Hormonal Rage

Just to recap: I’m from Los Angeles, but I’m currently in the UK, two years into a very fish-out-of-water experience. Being an expat is no joke. I’m not exaggerating when I say that almost everything is different in England than it is in California, where in my homesick memory, even in the traffic is more tolerable.

I’m in England because I’m working on a PhD about childbirth intervention. Somehow, I managed to convince an academic department to fund my project, and now I actually have to DO this massive thing.

Finally, I’ve just had my first baby.

So: 5,000 miles from family + PhD student + new mom. I have no local family support, I’m working on a doctorate, I haven’t slept more than 4 consecutive hours in 7.5 months, I carry/cradle/pick up/put down/walk/dance/bounce my son all day long, I am still exclusively breastfeeding, I am ten pounds lighter than I was when I got divorced and stopped eating for three months, and until two days ago, when I passed my UK driving test, I couldn’t drive here and was walking/taking the train/catching buses with a child strapped to my body whenever I had to go anywhere. So, I’m fucking exhausted and sometimes I can’t think straight or make decisions or get through a driving lesson without coming home and losing my shit because everything is just DEMANDS CONSTANTLY.

Thus, I find it really offensive and dismissive when people tell new moms that it’s okay to feel upset because our “hormones are still settling.” As if not loving every second of our insane new lives could only be because us ladies are forever at the mercy of our hormones. We accept that a person who hasn’t slept well overnight or has a cold might be negatively impacted, but we feel the need to excuse mothers who feel bad. Don’t worry, Mom. You’re just hormonal. I understand that some women really do suffer from hormonal imbalances post-pregnancy, and I don’t at all mean to disparage them. However, patting a new mom on the the head and telling her that all her fears and anxieties and complete exhaustion are just by-products of her hormones does two things:

  1. Ignores that having a baby explodes a woman’s life
  2. Dismisses the very real and very visceral physical and emotional trauma of that explosion

I feel crazy sometimes because I’m sleep deprived and physically drained and walking around with eighteen pounds of squirming, grabbing baby attached to my skeletal frame all day long. I snap at my husband because as much as he loves us, he doesn’t understand what this is like for me. I am uncomfortable with the way I look because I look really different. I get angry or weepy or temporarily mean because I am tasked with something damn near impossible and I am just one human being and I am tired.

Being overwhelmed by a new baby is normal, because a new baby is overwhelming, not because women just can’t hang. I pushed a person out of my body and am now responsible for taking care of him. I think I’m entitled to have some real feelings about it.

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3 thoughts on “Hormonal Rage

  1. oh how I wished I lived in London (I’m in Doncaster, Yorkshire) to sit and enjoy a glass of wine with you! Firstly as a Mum of one (my little boy is nearly 2), I totally feel your pain sister. As a full time Mother and Full time worker, this juggling malarkey is simply shit. “It’ll get better” i’ve heard numerous times and fuck right off is what i feel like yelling. Pulled form pillar to post, I often forget who i am. My fiance is great, but then he doesnt have to worry about getting our little one to Grandmas at the other side of town or to nursery, worry about tea choices, when the shopping is to be done, has the dog poo’d today, whether the spare room is made up for onslaught of visitors h’e invited or that he’s forgotton his Dad’s birthday…Being a Mum is fucking hard at times! From one Mother to another i’m sending you a hug and a large brandy!

  2. I can’t relate specifically to what you’re going through as we’re so different with what we’ve had going on after baby but *hugs*
    That is all. Just a hug. No words just hugs.

  3. I’m not sure how I stumbled onto your blog….oh yeah, transverse baby Google search. 1 am going to have my 5th baby in a couple of months and I would say having your first is the hardest. It’s an incredibly awkward, all-consuming adjustment. Some parts are wonderful, and others aren’t. It’s just the nature of things. I still am having a hard time adjusting my life to the ages and stages of my poor, first-born Guinea pig. As soon as you adjust to their new stage in life they want to paint their room black, so you compromise with a chalkboard wall. It never ends. To be sure, it’s not all those hormones coursing through your body, it’s supremely hard to let go of who you are and let someone else dictate how long you sleep, or if you have a black wall in your house on purpose.
    Things that help me be less of a mess: a great non-judgy friend whom has horror stories of her own, date night, faith in God, and I am considering a cleaning lady to round off the list.
    Being a mom is nothing to sneeze at. At times you just have to choose to do the next right thing in that 5 minute time frame. And them do it again. One last thought, there is probably nothing more crazy- making than sleep deprivation. I Can totally relate. The good news is at some point they start sleeping through, and so do you.

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