Span (2)

Lately, sometimes, it feels like I can hear every sound in a room at once. At the indoor playground, it feels like every mama-conversation and every childish screech and crash is happening inside my head, and it’s impossible to pick out the words of my friend, who’s sitting right next to me. At the pharmacy, the music seems so loud I pace around wondering how I can get them to turn it down so I can concentrate on what I’m looking for.

And I feel rage. Rage. I picture myself ripping the arms off the polite pharmacy employee who informs me they don’t carry breast milk storage bags. At home, listening to A and Ingrid negotiate the bedtime routine, I want to break one pint glass after another and fill the sink with glass shards. Alone, still wound up from the last round of non-cooperation, I find things to slam my fist into: the kitchen door, the counter with a stack of potholders on it. My rage seems cartoonish in hindsight, but from the inside it is scary. I’m not afraid I’ll act on it; I’m afraid of feeling it.

Sometimes Iris fusses all day. Nothing’s wrong, it’s just the classic six-month-old discontent. Normal. I am gentle with her, always, but the sound of it fills up my whole body, and small-voiced why questions and requests for snacks pile in there, too, and before long I am made up of nothing but other people’s sounds. I am impatient and unkind with Ingrid. I snap at her. I don’t have any interest in her questions. I speculate that I could handle this all better, more calmly, if I were deaf. It’s the sounds that make it impossible, some days, to be more than mechanical. Their voices. The hours and hours and hours without silence.

I talk about this to A, to my mom, to my counselor. They all say it will help for me to have more breaks, more time away. We find ways for that to happen, and it helps, a little. But what about 10 a.m. on a Tuesday? What about 2:30 p.m. when everyone’s up from their nap already? What gets me to the other side of that, to the time when I can even think of a break?

I wonder about medication, but sometimes—this week, almost all the time—I am better than fine, all clear-minded and full of energy and ideas. I make an appointment with the MD who could prescribe something, just in case. The next available: May 6. What would get me all the way to May if things got rough again?

This isn’t new; this happened when Ingrid was a baby, too, and I waited it out without even as much support as I have now. I suspect there is a colorful bouquet of causes: hormones, stress, a little native anxiety, general temperamental ill-suitedness to the mothering of small children. I rode it out before, and I suspect it will get better soon. Right now, things are better. I feel like I've sent out a bird and am scanning the horizon for a flash of white and green. Is this the end? How much longer? And, in the meantime, what do I do with this? How do I get us all to the other side of it whole?


  1. Could it be PPD?

    That's bullshit that you can't get in to an MD before May 6. There has to be a way to see someone sooner. Maybe your counselor can help you get in? How about seeing your OB?

  2. That is totally crazy that they can't see you till May! What if you were about to die? Or kill someone?

    I wish I had something helpful to say, but I don't. I felt the rage until my son turned about 13 months. I'm terrified of having a second child because I never want to feel like that again. In hindsight I should have seen a doctor, but I just didn't believe there was anything wrong with me that I couldn't fix myself.

    I hope something clicks for you and things get a whole lot better sooner rather than later.

  3. Whoa! Internets! Calm down about the meds!

    I should have been more clear: I am not all that sure that I would want to take anything. Sometimes--lately, a lot of the time--I am fine, fine, fine. I got through this before. I am in counseling with a good counselor who does not believe me to be on the edge of anything scary. Counseling is helping. I have all kinds of reservations about taking meds while nursing. It sucks that that doc is not available til May, and sure I'd be more comfortable having a prescription in hand "in case", but I am not going on a medicine hunt.

    We now return to your regularly scheduled quasi-literary blog post series.

  4. I could have written this. I don't want to take meds either and I couldn't possibly go to therapy more than I do, so I definitely feel like the whole situation is under control, but it makes me feel so helpless when the rage comes. (Practical tip: I prefer to hit softer things, like the couch or exercise ball, so as not to injure myself.) What you said about the noise resonated with me so much. Even when both kids are happy, it is rarely quiet and the constant noise jangles my nerves.

    You get through it by getting through it, I guess. Like labor, the only way out is through. I find it much easier to parent a toddler, even one who yells all the time, than an infant. I can tell A I'm getting frustrated with her, but if the baby won't sleep or is being whiny, there's no way to vent my frustration. I remember going through this with A too, and it lessened as she got older.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm going through it too, if that's any help at all.

  5. I feel like I could have written this too (although not quite so well). Parenting can be so unrelenting sometimes.