Postpartum depression is no laughing matter, and neither is postpartum rage.
Tracy McArdle: Postpartum depression is no laughing matter, and neither is postpartum rage. By this I mean that undeniable hunch that your husband is completely annoying and absolutely useless to you now that you've had the baby, and should be made to move to a cave far away.
It's a terrible feeling that grows like a tumor and is about as easy to stop. If you're nursing, he can't even feed the baby, at least in the beginning. He doesn't know how to hold her, can't change a diaper for sh*t (pun intended), doesn't burp her right, puts her clothes on all wrong. You might as well do it yourself with how hopeless he is, right? Kick him out and hire a nanny. Think about how nice it would be if there were one less person in the house to deal with.
Whoa, Nellie. Whoa. Hang on a second. I was there once, and I'm here to tell you: get medication. No, I'm kidding. Well, I'm half kidding. Therapy and medication are wonderful things. But face it, you've just been through an incredibly draining ordeal, emotionally, physically, and possibly financially too. Your husband is a man (I'm presuming here, forgive me), and 1) he has been through a lot, too, and 2) he has no idea how you are feeling. He has no concept of hormonal imbalance other than to stay the hell out of your way during certain times. He cannot imagine what it is like being a new mother. Joe Jackson said it best: "It's different for girls." He is, in every imaginable way, humanly incapable of feeling what you feel. It's not his fault. Forgive him. Forgive him and be grateful.
Better yet, go to a first-time mom's support group and listen to stories of other mothers as they slog through the first weeks of parenthood. You will be amazed at the instant gratitude you feel for your mate. The one I attended was called "This Isn't What I Expected." My first time there, I looked around the circle and saw a whole bunch of new faces wearing the same exhausted, terrified, helpless expression. I was feeling pretty good that I didn't look that way (did I?), until my baby threw up and pooped, and I realized I had forgotten the diaper bag.
One woman's husband was never home. Another had a mother-in-law who felt that breastfeeding was pointless -- and her husband defended her! One had a husband who drank too much beer, and another had one who refused to get up in the middle of the night to help with the baby.
Then there were the baby horror stories. One wouldn't gain weight. One ate constantly. One had colic so bad he didn't sleep more than an hour at a time. One was still in the hospital.
And I thought: I'm going home right now to my supportive, helpful, empathetic husband. Whom I love very much.
|Tracy McArdle is a published author (Confessions of a Nervous Shiksa; Real Women Eat Beef), blogger, mom, wife, horsewoman and Communications professional in the Boston area. She is also a former Hollywood publicity executive who has worked very closely with numerous huge movie stars she never met. You can read more of her writing at www.tracymcardle.net.|