All feelings you expect to feel when you have a baby.
Well, that’s one that can come as a bit of a surprise…
To the mum feeling angry at your newborn. I understand. I’ve been there too. The screaming can become too much when nothing you do is helping. No amount of nappy changes, milk or sleep will comfort the tiny little pterodactyl. The screaming and crying continues. You want to scream too because you’re so utterly frustrated! You maybe have. I did too. I began to understand how big the risk of shaking a baby was, because the anger over boils so much it becomes almost impossible to hold it in. Every part of your body shakes as anger begins to explode out of your body and the urge to shake your baby in your arms and scream ‘what is wrong!’ becomes almost over bearing. And then guilt takes over. Gut wrenching, heart heaving guilt that you could ever feel so much anger towards something you love so much. But it’s not really anger you are feeling because beneath it , it is really fear that lurks. Fear that you have no idea what to do, fear that you are doing this wrong and fear that everyone else will think you are doing it wrong too. But you aren’t, you’re doing everything right because through those screams you are there, comforting, feeding and taking care of your baby. Anger is just masking your view so you can’t see it.
To the mum feeling angry at your partner, I get you. I’ve had that same anger, the one that can make you hate the person you loved so dearly. You’re angry how their life seems so unaffected by the huge change a baby makes and yet yours seems to have been blown up in a nuclear attack of shit and exhaustion. You’re angry that the responsibility seems to be on you when you started this process together. You’re angry because they get to escape for almost 8 hours a day while you’re lucky to get 20 minutes just to go to the loo or eat a resemblance of lunch. But don’t let that anger consume you, because underneath it is hiding something less sinister. It’s exhaustion, it’s grief of the passing of your old life together, it’s the feeling of rejection that you’re not their whole world anymore and it’s feeling unequal. But you may find that your partner feels just the same, they may miss you, they may feel lost in their new role, yet anger is stopping you both from talking and realising it.
To the mum angry at your friends, I hear you. All those excited talks and plans for your baby arriving have fizzled out now they are here. And here you are holding the baby you thought they would be here to see each day yet your on your own day in day out. It’s a physical pain, one you feel right in your heart and stomach and the natural reaction is to become angry to protect yourself from more pain. Anger makes you ignore them, anger makes you more lonely. But that’s angers plan, to keep you from realising that really you just feel lonely and afraid. Afraid that you’ve not only lost your relationship with your partner but your friends too. Anger stops you realising your friends are still there, but possibly just nervous about overstepping their mark by coming by too much when you might want rest.
To the mum angry at your kids, I’m with you. My god I am with you! The tantrums, the talking back, the just never bloody doing as you ask them to do! With each “no!” or deviant back turning, anger starts to grow bigger and bigger until one day (or multiple times a day) it threatens to blow. It wants to lash out through your voice bellowing in thunderous screaming that seems to be 20 Octaves higher than what children can actually hear, and when that doesn’t subside it, it begins to test your limits by urging you to lift your hand to beat them into compliance. But beating them to comply into emotionless robots isn’t what you want. You just want to gain back a fraction of control, and that is what anger is hiding, your fear of losing all control. Your fear that your getting this wrong, that you will raise hell bent adults who don’t know right from wrong. And it’s overwhelming, and it’s what anger feeds on.
But anger isn’t you.
it’s important to remember that.
It’s a parasite that can attach onto the most calm of parents to be. As your emotions begin to amplify when baby comes, it begins to feed of them and grow. It makes you more scared, feel more guilt, become more lonely and loose more control. But it doesn’t mean you are becoming a horrible person. You’re just feeling more emotions than you have ever felt before.
And that is something that all parents share.