My wife just gave birth to our second daughter, and after 9 weeks has gone back to work. She works the first shift and I work the second, and we switch off caring for the kids. Eight hours a day I am alone with a 2 year old and an extremely difficult 3 month old. I have been in therapy and on Zoloft to treat anxiety for almost six years now.
My wife is a saint, my therapist is a tremendous help. My mother and several work friends who are new moms all seem to have full confidence in me. But often I feel like I'm falling into an abyss of anxiety and depression and rage.
I had a lot of apprehension about our second child, as our first was and is a relatively easy kid. Our youngest was born healthy, but from the moment she exited the womb she has been a fussy, crying, unpredictable nightmare. My wife has dealt with it all with grace and aptitude, but now that she has gone back to work and I am left alone with the baby everything seems to have come undone.
When she's not crying she is smiley and responsive and adorable. But on a dime she will erupt in a chaos of screaming that sounds like a panther murdering a pig. I have read Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Baby On The Block" and employ the 5 Ss technique, which, while effective 100% of the time, often takes up to 30 minutes to work, during which time she continues to howl and thrash. Sometimes during this process I feel consumed by chaos and helplessness and lack of control, and I start panicking. Twice now I have lost it and screamed in her face that I hate her.
I don't hate her. It has been very difficult to feel affection for her, especially in contrast to the bond I have with my oldest, but I know she's just a baby. I can't imagine ever actually hurting her, and the times I have yelled at her I feel like I want to die afterwards. My wife has twice had to leave work to come and relieve the sobbing blob that once was her husband. The strain of the situation has begun to take its toll on her now, and I can feel our relationship start to fray and become distant and odd.
Most of the time I feel confident. But then all of a sudden I'm out to sea and contemplating checking myself into the psych ward.
I need to feel like everything is going to be okay, that things are going to get better and we will be happy again. I need to feel like I have structure and safety in my life. If anyone can tell me how to keep the faith and convince myself that this is all worthwhile and that it will get better, I would be eternally grateful. Please help me.