Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's that flight or fight feeling- only on crack- Part 1

I've debated about writing about this for months now. I'm fact, as I write this, I'm not 100% sure I'll really ever hit that lovely orange "Publish" button. But I feel like like Its something I at least need to write about, if not actually share. My journey with post-partum anxiety has been a rough one... and one I haven't talked about much. Partially because it's hard to put into words how this all feels... but also because I'm afraid of being judged. As though admitting to this all makes me a bad mom... or a bad person. 

Post-partum anxiety. It's a mother (get it?)

I've always been an anxious person. Scared of the world, convinced the worst was going to happen, that someone was out to get me, that I was going to screw up. I've lived my life with this persistent worry in the back of my mind. Worry that always reared its ugly head when I was alone. In the dark. Or just hearing strange noises. I was always able to talk myself out of those fears. That creaking noise I just heard? Probably isn't really the ax murderer I'm picturing. The creeper in the Walmart parking lot? He's probably parked right next to me. I could rationalize and reason with myself. Although my anxiety was never really gone, it was manageable.

And then I got pregnant. And suddenly my fears involved a whole other human being. One that I was responsible for. One who wholly relied on me and my attempts to not screw up (at least not too badly). I remember when I was about 16 weeks pregnant being convinced that she had died. I spent almost a whole week perseverating on the thought. Letting it consume me. It made no rational sense, but I wasn't being rational. I had read way too many blogs and websites about miscarriages. My morning sickness was (for the most part) gone, but I couldn't feel her moving yet. In my mind that meant that something was wrong. Finally, after freaking myself out for a week, I decided to call my doctor. I just wanted to go in, and hear the heartbeat. Just know that things were okay. Only instead of calmly saying that to the nurse, I broke down into big, ugly sobs... and kinda freaked the poor woman out.

When I got to the doctor's that afternoon, we listened to the heartbeat... and then we had that talk. The one where you know the doc thinks you're a whackado and wants you to "talk to someone". I brushed her off, just saying that it was because of stress, and exhaustion... blah blah blah.

I was pretty much fine for the rest of my pregnancy. Anxious yes, but nothing too bad. Nothing that I couldn't handle like I've handled all my anxiety.

And then she was here. This itty bitty, helpless person. I was having the ups and downs that come with post-partum hormones. I was having breastfeeding issues. I was overwhelmed, exhausted... and scared out of my mind. I was constantly checking to make sure she was still breathing. Constantly. Like I would put her down and check every hour or so. I knew it was irrational, but I just couldn't help myself. I constantly worried about something happening to her. Every time I got worried about how much I was worrying I would just reassure myself that it was "normal" and that I would calm down as I got used to having her and felt more comfortable with being a mom.

Except that didn't happen. I'm going to stop here for today. One, because it's getting long, and two, because writing all of this is hard. And emotional. And I need a break from it... 

4 comments:

  1. My oldest child just gave birth to her first child in December....and she is now going through the same thing...and has started counseling...know that you aren't the only one.....Blessings to you and your family, Deborah

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  2. Oh Amanda. ((Hugs)) I went thru PPA as well so I understand what you went thru and are going thru. Please don't feel judged by telling your story. You are putting your story out therr and it will help another momma that is suffering from it but too scared to do anything about it. I also think its going to be theraputic for you to share your story. If you ever need to talk, I'm here!

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  3. Um I kinda just thought that maybe I was crazy but this sounds just like me. My daughter is 17 months old and I still check on her every night before I go to bed and touch her chest to make sure she is breathing. I also wake up in the middle of the night and put her monitor to my ear to make sure I can still hear her breathing too. I always fear the worst for everything. I just can't help it.

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  4. I have had anxiety my whole life... I will worry about the smallest things. Know that you aren't alone. Hugs and if you ever need to talk message me.

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