Prompting event for my emotion:
Today we had a rough morning, with neither of us getting enough sleep. (Amy slept fine.) My left wrist hurts. Then we had to go run errands with Amy so that people could look at the house. Then I had choir, which was okay but not great — I made some mistakes and regret some of my comments, because I feel I shouldn’t speak up so much, not because my comments were bad. When I got home, I had to take Amy so Mark could cook. I wanted to look for a restaurant near Bill and Dawn’s for a date tomorrow night.
Amy was fussy — loud and squirmy. She had to wait for a bottle because there wasn’t any formula already made up. I was angry and crying and didn’t have my earplugs in reach. When Mark asked if I was alright I said I was not in the mood for responsibility but I had to accept it.
I finally got my earplugs (after the feeding, when she stopped to yell… I set her on the floor and got them and then returned), and I changed her when it seemed she was ready to poop (been a while). She seemed happy for a few minutes and then fussy again. When it was time to sit down for dinner, I was still teary and angry. We tried to talk about it — I tried to explain that I wasn’t trying to put all the responsibility on him, just that I didn’t want it either, and yet I did it.
He said he understood that rationally but it was hard for him not to feel otherwise. He said he was used to having to shoulder that extra responsibility (these first months of Amy’s life with my PPD) and couldn’t go back to that.
A little later he said, “Why is it like this now?”
Let me also mention that we lose an hour tonight, and I’m supposed to be at church a half hour early because the choir is singing and will practice before the service. So I’m on a sleep deficit already and am going to lose another hour and a half. Have I mentioned that I have sleep anxiety?
Interpretations (beliefs, assumptions):
Mark’s statement tells me that my support is gone. I must be better even if I’m not. I must heal linearly and finally, with no lingering problems or setbacks.
Mark’s question tells me this burst of feeling must be more significant than I thought it was.
I am bad because I reacted to his question and withdrew instead of remaining present and continuing the effort to communicate.
I’ve ruined any chance of enjoying our date tomorrow.
Tired. Tense. Clenched.
Furrowed brow, tense jaw, arms held in close.
None. Perhaps suppressed. If I had to guess, I might guess that I want to yell at Mark, do all the housework I could possibly come up with (to prove how much responsibility I can handle and to punish him for thinking otherwise), lock myself in my room, write a letter explaining how I feel: abandoned, distrusted, accused of exceptional selfishness, forbidden to have bad moments or any feelings at all.
I finished my dinner, washed the dishes, made up some formula, brushed my teeth, changed into PJs, asked Mark if there was anything else I needed to do. (Meanwhile he has had Amy… some of the time fussing, some laughing and playing which made me jealous, now apparently getting tired.)
Still angry and furrowed and clenched. I’m annoyed that he didn’t remember me warning him that I would likely crash sometime this afternoon or evening, considering my sleep loss.
Challenge to the interpretations:
Mark and I actually did a pretty good job communicating until I was unable to face his question. That question, “why is it like this now,” is not phrased accusingly and may have been simultaneously annoyed, disappointed, worried, and yet concerned and really wanting to know the answer.
I haven’t lost all of his support. He hasn’t removed any support, just expressed a desire not to have to take on more than he has been lately. If I do experience such a setback that I am again unable to do much with Amy for a time, there are other resources.
I can regret my inability to face his question at that moment without judging myself as entirely and always bad.
Tomorrow really is another day, and perhaps we will enjoy our date after all.
I think I have a pattern of self-sabotage before major things-I-want-and-almost-never-have like dates. I guess part of me feels undeserving and tries to prove it.
Edited to add: Mark read this and says I misunderstood what he meant about the responsibility thing. He wasn’t referring to this PPD thing, but to early in our marriage, when housework and such made me feel obliterated — when I felt that all he wanted from me was to keep his house neat and stay out of his way. That’s one of the things Joe and I addressed (and made lots of progress on) in my first round of therapy.