Look at this cutie! He is adorable and really just the best baby anyone could ask for. He is also responsible for my writing hiatus.
I’m sure all of you other moms are familiar with the post-partum fog. Somehow you remember to keep everyone alive and transport them to wellness check ups, but you can’t seem to remember when the last time you showered was.
So here is my public apology to all of you. Readers, friends, family, acquaintances…. I apologize for not texting you back, honoring commitments, staying awake during a conversation…
It’s so interesting how every pregnancy is different. Four kids in and I don’t think I have had this level of anxiety. Something in between the baby blues and postpartum depression. I’ve been told this is commonly known as postpartum anxiety. Heck, maybe it’s just regular anxiety. Generic, Aldi-brand anxiety.
I know, I know. This is the part where you say, “Of course you have anxiety, you have FOUR kids.” I’m telling you, it’s really not the amount of kids you have. Er, I have. It’s something else somehow. The kids are pretty standard as far as kids go. The oldest two are pretty self-sufficient now, the baby is adorably sweet and not terribly needy. The three year old is definitely in the terrible threes but that’s also standard.
The anxiety seems to stem from a feeling of always failing at something. I recognize now that this feeling has been there all along, lingering underneath the surface since I was a child possibly. The theme of being pretty decent at a whole lot of things but not actually being great at one thing. Just too many balls in the air for a very long time. I’ve really always been that way and I truly enjoy always being busy and trying different things. But combatting the sinking feeling of failing at various minor things has reared it’s ugly head viciously more recently. And more pointedly, at child rearing.
Thinking I am a parenting pro at this point in my life, it was strange to wonder why I couldn’t sleep due to the constant stream of “what ifs.” I was all of a sudden very concerned with whether Ollie was going to make it through the night, if he would stop breathing in his car seat while I was driving, if he had a terrible disease that we had yet to uncover. If you yourself as a mom (no matter how many children you have) have found yourself unable to sleep due to worry of both rational and irrational fears, you may too have post-partum anxiety. Of course I am not a doctor, but speaking to someone about how you are feeling can be more helpful than you could imagine. As moms we tend to talk to ourselves constantly and it’s hard to keep yourself in check. The thoughts can become more irrational and manic, especially when combined with lack of sleep. If the constant stream of thought starts to become crippling and leads to a more severe fear of leaving the house and maintaining relationships, a higher degree of intervention may be needed.
Regardless, just know you are not alone. You aren’t abnormal, and it’s very important to start the conversation about it with someone supportive.
Since my brain has an automatic Devils Advocate feature, there is still the rational side always counteracting the anxiety. But, the mental ping pong has led me to feel a lot more exhausted than I am used to.
Long gone are the days of us going on a new adventure every day / weekend. Crafts, play dates, etc. I simply could not muster up the fortitude. As most of you know, that is very uncommon for me. I despise sitting around at home and watching the house get destroyed. I would much rather be out exploring with the kids. Every weekend I dread (and then regret) not performing our normal activities.
The up side to all of this is that I feel myself slowly pulling out of it. Not completely, I still stress about the baby for no legitimate reason but I think I am getting little pieces of the old me back. I’m sure little man appreciates a mom that is fully keyed in and not so worried about things out of her control that she misses the special moments that are oh so fleeting.