kept fussing. If I wasn’t staring at him and making faces, he wasn’t happy. But even then, he wanted the light-up turtle and the rattle and the jumper so he wasn’t happy anyway. It all started because I put him in the walker and went into the kitchen for 1 minute of my life to throw something away.
The husband left for work at 2:30 while the kid screamed on his activity mat and I tried to entertain him. That laptop kept pulling at me telling me that I was ineffective. At motherhood and at my job. I couldn’t do both- the pull was too much.
The kid was tired so I tried for an hour to get him to sleep. I nursed. I gave him the pacifier. I rocked. I walked. I laid him in the crib on his own. Screaming. He was screaming so loud, crying so hard even while I held him that I had to walk away. I let him cry for 3 minutes while I sobbed in the living room. I begged him to stop crying, I yelled at him to stop crying. He wouldn’t. Another hour went by with me crying, him crying. He stopped if I stood up and swayed but my back hurt and I didn’t have the energy. I did it but I sobbed the whole time. And that’s when I knew. I couldn’t keep doing this.
I wasn’t getting better. The nanny had been here and I had had the morning “to myself” (aka to work while he screamed in the background). It’d been 2 weeks since she started and we’d developed a sort-of groove. I had done the dishes and a load of laundry in between calls. I should have felt better, relief. But I didn’t- I was seething with anxiety, anger, exhaustion, loneliness.
I sat there holding a finally sleeping baby thinking how far away I felt. It felt beyond lonely here- the only interaction being the baby, the dog, the cat, social media, and the hours that I clung to my husband while he was home. People came, I got out some, but it wasn’t recharging me. I had the nanny helping and maid service starts tomorrow. Life should feel like it’s coming together.
All I feel is creeping anxiety and sadness, something I’ve never felt in my life. I’ve dealt with depression (see that post about antenatal depression) but nothing like this. The worst part of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety is that you know you should be happy. You know it should be joyful and fun. And some moments are. But the non-joyful moments feel like your world is caving in. The sound of his cry sends me into chaos. Yesterday, I broke. I realized how bad it had gotten- how many days I had cried in the last month, how many “vent” sessions I had had with my best friend, how many nights I desperately wanted a glass of wine and a hot bath but couldn’t get it.
Now I just need a recovery plan. A support plan. I don’t know what else to do though- life is hard and that feels overwhelming. But I know I need to do something.