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7 Tips for Surviving PMS After Baby

Photograph by Getty Images

Once every 31 days or so, I hate my life.

It’s as if my veins are infused with pure, crimson rage. And the only way for that rage to get out is to gradually, over three to five days, crawl its way out of my vagina.

Maybe it’s the aging process as I chug along the slow train to menopause, or the fact that kids make everything a little more intense, or that my period itself is way worse since having children. Whatever the cause, PMS has become unbearable.

RELATED: I Love My Period

Here are six tools I use to cope with the PMS monster while parenting:

1. Track it

You must know when it's coming so you can prepare. I enter pertinent info, like rage/shame/despair spirals, the first and last day of my period and the mysterious one-day emotional shitstorm that occurs halfway through my cycle into a handy little app on my phone.

Why do I need to do this if I know it happens every single month? Well, since becoming a mom, I can generally only remember the last 24 to 48 hours at a time. I feel like the guy in Memento, but instead of tattoos everywhere, I have peanut butter stains on my shirt and Frozen stickers on my boobs. Keeping track of my period reminds me of what is coming and why I have the urge to karate chop everyone who crosses my path for a few days each month.

2. Prepare

Stock up for your battle. Have whatever menstrual paraphernalia you need, as well as any special dietary necessities like chocolate, wine or Valium on hand. Shop for these things ahead of time, or better yet Amazon Prime yourself a PMS survival kit. The last thing you want is to be stuck without armor for the physical and emotional aspects of your battle.

3. Warn your allies

Each month, when I feel the seeds of PMS sprouting, I give my husband a heads up. “Don’t let me try to have any serious talks with you,” I remind him. He nods his head solemnly, bracing himself for the days ahead.

4. Ask for help

Just like bears are drawn to menstruating women, so too are my children

Try and line up some extra childcare if at all possible. Even the sweetest and mellowest of children become bothersome during these trying times. Just like bears are drawn to menstruating women, so too are my children. Inevitably they will wake up extra needy and cranky on my worst PMS days. I will snap at them and decline reenacting scenes from their favorite movies. Mere moments later I will chastise myself, descending into a guilt/rage tornado.

If you can’t get extra help, deploy the TV.

5. Hunker down

Unless you are an extreme extrovert, stay the hell away from people during your most vulnerable days. Do not go to the grocery store, the mall or anywhere that crowds converge. If at all possible, stay in bed watching "Gilmore Girls," blanketed by a thin layer of chocolate wrappers. Wait for the storm to pass.

6. Have perspective

Like teething, night waking and potty training, this too shall pass. In 10 to 30 years, your periods will cease, leaving you barren, moody and dry as the Sahara. But the PMS? That will pass.

7. You are not alone

Remember: the battle is lonely, but you are not alone (even if you are fortunate enough to actually be alone). Millions of menstruating women walk in furious, despondent solidarity with you. They shudder with agitation as they wait in an endless line for their coffee. They’ve locked themselves in the bathroom, pretending their kids aren’t pounding on the door with their grubby little paws.

RELATED: My Mom Forced Me to Have a 'Period Party' Too

Check in with your friends and see if they, too, are experiencing increasingly worse bouts of PMS. If they are, call in their empathy during your dark days and offer yours to them when they are in need. Trade war stories. Sync up your cycles and have PMS play dates. We’re in this together, ladies.

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