Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The anger inside me

All I was trying to do was make a sandwich. Dinner didn't have to be so complicated. I mean, how hard is it to make sandwiches?
My husband was holding M, whose first tooth is about to peek through any day. She was fussy and crying. She wanted me to hold her, but I just wanted to finish dinner. I suggested that my husband give her some Orajel. He said OK. He lingered in the kitchen; she continued fussing. I lost my cool and told him to go put some medicine on her teeth. Stop waiting. She was hurting.

I normally don't feel angry, but since my daughter's birth, sometimes I feel frustrated and irritated. This night in particular, I was feeling short of temper, and I snapped at my husband for not moving at my pace. I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and he took M out of the room.

I checked out what BabyCenter had to say. (It's a great resource for legit information.) Symptoms of postpartum depression include sadness and despair, and anger fits in there, too. Here's an excerpt from their article about anger and postpartum depression:

Anger can take the form of yelling, fighting, withdrawing, isolating yourself, hostile feelings toward others, arguments, or chronic dissatisfaction. It's typically accompanied by related feelings of being trapped, resentful, and full of guilt.

Anger is one of the most troubling symptoms of PPD because it's scary, and usually quite uncharacteristic for the woman experiencing it. It can make you feel as though you're slipping out of control: Even moms who say they would never hurt their baby or themselves may fear that something dreadful will result from their anger.
Thankfully, I've never felt anger toward M. I've felt it toward everyone else, though. I'm trying to learn to control it by recognizing it for what it is - not based in any real cause - and apologizing immediately to whomever has been at the other end of my frustration.

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