Hey new moms, I’ve thought the terrible things too

by renegademama

One of my best friends is having her first baby. She’s a woman who has been fiercely independent her whole life. She has traveled to some ridiculous number of countries. She has a graduate degree from another country. She works for one of the top ten universities in America. She’s easily among the top 3 most hilarious humans I’ve ever known, and the smartest. And in a pinch, my kids may choose her over me. There’s that kind of love between us.

 

She’s expecting her first baby in January.

There are so many things I want to tell her.

There are so many things I want her to know are “okay.” I don’t fucking know what she should “expect.” How would I ever know that? Expect crazy. Expect weird. Expect beauty. Expect misery. But details? Nah those are hers to own. Hers to build.

The other day we were texting and she was expressing the understandable shitstorm of emotions within her – excited, terrified, depressed, in love.

And when I typed my response I felt a surge of sadness, and rage. This is what I wrote: “Even after you hold your babe for the first time it will come in waves. You’ll want your old life back. But not really. It really is a hard transition and nobody recognizes it. So talk to me and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.”

The sadness was that she might feel alone. That people might not talk to her about it. The rage was that she might feel alone. That people might not talk to her about it.

 

Talk to me and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.

I’m so sick of this shit, people, the way we bullshit new moms, the way we sit across from them 2 or 10 or 30 days postpartum, gazing at the perfect baby creature, talking about strollers or outfits or fucking muslin receiving blankets (although damn they are awesome) or whatever other nonsense we come up with to avoid the truth, or the other truth.

The way we small talk.

The way we chatter.

The way we talk about the baby. THE BABY IS FINE. WE CAN ALL SEE THE BABY IS FINE.

The way we give advice. The way we mumble this or that or this and hahahaha and oh how cute and you know what WHO FUCKING CARES?

Look at the woman. Look at her. Look at the woman sitting across from you on that couch. See the human transformed. See the human with a milky chest and belly still half-holding a baby and the tired in her eyes. See the woman who has become a mother and maybe doesn’t even know what that means yet and look as hard as you can into that fear and love and pain and ask her. Tell her. Open it all to her. And if you haven’t experienced it, listen. Ask. Hold and love.

Maybe she’s not having these thoughts, and that’s cool. But if she is, SHE NEEDS YOU TO LET HER KNOW you’ve thought it too, and it’s okay, and welcome to the motherfucking club.

photo(3)

from my journal, October 23, 2002

Talk to me, friend, and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.

I’ve been there.

I’ve fucking been there.

I’ve regretted having children.

I’ve thought they would go away. I’ve tried to run.

I’ve thought “I hate motherhood.”

I hate myself.

I hate this life.

I’ve ruined my life.

It will never be the same.

I’ll never get it back.

I’ve fantasized about leaving, running, forever.

Once, when my first baby was a year or so old, my brother (Ross) was just getting into medical school. I saw him there in his lab coat, just a photo online, and my body literally shook. The pain came from the earth, it seemed, up through my feet into my legs and up my whole body. I wept. I held my baby and wept. He was beginning the rest of his life. He was doing something going somewhere. I was 22 and paralyzed. I was going to be more. I was going to go somewhere, too. But all I did was nurse and drive and squash food and try to get some time to myself.

I scratched writing on paper and across my journal.

When I could find neither I would write on napkins.

But there was never any time to myself. I used to be me. WHO AM I NOW?

When I told my husband he didn’t understand. He looked at me helplessly and went back to work. On the weekends we drank. I tried to hard to “adjust,” to “get through it.”

But I couldn’t tell anybody how I felt because who thinks these things?

photo(5)

“child my child my joy my beautiful child I can’t go” – July 12, 2002

This baby, so perfect and smart and lovely.

And I made the choice to have her, and I love her. HOW COULD I EVER EXPLAIN THIS FEELING?

So it sat in me, like a dark mess of guilt and rage, but not even, because I couldn’t define it that well, because with it stood a love and longing and adoration for that child and motherhood. I watched her breathe to make sure she’s alive. I stared endlessly at her petal lips and eyes and cheeks and her breath to me is my breath. I want to consume her stay with her I love her so. When I’m away from her my guts feel exposed. My life fractured.

 

But the darkness, I guess. It could not get out. It was mine. Mine alone.

I was sure I was the only one thinking these thoughts. I had to be. Everywhere I looked I saw bliss and ruffles and yoga pants and pony tails.

photo(4)

God please help me. March 28, 2002

But now, oh now I know I was not the only one. There were hundreds of thousands of women before me and near me at that very exact moment feeling the exact same thing but what fucking good does that do me when nobody utters a word?

Nobody.

Friends come over and we talk about baby clothes. About what they’ve been up to. About how sweet it is to see Mac as a dad.

Friends come over and we talk about birth and sleep and “what my plans are” for the future.

Mothers grandmothers aunts sisters friends. We talk and talk and talk.

But we don’t talk about the darkness.

That’s mine.

They leave and I wonder again what’s wrong with me. They leave and I feel worse than before. They leave and I sink into the utter desperation, once again, left alone with my dirty secret.

Confirmed:

I

Am

The

Only

One in the history of the fucking world

To

Think

These

Dark and

Terrible

Things.

 

I’m done with it, people. I’m done with the bullshit.

I am asking you RIGHT NOW to talk about the darkness.

Talk about the moment you nearly couldn’t do it. Talk about the second you curled onto your bed and had the worst thought you’ve ever had pass the center of your mind.

Talk about the thing you hid.

Talk to the woman.

Talk to the human.

Talk to my friend.

Goddamnit, talk to me.

 

With cracked voice and broken smile, I would have talked to you. I would have told you the dark, and then we could have shared it. And maybe I would have known the light is right around the fucking corner.

And my friend, it is.

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more stuff I shouldn't have said out loud:

250 Comments | Posted in over-sharing is my talent | September 27, 2014
  • Cherri Porter

    This is a powerful mantra, to new moms and to everyone.

    Talk to me, friend, and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.

  • Carrie

    My dark time came when my husband decided we were done having children. Then I quit nursing. I had no purpose anymore. I loved carrying children and nursing them. I’m one of those strange people who loved it. When we were done, I hated my life. Not sure why even now. But it was who I was. It gave me identity. A purpose. A reason to not lose those last few pounds, to not need new clothes, to not have perfect hair. Wish I could have said then what you just said. Raw and open. 5 years later, I get the sad feeling once a month but then the 5 crazy people I did give birth to help me realize that I needed to be done. We needed to be done. So I can brush my hair, get new clothes and I still haven’t lost those last few pounds. Thank you for letting me see the darkness others have. I am not alone.

    • Andrea Mae

      Exactly. 5 years after our son’s birth and this is where I am as well. I really appreciate all these raw words.

    • KW

      It is also difficult for me to accept that there will not be another baby. I know what to do with a baby and toddler! We even talked about medical procedures to try for one more. I had to realize for myself, that my pre-teen daughter needs more of me right now than I could give if I were pregnant or with a little baby. There are some big transitional things happening in her life, and she has played the helpful big sister for long enough.

      I have to figure out what it means to be this new mom of older kids. And then the mom of kids who are grown. I’m working on it, and have glimpses of a future. It does feel scary sometimes. So, for the first time ever, I got a tattoo last week. A big one on my neck and head. Recreate myself from the head down.

    • Jodie Adawadkar

      I have 5 also, I had to have a hysterectomy. I still ache to be pregnant because it’s what I did for almost ten years. I loved it…knew it and craved it. I want to punch everyone in the face that tells me I should appreciate the gifts I have… Of course I do Morons!!! I just loved the run we had. Now I’m going back to grad school and forcing myself to love this phase of my life. Oh and the same morons are telling me”oh no…grad school with 5 children???” haha. Loved your response and thus blog. Even though I cherish being a mommy on the says my husband works 13 hrs. I travel over to the dark side… I hate it but I do. The only thing we can do is talk about it and make it more normal for people.

  • Charlene

    I had my son at 20, 10 months after the start of my first marriage. We were far from perfect, living in what equated to my parents dining room turned bedroom the day he was born. I had this feeling from day one. I was madly in love with this 5 pound bundle of boy, and scared shitless. We had made all these plans about how we were going to work his feeding schedule (he was 4 weeks premature, on a 3 hour feeding schedule and my husband took meds at night to help combat insomnia.) That all went to hell in a handbag, I was a single married mom. I hated myself, I hated my husband, I regretted ever having a child. Noone ever told me this was normal, this need to me ME, not mommy or wife. Now he is almost 7. I still want to run away sometimes, I still feel like I am not ready to be a mom. I don’t think the need to run ever foes away, we just start realizing we want to take them with us when we go.

    • Bitty

      I had many moments of darkness, especially the first month. My husband could only stay home for a week after our son was born and I would cry, sob, as soon as be walked out the door. Friends would come to see the baby and I’d have to look away when I answered their questions so they wouldn’t see that I was lying when I said I was alright.
      The very worst moment was not too long after our son was born. It was 3am. My husband was in bed sleeping. I’m in the living room holding our son who is crying inconsolably. I’m looking down at him and crying harder than he is. Wondering why I ever thought having a baby was a good idea. How could my husband have thought it was a good idea, how could he have let me do so something so stupid. There were other thoughts, one’s it’s not alright to talk about, but even then I knew it would get better. Even if it didn’t feel like it would.
      When I talk to my friends and family about motherhood, I am candid. I tell them about 3am. I tell them that it is so much harder than they ever thought, in ways they can’t even understand yet. I tell them that at their 3am, when they feel like running away, to hold tight to the knowledge that it really does get better. And if they need an ear, a babysitter, someone to help them feel less alone (because I had never felt more alone in my life) I can be reached at 3am or 2 in the afternoon.

      • Sommer

        How wonderful and comforting to read your experience. i felt so incredibly alone as well when my daughter was a newborn. i cried daily when that door closed behind my boyfriend and i knew i was alone and had no idea what I was doing. I am so proud of you and all of us who can stand up and say ‘hey! I felt this way!”

      • penny carlton

        My darkest moment was when I fantasized about throwing her out the window. I can’t believe I would ever even have that kind of thought but I did. I wish I read this when my daughter was first born. I was so tired of hearing all the bullshit, shes such a miracle, enjoy these days, they’re the best of your life. I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t enjoying them, i dreaded the moment my husband would walk out the door. I really didn’t like maternity leave and I felt so weird for saying that. Everyone I ever talked to loved maternity leave and I was counting the days until I went back to work. I love and appreciate honesty so much. I’m so sick of these automated responses people give about what to expect and never fill you in on how the first few months actually are! You’re trying to survive, and keep this little baby alive. I knew sleep deprivation was bad, but had no idea just how bad. I had the darkest rings around my eyes and was so tired I couldn’t even sleep when I had time to sleep. Sleep when the baby sleeps is bullshit too, by the time you fall asleep, the baby wakes up and it’s just a tease. And when the baby slept, I did things that made me feel human again, like take a shower, eat lunch or call a friend. But the thing is, I did come out of it. At the time, I thought i would never come out of it alive, but she’s one year old now, sleeping and those days seem so long ago. She’s happy, well adjusted and I’m happy and know what I’m doing (sorta). I think the mom is growing as much as the baby during those first few months, trying to find her way in this new role that no one prepared her for.I think we do really need a as much support as possible the first few months, even a year after our babies are born. I don’t know what I would of done if my mother wasn’t there for me those first few weeks. To be honest, I think they need to send home a nurse with us the first month, help us learn to take care of a baby and give us recovery time after we pushed out a human life! This felt good, thanks for listening. I love and appreciate the openness and honesty on this blog! Also, I learned that you need to care for yourself daily, hell several times a day in order to be there for your kid.

  • Sarina

    My darkest moment was when I fantasized about crashing my car. Withmy children in the backseat.

    • melissa

      I couldn’t decide if it was more selfish to crash the car and take the kid with me or to abandon him and leave him wondering for the rest of his life why he wasn’t enough to live for.

      Then I decided I probably wouldn’t even die. I’d just break a bunch of bones and have a lifelong disability and a shit ton of medical bills.

      It was like living in a Dorothy Parker poem.

      • Twila

        True that. That Dorothy Parker poem has pulled me through many a hard times.

        • Momtothree

          I looked for the Dorothy Parker poem, but couldn’t find the one you mean. I did find some hugely witty quotes from her though, and in my search, found this:

          “Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own.”
          — Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

          • melissa

            It’s this one:

            Resumé

            Razors pain you;
            Rivers are damp;
            Acids stain you;
            And drugs cause cramp.
            Guns aren’t lawful;
            Nooses give;
            Gas smells awful;
            You might as well live.

            I wasn’t serious about suicide; I thought about crashing the car, but I wouldn’t have done it. But all the same, my life was unbearable and I saw no other escape from it. Why didn’t I think of just packing up and leaving? That’s so much more sensible. I guess because I loved my family and I wanted to be with them. I just didn’t want to be miserable every god damned day.

      • Kat

        I had vivid, vivid fantasies of dropping my baby girl out of her stroller, off the pier, and into Lake Michigan. To the point that I stopped walking down by the lake.

        Now, she is 12 and while I sometimes have moments of wanting to run away, the intensity of those feelings have gone. I have opened up to a few mamas about the moments by the lake, and almost mama I know has had similar thoughts.

        I”m pregnant again, and am going to have a baby in December. And I remember, and know, and know that I will get through those times too.

        • Danielle

          If it’s any encouragements, I thought I went to hell after my first was born, and this state of darkness lasted a good 8 to 9 months. But I had a completely different experience, a blissful experience, with my second child, right from the moment she was born. We shouldn’t assume all mothers go through these painful moments. And we also shouldn’t assume that it’s the same which each child we bring into the world.

          • Monica

            I too lost my whole person after my first child. In and out of my own skin for a year and a half. Looking in the mirror wondering who was that person? My daughter was a loud, frustrated, sensitive person who had small glimpses of happy moments until she was 2. I thought by god I’ll never do this to myself again. And when I got pregnant with my second child at least once a week I’d nearly get sick with anxiety that the experience would be like my first and I’d be lost again have that empty searching feeling.

            For the first two weeks of post partum and the last week of pregnancy the second go around it was hell. I couldn’t work, couldn’t sleep I just cried and cried and watched Harry Potter, journaled then cried some more. And then after just three weeks of complete awful the clouds lifted and I was me again. And my baby is a happy girl who giggles and eats and sleeps sometimes. I still get mad but it’s nothing like before.

            Less than 4 months after giving birth I think if it’s just three weeks, I can do it again. Because it’s not the same each time. I always loved my first child, but I didn’t like her until she was 2. Maybe it’s easier the second time because you’re not so clueless. Now I have little people, and they are crazy and make me frustrated but they’re my people and I’m glad I gambled for number two. Will I gamble for number three? That I don’t know just yet. I’ll tell you the answer to that when number two actually decides to sleep through the night.

            I have spent the past 4 months with my heart on my sleeve doing everything I can this time around to be sane. I take walks. I make my husband cook. I hired a person to clean my house. I go to a counselor, I tell everyone when I’m crazy and expect them not to judge me and help me find the OK place again. I send my oldest child to her grandmothers. And most of all I just try not to judge myself. And those things have helped. Try one, try all, just own your crazy and don’t stop trying every loving thing this time until you find something or someone who can help you be OK with owning your crazy.

  • Karyn

    Thank you.
    This is so real for me still, the intensity, the rawness, the darkness and the fear.

    You’ve summed up what I want to be for my mum-to-be friends, the one who lets them say all the scary stuff they’re feeling, so maybe it doesn’t keep them up all night in despair like it did me.
    Again, thanks. You’ve been a voice that’s allowed me to talk about the side of mothering that doesn’t come in pastel pink or blue.

  • Jen

    There was a story in the news last year about a woman from Pennsylvania who had been missing for 11 years and had been found in Florida. I was deep in the regrettful and guilt ridden hell of having a second kid. My daughter was one, my son 4. I missed my life after my first but after the second I felt like I REALLY fucked up my life. I still do. I read her story and not only did I understand why she left, I was envious and really intrigued over how she pulled it off. I texted my sister “I know we have all thought about it, this lady actually did it!” And she never responded. I felt terrible. No one understood? No one else felt that way? Surely not. I thought it would get better but I still feel this way. My daughter is livelier and much more a pain in the ass than my son was. I love them, yes….but I think of running away easily four times a week. I won’t do it. I tell myself I would never do it. But goddamnit, if some other women would just fucking talk about it and admit it I would feel so much better. And maybe, I wouldn’t feel like such an asshole. I’m a good Mom. I don’t have to justify that to anyone. Every single relationship in our lives has its ups and downs….why do we pretend our kids are any different? Why do people expect us to act like everything is a joy, every moment is something we should enjoy? It is so exhausting.

    • Missy

      In a way, I did run away. I made a bad choice, lost my license and was forced to move home to my Mom’s, 1100 miles from my kids. And I cry everyday. I’m not going to bullshit you. There are moments when it’s blissful, no lunches to pack, no homework to do, no practices, games, parties top rush off to…but I cry ever day. I work 4 jobs just to stay busy so that I don’t have time to think about how much I miss them. Nights are the worst. I beat myself up every night. But as much as I miss them, I’m still not ready to move back to them. I haven’t regained my own identity and until I do, I can’t move back to where they live. I need my strength in order to deal with their father and with being dirt poor in a place where I have zero family and very little support. I ran away,but I can’t say that I’m a success at it. I can say that since I started talking about it, I have hated myself a little less. I hope you find someone to share your dark with, we all need to let it out.

  • Britt

    I really wish I would have found your writings at the beginning of my first born. It is crazy as a first time mom how the hospitals push so much on breastfeeding but don’t even touch on the emotional rollercoaster that comes after you get home and are all alone. Alone inside your head. Post partum depression. Eventhough I have a grasp on my feelings and shit now with my kiddo. Your writings still help me so very much,even in reflection. You always hit my heart. Thank you so very much for being real!!

  • Holly

    Amazingly written. Beautiful and so right! I have to say I have had these talks….just after the baby was born. I didn’t want to scare anyone too much. I mean there was no getting out of it at that point, why make it worse? LOL! I love that you say the unsaid. Fuck yeah…there is some dark shit in my head. I have 5 wonderful children. I sometimes look around and think, What the fuck am I doing? Who am I? What if? Great Blog! Nailed it!

  • Jen

    This is what I have yet to find in other moms….the brutal truth. Love, joy, despair, grief, etc. I can relate to your friend. I was a self proclaimed world traveler, independent woman, professional with a master’s degree creating my experiences. I met my wonderful husband, we got engaged 1 year after dating and a month later, pregers at 42! I now realize it doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 41, motherhood is a death and re-birth and a very private, personal journey. So many people say, “well, you had so many years to travel and you are wiser, more patient.” Yes, and no. I am also more set in my ways, know exactly what I gave up and what I am missing out on. And, amidst this grief, I love my daughter so much my heartaches tonight as I begin night weaning her at 22 months. So friends, even at 45 nursing a 2 year old, I can so relate to this post!

    • sara

      THIS!! You’ve done your travelling and had your career… Well yeah but it makes it a damn sight harder to settle down! My partner refuses to go on holiday and I fell my wings are well and truely clipped but now my son is becoming my little best friend and I’m starting to imagine a time we’ll have our own little holidays together, the crazy times away with friends and nights out may be long gone thought and that’s sad but I try to think there’s a whole new world of things to come now

  • Laura Morzov

    When my first child was born and lain on my chest it took me a moment to even look at her. I was exhausted from 25hrs of labor and could only think “what have I done?” I didn’t really love my baby in those first few moments of her life. I can’t remember exactly when that feeling passed, but I do remember hiding that initial shock of straight up non-love indifference towards her, realizing that I was expected to be elated and smiling and excited like everyone else around me clearly was. In that moment I realized the realness of the situation, that there was no going back, that life as I knew it was over, that I’d never again be free from the liability that is being responsible for another human’s life. I was scared shitless.

    • Sommer

      me too Mama. me too. I have found that falling inlove with your child is a much longer, slower fall than what “they” (whoever “they” is) tell you it will be. did I love my child of course I did but i relate to you in the sense that i did not fall head over fucking heels for this baby the minute she was placed on my chest. I had no idea what i was doing. i am STILL falling inlove with her and she’s nearly 9 months old. motherhood is weird. motherhood is fucked up.

      • Charlene

        3 am always seemed the hardest for me. I too had my own 3 am experience. Living in a hotel room with 5 other people. My son woke up screaming and nothing I did helped. I have never wanted to walk away more then I did at that moment. I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad we all made it through our 3 am

    • Jessica

      This happened to me. It took me weeks to fall in love with my first child. This is a thing I cannot talk about, nobody understands.

      • Randie

        I had a traumatic birth that ended in a csection. My husband had to stay home with me for THREE WEEKS. In the hospital it was ok, I held and rocked and sang to him but I hit rock bottom at home. I felt like I had ruined my life, I was jealous of our own baby, I felt utterly helpless to function and was deep in the despair of ppd. With meds and friends I slowly came to life but there wasn’t anyone that I felt truly understood. It was a very hard time:(

    • peggy miller

      The first thing I wanted after a 25 hour labor was a sandwich and a half-gallon of water. Then I wanted to sleep.

  • wild violet

    When i had my second… i turned into a raging maniac. I am a very happy normal person normally. But behind closed doors i became so angry and i would scream and yell at my 3 year old. I felt terrible, and guilty everyday. I didn’t know what or why i had such horrible intense rage ALL THE TIME. One day i finally lost it, and i had to pull over my car after screaming “WHAAAAAT” to my toddler out of pure rage from hearing them both cry. after pulling over i cried, turned around and went home. I went online and learned that post partum depression comes in MORE forms than just sadness and detachment. Because NO WOMEN EVER TALK ABOUT THIS… i had no idea that i was suffering PPD. I wish more women would talk about postpartum rage to get the word out there so people know they aren’t crazy. i got some medication for it and I’m a lot better. Im glad i can spread awareness.

    • Jenn X

      This. Only for me it was crippling anxiety. I was told and given pamphlets on recognizing depression vs. baby blues, but no one told me to watch out for anxiety so crippling you couldn’t leave the house, the baby, anything alone, not even long enough to shower. I always tell people it’s Postpartum Depression and ANXIETY, and it can come in all different shapes, sizes, and mental breakdown forms.

      • Lindsay

        Jenn X,
        I hope you get this reply. Thank you for your comment. Today I called my midwife because I realized my anxiety was too much and am meeting with her tomorrow. Your comment sparked me to think about how I was feeling, talk to my husband, and make a call. And I want to thank you. I just thought it wasn’t a big deal because I wasn’t depressed, I’m happy but I’m also anxious and always worried. I can’t wait to breathe easy again.

    • Sarah

      Wild Violet – I can totally empathise with you. I had such a positive experience with my first baby, and then after my second was born I really struggled to manage the two of them. My toddler would drive me in-freaking-sane and i just felt like I didn’t have enough give to go around to both of them. What makes it worse is that when you have your second, you don’t seem to get as much support (emotional or practical), it’s like everyone thinks – “Oh you’ve done it all before, you’re good”, when you actually need MORE support with your second.

      • Adena

        Can you share about your positive experience with your first child? I’ve been hearing a lot of horror stories. Is it always hell?

        • Dee

          Adena – if it makes you feel better, its not always a struggle. My darkness was pretty minimal (thank God). The important thing is to give yourself love to feel whatever comes and hopefully have love and support around you regardless. It is a beautiful time, even if that beauty is bittersweet and overwhelming. It’s also the best thing I’ve ever done.

    • Shel Rocker

      I, too, have the PPD rage. A hint of it happened at 33w and I had a steroid shot to help in case preterm labor hit. “It” was yelling with absolute RAGE at my 3yo. The 3’s are hellish, but how much of it now is my PPD? I found I had zero patience–zero–for my 3yo when my babe came. (Same due date as Renegade Mama!)I went on Zoloft at 4w and the buzzing quieted. I recently started taking the homeopathic sepia and it really helps when the anger comes on. Talking helps. It totally goes against my wanting to be a “perfect” mama, but since I have been talking about the struggles, I have found so many supportive mamas who have struggled with PPD, too, in their own way. Wild Violet, I absolutely agree that we have to talk about it because it feels like crap to be told that rage isn’t a symptom of PPD! In the words of Daniel Tiger, “If you are angry and you feel the need to ROAR, take a deep breath, and count to four!”

      • Wild Violet

        I feel you Shel about being the “perfect” mama. I think that is partly why i struggle with the horrible rage and anxiety… i can’t handle the feeling of failure as a mom.. and its a vicious circle. The rage brings on such horrible guilt AND darkness… my worst being calling my 3 year old names out of rage. Its like i can’t control it, and it just spews out of my mouth. I have called her a brat, or annoying. and as soon as its out of my mouth i literally want to curl up and cry and not wake up. I feel like a HORRIBLE human being and mother. I know this makes me sound bad, I’m actually a great mother normally… but the rage just ruined me. I started zoloft too… and it helped a lot. I also lightened my load at work… and it helped. Im interested in that sepia you were talking about. where do i get it?

        • Shel Rocker

          Oh! I’m just seeing this. You can get the homeopathic sepia at any hippy store, Amazon, vitamin Shoppe.

    • Sara

      I can so relate to your story! When I started my perinatal depression, the only emotion I could feel was pure hatred, even for people I actually found adorable before… And it took some therapy and a lot of time to finally realize that it was a depression, even if I wasn’t crying… The other thing I wish I would’ve known earlier was the fact that a depression can start during pregnancy. It’s not always postpartum, in fact in a lot of cases, it started before childbirth.

      • Katie J

        When I was pregnant with my first and found myself fantasizing about crashing my car into a tree (I had it all picked out and was THIS close to doing it), I called the Dr’s office. I hid in a corner of a room at work, and struggling not to cry, I shyly asked a nurse if there was such a thing as pre-partum depression. She laughed.

  • Allison

    Wow…cried my way through that post. I felt so alone when I had my first child. My husband had to go back to work after 1 week. I had no family nearby, and my friends all had their own lives. We all do. What was I supposed to do with her, though? I was failing at breast feeding, so I took that to mean that I was a failure. But I wanted to be a mother so badly that I thought it would just come naturally to me; that it would be blissful. Nope!!

    She’s 4 now, and we have a 2yr old daughter, as well. Life is mostly good, but I still want to run away sometimes.

    And thanks for writing something so honest…it helps to know that I’m not the only one thinking all that dark shit!

  • itzybellababy

    I am glad that you shared that. It was not my experience, but I come from being a first time mom at almost twice the age you did.

    Nothing wrong with either scenario- but I have a whole other series of issues.. lol.

    I find I don’t doubt as much, I don’t miss as much. I feel less lonely with my daughter. I waited a long time to feel that. I am sure if I hadn’t done all that I have done though that I would have felt the same. I have 2 degrees, traveled a lot, worked in my career for 15 years.. hell, I even took up hockey at 35.. I had done all I felt I wanted to before the baby..

    I haven’t had that feeling of regret or wishing to run away.. pretty much the opposite…I get weirded out about being away from her..

    It is good to talk about all of it.

    http://www.itzybellababy.com/

  • Twila

    I always knew I wanted to be a mom. My husband and I tried for a year to get pregnant. When it finally happened we were overjoyed. When we brought her home from the hospital we were giddy. But I was nervous. And so exhausted. And I remember on day 3 finally taking a moment to look at my daughter, the daughter I always wanted, and thinking “I feel nothing towards her. It’s as if she isn’t even mine.” There was no bond. The Heavens had not opened and showed me a love I’d never known. I’d been shortchanged. The Great Motherhood Moment had escaped me. This went on for months. The exhaustion. The crying. The lack of a bond. Until one night she wouldn’t stop crying. I hadn’t showered in days. I was in my bathrobe because I didn’t even have the energy to get dressed. The endless crying. My husband walked in when he heard me yelling at her. Screaming to Just. Shut. Up. I was seconds from shaking her. I was crying. So fucking exhausted and feeling nothing but rage and disappointment and sadness. But mostly rage. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. I was supposed to love her more than anything. This was supposed to be natural. I was supposed to feel some kind of connection. But there was nothing but rage, disappointment and sadness.

    My daughter was 15 months old when I laid down with her for a nap one day. At one point during sleep she reached over and put her tiny hand on my arm to make sure I was still there. And then it hit me. I felt her. It was as if my chest opened up and in that moment we connected. I no longer wanted to leave her on a neighbors doorstep. I no longer wondered if she was switched at birth. I knew she was mine because I felt it. My love for her choked me, bringing me to tears. It was the greatest relief I’ve ever known.

    So fuck these motherhood lies that tell us that we’ll know what to do and how to handle it and it’s-the-greatest-love-you’ll-ever-know-from-the-moment-you-see-their-face. Motherhood can be dark and scary. Lonely and rage-filled. Full of regret and disappointments. We all know it can be beautiful and fulfilling and rainbows and unicorns. But for the love of God, can it be okay for us to finally talk about the darkness? Thank you for making that okay. Thank you times a million.

    • Dan

      Yep I can relate to that feeling of relief when you finally fall in love with your own child. The rage! The guilt! How come I can’t love my OWN FUCKING KID!!!

    • Sommer

      what a brave story you have told me. I, too, did not feel that “connection” we are told we will all feel and then meant to feel terrible if/when we don’t feel it instantly. although I haven’t quite had a “breakthrough” moment with my daughter, now 9 months, I have one moment in particular like yours where I felt her need for me and I fell to pieces. she was starting to teeth and was so miserable by the end of the night, and one night in particular nothing myself or her father could do would seem to stop her wailing and screaming. not even the “normal” crying, we’re talking make-the-neighbor-lady-think-we’re-killing-our-kid scream crying. After a half hour or so of her inconsolable crying in her crib I finally went to her and picked her and up and brought her into the living room. I laid her down with me slowly and she took a few heavy sighs and literally curled herself into me and fell asleep. I was so moved by what happened I was crying (like a baby) and here my boyfriend is looking at me like ‘what is the big deal she’s finally asleep”. I had been looking, looking, looking everywhere for a “sign” or a “magic moment”. I don’t know what that was that night but I felt so close to her. In that moment I surely felt she knew I was her mother and that was all she wanted all along was to feel me near her. I still cry just retelling that experience. I am so happy to have found other women like yourself who have felt the exact.same.way as I did!

    • Elizabeth

      Wow. Just wow. It’s like you spewed out the words I was meaning to write. You described, how in the early days especially, I wanted to run away. I want to put her back. Why can’t I put her back? She won’t stop screaming. I’m supposed to love her, why don’t I love her. Why won’t she stop screaming? This was supposed to be perfect. Fucking lies — all these “perfect moms” lied to me.
      Then one day, at 13 months old, she held out her hand as we were walking to her bedroom for her bedtime, and grasped my hand — a purposeful, love-filled, “mommy, I want to feel you as we walk” hold … And I knew then that I finally felt love for her. Finally.

    • Jax

      I have tears sitting waiting to spill over after reading that – happy ones. Whilst you havent described me or my experience, i felt every word…thank you for sharing your moment when sleeping with your litte one, and all that lead up to it.

    • Sally

      I waited and waited for that thunderclap hit of love you’re supposed to feel. I saw my husband get it the moment he held our firstborn son. I never felt it. I had a horrific delivery, emergency c section and he was in nicu for a week. I loved him. But didn’t have “that” momentous feeling everyone says you get. Didn’t get it second time either. And have always felt a bad mother because of it. Both my boys have ADHD. The eldest has asd too. Their father also has ADHD so it’s like I have 3 kids and I’m always the grownup – I do everything from usual domestic chores to money stuff to making all the decisions. It’s exhausting. I realised I need to escape every so often or I’d leave for good. I go stay with my sister who has no kids. I live in England. She’s in Detroit. So I go for a week and I can’t come back if something happens. And I don’t care. My husband has to take the reins and be me for a week. He does this (he hates it but he has no choice).

      Bravo to all the mamas “coming out” here. Motherhood is fucking hard. Nobody does it perfectly. We have to be honest with eachother and not feel shame for wanting to run or screaming at our kids or imagining throwing them against a wall. I believe we have all done that. Even the perfect yoga pants organic skinny moms who make us feel inadequate.

      Always loved this blog. Even more so now. Thank you – everybody

    • sara

      Comment that just hit me, “no longer wondered if she was switched at birth” I’d almost blanked from my mind the doubt that once entered my head that the nurses had mixed him up. I was numb, I went into shock when I fell pregnant, I cried recently finding search history for “8 months pregnant and not excited” My partner changed during the later stages of my pregnancy, he’s never been the same since, we had so much stress during my son’s early months and it took me a long time to bond with him, partly I just felt weirdly detached and partly as I felt I hadn’t been allowed chance to bond with him with all the other stresses going on. It took me months to feel that bond, I’d be shopping without him and people would say oh it hurts leaving them doesn’t it but I felt odd, not in a rush to get home. Still can’t fully describe the feeling. Just not as I expected to feel. At the same time my son was still my life. Now I love him to bits but feel so guilty over all of this, even writing this. It’s easier to bond once their little personalities come out so anyone who doesn’t feel “right” hang on in there maybe you’re like me and just need to wait until things fall into place. I still have weird detached days and think it is a bit of postnatal or just general depression but love my son and my life revolves around him. I know my comment is a bit muddly to read but it’s the best sense I can make of a confusing situation

  • C

    Just thank you. I wish there was more of this talk so I wouldn’t feel like such a heinous human being all the time.

  • Dan

    My darkness found me the very night my oldest baby was born. I looked at her and was amazed but also irritated by her crying. I was 22, her dad and I had only been together for a few months before she was conceived, I was at uni partying my life way, fed money by my parents My mum made excuses for not being able to be there from interstate for her birth (which I later found out was because my father was dying of cancer, noone told me for fear of me not being able to handle the whole situation like a grown-up) and I was exhausted from labour. I so wanted this baby and to be a good mum, I wanted to love her so much but that rush of love just wouldn’t come. I sat there at 3 am staring at her feeling completely overwhelmed. All I kept thinking is “who am I and how the hell do I do this?” I felt nothing, despite REALLY wanting to – I literally sat there thinking I could understand how someone could give up a baby for adoption. Anyway, luckily her father was there for us, even though I dare not tell him how I was feeling, and we had some wonderful midwives who persisted with our breastfeeding relationship (cause it was fucking hard and hurt like fuck and we were both shit at it), and over a few days we fell in love with each other. 3 kids and 14 years later, I have had some dark and terrible thoughts about my children, and my desire to have my old life back, but also the most profound and incredible experiences and love like I just didn’t realise was possible. It’s a fucking hard gig, man. Today is a good day, and I’m so glad for this life and my totally rad kids. But I don’t think that every day.

  • Tawnya

    For *months* after my first was born, I cried hysterically every time I took a shower. I would see my deflated belly and want nothing more than to put the baby back inside. Everything was so perfect when he was still inside. I was still me, and I was doing something amazing…but I was still me.

  • Lindsay

    When we had our first, my husband and I had been married for 6 years. So we had a life together. It was fun!! Then we had Maddox and I did talk about it, you and I are a lot alike

  • Stacie Voyles

    I love you. I love your comforting words. I always feel like you’re talking directly to me. This has been the worst postpartum I’ve endured to date. My mom left me with 4 children just two days after I came home from the hospital. My lowest of low was when I stopped eating, and drinking. I couldn’t even talk, I would sit there silent not responding to anything around me. I felt almost outside of myself, I kept thinking “this is crazy, what am I doing?” I knew I was crazy and yet couldn’t do anything about it. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I am beginning to see it and feel it. It is beautiful.

    • Sara

      I had a similar experience! But with only one baby, i’m afraid… I was sick, and deep into my perinatal depression, and I had just started officially weaning… And my milk production went down (obviously!). And then I got kinda crazy. I changed my mind about the weaning, so I ended up pumping like crazy, and then I stopped eating and drinking… It was like I was trying to punish myself from being (what I was perceiving as) such a bad mom… I had really dark thoughts going ’round my head, and I had a hard time walking two steps… I called a friend (or maybe she called me?) and told her I belonged in a mental institution. She came over with croissants and helped me search for mental institutions. While looking for those, she convinced me to eat. After a couple of bites, I regained my senses and realized that not eating while you’re sick and pumping is a REALLY bad idea. And if you’re depressive, it’s just a recipe for disaster. Thank god for good friends. I don’t know what would’ve happened without her… Thank you for your testimony, finally someone who experienced something similar!
      I wish you get at least one beautiful moment a day…

  • Agata

    I really needed this today. Thank You.

  • Charlie

    My darkness was during my pregnancy. I felt sick and tired and fat and I had a miracle baby that had taken years of treatment to get. I felt depressed, like a giant dark cloud had come into my life, I couldn’t connect with the precious life within me, I felt guilty, I was convinced he wouldn’t survive because I wasn’t a good enough mother to look after him. I couldn’t buy any baby products, hell I couldn’t even walk down the baby product isle at the supermarket, I looked at other mothers and felt angry and jealous and sad that they must be enjoying this experience. Which made me feel more guilty and more sad. And angry. Really angry that I couldn’t just shag and have a glowing pregnancy and love my baby. Angry I might have a kid at an age so much older than I wanted one. And everyone kept saying how happy I must be and how lucky I was. The biggest surprise: motherhood so far has been wonderful.

  • V

    My son was a miracle baby, conceived after 18 fucking cycles of trying tracking charting temperatures invasive diagnostic tests tears helpless hating my body why can I not just fucking get pregnant. Suddenly, spontaneously, things WORKED and I was pregnant. I was overjoyed when I wasn’t feeling like I’d been run over by a goddamn truck from the fatigue and random bouts of nausea but never actually throwing up which is almost worse.

    After he was born I hated him. Hated my boobs that never stopped leaking hated my son who never wanted to be comforted by his father for more than 3 hours for the first month of his life so GOD HELP ME if I wanted a decent stretch of sleep because we didn’t figure out how to nurse while lying down until he was 2 months old.

    I had postpartum depression. Zoloft made it better but made me feel oddly numb at the same time and our health insurance dropped shortly after the diagnosis so I couldn’t afford to go back to the doctor and try something else.

    My vulva will never be the same because my midwife didn’t think I needed stitches. So now I have a freaky bumpy flap on one side that I’m embarrassed to have my husband get up close and personal with. I used to love getting oral now I’m so awkward about my bits that it just doesn’t work on me.

    My son is 3.5 years old now. Most of the time I love him to pieces, but sometimes I still seriously consider just walking out the door and leaving the little shithead here, because sometimes he and I just bash heads so damn hard it gives me migraines. I joke about “loving him to pieces, but sometimes I just want to toss him out the window!” but really, it’s not always a joke. Especially when we have 2 or 3 “rough” days in a row, where he just will. not. listen. to a DAMN thing I say no matter the tone or frequency or phrasing that I say it in, and then he bounces his face off the coffee table and the only thing that comforts him is my arms and my kisses and I feel like a damn monster for being satisfied to see that he bonked his damn head JUST LIKE I TOLD HIM HE WOULD.

    But then, my husband takes over for a morning or two in a row, and I get a good night’s sleep. And my migraines back off for a few days in a row and I’m back to loving that silly little shit that I birthed, and I’m in awe when I look at him and I realize that I GREW THIS HUMAN BEING, with my own body I created this life and nurtured it, he would not exist were it not for me.

    Shit. That was cathartic. Thank you Janelle, for posting this and prompting me to dump all this nasty dark shit out in the sunshine so it can stop being so toxic in my head. Thank you for anyone who reads this. It’s amazing to really realize that I’m not alone, and I’m not (entirely) a monster for the things my mind comes up with when I’m in a dark place.

    For some reason, the most fitting ending to this is a quote from “V for Vendetta”:
    “I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one.

    An inch. It’s small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

    I don’t know who you are. Or whether you’re a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you.”

    You’ve given me a glimpse of roses today Janelle, and everyone else who has commented here. I love you, every one of you.

    • Twila

      “Thank you Janelle, for posting this and prompting me to dump all this nasty dark shit out in the sunshine so it can stop being so toxic in my head.”

      This exactly. She has opened herself up and by doing so given us a place to open up and shine light on the darkness, as has everyone else who has posted. This is a beautiful space for us moms.

    • beck

      Oh V,
      Your comment is quite possible the very best blog comment I have EVER read.
      Your story and mine are so damn similar!
      M gorgeous ds would not let his daddy hold him, at all, for about the first 10 months. He just screamed. every freaking time. I couldn’t have a shower. I couldn’t brush my teeth. I couldn’t do anything because he just wanted ME. All.day.evey.day.24.fucking.hours.a.day.

      I had stitches after a massive epi, nothing has been right down there since then.
      I make the same jokes about “I really love my kids, even though i want to strangle them sometimes” just joking, maybe, sometimes, whatever.

      DD is crazy stubborn and independent, just like me.
      I too feel like such a fucking bitch, because when she falls over/hits her head/whatever the fuck it was that I just told her not to do, I try my best to comfort her and wipe away the tears, but in my head I’m kind of smiling thinking ” i TOLD you so!”

      I think motherhood would be so much easier and simpler if we could all just be honest sometimes, but we’re all so fucking scared of failing and being judged by the “perfect” mothers, that we lie, we smile, we say we’re fine, we give our kids perfect organic home made meals when other people are around, but at home let them eat cookies by the truckload if that’s what it take sot shut them up for 2 damn minutes (or is that just me?)

      I’m getting teary just reading all of these comments, there are so many of us that all have had these feelings, but have kept quiet. We are all so much stronger for sharing these moments with each other.

    • Shel Rocker

      “My son is 3.5 years old now. Most of the time I love him to pieces, but sometimes I still seriously consider just walking out the door and leaving the little shithead here, because sometimes he and I just bash heads so damn hard it gives me migraines. I joke about “loving him to pieces, but sometimes I just want to toss him out the window!” but really, it’s not always a joke. Especially when we have 2 or 3 “rough” days in a row, where he just will. not. listen. to a DAMN thing I say no matter the tone or frequency or phrasing that I say it in, and then he bounces his face off the coffee table and the only thing that comforts him is my arms and my kisses and I feel like a damn monster for being satisfied to see that he bonked his damn head JUST LIKE I TOLD HIM HE WOULD.”

      Are our little shit-heads conspiring?! sigh. I’m in the midst of a bad day now and all I can think will solve it is kicking him high to the moon. But, yeah, he gets hurt, or needy, and my *3.5yo* demands to nurse. All is forgiven, even my awful roars, and we begin again.

    • Rachelle

      I love this. so much.
      it’s exactly how I feel.
      my son is 5. I am divorced, his father was cheating on me while I was pregnant and we split up right after my son’s 1st birthday. I was 21 when I had my son. I wasn’t on speaking terms with my family. my friends were all still in college, partying, living the “good” life. and here I am, divorced, living alone, body a mess, with a one year old. I survived the nights I never thought I’d make it through. I haven’t had any serious relationships since my ex husband until this last year. and of course he lives 14 hours from me. we do our best and try to see each other every few months. but it’s gotten so much harder. I had to move back in with family. constant tension and fighting with my younger brothers and parents.
      while trying to raise my sob.
      I have moments where I dream terrible things. I dream that my ex and my son are in a terrible car accident and don’t survive. I dream this pain and sorrow greater than anything I’ve ever felt in my life. but I also feel this freedom. to live. to love. to run away from this life that I feel so miserably stuck in. to have a chance at happiness.

      I wake up drenched in sweat and tears. frustrated, scared, and frightened at how I could think such a terrible thing. how could I dream something so horrible? I’m such a terrible mom. so selfish.

      but the truth is I’m lonely. I’m miserable. I’m stuck. I want out. I want to run away. and I hate myself for wanting it. but I do. I don’t think I would ever leave. I don’t think so. I hope I wont. but I dearly want that freedom. I want my life back, my freedom. I want my body back. being divorced at 26 with a 5 year old. you just feel disgusting. I don’t see anything going for me. and I think these terrible things.

      I finally found someone who loves and appreciates me, and who understands my situation. but I still feel alone in my mind. no one talks about it. the depression. the fear of failure. the “3am” moment. I love my son so much. but I’m also losing my mind.

      it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Sara

    Why oh why do we all keep up the pretense that our lives are perfect? I am so sick of it and so tired. And pretending is even more exhausting. None of my friends would understand this. I would be the “bad mom” if I ever brought up my dark and scary thoughts. It is nice to know I am not the only one. I wish I could stop feeling anger. Just completely erase that emotion. I love my children so much and I want to be the mom that they deserve.

  • Bec

    Oh yes. The dark thoughts. They are darker when it seems no else is thinking them.

    Half our babies-born-at-same-time type mothers group came to group meet ups with make up on, babies in pristine clothing, hot lattes in hand, smiling. The other half hadn’t managed a shower, babies were on the verge of meltdowns, we had to abandon our coffees to quickly whisk our screaming babies from the cafe or park, and though sometimes we were smiling, often we felt flustered and confused. And anxious. And depressed. Was it the ‘others’ fault that we were not having the same newborn experience as them? No. But what the rest of us found was a sense of acceptance and understanding when we actually started admitting to each other that we weren’t coping that day, that we felt angry at the baby in the middle of the night, that we were seeing the clinic nurse about post natal anxiety, that we were studying those magical cure-all baby books trying to work out what we weren’t doing right!! Needless to say, the Stepford wives soon found ways up subtlety not meet up with us anymore. That’s cool. And years later I still think about those women who seemed to not just be coping with it, but thriving… and I wonder if any of them secretly were not, and how awful the pressure must have been on them.

  • Ani

    My moments were in the first three months. The first in particular was bad. I felt indifferent to this little person. I felt like being a mother was a job I had to do and once I had proven that I could do it, I could give this baby back and go back to my life. My mom kept saying, “isn’t it incredible? The love you feel for this child?” I looked away, not wanting to show that I had no idea what she was talking about. He had colic. The screaming didn’t end. I was alone in a small village on the border to Burma, no other mom friends to comfort me and only one from home who regularly emailed me. I tried to talk to her, about these dark moments, but she just didn’t understand, could not relate. So alone was I. And yet, I pulled through, as we all do. Now I am madly in love with this 11 month old child and looking forward to starting this insanity again.

    Thank you Janelle, once again. Thank you.

  • Emily

    SO good to hear all this but how i wish I had had this connection when my babies were babies – they’re now 13 and 15!!
    And life was shit and yes, I would do the same as everyone else here… cry when i was on my own, really consider running away and then knowing i couldn’t, cry some more and listen as everyone said what a good baby I had an how lucky I was!!!! Lucky, yes, I was lucky to have a beautiful healthy daughter but I hated what I had become and what my life was reduced to – I was physically, mentally and emotionally consumed by someone else – inside i had died never to be the same again. In time I grew to like this new me and this new situation but, by God, it took time and effort and support from family which I finally asked for terrified that I would be vilified for being so selfish as to not be happy now i was a mum.
    Thank you, Renegade Mama for talking and sharing the shit. When you share it it doesn’t smell or look so bad 🙂

  • Bobby

    i remember when my first baby was maybe a week old, I couldn’t shake the thought of how easily he could be damaged, the fineness, the fragility of him. I had visions of myself crushing his tiny head in one hand, or dropping him in the stairwell. I didn’t want to, but it was like a consciousness of being capable. It was alarming and scary. I called my mum, half expecting (daring?) her to be upset, appalled. Instead, she said ‘it’ll happen for the first 6 months or so. For me, I couldn’t stop imagining standing on you.’ Hooray for honesty.

    • Wild violet

      To me that sounds like a form of OCD called Pure obsessional disorder or Pure O. It’s something that can easily pop up after giving birth! This is in the harm category! It’s not like u want to hurt them… U just can’t stop thinking about it! Look it up, it’s very interesting!

    • maegan

      Me too! I am 48 and my first child is 21, but I remember standing at the top of the staircase, unshowered, sleepless, lonely, imagining just dropping her. All the way down. Didn’t though, and she is my best friend now.

      • JuliePowell

        I had similar fantasies so very vivid and graphic of me or something else harming my child. It’s so weird what the combination of hormones, sleep deprivation, and other forces can do to your mind as a new mom. I can so related to this post. I had tears running down my face while reading it. Stay strong, Moms!!!

    • caffeine lights

      I don’t think this is related to OCD. It’s very very common apparently. I used to hate pushing the pram near roads or crossing roads. I kept imagining a gust of wind would sweep the pram into the path of the traffic. This is ludicrous but it was still my fear.

    • Emily

      Yep. I had that with my older son (he’s 7 now) when he was about 3. My husband was gone a lot in the evenings, and I was alone with our son. I couldn’t stop thinking about smothering him with a pillow while he slept. It got so bad that I would sit on the couch and shake, not wanting to go to bed or to the bathroom because I’d have to walk past his bedroom door.

      I finally went to a therapist (something I suggest to EVERYONE) and she talked me through how to deal with the thoughts. But, yes, I was diagnosed as having OCD tendencies.

  • MomtoThree

    It is an overwhelming task, motherhood. The responsibility for another life. The bond, the intuition and yet the longing for the self one knew before. The nostalgia for the life one had previously, and the freedom to live without so many crushing restrictions.
    Who hasn’t dreamed of packing a bag, catching a plane, or just jumping in the car to get away from the mess, the noise, the needy?
    I’m sure most mothers have. But few will admit it. Which is why this blog is such a unique place. Indeed, perhaps the only place in cyberspace where we can come and share, and relate. Thank you for being …

  • Chantal

    I broke a wall, this week. With my foot. My nearly 3 year old daughter had not had her afternoon nap, because. My 18 month old boy has waken up early because of the noise. I had not had my break, my holy afternoon break. The day became dark. But I manage my growing anger, played play doh, made supper. Bue the anger was growing, my dark me was taking control. I had a little moment with my boy, making farts on his belly while changing diaper. And that’s when a saw red, for a stupid reason. My girl started to saying, out of nowhere ” I want tickle too! Me too!” And I didn’t wanted to do it, because the moment was over, because she always want what her brtother have, because of the darkness, because I’m fucking stupid. And I started to yell, and throw toys, and kicked a wal, at the wrong place. I felt a lot more stupid when I saw that hole.
    This is my darkness. The unknown anger. I never been a person like that. Never yell at nobody. But my kids, I love them so much. They’re like a part of me. And the only person a was yelling to was me, my stupid little me.
    It’s my darkness and my despair.

    • yippeeitsme

      I threw my iPhone at my (large) HDTV and broke the TV. My intention was to break the phone. My mom watches my kids (toddlers) while I work, I work a weird schedule that always worked well for me but now suddenly other people are in the mix. My mom is stressed and overwhelmed, my family is falling apart outside of my situation, I feel like I’m the only one who can try and hold it together and who is expected to hold it together and yet I’ve never in my life been in a situation where I needed a support system like I do now and I’ve never had less of one than I do now. We argued and I cried and felt more worthless than I have felt in my life, threw the phone intending to hit either the carpet (harmless!) or the TV stand (because breaking the phone will make me feel better? IDEK). Phone smacked the screen of the TV. Phone (old, out of contract) survived. TV (newish, expensive) didn’t.

      I’ve never before been a throwing things/breaking things person. I thought I was losing my mind. I actually called a friend and made her come over because I don’t know who you call when you break an object because you are mad, and felt like I needed some type of Helpline or something. Because obviously I should throw one expensive object at another. Because that helps my emotions.

      • karen

        while my issue is a teenage monster, i love how you said “I’ve never in my life been in a situation where I needed a support system like I do now and I’ve never had less of one than I do now.”

  • Maegan

    What you have shared and what all the women here have also brought out into the light makes me simultaneously filled with love and nauseous. Exactly like motherhood. I am now going to spend my Sunday morning reading every story. It makes me nauseous because we as women have lost our community, our ways to share the dark things, and we sit alone thinking we are the only ones. I am 48, i had my first child when I was 27 and am still happily/barely married to the father of my children. He wanted to help, but he couldn’t nurse and he had to work. I was lucky enough to stay home with my kids, and had alll those dark thoughts. My saving grace was the birthing group I had attended. We all gave birth to our first children in a month, and started to meet every week after the kids were born. For four years I saw these wonderful women at least once a week. All that dark shit came out and it was glorious. Some breastfed, some did not. Some co-slept, some did not. But we shared, and we hugged, and we cried. My advice to every new Mom, share with other Moms. We as women HAVE to support each orher, it is ok, the dark thoughts are ok, and we will get through this together.

  • vio

    what a raw and honest post. thank you for having the courage to share and be so vulnerable. I agree we all need to open up and start talking about the dark side, which is such a huge part of being a new mom.

  • TwinsRUs

    After years of infertility, we brought home twins and the first few months were some of the darkest. I remember the nights where I would just stand in their room while they were crying for seemingly no reason at all…my nerves were shot and patience gone and how in the hell can my husband be sleeping through this?!? And I would just scream at them to shut the fuck up, and my husband would finally wake up and come rushing in and tell me to go back to bed. And so I’d stumble back, terrified at the level of hatred I had for them at that moment and ashamed that after the years of longing for a baby, I couldnt handle this shit. I felt like a failure and a monster because in moments like that, I really wanted to throw them across the room and I could understand why people shake their babies. Thank goodness for family who came to our rescue at a few 2 a.m. episodes when we were both dangerously exhausted. My mom would often tell me that it was ok to leave them screaming and stand outside or walk around the house a few times when you get to that point where you start to see red and are about to lose your shit. It was her way of gently saying there will be darkness. It was the only time someone alluded to it in those early days of infancy. Its such a taboo subject…i know i had extreme levels of shame for feeling what i felt. So fuck yeah, let’s talk about it!

  • Caitlin

    My dark moment came almost immediately….I felt absolutely no bond with my newborn baby. I remember sitting in the hospital staring at my baby in the bassinet thinking, ‘What’s the big deal with giving up babies for adoption? I don’t think I’d miss him.’ As soon as I thought it, I regretted it, but that didn’t change my feelings and that made me feel worse. Then came the bad thoughts, the bad images, the nightmares, the insomnia…the baby had trouble nursing and was losing weight so in addition to feeling like the worst mom for lacking a bond now I was failing at feeding him. I did not feel a bond with my baby until he was 3 months old, taking care of him was fulfilling an obligation…I answered the questions with the standard canned answers so no one would know. Things are better now…but I always fear the darkness isn’t far behind.

    • Momtothree

      Your post brought back to me those feelings of inadequacy, when my son (baby number 3) refused to wean. I was not in a good place, my husband hadn’t wanted the last pregnancy, my support network was zilch, and my son wasn’t putting on weight. I’d done fine with the other two, thought I had it down. But whatever I tried, changing brand of formula, bottles, silicone teets, rubber ones, ergonomic frigging pharmacy ones, different temperature for the formula, other people’s arms (my Mum’s), he wasn’t taking any of it. Practically on my knees with exhaustion, I was worried for his health. And my sanity.
      Where can you go with that? Who do you talk to? The network that should give us some air, a break, just enough time to go to the hairdresser/gynae/dentist, often just isn’t there.
      I never shook my babies, but I can see how in desperation some women just lose it.
      Thank heavens we have you, Janelle. You always tell it like it is …

  • Heather Bowden

    You are means

  • Heather Bowden

    Ahhhh that was supposed to say you are my muse! Pure and simple. Finding your blog and a few others was so helpful to me! It got me back into writing and that really helps with the dark shit in my brain.

  • Ashley

    Following the birth of our first child; days, nights, all my time was spent holding, loving, caring for this new little human. The love I exhausted from myself made me revert to the feel & want to be a dependent myself. I didn’t want extra attention from just anyone – I needed it from my husband. I knew this sweet baby needed me as much as I needed her, so that brought some selfish satisfaction, but I didn’t get the same in return from my husband. He needed to hold me, care for me, LOVE me the way I loved this sweet baby girl. Those feelings dissapate – eventually, but other thoughts and emotions, often dark as shit, still came in waves. Three years later we gave birth to identical twin boys! All my experience, confidence, thoughts of “I got this” quickly disappeared learning not only was there one, there were 2! Nursing was my biggest challenge, as I was so successful with our first. My first few months with the boys were like Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day”. Everyday was the exact same shit – tandem, double football, & single nursing attempts, crying, pumping, crying, bottle feeding, crying, nursing, pumping, crying…and trying oh so hard to provide for a 3.5 year old – that poor sweet girl. The guilt was powerful. I was angry I had twins. With boobs larger than my babies heads, while tandem nursing one day, I said to my mother, “I would never wish twins on anyone. Luckily, I had an amazing supportive family of not always so fabulous mothers who advised me through those first 3 or 4 dark, shitty months. It all worked out. The boys are now 2.5 & big sis is 6 soon. I still want to scream, run, lock my kids, or myself, in a padded, soundproof room, but eventually 8pm rolls around & my inner calm & love for my life returns…along with a few glasses of wine.

  • Mimi

    Thank you! You have said what I have felt a million times since having my baby. And nobody talks about this kind of stuff. You have been able to articulate what we have all felt. Then we all feel guilty for feeling it and think we are the horrible mom in the world. I just had a baby after 16 years since the 1st. I forgot all of the hard stuff with my 1st. I must have blocked it out because when my daughter came I didnt know what was wrong with me. Only after honest talks with my own mom did it all come back to me. It is gettig better but for the first 4 months I have been looking at my baby like “what have you done to me?” Then feeling so guilty because Im not taking a million blissful pics to put up on Facebook-I must be a horrible parent. Now I am starting to get it and understand that frazzled look in a mother who has a baby. If you dont have a baby I realize you dont get it even if you have kids. I know because I blocked out all the hard stuff; give it enough time and you are once again oblivious to it. Most likely why we keep having kids; we forget about the hard stuff. Also the hard stuff doesnt end with the baby years, my 16 yr old may be able to cook for himself but there is a whole new set of “hard stuff”…sex, driving, drugs. Ya it pretty much never ends, but damn I love my children!

  • Rachel

    Wow, you hit a nerve. Just had my 3rd daughter and I still have flashes of darkness run across my brain. What the hell was I thinking? What the hell am I doing? I am sure I’m fucking these kids up one way or another. You’re not supposed to scream at your kids this much. I should just leave, kill myself, kill them, knowing none of those are options, but just fantasies. God I made a mistake in ever getting married and having kids, I miss my old life, I miss working and feeling like I have a purpose. Only to realize that my old work life purpose was complete bullshit and my purpose now is to raise these sweet little girls I have. Everyday a horrible thought runs across my brain, and then I see my one and half yr old bend down and kiss the month old and it fades. I had no one to talk to about this, my friends who don’t have kids bailed on me because they don’t understand what I’m doing/going through. I have no mom friends, it’s lonely. My husband ‘gets’ it as much as a man can. Which is good enough I guess, he does not judge thank god. Thank you for writing and being out there and saying the shit that most of us know we can’t say to another person without them thinking we are the worse fucking person in the world. It’s nice to have a community, even if only online of people who think the same as you. Thank you, you have saved my ass many times from slipping permanently into the darkness.

  • Molly

    I feel like acknowledgement of the feelings gives them less power.
    I tell all new moms the same thing when I can see them struggling.
    Everyone has the dark spots, we all have to work through them.
    Please keep writing, you help people more than you know…

  • Shannon

    Wow. I was 23 when I had my oldest and I remember wondering why there were more days than not, that I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Then things got a little better a few months in, and baby #2 showed up and I had panic attacks every night because the thought of being alone with a baby and toddler was overwhelmingly lonely. Then number 3 showed up 4 years later and this time, I was good. I was 29, I understood it better, I was good. But man, there are still days where I have my 12, 9, and 5 y/o and I think I’m the only mom who feels like she wants to crawl out of her skin bc they are still so needy and loud and always always always fighting. But I love them so much it hurts. It hurts my heart and arms and I can feel it in my gut, how much I love them. Motherhood is the most bizzarre thing ever. Great post. Thank you.

  • Nicole

    I wish you would have been my friend when I had both my kids. The darkness afterwards was almost unbearable and no one was there for me. I try to be that person for other women…but alas, many OTHER women tell me I’m being rude or a downer or just plain mean. What ever happened to honesty and support?

  • Gabby

    I remember my son about 3 months old and him just screaming and the screams echoing off the walls, I just cried and cried. My husband looked at me and asked what was wrong bug I just sat there holding my son as tears fell down my face. My son is now two and a little hell razor! Drives me crazy, I used to be such a free spirit and fun. I want to runaway sometimes too. I truly love your blogs because they are so raw and straight forward. I’m so sick of hanging out with moms who want to compete over who’s kid is smarter, stronger, faster at potty training! Get the fuck over it!

  • Tara

    I really started having the dark thoughts when I had my second child. I cried almost non-stop for the first 3 weeks PP. And then I was just really fucking angry, all the time. I remember the first time I reached out to my one and only “mom-friend”, asking her tentatively if she ever missed her life before kids. Her answer: “No. Never.” So that ended that conversation, and I felt like a monster.

    It’s gotten a lot better for me since I discovered blogs like yours. It is so important to talk about the reality of mothering. I so appreciate that you do, and I try for honesty in my own online writings. It’s time we stop sugar-coating everything and be real with each other.

  • Ashley

    My darkness came January a year ago. My older son has Sensory processing disorder.

    my younger son wouldn’t sleep alone. Or chill alone at all. The whole family was sick for a month. I was convinced the devil moved into my home and I was under attack.

    My older son was hitting me a lot. I thought I was going to die. A friend recognized right away and gave my tuition for a mops group near me. She saved my sanity.

    I was certain I was a horrible parent and doing it all wrong. Thank you for talking about the darkness. It’s real. It’s terrifying. And your right we don’t have to do it alone.

  • Christine

    Thank you for this. My darkest moments actually are more of a recent thing, not so much during postpartum. My kids are 10 (twins) and 7. I loved being pregnant and having a newborn and breastfeeding. 3 am was a blissful time for me. My twins (boys) were a normal challenge to raise and I never had the dark moments with them that I’ve had with my 7 year old son. My 7 year old is a mamas boy but the biggest pain in our ass. God I love him at times and hate him at times. He actually suffers from what I’ve diagnosed him with (no I’m not a doctor) oppositional defiance. Life is incredibly difficult with him in it. And he alone has taken me to my darkest parenting moments ever! Feeling like he is ruining our family. Wanting to run away, thinking about crashing the car with he and I in it or not, couldn’t decide. My darkest moment of all time…? Looking up safe haven laws to see how to surrender a 7 year old. You can’t, it’s for 2 and under. Plus he’s too smart, he’d find his way back to us! Hang in there fellow mamas and keep speaking the truth! You never know who you’ll save by your brutal honesty.

    • Nicole

      My son was a holy terror at 7 . Kicked out of school .. I had to quit my job .. I found the right program and school for him , and now he’s better , still a pain in the ass . I lol at the safe haven comment because .. I looked it up too .

  • Tina

    I had PPD with both my boys, well, combined with, what turned out to be a good old dose of regular depression, with bipolar mixed in, but at the time, all I knew about was the post partum depression. The first time wasn’t TOO bad. We were living with the in-laws, so I had help while my husband was at work and the baby had been up all night, etc. But with the second one? Living in our own place, the first winter in a mobile home, (ever heard ice and snow sliding off the roof of a mobile home? It scared the shit out of me) and I felt COMPLETELY cut off. I called my mom, if not every day, every other day, I swear. Long conversations about, well, nothing. I LIVED for the moment my husband would walk back in the door. And then when the snowstorm from hell made his commute from one hour to three hours? I freaked. I knew WHY he was late – this was pre cell phone, pretty much, and I wouldn’t have wanted him to use one while driving in a bat shit snowstorm anyway, but I was still freaked. Because he was my lifeline. My link to the outside world. It got worse, well, it got better, then it got worse. And there was much of what you were talking about, too. The jealousy. The loss of independence. I had taken a year off school (community college at the time) to have the first baby. When it was time to start looking at going back, the prospect of spending a few more years pursuing a bachelors in something I really needed a Masters to do anything with no longer appealed to me – particularly since it was in psychology, and by that time, I recognized, at least, some of the psychological issues with myself. So my four year education dreams were put on hold.

  • kenni

    I’m still having dark times everyday and my children are 9 and 3. My 3 year old daughter has spd and everyday seems to be a nightmare. I’ve thought about grabbing my 9 year old (whom is tormented because he never gets attention because his special needs sister requires all of my energy) and just getting in the car and running as far away as possible. There are small moments when she makes me smile and it only makes me feel more guilty that I don’t have the patience to deal with all of it. My husband is clueless he worships her which again causes more guilt. I try talking to friends and since spd is a new thing they question her diagnoses, my parenting, etc etc. Thank you for sharing this and as I cry writing this I feel some peace knowing I’m not alone.

    • Kat

      You’re not alone.
      My kiddo — 12 now, has SPD too. It gets easier. It gets better. But, the darkness is real and you’re not alone in it.
      I was a single mama to this kiddo, and she wasn’t diagnosed until 10. So, I really just thought I was the shittiest mom. Combine that with some good ol’ PPD, and it was all over.
      But things are better. Hard, but better.

      • kenni

        Thanks. It’s no joke and when people don’t even take the time to read up on what is going on and would rather judge you sheesh that takes the cake. I have a hard time not believing them sometimes thinking the drs are full of it and it’s all my fault. It’s a dark dark feeling.

        • Kat

          I know. Because it’s not visible. You can’t just look at them and tell that there’s something going on. And we’re told that when kids act out like that, when they scream, when they over react to everything, when everything’s a battle and they’re so so unhappy and you’re so unhappy, that it’s our fault.
          But it’s NOT.
          Their brains are not wired the way mine is (I’m not making assumptions about yours 🙂 ). Kiddo feels things so much more intensely, and doesn’t know how to handle that. She can’t tell the middle ground from the REALLY intense stuff. It’s all or nothing. This is not my fault, and your kiddo’s stuff is not your fault. It’s not about what we are doing/did do wrong. It’s not about what we did or did not eat while they were in utero. It’s not because I “don’t discipline her enough” (which has been said to me). None of that. I know this truth.
          It doesn’t help when the meltdowns are in the middle of the grocery store, or when I had to pick kiddo up from school because she was having screaming meltdowns in the hallways. It didn’t help when she was hospitalized because of a complete melt down at the age of 10. But, in the calm moments when I would otherwise be beating myself up and tearing myself down, it does help.
          You’re really, really not alone in the dark. Your kiddo’s not alone. The therapies really do work, they help so much — over years, not in weeks or months. But, they do work. There are so many more of us than I could ever have imagined, but I’m only finding out now that kiddo’s older and I have the space to breath and reach out a bit.
          If you need someone to talk to — please e-mail me.
          kat dot gordon at gmail dot com

  • Erin

    At an event on Friday night a group of us – 3 moms and one recently married who thinks she might want kids – we were talking about babies and kids and parenting. I’m preggo with my third (on purpose!). And I shared the truth of my experience – I love having kids and it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I def go to the darkness. I was real with her. One of the other moms – who is one of the most positive people I know said I might scare her off. But I feel like you – why not share the truth – why not think before committing to this parenting thing forever? Maybe her experience will be all bliss and joy but knowing that it’s not for everyone and that no matter how much you might want to have a baby it could be the hardest thing you ever do… Why not be real?! But then after the event I felt guilty for being too raw too real– for scaring her off.

    • Aschena

      Don’t feel bad about that! About maybe scaring someone off motherhood….I guess if you really want it you will go ahead anyway, but it is good to know life is not always heaven!
      ….
      (Please excuse my grammar and stuff, english is not my native language)
      I have read this blog and a lot of the answers and reactions with great interest and compassion for all of you. But also wondering if there might also be any responds from women who are not mothers…. I am 43, my partner is 34, he wants to be a dad, I don’t know if I want to be a mom at all. Lucky for me he is not insisting. I have had a depression some years ago, and maybe I am coming out of one at the moment, I fear I could easily get a depression after having a child, I don’t want that! When I see moms with babies I don’t think babies are cute, I dont want to try and hold them and cuddle them, I don’t long to be a mom, I just feel glad I don’t have to take care of this helpless little thing day in, day out. Taking care of me is enough challenge. Only for a very few and quite short periods in my life have I thought I might want to have a child, I thought I might be pregnant, and was working out if I should say yes or no to it….afterwards (when I knew I was not pregnant) I realized it was like fake hormones was making me want the child, and I thought “shit, so when those hormones dissapear, the ones that are supposed to make you love your child and endure anything, when/if they go away, you will just be you again, not wanting, not loving motherhood, but then it will be too late….. I don’t want that.
      I have been worried if I made the wrong descision not to become a mom, that I would regret not having created a real family, worried that I might be lonely when I get old…but that would be a wrong reason to become a mother. I have to make sure I won’t be lonely in other ways, not depending on children – does that make sense?
      Now that I am 43 I feel it is too late to try and get pregnant, but that’s ok, cause it is not for me.
      Hope I am not offending anyone here. It is honesty not my intension. I am glad you have a place here where you are not judged. All kinds of feelings are ok, you are not a bad person or a bad mom for having Dark feelings and thoughts. We all have them about one thing/person or another. It does not mean we have to act it out.

  • Vagina

    I cried!! NON stop crying for 2 straight years after I had my 4th baby. I often would wonder how the hell I had any tears left in my eyes…but sure enough….I did!! I would go to my Doctor’s and start crying, ..I would go to a friends house and feel myself trying to hold back the tears because I was so afraid no one would understand. I was sad!! Just so sad! And it wouldn’t leave me. The feeling of sadness. Here I was with 4 beautiful children that I adore…and yet all I felt was sad. All I could do was cry! I felt like I could not tell a anybody because all I would here is how I need to appreciate what I have. I am blessed and I need to see those blessings! YES..I did see them…and I do….but when your entire being is filled with total and complete sadness and you can’t even really figure out exactly why, it is hard to see the blessings in front of you! And to have judgement from others makes it even harder. I Love you Janelle!! <3

  • Melissa

    I wish i could explain the spiral into darkness that I experienced. It was when i was 18 weeks pregnant with my 2nd. She was diagnosed with a heart defect. A bad one. All the doctors who loved themselves more than God….who think they ARE God….convinced us that they could fix her. But after that first appointment i sat in my car in the parking garage and cried like i had never cried before. It was the first time i truly thought “i can NOT do this”. I pulled away from everyone and started building walls to protect myself from whatever i thought was going to hurt me. I felt guilty for not wanting to bring the baby into the world. I was SO angry that everyone else in the world got to have happy pregnancies and healthy babies and happy lives. That day the walls started to go up and i have not been able to feel that unbridled love that i used to have for my 1st ever since. My heart baby died when she was 2 and a half years old. Watching her die in the hospital for 12 days was yet another time i thought i was not going to be able to make it another day. But i did. I always do. When people tell me how strong i am i want to scream in their faces. But i don’t. I have 3 kids and one angel. I wish i could have the innocence back that i used to feel before i started having kids. I dont want to leave my kids….but i wish my life was different. I guess we are not alone. Thats nice to know.

    • Sara

      I know it’s not nearly enough but… Huge hug for you xxxx

  • Jen

    I’m having it right now with baby #2, worse than #1. It’s nice to be aware of what’s happening, I guess, but not all that helpful. I don’t think anything can help me so I’m just going to ride it out, I guess. Friends are over my unavailability. Husband works late. I’m at work full time. Bare minimum, getting by, it’ll be ok, it always is eventually.

  • Kathleen

    I didn’t bond with my first child for over a year. It turned out that I had severe thyroid disease and was completely exhausted and depressed. The second was a dream child after a pregnancy that was full of constant puking. The third, the pregnancy was exhausting, and I didn’t bond with my child for several years. She was insanely difficult, screamed so much I lost hearing in my left ear, and was an entirely uncomfortable child. After that we decided no more bio kids, we’ll adopt a child who needs us. 2 weeks from meeting our new child overseas, and I found out I was pregnant. I was a complete wreck for the entire pregnancy. I cried hysterically over everything, I puked so much I ended up taking anti nausea medication, I freaked out constantly about how we never should have adopted. Then I met the new little one and bonded instantly, which had NEVER happened before. I still had pretty bad PPD, but for the first time in my life, felt better around the baby. Almost 2 years since we met our adopted son, and 15 months since holding bio boy for the first time, and I gotta say, the darkness has finally lifted. I didn’t run away, I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. I made it through once more. Thank God.

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for writing this.
    We tried for a baby for two years. Nothing.
    Gave up, made peace with a marriage and no child. Started feeling excited about the freedom that would mean for us. Three months later, after 9 years of that marriage, I get pregnant unexpectedly, using protection.
    So I make peace with that. LOVED being pregnant. LOVED my birth. Bonded with baby boy immediately. Would die for him gladly. Breastfeeding is excruciating for the first ten weeks and I have a fire/hind milk imbalance that leaves him hungry, gassy and sad for those WHOLE ten weeks.
    Finally figure that out and boobs FINALLY stop feeling like pain bags with needle nipples. A baby that won’t sleep
    More than 20-30 minutes at one time during the day, and woke up every hour through he might until *very* recently. (He’s five months today).
    Baby HATES, I mean, DESPISES, the car.
    So my darkness?
    Trapped at home, with pain that won’t go away until he’s freaking three months old, and remembering what my life was before all this- sleep, eating a meal by myself that I’m not inhaling in two minutes flat, showering regularly, having a measure of control
    over my body, being able to use both my hands, being able to clean my damn house, or even use the bathroom! I have wished it all away. I laid awake last night and gained waking up to discover that this whole last year was a dream……
    I love his child beyond my ability to express but this mommy thing has me feeling bat shit crazy.

  • S

    I needed this today. My divorce was finalized Friday in an 11 hour mediation session. I had a migraine for two days before and threw up before mediation. It’s been hard on all of us, including my 2 year old. But when he woke up for the day at 4am this morning I had some of the meanest thoughts. I turned on Elmo and did my best to be patient and calm with my kid but the guilt of just my thoughts was so upsetting. It’s awful that we hold mommies to not only acting perfect but also having perfect thoughts.
    Your blog has been hugely helpful to me over the past 2 years as my marriage crumbled. Thank you from a random stranger 🙂

    • LK

      My husband and I are just starting all the divorce stuff. We have 3 kids, that are 12, 11, and 8. We have been together since 9th grade. He has always worked away from home A LOT, the running joke was that I was a married single mom. Even with all that and with us parting ways mostly on good terms, after being a stay at home mom for the last 12 years, its all I know. I am terrified of being on my own with 80% custody of our children. I have had dark days before but lately I have been thinking how much easier this would all be if I could just walk away and leave him and them behind and not look back. I want to figure out who I AM. Besides a wife and a mother I have no clue. I so bad wish I was someone that could just walk away. I know things will get easier but still….

  • DG

    I cried when I read this. I feel so crazy sometimes since having kids, especially since our second was born a year ago. It’s like I don’t recognize myself, and yet I know this mean person I’ve become is really me and that scares me. I am so so angry all the time now. I used to be patient and kind. I used to do fun things with my older kiddo and now I am constantly telling her to be quiet and wait “just a few more minutes.” I yell. I throw things. And I can’t tell anyone. People are so afraid of negative emotions. Everyone rushes to minimize my feelings or put a positive spin on things. Thank you for letting me have my feelings, even if they totally suck.

  • Linda

    Thank you so much. You might be on the other side of the Atlantic but you’ve stopped me from feeling alone. xx

  • Sara

    Thank you so much for this!!! I really needed to read this today… I’ve been doing that, talking about the negative parts of motherhood for the last year and a half… But in French.

    I remember having the hardest time holding my daughter the first weeks and even months because I was so scared of “breaking” her. She looked so vulnerable and relied so much on me, it was scary. I was thinking “Poor you, you’re stuck with this mama” (me)… And still today, after two years of motherhood, I still want to run away sometimes, I feel like I’m not enough for my daughter and my boyfriend.

    That’s pretty much what I have to share for the moment… But thank you so much for this post, Janelle… I’m glad to see I’m not alone! 🙂

  • caffeine lights

    Well timed post as usual. I’m going through some dark shit right now.

    Is it possible for PND to be delayed? Because I don’t know, seriously, how I loved the baby bit so much, the toddler bit, even those “terrible twos” (they never met a three year old, huh?) and yet hate everything right now. Kid is nearly six – it’s supposed to be getting easier. It doesn’t. I think it’s my fault for being young, for always wanting something that I didn’t know was so flawed.

    I was such a crazy bohemian dreamer child. I was going to be an artist and a mother. That was literally my dream. But I didn’t let myself be an adult for long enough to understand that I wasn’t an artist, being something that you are, not that which you do and now I’m a mother, I’m scared that I’m not a mother either.

    • Vagina

      My oldest child is 23 and I have a teenager, and an 8 yr. old and a 9 yr. old and the sadness and darkness for me comes and goes. It’s like I feel okay for a while, ..and then out of nowhere it hits. I don’t know….it’s something that just creeps up inside. I know exactly what you mean when you say isn’t it suppose to get easier! I don’t know if it really gets easier as much as it becomes different. Like they get older and go through different stages and so do we. We now are dealing with our kids in a different way. The sadness that plagued me after the birth of my 4th child is still there even after all these years. It’s just more sporadic and not as completely debilitating like it was right after I had her. I still think to myself,…when does this feeling go away!

  • Corinna

    All I can say is “wow(!)”…and thank you for this honest, powerful piece.

  • Chloe

    I am that Mom. The one that has the perfect life. The one with the beautiful towhead child and the all blond and handsome family. The one with the fancy SUV and the size 4 pants, yoga and all. The stay at home Mom with the babysitter for when I am about to lose it. The access to relative amounts of money and to the decisions of our lives. I have the perfect life from an outsider’s perspective. I’ve worked really hard for it. Well all that is all fucking facade. Can I actually count on anybody or anything? Noooo. I am completely alone in this situation. I have never been so alone in my life. Can I count on myself not to lose patience and start screaming my head off at a toddler that does not understand my reactions? Nooo.
    I have thought those things so bad… Regretted ever having a kid. Where the fuck has my life gone? I have asked myself that so often. I can’t get back who I used to be. I have wanted to take my car and run for my life without ever looking back. I just can’t do that because I don’t want to ruin a little bean that is so innocent. Why am I not loving this child like if I do not exist anymore? He’s really cute, I should forget myself like my mother did.
    Well I do not know if you have ever lost somebody really close to you. But life grief, the only thing that will help is time. It’s funny how life and death are so similar in so many ways. The same suspension in time. Sometimes the same pain, at least for me it was. Well it gets better. You never forget who you used to be, you just learn to live with who you are now. Just like grief… And hopefully you will start loving that new person even if it does take time.
    Thank you so much for having written your last post. I have been following you for sometime now and I have been touched, moved, I’ve cried reading you, I’ve laughed so hard as well. But the last post you have written makes me not feel like a monster and like a fucking failure. Thanks for writing. Please keep it going. You have helped me and others so much. I read your post “I became a mother, and died to live” sometime back and that changed so many things for me. It really made me understand a situation I had been in for months.
    Thanks for writing the truth, and take care of yourself.

  • Heather

    Fucking amen. Truth.

  • Melanie

    Renegade mom, I lurk around your website because you make sense but have never been moved to comment but today I am in tears because of your words. Are we sister from another mister? Does anybody talk about that darkness, the hardness, the missing of ‘self’, the missing of my own personal awesomeness? I think, is this it? Am I doomed to diapers and bounce house parties? Diagnosis, borderline post partum with extreme adjustment issues. I’ll say!! The want to run and hide and seek ME. I spy on my sleeping little man who owns my heart and still think…but what about me. So new moms out there, don’t forget about, YOU. if you aren’t happy and healthy, no child will be too. Do I want to say F- it? Daily. Do I want to run ? Did that. But it all comes down to this, put you first, you have to be selfish for their sake. They know… They always know

  • Tracy

    This is why I could not go back to sitting in a circle with other postpartum moms from our upperclass suburban hospital. Could not do it. I wasn’t brave enough to share my ugly shit.

  • Mel

    Almost 2 years ago, baby crying so much, me so exhausted. I left the baby in the house, went into the front yard and sobbed hysterically. My finger hovered over the emergency call button on my phone. I wanted the ambulance to come and pick me up and put me in hospital for a few months; so that she would be safe from me but also so that I would be safe from her. I didn’t call, but part of me wanted a person walking by to notice and to make that call. Then the decision would be made but I wouldn’t be the horrible, unfeeling, self-centred woman who made it.

    • Kaley

      During pregnancy with my 2nd child I became terribly depressed. Crying all the time. Disconnected. Angry. After my 2nd was born, it only intensified while caring for a newborn and a toddler with SPD. After his 4 month shots he lost his voice (for 3 weeks) so I could not hear him cry anymore. At first the silent crying felt like a relief, but it ended up driving me into hyper-sensitive mode because I was worried for his life all night long. Also within 12 hours of his vaccination, he developed a high fever (104.5). I took him the the ER and they did chest X-rays. Diagnosis: pneumonia. I was told it was just a coincidence that my healthy boy became so ill after his vaccinations. Breastfeeding a sick infant was very, very difficult. I cried every time I BF’d him, 8-10x per day. My toddler was pushed into the background. Yelled at. Ignored. Shoved in front of the TV for 10 hours at a time (during which she jumped on the couches and played pretend the whole time because she NEVER stops moving OR talking). She needed me, and I was not there for her. She was not a priority at all. My feelings baffled me because she had been THE center of my world just moments before my son was born and I had always wondered how I could EVER love another baby as much as I loved her. The moment I held my “new” baby, it was ALL about him and his survival. I couldn’t give 2 shits about my daughters feelings. It was AWFUL. When my baby turned about 5 months old I checked myself into the ER for suicidal thoughts. Several months later, again, I checked myself into the ER for intrusive thoughts. Finally, it was decided that I have been living with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder (occurs in 1 in 5 PPD cases). The meds saved my life, and our family. My kids are 3 and 5 years old and things are much better. Hard, but since they sleep through the night and I’m done BFing and I can get a sitter occasionally the world seems like a better place. It’s amazing how all that worry and sleep deprivation changes the mind.

  • Danielle Barnsley-Cervo

    Oh, I love you.

    It doesn’t help that we have people who don’t really take any sort of depression seriously. I was lucky when I had my son. I had a group of women who made me feel much better. We met weekly. We gossiped, we cried, we laughed, and we shared our darkness. Not everyone has that. Because even when our babies are not babies, we still have those dark moments.

  • Mary

    I try (without being pushy) to pass along the number of our local postpartum group and hotline to all of my pregnant friends. I try to tell them that they might need to talk to someone and that it might be me – but if not – there are all kinds of women and ears to listen. I still have the number in my cell phone seven years later.

    Before my twins were born – I sat in the OB office and cried hysterically. I was six – maybe seven months pregnant and between sobs – I asked if I could give them back… I thought that I had made a terrible mistake and that if I couldn’t be a good mother now – how would I ever be? It was awful and thank god the doctor hugged me and sent me to talk to somebody.
    My world was full of people gushing and smiling and I was terrified of everything and I hated myself.

    I was eventually ok – but I think that it’s only fair that the world let us continue to be people (scared,anxious, messy human beings)… even when we become mothers. we need to forgive ourselves and take comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

    Thank (as always) for your writing. These posts get to me and I love you for it.

  • Kelly Drinan

    Wow – thank you for your honesty and bravery. I WISH I had read this when I had my daughter (now 7). I trudged through feeling so lonely and scared and WRONG. I was supposed to be blissfully happy but I was despondent. I was supposed to know what I was doing but was terrifed. I was supposed to be bonding but I felt alienated. Worst part? No one told me it could be that way and when I searched out help from parents they questioned if I was fit to be a Mom – and in fact STILL make negative comments about my parenting which has strained our relationship beyond repair.

    Thank you. Thank you.

  • Teegan

    THANK YOU. For being you, for being so real, and for putting into words all the things I think and feel about motherhood but don’t even know how to begin to say…

    My dark place came after I had my third. He’s 2 months old now, but in the first couple of weeks after his birth, I sat there with three boys wondering if I was going to make it through. Feeling so completely out of control and overwhelmed. Thinking about those horrible news stories about mothers who drive their minivans with their kids in them into the bay or what not and finally understanding how the moms got there… When my newborn wouldn’t stop crying or fussing, wanting to chuck him in the bin. Telling my 4 year old that I couldn’t handle it and one of them “had to go back to the baby store”. I felt awful thinking these thoughts and expressing them out loud. My husband is a good man and a good father but he is not emotional and does not pick up on what I’m going through and I didn’t feel comfortable revealing these awful thoughts to him for fear of what he might say.. about me, as a mother. So I sat here feeling so completely alone in my darkness. Hating myself for feeling the way I do. Loving my boys more than life, but hating my life. I know I’ll get through it but to open my newsfeed and see this blogpost from you (and all the comments with readers’ own stories) that lets me know I am not alone…

  • Cheryl S.

    For weeks after having my daughter, I felt like I was walking in a fog. I did what I was “supposed” to do, but it was like being a robot. Wash baby. Feed baby. Rock baby. I fantasized ALOT about just leaving. I could just go. Someone else would have to do this. I could get in my car and just start driving. I could just walk away.

    My PPD lasted many months. ALthough it did get less severe. I remember when my daughter was about 3 months old, I finally, really fell in love with her. Then, I was so angry that the depression had taken those first few months from me. I honestly think the depression didn’t truly lift until she was at least 6 months old. Maybe older.

    I couldn’t even admit it until she was over 2. Didn’t talk about it until she was nearly 3. Now, she’s 9 and she’s maddening and fabulous and I can’t imagine life without her. But, guess what, there are still days I want to run. But I know that’s normal. I don’t have to feel like a freak. Nearly everyone goes through it. It’s just a shame that we are all too afraid to admit it.

  • Sarah

    You know, reading your blog was the first time I encountered an honest discussion about the darkness of motherhood, something that went deeper than sleepless nights and stretch marks. Your honesty made a world of difference for me when I felt like the darkness was overwhelming. Thank you.

    I’m sending a link to this post to all of my new or soon-to-be-new mom friends. Just so they know I’m available to talk if they want.

  • alana

    Thank you a million times over. My kids are older now, and I remember those early years and the thoughts, my God…the dark thoughts. Im so glad that I had friends who were brutally honest and who could talk about these things for themselves, and for me.

  • Rachel

    I hope you know how awesome you are. I so wish I knew about you five years ago.

    It wasn’t until after my second was born that I realized motherhood had forced me to learn to live simultaneously with two competing thoughts: love/hate, joy/despair, need to flee/scared out of my mind to leave. I spent the first month with baby #2 either holding her obsessively or hiding from my family in my shower, sitting on the tile and bawling my eyes out. I lived in fear that someone (who? I have no idea) would walk up to me and ask, “Do you regret it?” I feared I would yell out, “Fuck yes. I don’t want any of this!” For the first time, I got, really got, how and why a woman would flee. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband, any of this. I couldn’t. Everyone else handled baby #2 (“You’ll be fine. You’re an expert now.”) with grace. Everyone but me. I finally took meds to help, but it went on far too long. It was awful and the memory of the rage and despair I felt still stops me in my track sometimes. It’s been five years, and I love #2 fiercely, would sacrifice my life for her, but I regret how much she has changed our lives. And sometimes I still wonder what I would say if someone asked, “If you could go back and do it again, would you?”

  • Amy

    Amen, sister.

  • beth

    Ack. No one tells you how much you will hate and love this new life you are building. How much you will cry, especially when no one shows up to help you or reaches out to you to make sure you are okay. It is so goddamn lonely sometimes. Thank you.

  • sheri williams

    Tears.Seriously I am in tears having read that. With my girls at 7 and 2 I still have moments when I feel like this. Especially right now when we are in a fucking financial landslide and I don’t see any light and all I can think is it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have the girls. And how awful of a mother does that make me? Thank you. No seriously, THANK YOU. no one else speaks the truth like that. And it needs to be said. It really does. All parents have these moments.

  • Julie

    For me, the darkest was caring for an infant while my husband was in Iraq for 16 effing months. We too suffered from infertility and we became parents through adoption. Here I was, holding and caring for and loving (God, do I love him) a child that someone had given to me because they thought I would be a better parent. And all I wanted to do was run. Just escape for 20 frickin minutes so I could shower and eat a decent meal and feel NORMAL. And it was a continous fight with the other side of me who loved being his mom, who loved cuddling with him in bed and taking him to the park and listening to his squeals as he jumped through the sprinkler in the front yard. It was all so confusing. And now he’s 9 and diganosed with ADHD and he struggles in school and doesn’t easily make friends and parenting has actually gotten harder because I WORRY SO MUCH. Endlessly. Thank you all for sharing.

    • Adoptomom

      Wow, as a mom of two adopted kids, your comment just made me cry–I know exactly how you feel. I feel like a doubly-bad person for wanting to run from kids I worked so hard to find. I imagine that moms who had to go though infertility feel the same way. I worked so hard to find these kids–I prayed and filled out papers and tapped out every dollar I had and went through a failed adoption and sometimes this was all I could think about and hope for and pray for. And now, if I could do it all again, there are days when I think I might not have adopted a second time. I wish we had stopped at one. And that’s not my second child’s fault–but I often wonder if we’ll EVER connect, and why we messed with the great thing we had with child #1. And I feel like a bad person for even typing that. Someone gave this child to me because the birth parents couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of them–because I would do a good job. And sometimes all I want is a do-over. I love this child, but I don’t understand this child–and I wonder how can I be connected so well with one child and feel emptiness or even dislike for the other one. What kind of mom am I?

      • HonestAdoptiveMama

        @Adoptomom: What kind of mom are you? An honest one. You are not a bad person, you are a struggling person. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m an adoptive mom too, only we adopted our kids from foster care at ages 5 and 8. They are bio siblings that we adopted together, so we went from zero kids to 2 kids overnight. That first year was an extremely difficult adjustment for all of us, and I cried a lot when I was alone. During that time I can remember my sister asking me, “Do you love them yet?” I told her I did even though I didn’t. That was 6 years ago and my honest and terrible thoughts are that I still don’t love them – at least not in the unconditional way that bio moms seems to love their kids. I am committed to them unconditionally, try to be the best mom I can be, and tell them I love them often. But my brutally honest truth is this… if my whole family fell overboard into icy waters and I could only save one person, without hesitation I would save my husband.

  • Nicole

    I am sitting in the mothers room at my work reading this, pumping and sobbing. My son is 8 months and I love him deeply; more than I knew would be possible but motherhood is no joke. I miss myself, my independence, being able to jump in the car and go without having to make sure I have bottles, diapers, wipes, stroller, etc. We don’t have family that I can lean on here, just my husband and I. I hate myself for thinking this is my own form of hell because my son is so fucking awesome. Parenthood has put an immense strain on my relationship with my husband and I don’t think he is fully capable of understanding this transformation into motherhood. Not because he’s stupid or cold-hearted, just because its different for men. This was by far the most real, shake me to my core, comforting post I’ve read on any mommy blog. I needed this, especially on a Monday.

  • Beth

    My dark point was the time I thought to myself, “She is still very young, if I just ran away she wouldn’t even be hurt by it…she wouldn’t even miss me, surely she could bond to someone else.” I get all weepy just even writing it. She is almost 6 months and I am still not sure she even really needs me or loves me like she does her daddy and babysitter, but I am starting to see the light. It can get dark sometimes, but I am no longer afraid of the dark.

  • NewMomma

    Im 17 weeks into my forst pregnancy, so I dont really know the feeling yet, but I do know that growing up my mom left notes saying she had left and wasnt coming back. My mom had post-pardom depression and it really showed, made it hard on me, wondering if she would come home at all, or if I would be left only with my dad. She left about 5 or 6 times before I turned 10, and she didnt have anyone to talk to. I think if people were more open about having trouble and dark thoughts that it would have really helped her through.

  • Elise

    All I can say to all of you brave women is the most sincere thank you. I’ve read most of the replies and I’m now crying my eyes out because I’m so very relieved that so many other women have been through these horrible dark times. I have a 16 month old daughter and I’m 16 weeks pregnant now. When my daughter was born, I had horrible thoughts and feelings and I still carry so much guilt over that. I used to have the visions of harming her without actually wanting to do it, the thoughts of running away, the rage and the dispair. The desperate need to love my child that I simply did not. I can’t tell you got much all of these posts have helped me today and how much they will help me when I have the baby that I’m growing inside me right now that I will inevitably feel the same about. Only this time, maybe I won’t hate myself so much for feeling these things now that I know how normal they really are. Thank you all so much for sharing!

  • Lindsay

    All of my thoughts and feelings are right here, resulting from your fingertips. Thank you. In fact, I’m crying because you captured it all just right. I advocate for moms, and yet I find these feelings hitting me in the face when I’m alone with my infant twins and my preschooler. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Aria Alpert Adjani

    I read an article the other day about a woman expressing how she started hating her first born weeks after her 2nd came into the world. She said how annoyed she started becoming cause she couldn’t simple bond with her new baby cause her toddler was crazy and demanding etc. She felt so guilty feeling these feelings but once we started to embrace the fact that she was feeling these feelings and began to talk about it – she realized she wasn’t alone. Huge concept to realize (and get out of our self involved little bubble) that WE ARE NOT ALONE. THAT WOMEN HAVE BEEN TO THIS RODEO COUNTLESS TIMES and we always – always seem to figure it out one way or another. For the record, I have never used that saying (the rodeo?!) and never thought I ever would be it’s kinda perfect here so there you are. I also never thought I’d get pregnant with an IUD but I did. I also never thought I’d have a late term abortion at 5 months pregnant with a fetus whose left chamber of the heart was not developing due to unknown reasons but I did. And strangely that late abortion was easier to go through then the one I had when I was 20yrs old but it was and I felt more grateful then distraught and felt guilty that I wasn’t more upset. I thought I should be the weeping woman unable to get out of bed about “my baby my baby” but I didn’t. I felt grateful we were able to make a decision based on the cold hard facts. I also didn’t think I’d get pregnant so quickly after and have with a girl. But now, here I am, with an incredibly challenging moody, emotional, never listens to mommy 3 yr old IUD boy and a 5 month old healthy as a ox baby girl who enjoys nursing more at night then during the day(!!). SO yes, I am a crazy, emotional, moody fucking snappy bitch but I ain’t getting no sleep and you won’t either so please remember to give your selves a fucking break and take a breathe and realize you are not alone and we are all ALL in this shit storm together. Always.

    http://saltyspicybitterandsweet.com/

  • Jessica

    Sitting on the couch sobbing right now.

    I had a super easy, textbook pregnancy. No morning sickness, worked out 3x/week up to 36 weeks, gained an average amount of weight. My labor was a piece of cake. I had been so worried about all the things that could go wrong during labor that it didn’t even dawn on me that to be nervous about dealing with the baby. Huge mistake.

    No one tells you that not all babies sleep, eat and poop. I got a baby that cried. And cried. And cried. And cried. And CRIED. For 6.5 months. Even the lactation nurses at the hospital said they had never seen a baby like her. She cried our entire stay in the hospital. We tried everything and it figured out that that’s just the way she is. I couldn’t take her anywhere. If I wasn’t wearing her and bouncing, she was be inconsolable.The only thing that saved me those first 3 months was that she slept great at night. We were getting 6-8 hours of sleep at a time.

    Then it all really fell apart. Not only was she fussy all day but she started to wake every 2 hours at night and sometimes not go back to sleep for hours. I won’t even tell you about her naps except that she was only getting maybe an hour and a half of daytime sleep. I started to lose it. People would ask how the baby was doing and my response was “She’s ok.” With a shrug. I literally could not say she was awesome and that I loved being a mom because she wasn’t and I didn’t. I HATED all of it and felt as though I had made a huge mistake. I would never have left, although I thought about what would happen it I did and I understand why moms do leave.

    I have not hid the fact that I hated my life and honestly my daughter for the first 6 or so months of her life now that we’ve made it through the storm. I know that I make some people uncomfortable but I’ve also had people thank me for being so honest. Everyone sugarcoats everything while you’re pregnant. It’s awful and that’s not real life. This shit is HARD. Your entire body chemistry changes. It changes several times from pregnancy to nursing to not nursing. The outside of your body changes several times. Your outside surroundings change. Friends change. Marriage changes. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about all of this stuff. Like really talk.

    Obvious disclaimer: my daughter is the light of my life. I kiss her face a million times a day and it is not enough. Also I’m still in therapy and not ashamed to say it. Not one bit.

  • Donna

    and so my friend said “Go on have another – at 42, it will keep you young” (She had her last one at 45 and made it look easy”…..) Liar, liar pants on fire! I am not keeping young – I am keeping tired. I keep wondering WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING. I love this little blond haired ball of fire who refuses to potty train – and yet I am so fricken sick of being on the floor at 45 changing diapers, STILL!…..and then there are my friends who didn’t succumb to the ‘keep you young’ bullshit, whose children are in high school or college, they are going to wine tastings and mini-vacations and I’m hunting for a babysitter – WHAT THE HELL WAS I THIKING? My middle child is 10 – who knew a 10 year old and 3 year old would fight constantly over the same toys! Ugh. Sometimes I just turn the stereo way up to drown it out. My oldest child is 24 and just had her first child – yep – I am a 45 year old mother of a 3 year old and a grandmother to a 1 year old…..WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING. I do want to run away and I keep thinking if I can just get thru the next 10 years! OMG. My husbands life doesn’t seem to have changed much – still going out with the boys (while I stay home) still enjoying his hobbies (while I stay home)Still goes out to work and talks to grown-ups all day without kids wiping their nose on the hem of his shirt, did I mention I even work from home? WHT THE HELL WAS I THINKING? Boy just putting it out there feels good. At least the little one has started Pre-K and I can get out early in the mornings by myself and just walk and walk and walk and think and walk and it’s so good.

  • Stacie

    I had massive anxiety after my now 11 month old was born. I sent her to the nursery the two nights I was in the hospital. I couldn’t connect with her. I was scared, confused, overwhelmed. I couldn’t sleep or eat for almost two weeks. I shook constantly. I felt sick each morning. I went through the motions of caring for her without any emotions.

    Looking back, it KILLS me. I had to go back to work full time at 8 weeks postpartum, right as we started bonding. It still kills me. I cry in the bathroom at work with how much I miss her and how I worried I blew it bonding with her.

    My darkness is regret.

  • D

    As a dad, I’ve been there too. All you want to do is feel joy and unconditional love for your children. But what you really feel is exhaustion, dispair, frustration, and envy of other parents who seem to have it together. And you feel so isolated. We had no relatives willing to come help when our newborn came, which made things that much more hard to deal with. There were times I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and just wanted to drive off and never come back.

  • Tony

    Ooh, look at me, I drop F-bombs, I’m edgy and hip and OH SO REAL. Some useful advice lost in a sea of pretentious, self-important garbage.

    • Rachael Crumpler

      ALL THE PEOPLE THIS POST TOUCHED AND HELPED ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY IS SOME NEGATIVE ASS SHIT! F-bombs, hipster sites, oh so real bullshit you might not be in love with is sometimes what people need to get them through the darkness! Tony I hope you have a happy Fucking Monday because all the people that have been able to share here have gotten some kind of happiness/release because of this renegade! GO HER! FUCK BOMBS ALL OVER YOU!

    • Momtothree

      @ Tony
      Please re-read the comments policy. Thinking the way you do is so hostile. When you’ve been through the hell some people here clearly have been through (emergency c-sections, loss of an infant, a late termination due to malformation), and dealt with it, THEN maybe you earn the right to comment. And you keep it polite.
      Otnerwise, please leave and never return to bother the posters here.
      Believe it or not, this is a supportive virtual community.
      Who the f*** do you think you are?
      Oh dear, I used the f-word.

    • Katie

      Ooh, look at me: I phrase my insults like a twelve-year-old. Some potential for meaningful criticism lost in a sea of lame sarcasm.

      ^Not so dignifying either, is it?

      You may disagree with the style of the article, but try standing back and appreciating the genuine emotional outpouring among the comments here. Something needed to be said, and clearly she said it in a way that speaks directly to the experiences of countless scared, angry, tired mothers (and fathers!).

    • N

      You’re a douche.

    • Sarah

      I read an interesting study about Internet trolls. A majority of them are actually psychologically sadistic; they enjoy not just “stirring people up” or getting an argument going, but causing as much psychological anguish as they can. So they go to a forum in which people are psychologically vulnerable and try to make the most damaging comments they can.

      Interesting study. You’re obviously a young or not very bright Internet troll. You come to a forum of women who have been through much worse than being called pretentious, and you act like the toddler most of us deal with daily. It was a valiant attempt, but we’re all moms here, and we know a tantrum when we see one.

  • A

    I read through nearly every comment here and felt them all in my soul. The funny part? I don’t even have kids. In fact, I have spent the better portion of my life sure that I shouldn’t have them at all. These posts embody nearly every fear I have about even considering having them. And I certainly don’t mean to imply that I think any of you should not have had them. What I do mean, is that this darkness is in all of us. This reality exists and always exists, but no one talks about it. No one talks about the fears, about the anxiety that fills you when you even THINK about having a child. No one talks about the reality that even as a childless woman I can understand; that you will never not worry about your child (except for when you do, in which case, the empty spot that worry once inhabited will now be filled with guilt and sadness that you aren’t worried). How could I ever feel like myself again? How could I be responsible for another human being when I sometimes can’t fathom how I’m supposed to look after myself? What if I blame my child for a body that suddenly feels like it isn’t mine? What if something happens and the primordial ability to lift a car that we all hear about mother’s mustering when they need to protect their young doesn’t come? What if, God forbid, something truly terrible happens? What if it doesn’t, and I am plagued with the wish that it would? When you realize your own mother is but a mere mortal, you realize that is all you will ever be, as well. And for those of you plagued by the idea that you will never accomplish anything for yourself, I’d like to comfort you with the notion that, regardless of anything I do as an individual, it is constantly undermined by the resounding question of “So, when are you going to have kids?”. We are all damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. But we shouldn’t forget, we’re all in this together. Our fears will exist even if we never put the first step in motion. We will be criticized and ridiculed whether we have raised 0 or 20. The darkness will only subside when we all, every one of us, the mothers and the childless, band together to remind one another that every path we take has the potential to make or break us, and only in solidarity will we ever stand a chance of fighting the loneliness. You have all strengthened me. Only time will tell if I’m meant to join your beautifully dark, strong and daunting club, but I fear that possibility infinitely less than before. And I hope you all know you are not alone. We all understand. Even if we cannot. We are all stumbling through the dark looking for the switch.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you A. so beautifully written and so powerfully true

  • Rachael Crumpler

    Outstanding, touching and god damn awesome!

  • S

    I kept my passport in my wallet the first 2 years. all the time. so i could run when i needed to.

  • AJB

    When my son was 2 days old, i totally pictured myself throwing him across the room when he wouldn’t stop crying. At that moment, I understood how some women hurt their babies. I put him in his bassinet and walked away. I got help. He is now 15 months old and the light of my life.

    • melissa

      Oh man. Shortly before my first was born there was a news item about a woman who cut her baby’s arms and legs off. I was, naturally, horrified.

      Then my son was born and while struggling to get a sleeper on him as he did everything in his 8lbs of power to make it a nerve-wracking and infuriating ordeal, it clicked. You’d have to be fucking crazy to actually do it, but the fleeting impulse, the image flashing through your mind… I totally got it.

      It was actually really comforting. The world suddenly made that much more sense.

  • Ang

    Thank you. My daughter turned 2 in April & my son was born in May of this year. It started a month or two before he was born & lasted until he was couple of months old. Terrible twos, adjusting to a new baby, whatever the F you call it. She was horrible. I was sleep deprived, hormonal & my nipples hurt from breast feeding. Her screaming, crying fit throwing was almost constant. There was no evidence of the sweet baby girl I had cherished for two years. I hated her. I loved her because I gave birth to her, but I hated her. I wanted her to be anywhere but in this house. The guilt, oh, the guilt. Even as I type this, tears streaming down my face, I feel guilty for the thoughts I had about my beautiful blond haired, blue eyed baby girl. I gave birth to our first daughter a year in August 2010. She lived 90 minutes. Less than 5 months later, I had a miscarriage in my 11th week of pregnancy. Just over a year later we finally came home with a healthy baby girl. So how could I hate a baby that I went through so much heartache to have? I remember when my son was a month or so old. I was changing his diaper when my daughter came into the room & went berserk over something. That was my breaking point. I collapsed on the floor, screamed & sobbed for several minutes. The only thing that forced me to get up was the realization that my son was still half naked on the changing table. That night I told my husband that God never intended for me to have children. I said that’s why our first baby only lived 90 minutes & our second was a miscarriage. I told him that God was trying to tell me that I wasn’t cut out to be a mother. I wasn’t tough enough. My husband asked if he needed to worry about me drowning the kids in a bathtub (he was half joking, half serious). Things are so much better now. Not perfect. Things never have been perfect & they never will be. Thank you again for putting into words everything that went through my head.

  • Jennifer

    My darkness is now. Now when they are 6 and almost 12. My life consists of getting them up, getting them ready for school, getting them to their activities, getting them fed, and getting them to bed. In between, I am supposed to have time to myself, to do what I want. But I don’t. I don’t because I have to clean up the messes they leave behind. And go shopping for things we need in the house. And oh, what’s for dinner? And there’s a part time job in there too sometimes… And elderly family members that need tending to. And a husband who gets upset if we only have sex once a month. And if there’s dog hair on the floor. And if there’re toys left on the coffee table. Why can’t I just run away? Why can’t i? It’s not like they appreciate anything I do. It’s not like I get a “thank you Mommy,” even once in a while. It’s not like they don’t break or ruin my stuff every chance they get. It’s not like they don’t turn their nose up at my cooking. It’s not like they don’t do whatever the hell they want regardless of what I say… So, why? Why can’t i?

    Sigh… I doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter anyway because who would care for my babies? Who would love them like I love them? I can’t possibly LEAVE them…

    • LK

      I feel the same way. Except, I couldn’t make it work with my husband of 14 years. We have been together since 9th grade. I was barely 21 when the first of 3 arrived. At first I loved being a stay at home mom. 12 years later I am trying to figure out what happened to ME? I am a soon to be single Mom of 3 kids but who am i? I have been nothing but a wife and a mother for 13 years I don’t even know what I like to do anymore. I wish I could be one of those moms that could just walk away. Leave them with their dad and go to college, or travel the world or just go see whats out there. But if I do that, who will take care of them? Who will love them? Who will clean up after them and be there for them when they get their hearts broken?
      I couldn’t leave them, i just couldn’t do it.

  • Lilly

    I know at least 10 other moms on leave from work right now with babies under the age of 1. I wonder if they all feel as alone as I do. 9 month old twin girls. I love them both but if I express feeling like my maternity year has been less than I expected because I can barely go out with them without my mother as an assistant (and I feel like she’s taken over my life) then my husband goes to “which one would you get rid of” or “well I offered to stay home instead” (which he would have managed a week of tops). Now my husband lives in the basement and I’m wondering if we’ll be raising them in separate houses. No one told me it could be like this.

  • Light seeker

    ok. Here goes. Darkest moment. I’m not sure I’m ready for this. For actually putting this moment “out there”. I swore I’d NEVER speak of it and try to never think of it. But…
    I had my second child just 3 years short from my first. I was 9 months pregnant. I had a very high profile job. I worked INSANE early mornings. Yet was home every day by noon. Worked a full day by noon but felt I still needed to do ALL the “stuff” stay at home moms did because after all I was home all every afternoon. I never slept. My first still wasn’t sleeping through the night. Waking 5 to 6 times a night for usually 20min at a time. When my second was born she was a sleeper. She was happy. She napped. My son however was so over tired from never sleeping and was just turning 3 (you KNOW what I mean!). He was angry and difficult and only wanted his daddy for everything. I remember sitting there staring at him. I was 3 weeks post birth of my daughter and I remember thinking it would be so much EASIER if he died. If he wasn’t here. If I didn’t have to deal with him. I HATED myself for thinking it. I wondered if I needed to leave. I was the epitome of a horrible mother. I chose instead to breathe and cry and shower him with hugs and kisses be it from guilt or be it from motherhood. I’m still not sure of the answer. However my son is now 5. Sleeps through the night. Is adorable and is in Kindergarden. I love my children. I have no idea where those thoughts ever came from and I’ve never had them again. (At least not that extreme!!) and if it wasn’t for this blog I would have taken my dark secret to the grave.

  • Amy

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Liana W.

    Thankfully, I’ve had friends to share these thoughts with and my husband is sympathetic (even if he doesn’t completely understand). We share a rather dark joke on the bad days, saying something along the lines of, “I need some chocolate/wine/other-vice or I’m gonna shake a baby.” You know, the theory being to laugh or cry. Some younger, childless friends overheard us once and looked absolutely appalled; we told them, “Just wait. You’ll have those thoughts, too, when you reach this stage. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns.” But anyway, I have two best friends, both childless. One is newly married, one is engaged, and I’m married with two kids. From the start, I have vowed to be completely honest with them if/when they choose to have a baby. Vowed to be the one who says, “Talk to me, friend, and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.” Thanks for putting this out there and giving me my new favorite phrase.

  • Becca

    My 5 month old is perfect and wonderful (aren’t all of ours?) but I can’t help but think that some days I would trade him for a little more time of being Me. Just Me, not mom, not wife, but Me. Then I feel guilty, I look at him and know I never could… but I miss Me so much some days, I can’t stand it. I can actually find a lot of time for myself, and I try to find Me, but she’s been buried so deep under mom and wife that I don’t know where she is anymore. I saw my senior pictures and cried because I wanted to be her again. I wanted to listen to Ben Folds, I wanted to wear fedoras, corsets and finger-less gloves and go to concerts with that hot guy with long hair, who I’d later make out with. I wanted to hang out with my friends at a coffee shop, and talk about the philosophy of existence, and society. I wanted it all so bad… Why didn’t I just tell my husband I wasn’t ready for kids, like really tell him, sit him down and not let him go until he understood. Almost every day, I think to myself “I wish I hadn’t gotten pregnant” or “I wish I wasn’t a mother”

  • Bbb

    I would regularly fantasize about leaving the crying wailing pumps bottles boobs resented husband work and golden handcuffs and get in the car and not stop until I got to the pacific. 2500 miles away. Many other tough nights thoughts that I couldn’t even allow out of my head… But the road trip I could plan and plot and mull over – escape fantasy.

  • Marie

    My son was born 4 weeks early, was whisked away to the NICU for 24 hours, and I was so worried that I would break him. Then his newborn screening test came back positive for a rare genetic disorder that my husband and I gave him, and I realized I had already broken him. During the course of my heartbroken Googling I read that many SIDS cases are actually deaths due to the same genetic disorder as my son’s. I remember thinking so clearly, “Then sometimes SIDS is a blessing.” If my son was going to die, I wanted it to happen very soon, before I got too attached to him.

    I talked to a mom whose daughter had a heart transplant at around one year old, and she said the same thing, “If she was going to die, I wanted it to happen before I got too attached.” It was so helpful to hear that, and I wanted to unload so much more of my darkness but didn’t want to burden her, since she had so much of her own.

    My son turns two in December, and I’m reminded of my darkness every time someone close to me has a healthy baby or a comparatively easy/blissful newborn experience. I can’t tell them this; I can’t tell them that while I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone, a not insignificant part of me thinks that it would only be fair if they experienced at least part of what I went through. I am a horrible friend.

  • Whitney

    I would just chant over and over again to myself, “I am going to kill myself. I am going to kill myself.” Through endless hours of nursing and rocking and exhaustion and desperation- I just chanted this over and over. Thank god I never did. I love that baby, but the darkness had seeped into every pore and was leeching out of my mouth. Whew. Glad that’s over.

  • Sara

    I remember around the 6th month of pregnancy, getting so furious at everybody, even people I previously thought were adorable… (Little did I know, that was the beginning of a very long depression!) And then, when my daughter was about 3 weeks old, I remember dropping a milk container I had just pumped, and throwing myself on my bed while yelling in my head “I wanna die! I just wanna DIE!” repeatedly, over and over again… And also, sitting on my couch, spending long stretches of time just staring at a wall, then crying for no reason, then preparing a bottle, then staring at a wall, then crying my eyes out, until my boyfriend would return from work… It was a really difficult period. Thank you for this post: As you can see by the number of comments and heart-wrenching stories, it’s really needed! Thank you thank you thank you thank youuuuu! 🙂

  • Clare, just Clare.

    I was so goddamn smug that, given my dubious history of mental health (is she bipolar? borderline? maybe so, maybe not – going on 15 years now) I didn’t develop PPP or PPD after the birth of my first son. SO SMUG.

    I lay in bed last night, with our second son feeding away and my body was racked with sobs. Literally head to foot shaking. My teeth were chattering. When asked what was wrong by sleepy hubby, I replied “Everything.” and that is when the shit hit the fan. Thankfully, I had this post to point to and he read it and we talked. I developed a stammer, but we talked. We always talk, we’re quite good at it really. But I’m also quite good at hiding when I’m struggling because I hate asking for help, especially as a mother.

    I have a headache this morning. My shoulders are on fire from muscle tension. My legs hurt from the spasms.

    Guess I need to change the bulb at the end of that tunnel, eh.

  • Elizabeth

    Wow. thank you for this. just had my fourth child three weeks ago. have my mom with alzheimers living with us and most days I feel like I’m being held hostage between the never ending demands of this particular generational gap immediately stuck in. oh yes I think about running all the time. just don’t have where to go. I hide in the bathroom and just cry somedays. so wonderful to know others live on the brick of joy and misery like me. thank you thank you thank you. I needed this so much.

  • Gabby

    My boys are 22 and 18, and I still have days, nights and moments of wanting to runaway, hide in bed for the rest of the week and not particularly loving their behaviours and challenges that they present; but I still love my boys(mostly) and don’t regret for a moment, bringing them into this world. I’m still trying to find myself, it’s a work in progress. I still wonder if I’m a good mum, even though I’ve got great, healthy, kind and bright boys and I still wonder if I could have done it better. I still kick myself for not being the perfect parent (even though I know that that is a totally unrealistic expectation…and not an achievable goal…because it does not exist). Ladies love who you are and accept that you are all amazing parents and that you are all still alive and brave enough to share your stories means that you’re a success as a parent and a human. Hang in there, they really are worth it as are you.

  • Sarah

    This was the most comforting thing I have read since I gave birth 17 months ago. I have struggled since the beginning wondering if I’m alone in many of these thoughts. When I have shared even a tiny bit of these thoughts with people around me (friends, family, husband) I feel them looking at me like something is wrong with me. After trying desperately for all this time to get my husband to understand any of this, it’s caused a huge rift between us that feels unfixable. I know I’m a good mother. But, missing my old life, my work, my identity pre-baby makes him think less of me. It’s all such a complicated mess of emotions. I love my daughter so much it feels like pain almost. Yet, think often of what I’m missing out on because of having her. Then, I feel guilty of letting that thought even cross my mind. I wonder if I was always too selfish to really give myself to someone as their mother. But, it shouldn’t be giving myself up, right? I just need to find a place for the me I’ve always known and the mother I am now. Either way, I’m so happy to hear someone else had dark shit going on too.

  • Amber

    There have been many dark times.
    Times when I thought I should just pack a bag and leave, but then I remember that I can’t bare to be without her for more than a few hours at a time.
    There have been times when I day dream about what life would be like if I had chosen a different path…stayed single, accomplished all my dreams, conquered all my plans.
    Then I remember that my life didn’t have near as much purpose and meaning as it did before she entered it.
    One of my lowest times began during pregnancy. I was so sick around the clock, literally 24/7, for the entire pregnancy. I felt like I was dying. Being tortured. Slowly eaten away at from the inside out. My body no longer belonged to me and this baby wasn’t even here yet. I was a vessel.
    I started to wish the pregnancy away.
    I felt so much guilt and self loathing for even thinking such dark ugly things, but I hated being pregnant, I hated how I felt, how I looked and I wanted it to go away.
    How could I feel this way about something I had planned and dreamt of my entire life?
    All I ever wanted was to be a mother and now I just wanted it to disappear.
    I called my mom because she’s the only person I trusted not to judge. Sadly, women spend so much time judging and criticizing one another.
    So I called the one woman I trusted not to judge me and admitted to her, in the dark quiet of my bedroom that I only left to go to the office, that I wanted out.
    I didn’t want to do this any more.
    She lived 3,000 miles away so all I could do was call.
    So I would call her every day and she would talk me down off the ledge.
    I got through it and my perfectly imperfect and healthy baby girl arrived. Phew! I was glad that was over.
    Only to be struck down by the tidal wave of postpartum depression. It lasted 6 weeks or so. I barely left my room. I kept the shades drawn and screened all my calls speaking only to my husband and my parents.
    I barely showered, I wore my pajamas around the clock.
    I ate in bed and nursed. Nursed and ate. Ate and nursed.
    Again with parents so far away and a husband who worked 12-14 hour days, no one seemed to notice that I was not ok. And it was all so new to me that I didn’t even notice it was not ok.
    Until the day I got up, showered, dressed, opened the shades, and took the baby for a ride to my office.
    The world seemed so different to me. Yet nothing had changed. But I had changed. I saw everything differently. My senses heightened.
    There are still tough days and dark thoughts.
    I acknowledge and release them when they bubble up.
    And I am all about sharing and letting other mamas know that I am a safe space for the dark guilty shit that swirls around in your head.
    And that I will never ever judge you for it!
    Ever.

  • Me

    Yes. Yes, yes, and yes. The most beautiful and most painful time of my life.

  • Toya

    I had just delivered my placenta when the hallucinations began. I saw faces of demons in patterned sheets/walls/floors. But I stayed silent.

    I suffered an injury during delivery that kept me in agony for 2 months, and was married to an immature man who thought I should be able to handle it on my own and never EVER changed a diaper or took on a night of fussing. I constantly terrorized myself with visions of accidentally hurting my new baby, so I kept her away from all sharp objects/stairs/corners. My appearance was beyond that of a tired new mom, it was that of a woman who had given up completely. I was flagged for PPD, but no treatment ever came of it. It wasn’t until the fog suddenly lifted that I realized how deeply disturbed I had been.

    Now I reach out to all of my new mom friends and let them know in the gentlest way possible that it will be terrifying, but it WILL get easier. And that if the darkness comes, they are not alone and help is available. They just have to muster the courage to take off the mask.

  • marjorie

    The worst for me was two years in. I was a shell of my former self and had slipped away so slowly no one noticed. One night my husband asked me if I didn’t want to be married or be a mother any more. I couldn’t answer… it was the darkest night of my life.

    Funny, once it was out in the open, it got better. It’s always better when it’s out. That’s why this post is absolute fucking genius Janelle.

    There’s an awesome Rumi quote:
    ‘Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.’

    • Wild Violet

      So true when you say talking about it always helps and can make it better. as soon as i told my Doctor and my husband that I had anger and rage all the time, and i thought i needed some medication or at least a therapist… all of a sudden i felt this weight lift off of my shoulders. Its like i wasn’t dealing with it alone anymore. even though i was still embarrassed and still had my moments of absolute horrendous rage…. i felt like things slowly got better. My husband was more understanding and i got on zoloft to make it better.

  • Marie

    For once someone is openly talking about reality. If everyone was told how hard it can be specially the first time home with baby there would have less children born. I would had reconsidered!
    I have 2 boys born 6 years apart on the same day!
    Many says wow how did you do it?
    Lets say I never thought I would have a second child after I left a very abusive relationship, I thought I would be single for the rest of my days.
    I met my second husband 4 years after having my oldest son.

    First of all my oldest which I love more than anything was conceived on a one night stand. I did not know his dad last name or had his phone number… I didnt even knew if it was from him or from my ex boyfriend whom we spent 5 years together but he didn’t wanted children so I broke up with him the following month met the one who drastically impacted my life.
    Got pregnant planned to be a single mom.
    So after a lot of sobbing from the biological father which was the one from the one night stand we decided to move together 2 months prior giving birth… I had my son. Being a single mom would have been a better option! After 2 days at the hospital I couldn’t sleep due to the nurses waking me up to give me pain killers which I refused. The first night at home after being up for 40 plus hours and a useless/partner who rather go to the bar get drunk and being left to sleep… Our son would be crying 15 hours a day due to colics. Learning later that he was allergic to any milk protein.
    To make a long story short I had to leave my baby crying in his bed and go on the porch crying my heart out. No help from family due of living in Alberta for so many years, we had friends who came over and took turn helping even in the middle of the night our neighbors who couldn’t sleep came and rocked our baby to give us some rest. At 4 and half months my son ended up at the ACH for 192 days due to influenza virus he had to have 9 surgeries due to kidney failure and umbilical hernia. 14 months after I discovered that his dad was abusing him the next day we were out and spent 10 months in women shelters.
    I had to get an emergency protection order my ex was stalking me and threatening our lives. The police had to come and pick me up forbidding me of coming back to our apartment. To be able to move out of there I had to have police with me to make sure he does not breach the order. I had to leave everything with only bringing a suitcase. I felt terrorized o had a tube fed baby with nephrostomy tubing and serious health condition. When my son first got sick I did not suspect any abuse from his dad because I couldn’t let anyone touch my baby I was obsessed in being the only providing care. It got more so after he got sick. I went through counselling and got extra help. It took me 39 months to be in a relationship.
    I went well to school as a Community Support Working supporting women and children victims of abuse. Many of us stay in abusive relationships for the sake of the child. But children comes first as well as our well being!
    Many of my family and friends as no clue what we have been through.
    What does not kill you keeps you stronger!
    I wished that my son would never have been sick, now he is a beautiful 9 years old with Autism and ADHD, some day I wish I could ship him in a box but only for a nano second. My life wouldn’t be the same/without him…
    I would not had discover how strong I am!
    Without him i would not have known I can give birth without pain killer and go back to work the same week.
    If I had made/different choices which I often questioned I wouldn’t have met the love of my life whom cherish and supports me and love my son like his own and did all he could when we had our youngest child.
    The first night home was hard I totally freaked out and he took over.
    I could not breast feed my second child so I felt like a failure and he supported me buying one formula of each kind and every infant bottles the store had. It made me laugh and felt supported.
    Now I wish I had a girl… So he brought me to SPCA and got me a female dog ! Lol thank you for reading my story its behind me if I can conquer that I can conquer anything!
    We deserve to be happy let’s grasp the opportunity

  • Adena

    Thank you for writing this – tough it scares me. I’ve been reading quite a few ‘scary’ posts lately. And I’m going to try to conceive soon. And even the conscious process of making that decision has started to bring up these thoughts. More like feelings. And I am hoping that I am consciously bringing this into my life, and I am open to these feelings is going to help. I feel the transition to motherood already. You might not feel it’s right for me to say that But I have already mourned some stuff. And know so much more is on the way, stuff I can’t kno or prepare for. We need to talk about it. Keep talking about it, but also get HELP. Do stuff for ourselves, each other. Talk is not the only action that needs to happen. What do you think? Is it just an instinct to ‘breed?’ Should we fight it? Are we evolving beyond that need?

    • Kaley

      My children bring me the greatest joy, and greatest despair. It brings to the surface ALL of my vulnerabilities. The deep fears of not being enough, not being competent, not being heard & understood, not being appreciated. I used to feel all of these things daily. But I also felt like caring for my babies gave me such an intense satisfaction. I breastfed 2 babies until the age of 2, and during almost every feed I felt like I wanted them to get off my body (touched out), and at the same time I held them close, comforted them, and admired their little hands, eyes, cheeks, just gushing with love for them. I felt trapped from being oh-so-needed, yet invigorated by all the possibilities and the knowledge that this child would not exist without me. My body literally gave up everything for my children. My kids are 3 and 5 now, and with every milestone they hit I feel like awww they are growing up too fast, and at the SAME time I feel like “could this day go by any slower?” As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. 100% right on. Regardless of the destruction of my physical body, the sleepless nights, the crying (oh the crying kills me to the core), there are *more* moments of pure delight and awe. It’s just enough more joy, that it balances out all the truly nightmarish parts. I love my children. They have driven me insane (I am medicated). I am just glad for modern medicine. Anyways, should you choose to have kids, go into it with eyes wide open. Search for the good, daily, and you WILL find it. Find at least 1 friend who GETS it and lets you talk. You sound like you would be an incredible mother because you have such great insight.

  • Karli

    Heavens, thank you. 3 months postpartum with my first, and I’m in the thick of it. I thought something was wrong with me. Everyone said it would be hard but that it would be joyful and fulfilling. I’m still waiting for that part. I try not to think about “what if”, but those questions just slip in. I love her. I love my husband. But the dark creeps in and suffocates me. The panic attacks and the anxiety and the impatience and the constant fantasizing about punching holes in all the walls and chucking her and wondering what suicide would be like even though I would never do it and then the horrible, all-consuming guilt for having any of these feelings even cross my mind…
    I filled out paperwork to go see a counselor last week but have yet to make an appointment. Maybe that should be next on my list.

  • bessie rogers

    Wow. You are some seriously amazing people.
    I am not a mother, although I’m at the stage in my life where I am thinking about it as a possibility. I am however involved very closely in the lives of lots of mothers, fathers and their babies.

    I have two questions for you all.

    1. Should I send this blog post to a friend expecting her first baby? Or should I save it until after the baby is born?

    2. I know someone who does admit these dark things to me. Who has never bonded with her child, who doesn’t want to be a parent and who isn’t supported. All I can do is to say it is ok. It is ok. But is it? How do you know the line between ok and normal and holy fuck this is not ok and normal and how do i help her? Amongst this darkness of hers there seems to be no lightness. I don’t have the same experience to know how to empathise beyond being a normal caring human being. Any tips or advice on a friend who sees and hears that darkness but has no freaking clue what to do about it would be greatly appreciated.

    • NewMama

      Insist she get into therapy.

      • bessie rogers

        I’ve been trying.
        Any hints on how?

        • SB

          Start by sending her a link to this blog. Nearly every comment has said how much this post has touched them and helped them realize they are not alone and not terrible people. This blog post alone may help her. After she reads it talk with her about it. She may be more open to therapy once she realizes she’s in good company.

          As for your friend who is about to have a baby, I wouldn’t send it to her now. It may just terrify her and/or put a damper on her excitement. If she is a good friend, after the baby is born you will probably get a feel for how she’s doing. She won’t necessarily show if she’s having dark thoughts, but you will likely be able to tell if she’s struggling or doing well. If she’s struggling, that’s the time to send her a link to this post. If she seems like she’s doing well I would still send her this post, but wait until she’s had the baby for a few months, maybe 6 months or so. If she honestly IS doing well, sending it too soon after the baby is born may offend her; send it 6-months later and she will have been at it long enough that the realities of motherhood will have set in.

          Honestly, EVERY parent should probably read this post. We may not all have dark thoughts, per se, but every parent has times when they find themselves beaten down, exhausted, and wondering why in the world they ever had kids.

  • Maureen

    Amen. AMEN. I’m pregnant for the second time and I won’t let the darkness consume me this time. I WON’T! Though, I’m totally terrified I’ll justify it again–I kept telling myself I was just tired. Sure I was tired, but not just tired. Thank you for this awesome post.

  • Kaylen

    I had post partum depression with my firstborn. It was so hard. I wasn’t sad, I was just so fucking angry. Angry at my husband, angry at my job, angry at my parents, angry at myself for the uncertainty and the regret and the feeling that I was screwing it all up. The exhaustion took such a toll and I remember my husband was holding her and shielding her from me while I screamed at him. And then I held her after that and I cried.

    Thank you for saying the words that we are afraid to voice ourselves. We are not alone and sometimes its nice to have a reminder of that. Motherhood is scary shit and its nice to have others to share with.

  • Amanda Evans

    Ummm, well, let me stop crying first so I can actually comment. Boy did this just open up the water works for me. I’m one of the only open people I know in my life whom has been honest about these feelings out loud. I absolutely felt more and more sure that it must just be me since “the others” didn’t seem to understand even once I put it out there. Reading this I just kept thinking…she is my kindred spirit haha…and it vividly brought to mind my worst moment. I struggled with PPD badly for about a year…scratch that. As my son’s second birthday is almost here, I still feel like I’m on the tail-end of it. Does it still count as PPD at this point? Whatever it is, my first experience with motherhood has left me still scared to try for another child and go through this again. I certainly hope it will be different the next time around. Thank you for being one of the real people.

  • Lisa

  • melinda

    In the weeks/months/years after my daughter was born, I felt as if the world had forgotten me. I had nothing to offer anyone anymore. No one could even see me. I cried in the shower daily. My husband didn’t care. All I wanted was for my baby to sleep. So I could sleep. I nursed her and changed her and that’s all I did. I didn’t leave the bedroom for weeks. I couldn’t figure out how to put the baby down to make myself some food. I would shake as I tried to sit on the couch. The only TV I was able to watch was old reruns of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Because it reminded me of my single girl days. Of hanging out in friends’ apartments, drinking, staying up all night, sleeping all day, eating take out, and laughing until I hurt. I wanted to go back.

  • Alice

    I think that a lot of these feelings are so taboo that women often have a hard time being this honest. After our twins were born 15 months ago I was alternately weepy, furious and terrified, and always, always exhausted. There were brief moments of enjoying them and falling in love with them. They were a few weeks early and were unsettled, grumpy and didn’t sleep for eight weeks for more than 20 minutes each, day and night.

    No one tells you (at least no one told me). There is so much focus on the birth, no one warned me what the time after the birth would be like. I have OCD anyway, which usually takes the shape of health anxiety, and for the first few weeks I was experiencing a lot of intrusive thoughts of harm coming to the babies, and some of myself harming them. As someone who has experienced these types of thoughts for a long time I have lots of techniques that I can use to help deal with them, and I also know that the thoughts don’t mean I’m actually going to DO any of that stuff. BUT I can only imagine how terrifying it would have been if I wasn’t aware of what was happening – and some women do develop OCD for the first time postpartum. No one tells you that it’s ok to put the baby down in her cot and leave the room for a few minutes when it’s 3am and you haven’t slept for more than 90 minutes at a time for the last three months, because it’s safer for your baby to be crying on her own in her cot than to be in your arms at that moment.

    I’ve also thought a lot recently about the anger that I experienced, and I really believe that if I were a man it would be much more acceptable to feel that way. The feelings of shock, fear and yes, anger and frustration that I was experiencing did not seem to me to be in any way disproportionate with what was happening to me. I defy anyone to be woken systematically every 15 or 20 minutes all night long just as they are about to fall asleep, to not have time during the day for a shower or a meal or even to go to the bathroom, to have your whole routine turned upside down, and through all that to have someone screaming in your face what seems like non-stop, and to NOT shocked, fearful and angry. I eventually gave up on sleeping at night time at all because it was so awful, so frustrating and disappointing to keep trying for sleep only to have it taken away that it was making me angry with my babies, and it wasn’t their fault. Those feelings don’t fit with the image of the “mother,” and I think they make people very uncomfortable.

    I still find every day challenging. My girls are so beautiful, funny, passionate and loving. They are also demanding, uncompromising, opinionated and occasionally a touch overdramatic (ahem, just like their mama, although I’m still working on the “seeing myself as beautiful” part). There are moments almost every day when I feel as if I’ve been thrown straight back to the first few months and I’m completely panicking and I have no idea how I’m supposed to do this. When the thoughts pile up inside my head in a spiral of terror and everything speeds up and there’s so much pressure that I can hardly breathe. But then there are moments of joy so strong that my heart feels like it’s about to burst out of my chest, and there is the profound happiness and contentment that I feel when I see them experience a part of life which is totally new to them, and which is amazing and incredible and maybe I haven’t taken the time to realize it in years.

    Basically I wanted to thank you for this post, because it’s true, and there are people out there who need to read it and know that they aren’t alone. And who also need to know that they don’t have to apologize for feeling this way or feel guilty about it, that it’s normal and that it will get better. When you have a baby it’s a very hard adjustment, and it’s totally irrevocable. You will never be the same person you were before and it happens in an instant, and getting used to that is a process which can take a long time. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out they go and change on you! I still grieve deeply sometimes for the life I used to have but I also know that one of my very best times of day is when I can sneak into my babies’ room just before I go to bed and watch them sleeping for a few minutes. I don’t know if it’s ever going to feel easy, but I have a feeling that the most important things rarely do.

  • Amy

    I keep reading this again and again and again. Its like someone has seen into my mind and been able to express all that I have so inadequately tried to explain and failed to do adequately.
    When my son was born I didn’t feel love. I actually felt nothing. The feelings were noticeable because of their absence. I didn’t need to hold him, was happy to pass him over. So others stepped in, took my son, cuddled him, soothed him, changed him, but brought him to me to feed. I didn’t feel like a mother, I felt like an instant milk bar. My son stopped settling with me, and would just cry and cry until.someone else took him. Rather predictably PPD followed, and I took meds for a year. Yep, all happy on the outside, but just so numb inside. I came off the meds, and I can still recall the first time I felt love for my son. It was 3am, he was 15months and suddenly I felt it.
    Now I have a 7month old daughter, and my experience has been so incredibly different. I loved her from the start. Felt myself fall in love the instant I saw her. But what I did learn from having my son is that darkness does come, but it does go too. I still have my dark days, mydark moments, all consuming moments of rage and feelings of inadequacy and gross unfairness. But I have learnt from them. Am learning from them. And now I tell my pregnant friends: be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Ask for help. It will be ok.

  • christine

    Wow. Just wow. Look at all these voices and stories. So common but so hidden. So brave to share. So kind to show a mama she is not alone in her thoughts.

  • Kristen

    I love my children. I love my husband. I hate my life with every fiber of my being.
    I don’t like being a mother. I don’t like being needed all the time. i don’t like the stupid shit that comes out of my childs mouth. I want to call them idiots, and scream at them to USE YOUR BRAIN YOU FUCKING MORON!! And then I hate myself for judging them, and forgetting they are just children, and forgetting that the knowledge and experience needed to not be stupid will come with time. And now I’m the moron and the horrible mother for thinking such things. And I hate myself even deeper.
    Then, at the end of each terrible day they say “good night mommy, I love you” And they actually mean it! Oh baby, I love you too. So much it hurts. But the anger hurts too. and the bitter hatred I have for my life hurts so bad. And its so fucking hard to remember that its not their fault! Its mine, all mine. And I love them so so much, but I hate life just as much.

  • annonamous

    I’m going threw this right now. This dark side hell I hate my life I hate my kids I’m not happy at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I’ve got a5yr old boy and 1yr old daughter both with same guy that I’ve been with past 7.5yrs that after my daughter was born he just up and disappeared only to pop back up a few months later. Lead me to believe all was going to be great he loved me ect then 3 days later he’s got a new live in girlfriend from thin air and suddenly hates me and regret everything that had to do with me. Now they’re engaged to b married and he hasn’t called in a month, my 5yr old is acting out horribly bc of it to the point I’m feeling like a failure like I’ve lost control I’m constantly screaming at him and telling him I hate him. Which of course I don’t, I love him more then anything, at the time I’m meaning it though at that moment I really do feel that way. I’m ashamed to admit that. Even more ashamed that I actually say such cruel horrible things to a 5yr old. Currently we’ve just started family therapy and already things seem out of control like a never ending hell. It’s just me and the 2 kids, I’ve got no help no breaks no outlets. I’m a stay at home mom and I’m always always alone with both these very needy very demanding kids. U feel like I got fucked over by this asshole that promised to love me forever until i have 2 children with me then he goes to so whore that has no kids and can’t have ne. So he’s living the life no Responsibility’s no kids no crying ring needy kids in the bathroom while he’s trying to poop he sleeps in has money new clothes new shoes new girl new life I’ve got kids I love them and I’m glad I had them but there r times that I wish I could go to bed and never wake up again!!!! Hoping I’m not the only one that at times resents their kids due to the asshole that donated the sperm. The way I c it, it takes two people to make a baby, bc it takes at least two people to raise one. Meaning god meant 4 man and women to stick together and raise that child together. Other wise we would b able to impregnate r selves.

  • NewMama

    I wish we could all sit in a room together and tell our stories, face to face. I wish our parenting group was more honest. I wish I had the courage to write out my story. What if someone I know sees it? The fear. The dark. The depth of abuse I thought I had worked through in therapy. The not-understanding husband who is doing everything right. The perfect, worry-free life meaning how could I possibly have the right to feel this way? The hatred of old friends without children and their not-understanding. Impossible timing of so many friends acting so weird. How many more times can I hear “it gets better” and using those three words alone, make it through the day? The day with the only people I see are our clients, or our hired help? The day when I get to sleep in? Make myself food? Arrange things as I need them to be? Who am I to experience darkness? An ungrateful, spoiled brat who doesn’t know how good she has it. The guilt.

    I wrote to my therapist. It was long. It was full of confessions. I talked about the new thing that happens in the middle of sentences, that sends shivers of anxiety throughout my body, that stops me in my tracks. I wrote about all of it. I can’t remember if I wrote about ALL of it. If I wrote about the time I wondered how much pressure it would take to break little bones… just out of curiosity. What am I a sociopath?! Jesus. That one freaked me out so much I told my husband just to get it out of my head. He showed no emotion. Which meant he was seriously concerned I had had that thought.

    Oh yeah — She never wrote back. Wait, WHAT?! I freaked out my fucking THERAPIST?!

    Talk about something that makes you shut up for good. All the while, the baby is FINE and beautiful and growing perfectly and clearly we are WONDERFUL parents and he’s perfect and yeah, it’s hard. Everyone knows it’s hard. Do you know?

    I’m finally realizing, as the numbness takes hold on a deeper level and I am usually yelling/complaining/arguing and it’s starting to happen in front of our beautiful son, that it’s bigger than taking ten deep breaths. It’s darker that sharing my funny parenting mishap at our group sessions. It’s so embarrassing. I can hear them all whispering… wow, if I had “all that” I bet I could keep it together.

    And yet, it’s unraveling. The negative self-talk gets worse. And my only outlet is commenting on a blog. Except I can’t even bring myself to anonymously post all the real shit. That’s how ashamed I am.

    It helps to read your stories. Thank you, everyone.

  • Emily

    I had my fair share of dark moments. I got pregnant at 21 and found out I was having twins at 10 weeks. How was I supposed to give my
    Whole life up for these two kids? No one understands how difficult it is for the mom. No sleep, exhausted body, emotionally a wreck, physically drained, and I even though I have two kids around me at all times, I am so LONELY!
    My girls are two years old now, I work full time- half in office, half at home – my fiancé works 60 hours a week and side work on top of that, and my mother watches the girls when they are not in “preschool”. My father is the CEO of the company
    I work for, my sister works two feet away and my older brother is another 10 feet. As you may be thinking…that’s a lot of family and with family their comes drama and issues, and I have not lived up to my family’s expectations for me, so I get constant judgement and the expectation to be a certain way at work, so that I do not disgrace the family name. With that pressure along with terrible twos, no time for my relationship with my fiancé, planning a wedding (150+ people, all by myself!!), and working to broaden my
    Horizons so that I can move my career away from Daddy’s company, I am in a very dark place. I have had my fair share of depression, and I have to 5 people every day, and yet I have NO CLUE who I am. I am lost in the shuffle, in the hubbub, in the needs and wants of others, and no one understands where I am coming from and
    Tell me that I am just being emotional…how am I supposed to move past this if I can’t
    Talk about how I feel to anyone in my life?

  • JLA

    I’m sitting here in tears as I write this. I know this may sound crazy, maybe not given the topic, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard some one’s story who sounded like mine. I love my son more than I could ever have imagined, and I’m out of the darkness for the most part. But those first months, those precious but occasionally suffocating months of breast feeding and rocking and cooing and bathing, sometimes in those moments I had those same thoughts. I think I have journal pages that look almost identical to what you wrote. I felt like I was alone. Even my partner, who was incredible and one of the most loving new fathers I’ve ever seen, couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy. He even asked me on occasion, ‘is this normal?’, in reference to my lack of glowing smiles new born moms are stereotypically known for. I felt like I wasn’t. I felt like a freak, and a bad mom, and irresponsible. I was afraid I wasn’t cut out for this, like I wasn’t good enough if I couldn’t be happy and thankful 100% of the time. Like I lost my identity, something I’ve always had a strong sense of. I’ve always been a strong, independent woman, and here I was, weak and unsure. Anyways, as the months turned into a year, things leveled out. For me, deciding to go back to school helped tremendously. Hearing thoughts outside of my own helped like nothing else. Maybe it was getting the chance to learn, maybe it was just the lack of isolation, whatever it was it gave me a little bit of my identity back. My son is now a year and a half old and I’m pretty well out of any of the post partum feelings I was so familiar with. Anyways, I just wanted to thank you, so incredibly much. The peace and comfort than comes from knowing you’re not the only one is like nothing else. Knowing that even if everyone around you seems to be handling everything perfectly, whatever that even means, someone, somewhere, is just as lonely, scared, angry and feeling as guilty as you for having those feelings. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me know I’m not, and never really was, alone.

  • Shannon

    thank you. I had a few aunts who had PPD, but I stupidly thought it might not happen to me (even though I have an anxiety disorder and depression) because I was an older mother who tried so hard to have our daughter. The first night we brought her home (she was 8 weeks premature) from the hospital, I sat on the sofa and sobbed as it all sunk in–my life had completely changed. I thought we had made a terrible mistake, having a child. The only person who seemed to understand how I was feeling was our paediatrician. She’d put her hand on my shoulder and say “Just get through the first three months. I promise, it will get easier.” She was right, but the dark times come up still. I journal out all the pain, too, take my meds, and am getting therapy; which I would have needed whether I had a child or not. When I feel like everyone would be much better off if I were dead, I stay focused on my daughter.

  • Maria Enciu

    I was 36 years old when I gave birth to my sweet baby. I have traveled the world and have been quite adventurous , finished school and had a great job. Two weeks into motherhood I wanted to run away, I had uncontrollable crying and thought about suicide. 5 more months passed and I still had those feelings but not as intense. I was prescribed meds which I did not take because I was breastfeeding and wanted to protect my baby from its side effects. I started therapy and now at 11 months into motherhood I could say that it gets better, light will come back. I was so lucky to have an amazing partner who fully supported me, listened to me, saw me in my darkest moments and still loved me! Moms my advice is to talk to a therapist , I wish I had sooner! Much love to you all who is going through it.

  • Jen

    As I read the comments I find myself wishing I could have been in a safer place. I tried to vocalise those dark thoughts. I was a young mother of two in a strange town with no support available and I felt like I was drowning. In those darkest moments, the ones where I was filled with so much rage and grief over how I found my life, filled with so much love for my children I couldn’t bear to think of a world where I wasn’t their mother, and yet desperately seeking a way out, a way to not feel so fucking alone and not good enough, I found myself telling my husband in frustration that I fantasized about throwing them away when it was too much, when the baby was nursing nonstop and needing constantly held and the toddler needed play and potty and cuddles and needed and needed and needed and he just wasn’t there and I had no one, no one to talk to, no one to support, no one to tell me we all have those dark thoughts. And then it all ended and my marriage was over and I really was doing it on my own, and I found my support elsewhere and I found my light at the end of the tunnel and those dark thoughts came less and suddenly it was war and he tried to declare me unfit. And those moments of truth when I verbalized the thoughts that I’ve come to realize we all have, the thoughts that don’t mean I’m a bad mother, that are just snapshots of desperation surrounded by so many other times filled with love and wonder and confidence, the became my worst nightmare and he tried to take my babies away, claiming me unfit because I dared to say it out loud that motherhood is not all sunshine and fucking rainbows. After months of doing it on my own, of being a single married mother and then really a single mother, my worst nightmare became a reality because one man couldn’t understand, will never understand that saying the dark thoughts out loud in what should have been a safe place DOES NOT make me a bad mother, it was how I crawled out of those dark times.

    • Kate

      keep going my love, sometimes I KNOW I could be stronger without him, you are in my thoughts.

      • Jen

        4 years later it is so much better, I still have occasional moments of wanting to run away from it all, but I fought like it was my life, fought for my life, and he was unsuccessful in declaring me incapable. I have custody, am in a better place with him, and am stronger for it. I still feel grief and anger and hate that the one person who should have been there to support and try to understand was nothing, used my honesty and pain against me, as a weapon in a bullshit war that never needed to start. He was fine to leave me alone with them day in day our when we were together, even when he was home he wasn’t there, I was good enough to do it alone when I was begging for help, but when I found my legs and my strength and realized we were all better without him suddenly I wasn’t good enough!

        Thank you, for your words of support.

  • Robyn

    And just when I didn’t think anyone understood. I feel crazy. When I am at work, I miss my kids all day long. Until I get home. Then, how I want to run away. I don’t even make it into the house before the urge to run away overtakes me. I hate my life. I constantly bounce between, give me my baby, she is mine! To, please someone take her from me. I can’t, I don’t want to, does anyone notice me?! I don’t
    even know who I am anymore. I feel like this shell who just moves along life, doing what she is supposed to but not really feeling anything but dark. I used to be patient. I used to love playing with my kids, now, I just want to sleep. But I don’t. Because I am mom, and I have a job to do. No matter how much I want to scream, cry, and run away. I have a job to do.

  • OhEm

    With my first I was in an abusive relationship. Not only did I find motherhood lonely and terrifying but I was dealing with a drunken mess of a human being who told me I was doing everything wrong and would not help me even when he was home. His whole family didn’t understand why I was having such a hard time, they berated me and talked about me behind my back. “Why isn’t it coming naturally to her?” “Why can’t she make it work?” All while giving me advice about how the black eyes get better and how to hide bruises. I hated my life.
    I was up 5-8 times a night with a baby that wouldn’t sleep, my nipples were cracked and sore, I was in constant fear of my partner, no family members of my own around.
    I didn’t want to be a mom. I made poor choices from personal to eating to wanting to shake my baby or just run. I stuck through it all- just me and my baby. We made it.
    Now I am pregnant again (same father) and single. I will be doing this all again on my own and I’m scared shitless. I have no support system or way of reaching out. I’m tough as nails (did I mentioned I ended up breastfeeding for two years, worked, and gained a post graduate through all of this?) I know I can do this but I don’t know how much of the initial months I will wholly enjoy.
    My son is a joy. I love him and I love our moments together. I wouldn’t change motherhood for the world but it’s hard as fuck and oftentimes unrewarding. Mom’s need to talk about these feelings. They are ok, we can get help even through gaining a voice.
    Slog on human makers. You’re your kids’ heroes and are titanium, even when you feel like a feather in the wind.

  • Alexandra

    Had my first baby three months ago. I remember screaming and cussing at him when he would not stop crying. I was all alone at 3am. I should have paid someone to live with me and help. But I love him. But I want to go to school. I feel so guilty for the way I acted. I mean he is just a baby right? Day 12 I was too far gone for that logic. I needed help. I got some meds and it was better. But no one helps and came to live with us for a few weeks.

  • Shannon

    Thank you thank you thank you!
    I am in my darkness on and off. My son is almost 15 months old. He is the love of my life and of course also my source of turmoil from time to time. He hasn’t slept through the night, while all the rest of my friends children do. I was walking the other day miserable and exhausted. I took up fantasizing about running away, being a celebrity to have it all, etc etc. then another mama stopped me on my walk, let me cry, thanked me for crying and told me that she too had at one point wanted to throw the baby off the balcony. But of course she didn’t. She told me she did t because she can say those things. It was the most beautiful moment of my day, to feel that someone knew, they understood. As I am now sitting here boiling that my hubby slept til 9 and is at the gym while the baby is sleeping and that my life has changed but not his cause he gets to sleep and escape to work here you are. Another soul who isn’t afraid to be real and admit this shit is HARD! Thank you so much. Now my day can begin again!

  • Samantha mertler

    I have 4 kids. 6,4 and twin 2 year olds. And I have more days than not that I wish I hadn’t had kids. I wished I had my life. I’m in school now, I’m making my life happen but sometimes I wished I never got married, never had kids. I love them but I see the soul sucking-ness.

    I’m not the mom I thought I would be. It’s not enough for me too be home and make crackers and sew clothes, make crafts. I’m still coming to terms with the mother I am rather than the mother I thought/wanted to be. I stilll have aspirations and goals but I realize that I need a job, I need friends, I need time away. I love them. But I need so much more than motherhood.

    Solidarity sisters.

  • Mama Jojo

    Wow, I so needed to read this today. I just had my 2nd 2 1/2 weeks ago and I still spend more time crying than not and that ugly R word, resent, keeps creeping into my head when I think of this manic non stop cluster feeding little stranger in my house and how much he’s been keeping me from my 1st son(now 3 yrs old). Don’t get me wrong, I adore him, we wanted him so badly (4 rounds of clomid and almost had to see a fertility clinic). Which makes the guilt even worse for thinking all these thoughts. For looking at him crying and equally wanting to hold him, protect him, and wanting to just walk away. For cringing every time he wakes up because I was just finally finding some time with my 1st. Not to mention I swear he only sleeps about 8 broken hours in a 24 hour period( and mostly in the day time when I have a toddler to take care of). So the lack of sleep isn’t doing much to help. I always wanted a big family so badly and here, with only 2, I’m falling apart. I can’t seem to figure it out and am hating myself for it.

    This is all my dark shit. It’s been circling since the day I got home from the hospital. This is not how I thought it would be.

  • Dawn

    It’s sad, isn’t it, that when we feel our worst, we are supposed to shut those feelings down and let them simmer. So much bad comes from that. Thank you, for sharing such blatant, powerful, and yes, truly raw emotional words. More moms need to know feeling isn’t doing and there IS light, and we SHOULD reach out and no, not everyone gets it. But having dark thoughts and feelings comes with a mother giving up herself for her children.
    It doesn’t mean we are bad, horrible people because we have these thoughts and feelings.

  • Kate

    YES thank GOD we are talking about this. Not even my mom believes my postpartum, now I’m pregnant again, and it has reared its ugly head before i even have my baby……my mother in law says they don’t have this where she’s from, what am I complaining about? This is what she told my husband. This is the support woman have for each other?! We are living in a different world, insular, we are alone to figure things out, and all we know is how careful we have to be not to screw up our babies, organic food, leadfree toys, a miliion threats to protect them from. Mother in law, your parents brought up you baby, you had him at 18, please understand how my life is different. I am doing this alone, in a place where every other mother I know is on anti depressants. Fuck.

  • Katiebug

    I’ve def had these thOughts and the rage. .. There are words for the rage. Or the deep guilt & regret for how I’ve treated my loved ones bc of it. Dr kept telling me it was ppd after 2nd kid but I knew it was something else. I kept saying that it feels like my hormones are out of whack. It took 3 drs & 18 mos before someone would listen. I finally confessed to a friend about the depths & strength of my rage… turns out she went thru the same thing w/ early menopause. Anyway, I went to her dr & now on hrt. It was my hormones & now that they’re regulated I’m a new person. Pls check this out if you feel like it’s not ppd & not all in your head. Hugs to all. Been there. Done that.

  • AMR

    Before I had my son and all my friends were having babies, I was warned about the darkness. I was told my friends with newborns could be in a very dark place. When I visted them I would only talk to them about their life, not about the babies. I pretended to ignore the newborns and just focus on them. I am glad I did and most of the other vistors looked at me like I was crazy. Fast forward to my life with a shit ton visitors and recovering from a c-section, I wish people had done the same for me. I handled it well and put them to work. I started looking at vistors as hired help. I was blunt and rude. Do this and get me that. Hold the baby and clean my house. While they did that I would go cry in peace.

  • CQ

    I have three wonderful girls. The second two are twins. I never had much darkness with the first, but it was so much harder with the twins. I wanted to punch everyone who told me I was, “so lucky,” or that I had “double the blessings”. The worst was the people who would say with great longing, “Oh you are so lucky! I’ve what’s wanted twins!”. No, you don’t. Not in the first year. Trust me! Even in that first year, I knew I’d never trade them. But nursing two children every two hours? Never sleeping because at least one child is always awake? They are five now, and while there are still challenges, I’m in a much better space. If any mom out there feels the darkness, you are not alone. It will pass, I promise you. But when you are in it, know that you, too, are loved by all the moms who have been there!!

  • Dee

    I’m blown away but the open hearts shared here. You Mamas are beautiful and my life is richer for your gifts of honesty and vulnerability.

  • bottomedout

    I am so glad I stopped to read these comments. I’m dying inside from feeling like a failure and some days I’d just rather not wake up. There are 5 children.. 15, 11, 6, 4, and 5 months. 1-4 were relatively easy.. Good sleepers, no colic, happy.. Then came #5. My husband asked me for this one. I was done birthing children but he was so sweet and genuine. I agreed. Had the perfect pregnancy and was sad in a way to see it finished. Three days in and I’m a wreck. She cries. All. The. Time. 3 months in and I’m a ticking time bomb. Screaming. Puking. Screaming. Puking. Shrieking. Howling. Changed formulas. Less screaming. Puking. Day after day. Night after night. The baby he wanted so much is left to me to deal with. He holds her during the 15 minutes a day she’s not crying. I’m angry. Oh yes, I’m angry. And exhausted. Short tempered. Intolerant. Sex? Are you fucking kidding me? My 4 year old is into every damn thing she can reach. I spend all day cleaning up after her, yelling, crying, feeling guilty because I am angry and intolerant and yelling. And because I don’t have it together like I feel I should. I don’t want to leave the house. I don’t want anyone over. The rage is awful. So bad I am considering medication so my kids don’t remember me as a raving lunatic. And now, a new formula is working.. but what is gonna work for me? I always wanted kids..a big family.. Never did my fantasies include me wanting to run from them all.

  • Wild Voilet

    I remember my first was 1 month pre mature… i remember feeling upset that she was coming early and just wanted her to stay in. I remember after she was born I thought, “GREAT… now I have to have her a whole extra month.” >_< I was so scared to be a new mom… i didn't know what i was doing. I remember thinking that thought and felt sooooo guilty for that. Why wouldn't i want my daughter after she was born… the thoughts quickly passed but it did run through my mind….

    Now she is 3 and is the light of my life and a perfect angel!! how could i have thought that. yes she drives me bonkers sometimes (read some of my old comments on this thread…lol) but that was a thought that a burried, and just now remembered it.

  • Amanda

    i feel like this article has finally given me permission to speak. I felt and feel darkness still but I’ve never given the label postpartum. Take the cry it out method of getting your child to just go the fuck to sleep … I felt a little guilty cause I felt like I should feel guilty … Inside I was screaming “just go the fuck to sleep, I don’t care!!!” We talked about having a third child … I thought yes at the time and then I thought about it more. NO. I loved being pregnant and breastfeeding and it was a wonderful experience … But no. Our marriage has been on the rocks and while good things are happening and he’s being nicer and not drinking and whatnot, the fact remains that I could have to leave. Three kids would make thy much harder. I like driving my pickup truck. I like that one is asleep and I have alone time wth the other … Or when hubby and I each take a kid cause both kids get special time and it makes us all better for it. No one wants to babysit three kids and I don’t have grandmas to help. My dad cares for myself who has ms and FIL is just not equipped to help. I want to be able to do the shit I want to do and get on with things. I love the two I have and even with them I feel darkness. I can only imagine the pressure and stress and darkness when I have three and everyone wants shit from me and no one gets that I need me to.

  • Molly

    I was fine when they were babies. I was happy and relaxed and contented but as the years have worn on that has changed. Now they are 15 and 11 and oddly far more demanding than they ever where before. It is now when I am feeling utterly exhausted by it. I am not one of those Mothers sad that they are growing up, I am willing for it to happen so they can go and be happy, productive, adults and I can finally be me again.

    Mollyxxx

  • Val

    I was always very careful about not getting pregnant until I was married to the “right” man. He was my best friend and literally the only man I trusted beside my dad. I was betrayed in all my previous relationships. So when our baby was 5 weeks old and I found out he was seeing another woman I basically fell into a hole and it has taken me 5 yrs to crawl out. And occasionally it still sucks me back in. I loved my little boy with all my heart and soul and I remember taking him for a walk when he was a newborn and crying the whole way. I felt like I had failed him when all I ever wanted was to give him the best life possible. He saved my life because taking care if him got me through it. Although if he weren’t there I would have just left and never looked back. The only man I ever felt safe with became an imposter. I felt like my home was not my home and everything felt like a lie. It destroyed my faith in people. I thought it would be the most beautiful time of my life and it was by far the most beautiful and yet the most painful. I adored my son. I breastfeed him until he was 2 and I remember worrying that I was passing on sadness to him through my milk. He is a very emotional little boy and I think that is why. My husband and I went to marriage counseling for over a year. I felt the counselor took more pity on him because if rough childhood and because they are both older. She treated me like I was naive. (I have wonderful counselor now who I see alone). We “worked things out” and he recommitted to our relationship but I stay for my children. I also raised his daughter from a previous relationship and we had another son who I also adore. I sometimes feel like I love him but then I remember that I will never really trust him. I sometimes think if he were to die I’d be free. But then I feel horrible guilt because my children adore their father. He doesn’t get my pain. He treats me like I’m just being melodramatic. I have felt so alone and ashamed. Ashamed for staying (because I’ve always been one of those women who’d say “LEAVE”) I would leave if I knew it wouldn’t hurt my children. But it would. I am well aware that I am giving up my youth, my chance of intimacy with a man all for my children. I feel like a fraud to everyone who doesn’t know, and a complete pathetic loser to every one of my friends who I told. Our lives are hectic. Sometimes I wish I could catch him in cheating so I’d have more reason to end the marriage. But I don’t think he will now because he knows the risk or if he did he’d hide it a lot better. Having a second child was the sole purpose of giving my son a little brother. They are happy little boys who adore each other. I cried every night for weeks after I found out I was pregnant with him. I felt like I had sealed my fate. And yet he brings me so joy. Most days we carry on like any other busy family. And sometimes it feels like things are good. Sometimes things even feel good between us. But the pain he caused me at such a tender time in our lives changed me and changed our marriage forever. I am still healing but he still doesn’t get the damage he’s done. I think when my kids go to college I’ll take a trip by myself. In the mean time I’m just hanging in there. I will start back at work in the coming year. Maybe that will give me a new and different perspective because I won’t be depending on him. I hate depending on him financially.

    • rw

      I understand your feelings of having sealed your fate.. The sacrifices we make for our children sometimes means a complete disregard for ourselves and our feelings and apprehensions. Our circumstances suck but we wouldn’t dare harm our children’s stability or well-being to seek a better alternative to the hell we call a life. It is admirable that you have stayed and put your children’s needs ahead of your own.. That’s what makes a momma.. Choosing their needs first.

  • Artiesa

    I have dark moments all the time, and my kids are 5 (almost 6), and three. I often catch myself thinking “I hate my life”, and sometimes, gasp, “I hate my kids”. I truly don’t hate my life or my kids, but sometimes, sometimes, I feel like I do. When the kids won’t stop fighting, and my daughter won’t stop getting into the nail polish (painting her hands, the walls, her clothes, the bedding, etc.), my makeup, the laundry detergent, the whole package of cheese that she won’t even eat one slice of; when my son tells me that I’m ruining his life because I won’t let him watch cartoons in the living room, or I won’t let him play with the kid down the street that is using him so he tells me that he fucking hates me…yes my lovely 5 year old told me that he “fucking hates” me. These are moments when “I hate my life”, but I couldn’t imagine my life without these little devils!

  • Val

    I don’t know what dark, Ouiji-board impulses drive my mouse some days, but dear LORD did I need to read this today! Heh heh, w/222 comments why da fuck am I bothering to spill my (ample) guts – & certainly don’t have time to read all comments now, but DAYUM, Val 20:14 – my doppelganger!?!

    Sometimes I feel as if I continue to torture myself by reading mom blogs 17 yrs after my marriage imploded: I was 5 mos pregnant when the bottom fell out of my shiny “perfect life”. I’m still picking out the shrapnel, and some of that shit I won’t EVER be free of!!! I can’t help but fantasize about My Life That Would Have Been if I had bowed to Ex’s hideous pressure to abort (@ 5 mos, you motherfucker, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!??) so instead I had to pace through the rest of my pregnancy w/a fake smile pasted on my big dumb face, pretending All Was Well as my husband raged & threatened & – when he failed to evict me – escaped himself. I’ll never have anything close to that ideal pregnancy/childbirth/infancy or childhood memories to sustain myself as I grow old… Looking down the gun barrel of my “30-yr” life expectancy but whaddaya do? Try to set the best example I can for my beloved son.

  • MariL

    I could have written everything in this post. The beginning was hard, so so very hard, and although I wanted to be as good as I could be to my little girl I felt like a caged animal. I kept hearing about how she’s so good, how cute she is, and it made me so ashamed of myself.

    It finally got to the point that I had to take all the rage out on something, so I started clawing at my own skin til it bleeds. I know how dysfunctional it is, but it helps. My husband tells me not to, but would he rather I take it out on him? There is no safe target but myself, I won’t hurt my two loves.

    I do feel like I’m turning a corner. There are more good days than bad now, and I am starting to function again. My little girl is healthy and happy despite my derangement, the only thing I pray at this point is that I get it together before she can remember and be scared or hurt by it.

    I asked my mother why she didn’t tell me all of this. She said, “I could have told you, I tried to – but you couldn’t understand.” Maybe she didn’t have the words, but you certainly do and I thank you for it.

  • Haley

    I’m in tears, this couldn’t have been said any more on-point. I REALLY NEEEDED TO HEAR THIS RIGHT NOW.
    And to read the comments is that much more reassuring, I am not alone today and this week as I’m crying while my son is finally sleeping peacefully. Its been a very long week. Everyday seems gone in the blink of an eye, and this year has flown by. He will be 1 on Nov 1st and for me, it’s still not any easier; my fiance now works longer and longer shifts and I am more alone than ever. Sometimes I wonder how i am even functioning and how i even managed to get out of bed. aye,aye,ayeee. WHEN DO I FEEL BETTER AND HOW ?! 🙁

  • Erin

    So many things that no one tells you, but they should! Like you will want to whimper to the maternity nurse” just take her away” when they want you to breast feed and bond with your baby but you’ve been in labor for 30 hours and had reconstructive surgery after and you will feel like shit and like a horrible Mom failure- but YOU are NOT! You are human, being a Mom does not make you superhuman and you need to realize that every one of those Holly Hobby bullshit posts from old friends talking about how they have dinner in the crockpot, pie in the oven and are cuddling up with there little darlings after doing crafts and picking apples is a complete bullshit lie or they are drugged. Motherhood is fucking hard- and I’m so glad to see someone saying it out loud. I spent years feeling inadequate and crappy until I finally made some good friends who will tell me all their crap so we can know we are all in this same crazy world. The sheets could crawl off the beds themselves and the bathroom looks like a bomb hit it, and I’m exhausted and I can’t do 6th grade math and I just want to poop without talking to anyone through the bathroom door. But I am not the only one- and if I have a moment when I want to throat punch one of my kids, or stop the car and tell them to get the fuck out- I also have moments that I want to hug them for hours and never let them go. It’s hard, it’s exhausting and sometimes you really want to kill them- but it’s worth it. And if we are all honest about the hard stuff, we can stop worrying about it and enjoy the good stuff more.

  • Lettuce

    I’m sitting at my desk at work crying. My son is now 4 years old and the most amazing kid ever. I wish I had you to talk to during his first year. I was so depressed and sad and felt like a total weirdo (everyone flutters around saying shit like you’re so blessed and you must be over the moon!). I would cry and cry. I would yell at my son when he cried, which was constantly because he was so colicky (and I wanted to scream at people who gave me ridiculous advice about that!). I regretted having him and told him so (hey, he was a baby and didn’t understand, right???). Ugh. I feel like the worst person in the world for writing all this but at the same time it’s so nice to actually speak the truth! I still carry a very heavy guilt about that first year and how I wasted it and was a bad mom. I sucked at the job. And I’m pretty sure my marriage was about a inch away from divorce. My husband was basically in the same mindframe as me. I missed out on my son’s first year because I was in such a dark place and I’ll never get that back. I’m not missing out now… I love him so much and try my very best to be a great mom.

  • Lis

    Dear renegade, I posted twice because my first post was full of typos..hope you can delete that one..sorry..I had been very affected by your post! xo ( I am so grateful my kids lived through some of the seriously stupid things I did as a mom..yikes!)

  • Isabel

    I will talk to you and I will say that I have thought every single dark thought that you have thought. I have wished that I never had children. I have cried into a towel in the bathroom because my children have frustrated me so much that I wanted to scream. I have yelled at my kids and then cried at night thinking that I was a terrible mother and why couldn’t I be more patient. I have felt resentment and I have felt hopelessness. You’re right, the feeling does go away, but it creeps up every now and then when shit just gets to be too much. I’m so glad I’m not alone in this because so often that is how we as mothers feel. Not even my husband really gets it. That man adores me, but when I’m in that dark place he doesn’t know what to say or do to make it better. Really he can’t. It is on me to just take a deep breath and let it go and keep going.

  • Diana

    OMG!!! I wish I could have read this 28 years ago. I had my first child 2 weeks after turning 19. And then 353 days later, I had my second, 2 days after I turned 20. Holy shit!!! I hated every minute of the first couple (at least) years and the guilt nearly killed me. Thank God for my husband and my in-laws. I regularly thank them for the fact that my kids have grown into amazing adults. They are now 28 and 27. 2 months ago today, I became a first time grandmother. It is fucking amazing!!!

    What I’m trying to say is that I so wish I could have read something like this 28 years ago. I felt so alone with my desperation. How could I ever admit to anyone how bad I was at this mothering thing? What would they think? So I lived with it in silence and it nearly killed me.

    It definitely “takes a village”. My children turned out amazing, and we have relationships that I never would have dreamed possible.

    I love this blog. Thank you!!!

  • J

    I moved to a new state, no friends, no family, my husband working 80 hours a week. I had 3 kids then 6,4,and 2. I took them to this library program. They wanted a stuffed animal and cried. I felt like everyone was looking at me, this lady with 3 crying kids, this failure. Why did I try so hard, and yet I still felt judged, like I looked like the worst mother on earth. I had just gone through one of the worst things in my life, I almost got a divorce, I was lonely, I was sick of feeling like a failure in every way. I was mad at them for making me feel like a failure (though they didn’t) I could hear people in my head judging me, she needs nanny 911 or some bullshit. I had read all the books, and my pretty ok behaved kids still acted out, because they are well, kids. This day though, this day it was all three, it was no sleep, no friend, family, no break, it was tired of feeling lost, lonely, sad, and yet desperately trying not to fail them. I took them to the car, and I lost my shit. I yelled, horrible things, I don’t even want to think about it. I feel like I exploded, and everything just broke down. I went home and cried till my eyes were puffy, and I couldn’t cry anymore. I cried until I felt nothing, I felt empty. My husband came home and put them to bed. I woke up the next day and apologized, took the oldest to school, middle to pre-k and took the toddler with me to the doctors. I got on zoloft, I just needed to feel like I was doing something to fix what how broken I was, and to atone for what I said. I needed to be better for them. I will always want to be bette for them, and my failing will always eat away at me. I try and pick myself back up and do it again.

    Why are people so damn mean. If you see a mother there with crying kids, why judge her, why look annoyed, or say something stupid. I always try to smile at that mom, or ask if she needs help, or try to make a light hearted joke. She is drowning, she is trying her hardest, and people sit, and judge, and demand that they are never uncomfortable, that no child in their presence ever act like anything other than a little adult. It’s this shitty feeling, and I hate myself for yelling at my kids for hating myself. I have since figured out that I owe strangers nothing. I teach my kids manners to make them good people for their sake, if they mess up and are not perfect in your presence, you can fuck off. I am not going to get mad at them like that again, because I am not going to get mad at me like that again. I am not going to let it rot my insides unless I explode again, and say the stupidest shit imaginable. That won’t happen so fuck off. Parenting is hard, you want to be perfect but you aren’t. Your kids are not either, so come to grips with that. For the love of all the is holy don’t be that dipshit mom that say “ugh my kids would never do that” she is a bitch and we all hate her deep down.

  • Manuela

    Yeah. Why don’t mothers talk about this? At least not at my daughter’s preschool.
    I’ve wanted to leave, to escape, to stop being a responsible person, to commit suicide, to let my little girl fall into the tiger pit when we went to the zoo.
    And guess what, my husband doesn’t understand. Does any man? All they want is the fucking babies. And then they leave the fucking babies with the mother 5 days a week, and spend a couple of minutes with the babies on the weekend.
    Yeah.
    What a fucking fucked up world.
    I’m not loving motherhood, I didn’t want any kid. I already know how hard it would be for me to raise a kid, and wanting one feels like a stupid thing to do. Like signing up to be a member of ISIL.
    Motherhood had turned all my positive life philosophies into trash and turned me into a monster.
    I hated that. I felt that I lost everything that made life worth living.
    My body changed, my heart becomes so nervous and paranoid, my mind turns numb from changing diapers and repeating animal sounds and bedtime tantrums. So yeah. And for what, I absolutely have no idea. Maybe so my daughter can grow into an intelligent, creative, independent young lady, fall in love, and do the same thing I’m doing now for another 17 years.
    Awesome.

  • Ashley

    As a first time mom, and a fiercely independent woman, I want to truly thank you for writing this. I will be filtering your blog indefinitely.

  • Tasha

    I thought I had ruined the life that I had yet to create. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life with a huge loser. And I thought the baby looked weird (honestly ugly) 95% of the day/night. But I loved her, I loved learning mother things, but it was soooo hard. And sometimes she annoyed me or drove me to the point where if she had been an adult, I would have hurt her. But I couldn’t because she was a newborn. And if anyone did anything to hurt my little helpless baby, I would have killed them. So, I just held her and held her and held her. After 8 weeks of holding the little brat, I accepted my new life and her and I think she accepted me right back. Have to create a new life for us now.

  • Anne

    I hope you still read comments on old posts. I really need you to know how profoundly grateful I am that you wrote this and made it accessible to the world. My baby is 6 weeks in 2 days. The darkness was sudden and surprising and made all the worse by the fact that I felt I needed to hide it. Smile, nod, say all the stupid bullshit lines. I could not shake the feeling, or, as it felt, the absolute knowledge that I was doing everything wrong. That I was messing up this kid and someone else should be her mother. Confusingly, I also felt, at the same time as I was wanting to be a good (perfect?) mother, that I absolutely didn’t want to be a mother. I felt like I had ruined my life and now I was stuck. I had thoughts that were awful. Awful. I actually found your blog by googling yet another question about baby sleep. And I got your post about (not) sleep training which was sarcastic and funny and it lead me to keep reading your stuff and then I found this post and it was everything I needed to read. I cried out of sheer relief that someone was not only telling me it was OK that I was incapable of achieving whatever sleep schedule my baby was “supposed” to be on, but also that all those other feelings that I was having were not mine alone. The shift in how I felt about this brought about an immediate change. Suddenly, I could appreciate the sweet moments with my baby without worrying whether it was right according to the experts. It was right for us, in that moment. And that was enough. I’m not saying I’m all fixed, but I’m so much better than I was. It’s amazing to me that a stranger I will likely never meet saved me. So thank you, a million times.

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