I am exhausted, we all are really. And I don’t want to write about this, but I have to, because it happened. And it happened not twenty minutes after my I did it post. Something is going on, and I don’t like the feeling of what it might be. To say I am scared in an understatement. I am terrified. Like some half-alive roadkill on the Stuart Highway that is watching an impending road train. It’s coming.
I thought that it had already passed. Everyone said that I was going so well, that I had my confidence back after being away and the new medication, so I was confident coming home. I am taking my time getting into this post by putting all the bells and whistles on as I go. As if by taking my time, it might change how I am feeling. But it happened, and I need to accept that and move on.
Yesterday was a busy day. After playgroup I had a friend visit so that I could have some respite and eat lunch. I was feeling good and waved my friend goodbye as I went in to change Master X’s nappy for a nap. He was tired, all the signs were there, and so I placed him calmly into his cot for sleep.
But Master X did not want to sleep and so I began dragging us around my old path of
- sleep? not sleep, play?
- not play, sleep? etc etc etc
- Hungry? not hungry. Sleep?
- Not sleep. Play? Not play.
- Nappy? Not nappy. Gums? Not gums.
- Sleep? Cuddles? Rocking? Hungry? Play? Sleep? Play?
Yeah, so this was pretty tiresome, but I did stop to do some personal check ins to see how I was faring and all seemed well. Or maybe I just wanted it all to be well. I wanted to have our first day at home as a good day. An achievement. An ‘easy’ day.
Why didn’t Master X get that memo?
He did finally go to sleep after an hour of the cycle, and then I wrote I did it and stumbled into bed.
For ten minutes.
And then the screaming began. I tried leaving him for a bit to see if it would peter out. Nup. His shrill, panicked wails echoed through our small house, stabbing me right in my empty stomach. I slowly rolled out of bed and stumbled into his room. His eyes were closed, so he obviously wanted to sleep. Right?
I tried repositioning, cuddles in the cot, pulling the blanket up, taking the blanket off, checked if he had another dirty nappy, and then finally picked him up. Nup. Still screaming.
We sat in the rocking chair. Screaming. Checked temperature- which was fine- screaming. Tried giving him water; screaming. Tried rocking/jiggling; screaming. Okay, maybe he just wants to get up so play…? SSSSCCCRRREEEAAAMMM
My head was blank. I thought nothing. Felt nothing. My breath was shallow but I did not FEEL or SENSE any panic or anxiety. But something felt not right. It was not right to have NO feelings of all this screaming. There must be frustration.
I dialled my mum, but no answer. I called Mr. A but no answer.
‘What is wrong with you?!?!’ I implored of Master X. I plug my headphones into my phone to continue listening to Double J. Loud. But Master X was louder, screaming like everything was wrong in his world. And I was not able to help. I could not even be with his, he would turn and scream in my face. My heart was racing and my face felt hot, teeth clenched, jaw tightened.
‘Shut up, shut up, shut the f*ck up’, I shrilly scream at Master X, during which time Mr A had called back and was on the line.
‘What’s wrong?’, Mr. A said, sounding concerned.
‘I don’t know, I don’t know why he is screaming…’ I break off and then continue ‘shut up, shut up!!!!!!!!!’
Mr. A: You need to leave. Leave the house now. I want you to leave.
And so I did. But not after taking my anger at myself for not being able to be a decent mother and wife out on the wall. A large hole is there now. I can see it. Because the front door was locked so I felt trapped. Trapped with myself. And I hated myself.
I fumbled for the keys, scavenged for my medications in the cupboard and left the house. To drive. Somewhere.
I made it to the car, but was shaking so much and my head was so jumbled that that is as far as I could make it. I collapsed against the steering wheel. Thoughts of self harm flying through my head, trying desperately to gain traction. I took two Ativan. I thought ‘this is the start of the end, or it could also be just enough to bering my some peace. Some clarity. I don’t have to decide now, but the option is there. The cowards’s way. But I shouldn’t be here again. I should be able to do this. What is wrong with me? Why is this still happening? What is wrong with me? Why is this still happening?
I was slamming my head against the steering wheel, maybe to bash those thoughts out, maybe out of desperation. I do not know.
But f*ck I feel terrible. I am the worst mum and wife ever. I can’t even get through one day.
And I did everything right. I was even practising mindfulness breathing in that twenty minutes before he woke up.
Why is this still happening? What is wrong with me? Why is this still happening?
I took breaks, I checked in. I was okay. Until I was no longer okay. Breathe, breathe.
And then we had help come over to look after Master X. I heard them talk to me.
‘It’s alright. He is fine, R.’
I wish I could believe or even glimmer that everything was alright. I just want this to be over. I want to back to this morning, the hope, the fun, the love. Why is this still happening? What is wrong with me? I just want to go to hospital so that they can figure out what is going on. I need help.
So I rang the Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT). It is decided that I need urgent care. They will call back in half an hour to see if I still want to go to hospital. By the time they ring, the Ativan have worked and I am calm. Considered enough to know that I should wait to see my doctors this week.
I really thought that this was all over. That I had this. That I was a good mother.
This morning is shit. I feel hungover from the medications and damaged from the episode. Physically, emotionally drained. Can’t breathe normally.
Fake the smile. Eat the health food. Maybe something will help heal. But there is not need to keep punishing others for your weaknesses, for your inability to cope.
You are six months postpartum. You should be over this. You should be a good mum and wife. Instead you are out of control. Weak. Helpless. And once again, scared of being alone with the baby/