Post may trigger: PPD, Rage, and Triggered by Baby Please help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 11-06-2012, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, dear mamas,

I have a beautiful awesome 6 m.o. daughter who has been such an angel throughout a very very tough time. When she was 6 weeks, my father had a heart attack and died suddenly. My world was totally upended: even though I was not very close with my dad, I just fell into a state of fear, grief, anger, and almost constant anxiety (the last one being due to whether I was doing things right, was I ruining her, what if I didn't get her down to nap at the EXACT right moment, etc.



I will not tell the whole story here (though at some point I think I should write another post), but I will say that things got VERY bad, but now seem to be lightening, with the help of therapy, a serious regimien of natural meds, support from my husbad, and some hardcore honesty with myself about my own issues.


One really significant issue remains and I don't know what to do about it. I had gone almost three weeks without an "episode", but then it happened two days ago, and I realized that this is still a major issue I need to work with. I get triggered by issues around her sleep: when I am having a hard time getting her down, when she wakes from naps early, and when she wakes several times close together in the middle of the night. I become very upset, but also often feel enraged. Yesterday I had an experience where I was trying to get her down to nap and she wasn't having it. I got so angry and frustrated that I put her down on the bed (resisting, as always, the urge to drop her) and said several times very loudly "I HATE YOU", and then when I put her in her co-sleeper almost asleep at some point and she woke up, I banged the foot of the cosleeper to the floor, which I am sure did not hurt her in any way, but definitely upset her. When I am trying to get her to sleep and she cries in my arms, I sometimes get so upset that I want to squeeze her and my whole body goes rigid as I hold her very tight. I get triggered when she is groping around and pinches my neck or my nipple or my lip or pulls my hair while I am holding her  and I am very abrupt when I grab her hand to stop it.Yesterday, I came downstairs for over twenty minutes while she wailed in her bed because I couldn't look at her.  I felt so ashamed, and so full of anger and frustration. My husband had to talk me down until I could finally go to her.


I need to say here that I realize that what I am saying sounds awful, and I feel like a monster. I do not have the URGE to hurt her, per se, it is more that I have these hair triggers that set me off with her. I need to know from other women who went through similar things, what did you do? Did you have a sequence of thoughts or things you would say to yourself or actions you would take??  Does anyone have any advice? It is so painful.


I need to request that if you are going to respond with your judgements of me, that you absolutely say nothing. I will not injure my child, and I will get over this, and being honest is part of our strength here. I hope that some woman reads my words and can realize that she isn't alone.

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#2 of 17 Old 11-06-2012, 06:52 PM
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LIlaLove, you have *got* to talk to your therapist about this.  When's your next appointment?  Can it be sooner?  And you need, IMO, to line up some support people to come help you out.  People you can stand to have in the house.  I know you have no conscious urge to hurt your baby, and I absolutely believe that you love her and are trying to be the best mother there is, but I am concerned because you are describing incidents in which you don't sound like you're 100% in control of your behavior.


I'm going to say that it's not okay to bang furniture around, and that it's extra not okay to bang furniture around while your daughter is in it.  YES, that could hurt her. 


How are you sleeping?  And how are you feeling about nursing?


I don't want to suggest that you ditch things that you're happy with.  I do, however, wonder if bottle feeding would prevent her triggering you, and maybe let your husband pick up some of the night feedings.  I wonder if a crib in another room might be better for your mental health then co-sleeping. 


I wish I could tell you that this would all go away if you just had a week of good sleep and an afternoon out on your own, but the truth is, I don't know.  Those things might help.  They would certainly be a good idea to try.  But you might need to do other things too, like reevaluate your medication.


I hope things get better soon. 

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#3 of 17 Old 11-06-2012, 07:14 PM
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I agree with MeepyCat. You need someone to be with you right now. Also, I highly suggest reevaulating your medication- I have felt this way at one point in my life, and zoloft was able to help quite a bit with the edginess of the whole situation. 


hug2.gif Im so sorry you are going through this. 

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#4 of 17 Old 11-07-2012, 12:36 PM
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Thank you so much for being honest about what you are going through. Please seek help immediately. I know that when I "lost it" once after my son was born my husband took him away and when i calmed down we made a plan for me to see my docs the next day- I was immediately put back on my medication and it helped. My husband and I lack much support so I promised that when I needed help I would let him know- I spent many days at his very flexible job just hanging out. This can get better, it will get better- reach out to friends, be specific about your needs and take time heal. Much love.

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#5 of 17 Old 11-08-2012, 02:06 PM
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I totally understand what you are going through and have had the exact same urges.  For me, it totally stemmed from being overwhelmed, with little sleep, and a hearty dose of PPD.  I did try to self-medicate and it didn't help.  Eventually went on Zoloft which did help, but for me time passing and my DD aging helped the most.  I never did get the outside help or support from DH, but when DD was 20 months we started daycare 3 mornings a week which gave me some time to breathe.  I still feel overwhelmed much of the time, but it has gotten so much better. 

You did the right thing to find some time to yourself, go in the next room, go to another floor if you have to, and just calm down.  It's easier now since she can't follow you.  ;)  I agree with the others to find the help you need NOW.  For me, while I love my daughter dearly, my PPD affecting my bonding with her.  My marriage fell apart and I resent my family for never really answering my call for help.


*hugs* to you and please keep us informed.

DD#1 arrived 2/7/10!
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#6 of 17 Old 11-11-2012, 07:52 AM
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Hugs to you! Naps are a hard one because they feel so out of your control. You can do everything "right" and those darn kids still don't fall asleep on command. So when you're feeling like you can't cope, your daughter's sleep schedule could be something you might not be able to handle.


It helps to remember that sleeping isn't something your daughter can control, either. Sleep isn't something we do, sleep is something that happens to us. You daughter isn't not sleeping on purpose. Sleeping isn't an exact science where you have to sleep from 2-3 pm or else YOU WILL DIE. I know you know this intellectually, but it helps to tell yourself again.


I think you need to find some help with your anxiety, but in the short term, I think you need to see if someone else can handle putting your daughter down for naps most of the time. This is obviously causing you too much stress.

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#7 of 17 Old 11-15-2012, 02:59 PM
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I don't have any great advice or anything, but I wanted to let you know I have had feelings much like you described. So sorry to hear you're going through this. I think getting help in the house is the best thing you can do. That's what I am doing. And if I feel really overwhelmed I have a "go-to" person that I can call, and they will come over right away. 

Mama to DS REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif(March 2010) and DD  baby.gif  (June 2012)

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#8 of 17 Old 11-15-2012, 03:33 PM
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Although I never got to the stage of frustration where I felt that I was out of control, I could get frustrated with sleep issues. Putting my DD to sleep, or down for nap, etc. It just pushed my buttons like nothing else did.


The had to learn a trick to clam myself. It would keep me from getting frustrated, and in turn would clam my DD and get her to sleep the baby feeds off of your energy. So the more frustrated and anxious you get while trying to put her to sleep, the less chance she will relax and go to sleep.


The trick that worked for me was the make the sound

shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh;

shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh; 

shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh

over and over again in a rhythmic way. I would sway back and forth as I did this. When she was really little, I would cradle her while doing it, which helped rock her to sleep.


The rhythm would help me relax. And I would concentrate on doing it at a certain speed. If I started to speed up, I knew I was starting to get frustrated and I would concentrate on slowing down.

It was almost meditative.


I can't say that it kept me from getting frustrated 100% of the time. But it did work at least 80% of the time for me.


Good luck.

Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

We are a family that loves cold.giftreehugger.giffamilybed1.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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#9 of 17 Old 11-19-2012, 04:52 AM
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This may seem silly but when I can feel my blood pressure rising and I am frustrated with a baby, I speak for them.  I talk like they would if they could.  "Mom, I just don't feel good.  Please hold me mom."  "I need you.  I am just so tired and I don't know how to calm myself down."  For some reason, this calmed me.  It made me feel bad for him/her.  Seems silly but whatever works is the thing to do.

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#10 of 17 Old 11-20-2012, 07:15 AM
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Being quick to rage at my child was what led me to seek help for PPD. I went on Zoloft and joined a PPD support group. The meds helped me be able to regulate my emotions and the rages stopped. The PPD support group helped me see that I was not alone and that others were having the same issues. Hugs to you. It sounds like you have been having a heck of a time.

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#11 of 17 Old 11-20-2012, 08:08 AM
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I'd like to offer another perspective, but I want to preface it by saying that I have never had any inkling of PPD.  I've had plain old garden variety unipolar depression, but I haven't treated it with meds.  That said...


I was a single 17yo mom when ds1 was born and shorty thereafter, my mother up and died.  I inherited my two younger sisters, and all of my friends fled for the hills.  My son's dad came around regularly, but didn't stay long as he was very busy juggling work, college, and half the under-21 female population of our small town.  So, I had no help.  And ds was high needs.  Textbook, Dr. Sears high needs.  He cried constantly and hated being put down.  CIO never felt right to me in my gut (although leaving a baby in safe place to cool yourself down when the alternative is possibly hurting the baby is NOT CIO, I get that sometimes it is the preferable and only safe thing to do) so I ended up in this horrendous cycle of nursing til asleep or almost alseep, laying ds down...on his back of course as he was born at the beginning of the Back To Sleep campaign...5 minutes later picking him up, nursing some more, trying to lay him down, then him crying...there were times in the middle of the night when I would hold ds and dance around the room and have visions of spinning in a tight circle very fast and just letting him go and seeing where he landed.  Once or twice I probably rocked him too fast or patted his bum through his cloth diaper too hard.  I never felt out of control and I never harmed him, but I can relate to what you have described feeling in your OP.  At some point I read a Dr. Sears book and adjusted my view of what is developmentally appropriate for a baby WRT sleep...I know many posters are recommeding you get help, and I agree that it is a good idea to explore.  I don't want to discourage you from doing that or suggest that you are anything less than a tuned-in, loving mama, but what worked for me was adjusting my expectations and actually spending MORE time with my baby.  I didn't work, and he never was in anyone else's care...what I mean is that I started wearing him in his sling for most of his naps.  It got him settled down faster, and he slept much more deeply and for a longer period of time.  It was so much easier than expecting him to sleep in a crib!  I quickly felt my resentment melting away, our naptime struggles were over, and in a few short months he developed the ability to take a 2 hour nap alone, after being nursed or rocked to sleep. 


This is just my experience, and YMMV.  It's just another perspective for you to consider as you decide what is best for you and your family.  Best wishes to you!

Bring back the old MDC
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#12 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 08:51 PM
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Wow, LilaLove, are you sure we aren't the same person?  I have the same exact responses to my kids sometimes, complete with stomping off to my bedroom, stuffing my face into the pillow, and screaming, "F***, f***, f***!" over and over.


I just really wanted to give you a hug.  hug2.gif  The only other piece of advice I can offer is looking into adrenal fatigue.  I think that's a part of my personal equation.

SAHM to DS BuggaBoo blahblah.gif  12/07, and DD Doozer energy.gif03/10.  Sharing life with The Hubby since 01/05.

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#13 of 17 Old 12-31-2012, 01:44 PM
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I really second Blessedwithboys comment.  I also don't have experience with PPD, and I am sure talking about this with your therapist would probably help as well.  I sometimes get VERY frustrated with naps for dd was well.  Not sure of your background, but pre-baby I did a lot of reading on sleep in babies and was determined to make my dd a good sleeper.  The books had all these rules and recommendations and when dd was born I felt like if I didn't do everything perfectly she would be overtired or sleep deprived and I would be ruining her.  I set myself up for a lot of stress around sleep and napping.  Then, when she wouldn't nap, it wasn't just that she wouldn't take a nap, it was that she wouldn't nap and was probably going to be chronically overtired, leading to obesity, smaller IQ, bad attitude, blah blah blah.  It made me react with much more emotion than I normally would have.  Perhaps you, like me, are regarding naps as something that can make or break your baby.  What has helped me is much of what Blessedithboys suggested - take the pressure off regarding naps.  If your babe will fall asleep being worn, try that.  My dd would do that without too much work from me and made getting her to sleep easier.  If I hold her she sleeps longer too - so much of the time I get a good book and let her nap on me.  I try to tell myself that back in the caveman days babies probably weren't laid in their cribs in dark rooms with white noise for 3 hour naps.  And the human race has survived just fine.


Perhaps if you can take the pressure off yourself it will help your reactions....  Hugs to you, sorry it has been so rough.

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#14 of 17 Old 12-31-2012, 02:29 PM
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I agree - take the pressure off the naps and sleep time. I struggled a lot with sleep issues with DS1 and experienced strong feelings of resentment. He was a terrible sleeper. This all subsided when I decided to have NO expectations at all. I became a much better and calmer mother.

With DD, who is six months old I don't have specific nap times, I just let her fall asleep whenever and that works great for me. Often she just naps in my arms on the settee or in the stroller. She doesn't have a particular bedtime either. I just take her up when she seems sleepy. I also always have my ipad or phone handy, so if i have to nurse for an eternity, I can read at the same time.

I think that having someone to call on when it gets hard is really essential. DP travelled a lot when DS was small, and looking back i realise that i needed more support and should have looked for it somewhere.

Hugs to you - it sounds like you've had a really rough time of it.

Happy mama to DS1 (2006), DS2 (2007) & DD (2012)

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#15 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 08:04 AM
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How are you doing Lilalove?  I read your post yesterday when I was having a horrible day and have been thinking about you.  Our 4th baby is 7 months old.  I love AP way of parenting minus the sleep advise although I do agree with the posters here to relax on her sleep and not be quite so regimented.  I love how honest you were.  THank you!  B/c sadly I've had those days too in the past with my other babies.  That's when I decided (and after the advise of a counselor when my PPD was horrible with ds#2) that I needed to do something different sleep wise than what Dr Sears encourages.  I am so deeply affected by sleep and I *know* that my PPD is directly correlated with sleep.  I realize that sleep is just not something that a lot of any new mothers get that first year+, there are a lucky few, no matter what your sleep technique is.  But for me I realized after the counselor said that your brain needs at least 4 hours of continuous sleep in order to regenerate that something needed to change.  I've read just about every sleep book out there and the one that was really helpful was the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.  Not that I could actually do her sleep technique with patience but it helped me realize when my little one was truly sleepy and what he/she should be sleeping.  But with that said, there is no perfect day that baby goes down happily every single time.  Now though I realize that I think it's best for baby for me to be happy when baby is awake and it is a skill for baby to learn to go to sleep (I know most everyone here on this board disagrees).  So with ds#4 right from the start I laid him down while sleepy but awake in a swing and he would smile (not every time but most).  But when he's overtired he cries a lot.  I decided that I could have him cry in my arms or with me close by patting his back laying down and I chose the latter but when I feel like it's not helping him but overstimulating him then I walk out.  i'd rather walk out than yell at him or lose control.  I think the consistency of whatever it is you try is what's most important and it's the basic routine not watching the clock with a lot of flexibility.  E.g. when I put ds down for a nap and if he really is protesting then I go back in after 10 min.s and get him up and say, "Well I guess it just wasn't time, let's try it again latter."  I do know the rule of thumb of being awake no more than around 2 hours is really true.  I don't have the night time thing down other than the first stretch of sleep so I'm working on that but it's so important for me to feel like we're moving in the right direction (minus colds, etc) or else I feel out of control, like there's nothing I can do.  while others here would disagree with me I think it's far better to consistently lay a baby down while crying but sleepy and walk away and let them learn how to go to sleep on their own than to feel overwhelmed and hurtful towards your child.  I say that from experience.  And when you can get rid of the guilt and realize that it's OK then you can move forward and not beat yourself up.  Hugs to you, hang in there.

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#16 of 17 Old 01-31-2013, 07:26 AM
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I feel the same way with my 2yr old daughter right now. I get so angry and so full or rage when she wakes up early in the morning or when she will not lay down for a nap or when she wakes up several times during the night. I have yelled at her to "shut up" when she is crying. I feel so terrible and feel like I am mentally and emotionally scaring her, I have to be! Also I get so pissed off when she pulls out all the dvd's and book's off the case's after I have told her not to!!!! I just want to spank her till she get's the point but I know she will not understand. I know how you feel!!

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#17 of 17 Old 02-07-2013, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by courtneym89 View Post

I feel the same way with my 2yr old daughter right now. I get so angry and so full or rage when she wakes up early in the morning or when she will not lay down for a nap or when she wakes up several times during the night. I have yelled at her to "shut up" when she is crying. I feel so terrible and feel like I am mentally and emotionally scaring her, I have to be! Also I get so pissed off when she pulls out all the dvd's and book's off the case's after I have told her not to!!!! I just want to spank her till she get's the point but I know she will not understand. I know how you feel!!

grouphug.gif Lack of sleep will always kick my behind into "scary Mama" mode. Keep up with your vitamins, take any nap you can "cleaning be damned", and remember that it's okay to walk away for a minute if you need to. You are going to feel better if you don't hit the point of yelling "shut-up", and so will your daughter. I drink tons of coffee--I am still angry and tired when kids don't sleep or wake the baby, so I hear you. They do get easier at night, I promise hang in there!


I just today pulled all of the books/dvd's off the shelves that littlest dd can reach. She's obsessed with doing it also, and I suspect sometimes is just trying to get more attention, while I run around wildly trying to clean up things she is destroying. About six months later, I finally caught on and changed the terrain :-)


I don't know about you, but I have too much stuff. Three hours and four big boxes for good will later, my little miss has a lot less to destroy tomorrow--and I know I will have less stress and less work. I still have a box of stuff we still could use, and it's living under the bed until I decide to try again with the low-hanging shelves. Sometimes waiting until they are older, will help them learn skills faster than trying to teach them all the rules from the get-go. Also, she thought it was great fun to put stuff in boxes with me--so now we all win.

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