The more mothers I become acquainted with, the more I believe we’re all crazy. Almost every mommy friend of mine has depression or anxiety or panic attacks or worse. I’m coming to understand why my midwife looks suspicious when I hand her my post-partum questionaire. I’m cute and bubbly while she silently reads my answers. Occasionally she looks up at me, and I squirm under her searching gaze. “I promise it’s true!” I want to shout. “I don’t burst into tears over nothing, and I don’t want to stab my baby!” Apparently I’m the only one who doesn’t have post-partum depression. Or maybe I just call it something else, which is take-this-baby-right-now-so-I-can-take-a-nap-or-else-I’m-going-to-divorce-you.
Well, anyway, don’t get all defensive, Mommy Friends. I have my moments of craziness too. Apparently my condition is extremely rare. Or maybe almost everyone has it, but no one admits it, and so healthcare workers don’t know to ask about it.
You tell me. Is this normal?:
A few days after my first child’s birth, at about 2:00 am, I suffered from take-this-baby-right-now-so-I-can-take-a-nap-or-else-I’m-going-to-divorce-you. My husband, being a wise man, took the baby and handed me his earplugs. I went to our room, shut the door and laid down on the bed. I was exhausted, and I didn’t care what happened in the living room, so long as it didn’t involve me. I closed my eyes and waited to fall asleep–wonderful sleep! The problem was, the earplugs weren’t doing their job. I could still hear the baby crying. I waited for my husband to calm her down. I waited some more. And some more. And some more. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore! My husband was incompetent, and I was going to have to take over again! I sat up and ripped my earplugs out of my ears.
The apartment was dead silent.
That was my first hallucination. I didn’t experience it again for a long time. But after baby number four, I hallucinated again. This time, though, instead of hearing a baby crying, I heard children fighting. I was cooking dinner and the sound of my vegetables frying and the stove fan blowing was already pretty hard on my ears. But the sound of my older girls quarreling was pushing me past my breaking point. Finally I snapped. I was going to give those girls a tongue lashing! I twisted the stove knob to off and I turned off the fan!
The only sound was happy children playing quietly.
Now Mommy Friends, tell me. Do you hallucinate too?