I think this is going to be my second experience with PPD, it is unfolding like my first. I had my son 3 weeks ago and hoped I was turning the corner on baby blues, but I'm not sure yet. I have no negative feelings toward either of my sons; all of the rage, anger, and icky feelings seem to be associated with my husband! He is the most supportive, caring, wonderful husband, and he is a terrific father. But after I gave birth, I have a deep hatred for him for no reason... Everything he does stirs up these icky, uncomfortable, irritated feelings in me. Ridiculous things, like his ankles popping as he walks, the way he speaks, the way he eats... Since he is stressed out too (understandably!) he can get irritated as well, and if he says anything slightly critical or negative I fly off the handle.
The worst part is the feeling I get when he is around me when I'm nursing, I get these skin crawling feelings almost like it's wrong, but if he's out of the room, I feel fine nursing (am I the only one with this particular feeling?) I can't let him touch me, not even a brush of the hand as we are handing the baby off. It makes me feel gross, and the touch seems to linger on my skin. I don't know how else to describe it. This is when I feel the most crazy. It's almost like a feeling of molestation (that's a harsh word, but I don't have any other way to describe it). I don't have any history of sexual abuse.
The other night it got to be so much that I started packing all of my things and the boys' things and had the car loaded up and ready to leave him! He just sat on the couch holding the baby and crying. I was angry and numb in the moment, but now when I think back on it I feel so heartbroken. I came to my senses and didn't leave, but was so ready to. I hated him so much and I can't even remember the thing that set me off. My poor three year old witnessed the whole thing and was crying as well, not even fully understanding what was going on, only that daddy was crying. I hate myself for this.
I had the same feelings after my first son, but they eventually went away. Our marriage was never the same after that, especially physically, but we were okay. Now I'm not sure what to do. For some reason, he still loves me and stands by me. He should be the one leaving me. Am I the only one out there with these creepy feelings? He doesn't deserve this and neither do the boys. I don't feel depressed, just so irritable. Is this still PPD? I'm still able to care for myself and my babies, but I don't want them to see me angry and crying. I just wish these feelings would go away.
I'm sorry you're going through this, it must be so difficult for you! I am not qualified to diagnose it but since it happened last time you had a baby too, it might be hormones and brain chemistry in the postpartum period creating this. It could very well be PPD, but, whatever you want to call it, it is obviously affecting your life severely and I think it would be a good idea to get some help. A lot of women get especially irritated with their significant other when they have a newborn, but this sounds like it's extreme and more distressing for you. Are you able to go see a mental health practitioner to see about getting some treatment?
I don't think I had the same severity but I did have similar problems. In my case I think it was hormonal combined with the lack of sleep and stress. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and I do remember the irritability was a feature of it on the doctor's list. It did straighten out in time here.
Have you had your thyroid tested? Pregnancy/birth can throw that off and it, too, can result in extreme irritability.
Have you shared this post with your husband? I would in your place unless you've told him this clearly (and maybe in writing). Given you said things were never the same after the first baby I'm thinking this was never dealt with fully, is that right? I would want my husband to know I am sad about it and that i know my feelings are irrational/hormonal/maybe something more.
Do you have access to a good counselor---marriage or individual? For now I think communicating to hubby that this is likely hormonal or post-partum and you'll work hard to reconnect and heal after it passes would help both of you. In the meantime maybe a good counselor could help you with how to respond in a way that isn't damaging even when you have those strongly negative feelings. They also might be able to help you sort out if this might benefit from medication if you'd consider it. I did end up needing medication for post-partum depression and, yes, mine did manifest with a lot of irritability toward my spouse (and my mom who was helping off and on to a lesser extent). I did have other symptoms too but I was irrationally annoyed and reactive. But I really, really think it had to do with sleep deprivation and similar stuff just as much.
On marriage stuff (later) I think Imago Therapy (from a therapist or there is a good book with exercises called Getting the Love you Want) or Gottman therapy (he has some great books too with exercises like the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work) could help you guys get back to good or better than you were before. Of course after the dust settles on the post-partum stuff. Until then trying to mediate reactions to limit damage is likely the best you can do.
Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys!
My Blog-free homeschooling finds and my lesson plans and link to the new User Agreement
I'm so sorry you're going through this. You're not alone, you're not the only one. For me, it was while I was pregnant that I had similar feelings. I wasn't entirely surprised to find myself thinking I might kill the random man in the grocery store if he came one inch closer to me, but I was horrified to find myself thinking the same things about my husband, who I always adored. For months my husband just smelled horrible. He smelled so bad I thought about making him sleep outside. Or leave altogether. Sometimes, when he stroked my back randomly, I'd picture just turning around and killing him. He wasn't any different, but my reaction to him was the same kind of reaction I'd had to coming upon rotting flesh, or some other real horror.
I wish I had told him, earlier, what I was dealing with. When I did finally mention it he didn't understand, but he was respectful and not as creeped out by it as I thought he'd be.
I don't have any good advice, just an understanding ear. Get yourself the help you need. Yes, your children deserve, yes, your husband deserves it, and yes, you, more than anyone, deserve to find your way back to sunshine.
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!