I had never struggled with anxiety.
I’m not even sure I knew what anxiety was, outside of the stress of upcoming exams or a lump in my throat before an interview.
I got anxious, but I never struggled with anxiety.
Then I had my son, and anxiety washed over me like a tidal wave.
My worry started before I even gave birth, I just didn’t realize it. I legitimately was scared to walk across my kitchen with a knife, or even to use one in general towards the end of my pregnancy. Scared I would lose my balance and fall or suddenly forget to hold on to it tightly and impale him in the womb… Has that even ever happened? Accidental impalement in utero while cooking dinner? No clue. But there’s bound to be a first time for everything.
It didn’t stop after he was born, in fact it only got worse for the first few months. I have since learned to tame it, but it still rears its ugly head sometimes.
I was very torn when Everest was a newborn. Part of me was lonely and heartbroken that my family was 6 hours away, missing these first few sweet months with this new life I had created. The other half was kind of relieved, because it meant I had to take him fewer places. It meant we could stay home where we were safe. It meant very few people had access to my most precious thing.
I didn’t realize it was anxiety at first. I thought it was just the normal worries of being a parent, until I realized it kind of wasn’t. Until I realized taking my freshly born baby anywhere involving people was crippling.
And trying to do it without Nick? Forget it.
Suddenly I realized that anxiety had knocked me down so many pegs that I could hardly bear to leave the house with just the two of us. Maybe it was because it was all so new, maybe it was my hormones still trying to find their equilibrium, I’m not sure. But I do know, that the first 6 months were a bit of a struggle.
And just to clarify, I did not struggle with postpartum depression. I was on cloud nine, happier than I had ever been, and more in love and bonded with this new baby than I ever thought possible.
I wasn’t depressed, I was just terrified.
And to all of you terrified mamas out there, I see you. All of you dreading grocery shopping, or get togethers with friends, or date nights, I see you. All of you wondering if other moms have these insane ideas of what must be happening at home when your husband, the amazing father he is, isn’t answering your text right away. I see you.
And it gets better. At least it did for me, and I hope you find what you need to make sure it does for you.
Am I still ridiculous in the scenarios I can think up? You betchya. Have I hid the hotdogs in the fridge because I’m scared whoever is watching him won’t cut them up small enough? Guilty. Do I still get a stomach ache when anyone but myself drives with Everest in a car? Definitely. Do I still panic when the babysitter doesn’t answer me for a few hours and my mind goes right to a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning? Well duh, it could happen ya know.
But it does get easier.
Your baby won’t always be helpless. They will learn to walk away from danger, they will gain the ability to chew sufficiently, they will begin to talk and can express their needs.
The worry never leaves, it just changes. And I promise, you will become better equipped to handle it.
The Beautifully Mediocre Mama
P.S. I am able to keep my anxiety at bay without medication, but if you are struggling, please talk to your doctor. Let them know what you’re feeling and please, do not feel ashamed. There is no shame in loving too fiercely and wanting to protect your most precious things.