By Alex Freeman
When I first became a mother there were lots of words used to describe how I might feel. Awe, excitement, Love. Anger was never really mentioned!
I would describe myself as an extremely maternal person and quite frankly the idea of being angry at a defenceless baby was just simply barbaric… How naive pre-baby Alex was.
It was day 5612 of my daughter not sleeping. Despite endless rocking, singing, soothing and a car journey she still would not sleep.
As I held her in my arms exhaustion and desperation overcame me and I started to sob. The sobs turned into hysterical tears.
That was the first time I experienced postpartum rage.
My mind flashed back to the singular conversation I had had about postpartum rage with my midwife in training. A brief acknowledgement of the anger you might feel and the advice being to simply ‘lay the child down somewhere safe and walk away’.
So that’s what I did. I laid my daughter down and stepped back but as the screams of my abandoned child in the room I felt deeply ashamed and guilty.
I felt completely inadequate as a mother for not being able to give my child what they needed in that moment and struggled to come to terms with the feelings of rage I had experienced.
Those Lonely and desperate nights stayed between me and my husband and a small group of friends we could confide in.
It wasn’t until a raw conversation with my sister who convinced me that my feelings were normal and validated that I really started to open up to other mothers about these feelings. What I discovered was not only were these feelings normal, but they were also common.
Realising and accepting these feelings of postpartum rage and facing this primal reality head on has allowed me to be more kind and forgiving with myself.
I have not experienced as many of these nights with my second child but when these feelings of anger bubble up in my chest and the urge to scream, squeeze or stomp in pure frustration overcomes me I am more confident to follow the advice, lay my child down safely, scream into a pillow and let that s*** go.
We know we can’t hurt our babies. They need us as Mothers to protect them. But also as mothers we are not perfect.
When you look at the reality of motherhood, the immense pressure, the surging hormones often sleep deprivation to add to this it’s not surprising so many women have experienced these emotions.
I’m now passionate about speaking openly and candidly about real experiences of motherhood so that no woman has to experience that grief and self-loathing alone.
We are all just doing the best we can. Imperfect but totally adequate.