You have just welcomed a brand new baby to this world. A baby you love more than life itself. You hold your baby for hours upon hours of the day and night. You stare at your baby in pure bliss. There is no better feeling; these are the best moments of your life.
Yes. Yes to the unconditional love and feelings of motherhood…but sometimes these feelings can be overrun, enveloped by darkness.
Most people have heard of Post Partum Depression, maybe even seen it first hand. Mothers may become depressed due to chemical imbalances in the body. Your hormones have been through it all over a short nine months and the changes in lifestyle, body, sleepless nights (I could go on) can wreak havoc on these imbalances. While so many have at least heard of Post Partum Depression, Post Partum Anxiety is a condition that often goes unnoticed.
Anxiety is not a nice thing, but anxiety with a newborn is pure evil.
Fears that you never knew existed can bubble up to the surface of your mind. Once you begin to fear deeply at such a vulnerable time, it can quickly roller coaster out of control. For the first 6 months of my daughter’s life, I had severe fears and anxiety. The foremost fears I felt; a fear of dying and a fear of her being kidnapped.
My fear of dying seized my mind.
It was all I thought about during those long hours of the night while I nursed her, rocked her and laid beside her. I had heard of women fearing the death of their newborn or their partner, which of course, I did feel as well. But, I did not obsess over it. I obsessed over my own death. Sometimes I would picture dying from a disease, but mostly I was fanatical over outrageous circumstances. I would fear that I would fall down the steps and she would be alone, crying, until my fiancé got home hours later to find me. I visualized myself slipping in the shower with a similar demise. There was a car accident on my only 2 hours away from her that week, being murdered by a delivery man.
These horrible thoughts plagued me all day long. I would cry, thinking about all the things I would never teach her; the fact that she wouldn’t even ever remember who I was. It tore me apart.
As she got older and I discussed with my midwife and fiancé what I was feeling.
I thought I was recovering.
My dreads began to reach beyond the immediate future. What if I died when she was 7, or 10, or 15. What would that do to her? I tried to talk about it. I reached for ways to push these menacing thoughts away.
When my daughter was four months, I began to venture out with her alone. I heard a story of a mom who was followed into a bathroom at a Kohl’s in New York. A mother, just like me, was changing her baby in the restroom. A woman came in, checked the stalls to be sure that they were alone and complimented the mother and her child. Suddenly, the woman demanded the baby. Luckily, this mother’s intuition, her gut, told her that something was wrong. The mother escaped with her child and found help. Thankfully, the woman was caught, along with a man who planned the attack with her.
Well that was it for me.
I could not go to Target, WalMart or the grocery store without thinking I was being shadowed. It became so merciless that I called my fiancé on a few occasions, telling him that I was being followed. Around the store, to the car, anxiety was all around. I felt everyone was watching me. I felt danger everywhere we went. My gut, my intuition was misleading me. It was always telling me that something was wrong, but there wasn’t.
Unfortunately, the fears did not end when we got home. I could not shower during the day while we were home alone. I tried. But, I could not even take a shower without the crippling terror that she would be gone from her swing when I got out. And yes, I have a monitor. These fears were irrational, they were unforgiving.
Why did these feelings leave me?
I wish I knew, I wish I understood so that I may help someone else. There is one thing that I do know, I know that I did everything wrong; I waited way too long to bring it up to my midwife and I did not talk about it with family and friends. The fear of sounding insane ruled me. And because of that, I did not seek medication, I did not seek help when I needed it most.
I need you to know that you are not alone.
Please know that whatever you are going through, there is someone out there who is with you, feeling the same. The smallest news story of a parent dying or a kid being taken would ruin me. So, I can tell you that you are NOT insane to feel ANY fear, as wild as the scenario may seem. SEEK HELP. You need to be healthy to enjoy your little one; you deserve happiness instead of dread.
I am currently 6 months pregnant with my second child. About 2 months ago my fear of dying came back. The tear filled, sleepless nights returned. As my toddler and fiancé slept soundly, I looked at them with so much love and so much fear to leave them too early.
After three long nights of this, I decided that I would be proactive. That I would do it right this time. Talking about it right away to my fiancé and my midwife has made all the difference.
I pray that I have the tools and support to conquer any reoccurring or new fears that may come after the baby is here. But, I know I will not feel frightened to ask for help. I will be proactive; I will look for the signs. Through my research in finding natural ways to combat anxiety, so I may continue to breastfeed; I have found many women who say that their encapsulated placenta has made a world of difference for them. After the birth of our second child, I plan on encapsulating my placenta because I got nothing but fear and anxiety to lose!
I encourage all pregnant and new moms to educate themselves on both PPD and PPA. Know the signs. Tell your support team what to look for. And talk about every fear, depressing or harmful thought you come across. I hope that anyone reading this will know in the future to seek help, or someone currently, will know, they are not alone.
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Latest posts by Teresa Finocchio (see all)
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