Worry Isn’t Just Worry

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“I know nothing is safe, and my child’s life is not so sacred that death cannot touch it. I am vulnerable. I am scared. You think you understand. But you don’t.” 

This woman’s words resonated with me as I read a post about being 1 in 4, addressing pregnancy loss. I too can relate to this loss but at the time of reading this post, I had my son who was about 5 months old. I was a nervous wreck and had not been sleeping well for months. At night I would read and sing to my son after washing him up and preparing him for bed. We would share an Eskimo kiss and say goodnight. I would lay him down to sleep and he would sleep so peacefully. Me, on the other hand, not so much. Some nights I would be so tired yet so restless with insomnia.

At times when I would eventually fall off to sleep I would sit up quickly in bed, my heart pacing with fear, I would rush to my son’s side. As I stood there looking over him, still peacefully sleeping, I had awoken with  such fear and anxiety that my son wasn’t breathing, or that something just wasn’t right, this went on MOST nights.

Our babies are so precious to us, but like this woman said, they are not so sacred or special  that death cannot touch them. This fear alone was not it’s first since becoming a mommy. Other fears included someone taking my child while out and about, him being harmed at daycare, the battle between whether to vaccinate or not, having a wreck while my son is in the car or him choking, etc. The one thing all of this fear had in common was the fact that it gave me anxiety and took over my thoughts and emotions.

One day my son’s father said to me, “I think you’re dealing with Postpartum Depression” Looking at the medical term for Postpartum depression: I kept telling myself, no, I don’t feel that way, I’m not depressed, I just worry a little, every parent worries.

The fear that I would fail myself and fail my son at being his protector seemed to hang over me and be the cause to all the other fears. Short back story here, my mother gave me up as a baby and I told myself I would never give up on being a mommy or being there to protect my little one(s) should the day come and I become a mother.

I knew that becoming a mother would be hard work and that as a mother you strive to protect your child/children and care for them the best you can. Day in and day out my mind wandered with worry. When I did talk about these concerns and worry with a few, it was not met with caution on their end, as they would say “Your kid is cute and all, but not that cute that someone would take him” or “You’re just crazy”.

Was I crazy? Is my kid so special that I would feel someone would take him from me? Or harm him?

That wasn’t the real issue! Regardless of the initial snowball of thoughts, the real issue was that I was dealing with Postpartum Anxiety, the cousin to Postpartum Depression.

The last thing you want as a mother is for something out of your control to happen to you or your child/children. At one point my mind jumped to, when he starts school, what if he’s bullied? That’s when I realized, Hey girl, get a grip! That hasn’t happened, you’ve got time to prepare for that. Although I cannot control the future,  I can control my thoughts here and now.

I had sought therapy a few years back, (CBT) cognitive behavioral therapy, when my grandmother was ill.

Anxiety had hit me then like a ton of bricks. What my therapist told me at that point, I applied to this situation. He told me to refocus my thoughts onto something positive, something rational. This isn’t an easy application because sometimes your mind gets so occupied with the stress and anxiety that your feelings supersede any rational thoughts. For this purpose I write little reminder notes and place them on the mirror in my bathroom, on the dashboard of my car and I write my thoughts down as suggested by my then therapist.

I so want this post to bring awareness of PPA (Postpartum Anxiety), especially to those close to a  postpartum mother. I want to ask that you be selective and careful with your words! When a mother comes to you with concerns or worries, don’t brush her words/feelings off so carelessly, some part of her brain or emotion feels strongly about what it is she is sharing, a listening ear and slow tongue is always best.

This post’s purpose is to also let mothers out there know that they are not alone. You may not be depressed,  you may not have checked all or any of the boxes on the PPD assessment at your 6-8 week check up, or at your child’s first doctors appointment but just know that when this anxiety is not dealt with, it could lead to PPD (Postpartum Depression). As mothers we must take control before things get out of control, our families need us, WE need us. If you are anxious or having panic attacks, PLEASE tell your OB-gyn or your child’s pediatrician how you are feeling. Join a mommy support group in your area and or try meditating, most importantly seek council with a (CBT) cognitive behavioral therapist.

Remember that you are not alone. For now, take a few moments and JUST breathe.

To read the full article on Postpartum Anxiety: http://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/the-other-postpartum-problem-anxiety/

 

~Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than ACTION. – Walter Anderson

 

Cassie Murphy is a new mother and after 6 years of working in customer service has decided that the world could benefit from a huge dose of kindness.

 




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