I never realized I could love someone so much… I thought to myself as I held my brand new baby not even 6 hours old. I looked into his deep brown eyes and thought I love you so much. I love you more than I ever thought I could. As each moment passes I grow more and more in love with you. With these intense emotions and genuine endorphin high, also came fear and anxiousness.
I felt a piece of my heart leave my body when I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. It was beautiful but also incredibly terrifying. For 9 long months, 39 weeks and 3 days I carried my baby. I loved him, nourished him, prayed over him, worried about him and protected him. As a mama who knows loss, I knew throughout my pregnancy that at absolutely any moment this miracle baby I was carrying could very well be taken away. Throughout my pregnancy I continuously told myself things for me to make it through. I just have to get to 5 weeks… I just have to get through 6 weeks…. I just have to make it past the first ultrasound and if baby is okay, I’ll be able to breathe. I just have to get through the first trimester. And ultimately I would say I just have to get through this pregnancy. Once I get though this pregnancy I will be able to relax and all will be okay. Little did I know that my love, as well as my anxiety for my baby was only beginning.
While in the hospital the first two nights of my baby’s life I didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep not because he was crying but because I was so scared of losing him. I was afraid he would stop breathing if I wasn’t watching him. I was afraid he would aspirate. I was afraid he would some how suffocate from his swaddle or his organs would suddenly stop working. It was a never ending cycle that I’m sure a lot of moms encounter. It was exhausting and sometimes hard to live in the moment and enjoy my sweet newborn.
As the weeks went by I continued the roller coaster of postpartum anxiety. Was Matthew eating enough? Was he pooping enough? He sounds congested, did he aspirate? He’s crying, is it a hungry cry or is he in pain? He isn’t comforted when I hold him, is he mad at me? He failed his hearing test, does he have an impairment. Throughout this cycle I had a hard time taking care of myself. I would forget to eat, forget to drink which would ultimately mess with my milk supply and make me irritable and impatient. I would refuse to sleep because I hated hearing my baby crying even though I completely trusted my husband when he would get up to care for him. I kept putting my baby first but forgetting that I can’t be the best mommy for my baby, if I didn’t try to take care of myself too.
Postpartum anxiety is a real thing. I had no idea. I had only ever heard of postpartum depression. But these moments of mind racing, panicked anxiousness was real and hard to control. I wasn’t crazy, but going through what a lot of mamas do.
Since becoming an earth side mama, I love deeper, cry harder and laugh longer. I also fear the worse and struggle with just letting go and letting God do what he’s going to do. Part of that is just being a mom and part of that is postpartum anxiety. Motherhood is a beautiful blessing and I thank God everyday for my beautiful rainbow baby. And with time, meds and rest my anxiety and emotions will eventually settle down some. I’m getting the help I need as well as taking it one day at a time.
Motherhood is a journey. Just like how trying to conceive, pregnancy and labor are all journeys in themselves; motherhood too is a journey… and accompanied by love and anxiety.