Updated: Nov 6, 2019
So this week is mental health week and its good to talk, to open up , I suffer and suffer is the right word, from postnatal anxiety. I didn't even know it was a thing until I mentioned (in a fit of bravery) the symptoms I was labouring under to a group of other mums and luckily another not only suffered but was on her 2 nd bubs and it was happening again, she felt that I fit the profile as such. Now postnatal depression gets all the attention but there is other things out there to get ya,( thats what the anxiety is about , all the things that are going to get you and or your baby ) and we just don't talk enough it , so here goes
Today is a good day , yesterday wasn't, I'm 9 months in and still on the odd occasion plagued with doubt and fear, that I'm not bonding with her, that I'm failing her, that I don't talk enough to her, that I should be playing with her instead of having that cuppa. I guess as I am dropping feeds too, due to being her chew toy. That I am going through physical as well as emotional changes which probably in turn has brought out the psychosis in full force. Those feeling of 'inadequate' get blown up as you move from being her world to no longer needed.
My anxiety manifests itself in a way that when her and her Dad offered to go shopping and let me rest up, I wasn't feeling well , I had an awful image that they would get in to an accident and both die. I can't live without them especially her, sorry dear but she is my life and that I had to go with them so if they went, I go to. I constantly am afraid someones going to take her from me. Thats I am going to lose her. Every tv program about hospitals and kidnappings , I have to switch over or I don't sleep. I hold on tight to her pram in a windy day and imagine it getting away from me. This is just a few examples.
It's crippling , those days , when I'm crying inside and out at different points of the day. Holding my baby so close, crumbling inside. Its part baby blues, post natal depression and mostly postnatal anxiety. It's what we don't talk about and how long this actually lasts. I feel I should be better literally and should be over it . Im not. And that adds to the feeling of failing like I'm not only failing as a Mother but failing to cope with failing as a person to her.
It is so hard, my baby is beautiful, wonderful, healthy and happy ( I am so bias, I know everyones wee one is beautiful, wonderful and happy, but some are not healthy and it's those mums that get the front of the queue to complain as such ) But one smile from her, and everything is ok in the world so why am I so affected by all this doubt, nagging , doubt that washes over me so often.
I am stuck between , fake it to make it and speak up and out as such , when someone says how are you , do you tell them? Im stuck because I am hoping behind the I'm fine and the smile that, that positive affirmation will blow away the darkness. So in faking it , I will feel it. But also speaking out sometimes doesn't help. You can feel more of a failure like they are judging you , ( they are not but in my head they could be ) putting voice to the fears sometimes makes them more real not vice versa.
The way Im coping is to find the happy ( pun intended ) medium, to tell people I love , for them to hug me and relay my fears. And when I am alone and the images come to my head and the fear creeps in , to see it through, swim around in it, get all pruny. I have a good cry if its fear of failing her ( always helps in just about every facet of life ) . As for actually failing my child ,I think every parents feels that and in doing so makes sure that they do their best not to. It is funny that I am good with the little things, the nannying side, yes my kid is going bump themselves, yet emotionally coping with expectations of our lives together floors me. Really should be other way round ?
As for the anxiety, I imagine the worst, get it out of my head otherwise its around every corner of every thought. I see the accident, I figure out what I will do if it happened, I then see them survive and everything is fine. It is getting better as time goes on and I'm feeling, hoping that in time it will a bait for good.
I don't know the answer thats for sure, be it airing the demons, is good for the soul or letting it fade away quietly of its own accord. I know pretending everything is fine to yourself is not the answer. What ever or how ever you cope , be it counselling , medication, education of what you are feeling ( books / internet articles etc ) , talking to others in a casual manner be it coffee group or classes. Or just knowing that you are not going crazy, is better than suffering through it. All of the above can help you to know you are not alone, that this does happen to everyone ( it is suspected every mother suffered some symptoms of postnatal something be it depression or anxiety in their early motherhood journey ) and it effects and affects everyone differently and can take as long as it takes to feel normal again. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we will all find it. x