Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten. -Buddha
Having a baby is hard enough, but throw in some postpartum depression, and your world gets turned upside down. The first year was the roughest for me for many reasons, the least of which is the resentment I felt towards people who did not deserve it. A large majority of the time, the resentment was ill-founded. I had no real reason to be angry and feel this way towards my daughter or my husband, but I did.
The most obvious feelings of resentment was towards my husband. I say obvious because it felt real, and happened often, even though there was no reason for it. He did his fair share of the parental responsibilities. He got up with her for feedings, he helped with the housework, and he was just a great father and husband. I felt guilty when he got up in the middle of the night to be with kiddo because he had to get up early for work. I did not. I had the option of napping when kiddo did, so it only seemed right that I should do the most work when it came to the home and kiddo.
That was when I felt the resentment, when I was the one doing everything. The reason I was doing everything: I didn’t want help. I got up in the middle of the night to feed kiddo, or be with her when she was sick, because I felt guilty when he did it because he had to go to work in the morning. He was training other Marines to work in his job, so he had to be awake and alert. However, when I was up with her, all I could think of was how mad I was at him for not doing it. It wasn’t for a lack of trying on his part, he was always trying to make me stay in bed and sleep so he could go get her, but I always ended up going because of the idea that it was MY job. The resentment though was there, even though it was my choice to be the one who did everything myself.
That resentment often turned into anger, which would get directed at whomever was near. That usually ended up being kiddo. I only raised my voice at her once during those sleepless nights, which was completely uncalled for, but it happened. I am sure our nights were longer than they might have been under normal conditions because I am sure I had a major negative energy surrounding me. I am positive that negative energy is what fueled her crying.
On those long nights, or any other time I felt like I was doing everything myself (which I was, because it was my job!), I felt so angry with my husband. I felt angry with my daughter. I even felt angry with myself. There was so much anger and resentment coursing through me, I am not sure how I survived. Actually, I am not sure how our marriage survived. I would snap at him for trying to help, for not trying to help, for anything and everything really. Even on nights where he was so exhausted from work, and didn’t hear her crying, I would get upset and angry that he did not hear her, like he did it on purpose to spite me.
I still get those feelings from time to time. Last night is a good example. He got home last from a mess night he had for work, so he was out like a light as soon as his head hit the pillow. Kiddo woke up because she had leaked out her nighttime diaper, and her pajamas and sheets were wet. I got up to change her and the bed, and started to feel that resentment rise up. Why wasn’t he in here helping me? Why was I the only one who had to be awake at two in the morning? As soon as that feeling started to boil, I stopped myself. I even laughed. Was I really going to feel that way over this? No. I am done with that.
My husband is awesome, and is always helping. He has been my rock, along with my daughter, throughout this whole ordeal. We had some rough patches, and I was worried about our marriage at one point, but things are great again. I have no reason to feel resentment towards someone who does his best to be helpful in everything. He not only works hard at work, but he does a lot for us here at home too. So what if I get up with her in the middle of the night. He almost always gets up with her in the morning and let’s me sleep in. I think it’s a fair trade, especially since kiddo is an early riser.
In order for me to heal, and be a better me, I have to learn to let go of the silly things. I have to let go of the resentment that is ill-founded. I have to let people help me when I most need it. I am slowly accepting this, and I actually feel better because of it. Resentment made me an ugly, hateful person. Postpartum depression did too. That is not who I am, so I am moving on, and letting go.