It could never happen to me, Right?
That was something I am sure many people think about when they have a baby they are about to give birth to, I know for me I knew very little about what exactly post postpartum anxiety is. Even after my 1st I still never really knew.
Post Partem anxiety is, as described by google :
Postpartum anxiety is excessive worrying that occurs after childbirth or adoption. People with postpartum anxiety may feel consumed with worry and constantly nervous or panicked. If you or someone you know has symptoms of postpartum anxiety, get help from a healthcare provider immediately.
And you know how I figured out that I probably suffer from this, I was watching a TikTok. In the video it was something like “Here are your signs that you suffer from postpartum anxiety, and one of them was holding on to their baby and as they walked up the stairs they had a thought bubble of “I hope that I don’t drop the baby”. And that is when it clicked. I have postpartum anxiety. I know it sounds wild but I totally do. I think that all the time.
Now mind you, there is absolutely no reason for me to ever have to drop a baby while walking up the stairs. It’s not like a baby is that big or squirmy that they will jump right out of your hands. Another thing is walking by these small hooks holding up a felt board for my oldest. And thinking, “Wow, I hope that I don’t drop the baby on one of these hooks” which is the smallest thing to ever happen that the chances are so, so, so, slim unless MAYBE and I mean from the furthest stretch maybe I had a seizure or something and they hit their head but the chance of that happening is so low also.
Postpartum anxiety is also included in trying to think about the worst case scenarios. Even though they are so outlandish that they will never likely happen. It can also be the feeling that you are forgetting something, maybe you are afraid that you will forget the baby in the grocery cart or in the car. Maybe you will forget the baby somewhere or forget to feed them. Maybe it is even the feeling that you are never doing enough to help them grow when you are already going above and beyond what you need to.
When thinking about postpartum anxiety I would like to think that I never thought it would happen to me, but more than likely I never knew what it really was. I believe I did have it with my first born but I never really identified what it was. It was literally that TikTok that made me think “Wow, this sounds exactly like how I am thinking.”
A few ways that I try to overcome these feelings because I haven’t reached the point of needing outside help or anything is whenever a thought like the walking up the stairs pops up, I always remind myself that is silly and it just won’t happen. I remind myself that “I have a good grip and there is no way the baby will suddenly fall from my arms. I am a good mother and that they will be good”. I remind myself that I am a good mother and that I will do anything to take care of these kids and that I can help them achieve anything.
Another thing I have learned to do is taking a step back. If I feel like this I talk it out with my spouse. I’ll say if my babies were crying and I was unable to console them that I feel like I am a horrible mom, which we all know is not true but babies do in fact cry and sometimes we need to vent that to a partner who will reassure us that we are doing our best and the babies are just a little bit fussy for the time being.
While I am still learning about what exactly postpartum anxiety is it is super hard for me to not keep learning. As we are planning for our 3rd baby (Spoiler, We are due in August and you can read about it here!) I want to be able to manage myself with the help of others instead of bottling things up. Part of the reason why we never hear about this I think is because parents hold this inside and it really isn’t a main stream thing. We never really talk about after a baby is born and all the changes that can happen with our minds as our way of thinking goes from ourselves to someone else. We are taking care of another human being which is one of the hardest things that I can say I have ever done in my entire life.
I hope that as I grow and keep becoming a mother time and time again that I am learning how to cope and can help others who I may know, or people who read this that there are ways to not be stuck with this. I will say though, having multiple children it for sure has been different with each one. As we had more I feel like the anxiety was better. With my oldest I remember thinking about the stairs feeling literally every single time we went up or down the stairs. I always thought “what If I slip or what if we fall?”, spoiler alert, it never happened. It was always in my mind. And though with my 2nd child I do have those feelings occasionally it was never as bad as it was with my 1st. Which maybe is because after you have one baby you kind of grow in confidence that you are able to keep one baby healthy and growing that with a second you can to the same.
Please though, If you or someone you know are struggling and talking it out of doing it alone is not helping, reach out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have help to overcome some of these strong and debilitating emotions. Everyone needs some help sometimes.