The anger stage

SB’s adjustment to kindergarten appears to follow a “two steps forward, one step back” pattern – and I worry that I didn’t make it easier. Monday she went for 2h and apparently it was fine. Sure, she complained when I left, but was okay when I came back. She had a runny nose and sleep badly the next night, possibly with a little elevated temperature. No actual fever, at least not when I took her temperature the next morning. She didn’t seem too happy, but okay, so I brought her over. She wailed when I left and still cried when I returned… Apparently she did have some better moment but was unhappy a lot that day. Fortunately she recovered quickly (physically), and Wednesday was better again. 
Today marks the one week countdown until I go back to work. SB fell asleep after breakfast (which is quite rare) so I took her in a bit later than usual. She spent 3h in kindergarten, I’m told it had ups and downs, alternating between curiously exploring the room and crying angrily. They tell me angry is better than sad. She is still refusing to eat (has the entire week). They tell me it’s quite common, that eating and sleeping are the ways in which little ones protest (besides crying). She was sleeping when I arrived – I’m so glad she sleeps there, I had worried about that. 

I’m not sure why today hit me so hard. Perhaps because of the countdown. Perhaps because I had kind of expected it to be better than yesterday and it wasn’t. But while preparing lunch I burst into tears. SB meanwhile was happily playing in her pool – on day two she had been really clingy for the rest of the day, so I’m taking it as a step forward that she’s okay now when we’re back home. I even considered canceling my job contract. But first I took SB for a walk and sat down in a little coffee shop after she fell asleep. And then I saw our bank statement with lots of new mysterious deductions. (One of the real perks of moving to a new country is that nobody ever tells you about all the expenses. Not on purpose, I’m sure, but it’s always shocking to realize that there’s also this fee and that tax, and how expensive housing really is.) So there’s no question on whether I’m going to work. And I think once we’ve all adapted to it we’ll be fine. But it breaks my heart to see her so sad every morning. If I’m the one that could comfort her, why do I leave? I wonder if it is especially hard because of my two other babies that I can’t comfort no matter what. And quite possibly she’s all better after 5 minutes – she often cries when I leave her with her dad, and sometimes when he leaves in the morning. It’s just how she is, and it’s unexpectedly hard on me. Perhaps also because I’m “just going home” where I have a little too much time to think (not that I don’t have other things to do, but it’s easy enough to trail off).

***

On a blog with this history, the anger stage would typically refer to one of the five stages of grief. I feel like I still haven’t been through this stage. My main emotion about the loss of A&C is still sadness. To be clear, it’s not that I’m sad all the time, or that I’m always sad when thinking about the twins. But I tend to feel sad rather than angry. And in a way I’d like to get this anger out – for me, anger comes with energy, and I feel like I haven’t had as much energy since we lost A&C. It’s hard to say whether this has to do with all the other things requiring my energy (grieving, being pregnant and scared, taking care of a baby, moving, not getting enough sleep, etc.) or if there is a black hole somewhere sucking up my energy. And if the latter, what to do about it – what does one do about black holes? I liked being full of energy and I’m hoping to find a way back there.

***

It is, of course, the next day by now. I dropped SB off, went home to meditate, and remembered the “contractions of life” from my childbirth class. This too shall pass. It’s a tough time with so many adjustments, but we’ll get through – with more adjustments if necessary, we’ll come out okay on the other side.

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6 thoughts on “The anger stage

  1. You’re doing great! Sounds like SB is going through a normal period of adjustment–stay strong mama. As per “low energy” and “black hole”, those are signs of depression. You have been through A LOT and you may have depression. You may not need meds (though I’m on Wellbutrin and it gave me back my energy) but please find a therapist–preferibly one who is certified or has experience in Postpartum depression. XOXO

  2. I’ve not had your losses, but I imagine that times of transition bring to the surface these feelings as it would be hard not to think about A&C during these extraordinary times. You’ve learned to live your day to day life, but you don’t move across oceans to a new country every day. I’m sorry that both you and SB are having a bit of a tough time adjusting. Maybe MLACS is right and therapy or medication will help you. But I also wonder if it’s the anticipation of the change–new job, new caretaker for SB–that is causing the anxiety and when you’ve passed that hurdle you’ll fall back into your routine.

    1. There certainly are a lot of transitions, and looking back I’m wondering if I took it too lightly – “I’ve moved halfway across the world before, it’s not that hard”. But the change to trailing spouse and back to working mom adds an extra twist or two. And the twins add an extra layer, of course. We’ll see how things go in a week or two.

  3. Aw, I’m so sorry that SB and you are struggling a bit with the transition. I can imagine it’s so hard to hear her cry and then want to comfort her and make things easy but at the same time knowing that life is complicated and you do need to work. I’m not an expert but it seems to me that she is slowly transitioning and things will get better. As you pointed you are going through a lot of transitions too. You’ve been through a lot and even though there is always more to do time must be taken to process everything (I don’t really like that expression, but I can’t think of a better one). I will second MLACS and say seek out help if you feel overwhelmed. Hugs.

    1. I think she is transitioning, Friday she was pretty happy and slept and ate in kindergarten! Honestly the most overwhelming aspect are all the things that need to be done (largely still moving logistics, and some new job logistics) and I hope that once we have those ironed out it’ll be a bit more smooth. But I’ll keep an eye on the depression aspect.

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