Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety doesn’t get talked about anywhere near as much as postpartum depression. And while I knew that I had PPD after my second child was born, postpartum anxiety never occurred to me. It’s only been in the last three years when I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety that I’ve realised that I definitely had anxiety after my kiddos were born. I never had a name for what I was feeling, but knowing the symptoms now I can see that all the worries and obsessiveness I had was all down to my anxiety.

Having a baby is a huge thing – I can remember after my first daughter was born, getting home from the hospital, sitting on the sofa, looking at her in her car seat and wondering what the f*&K I was supposed to be doing. Having a whole other person literally depending on you to stay alive is a scary thing. When my babies were little, it was tough going. I’d worry about literally everything – if they were sleeping enough, or too much. Have they eaten enough, or too much… I’d struggle to sleep because so much was going through my mind, and because I’d be so on edge at every single sound they made, waiting for them to wake up and need me. The lack of sleep made it twenty times worse. Anxiety made my appetite vanish, I literally couldn’t eat a bit as I was so on edge all of the time. I’d cry because I was so overwhelmed.

The only way I could cope was by creating a routine and sticking to it 100%. That routine became absolute to me – there could be no deviating from it, no flexibility at all. While it was designed to soothe my anxieties, I think it probably made them worse as anything that threatened to derail my routine would cause my anxiety to rocket sky-high. I stopped socialising so much, I’d miss out on so many things because I was too afraid to deviate from the routine, for fear that it would all go wrong.

As the babies grew older, it got easier and I relaxed and my anxiety lessened. I generally hate routine, I find it stifling, instead, I live for spontaneity, flexibility and just going with the flow. After the struggle with anxiety the last few years, and my awareness that anxiety was something I struggled with postpartum in the pst, I was aware that it would most likely rear it’s head this time around again.

I think having a name for it and having acknowledged it, means that I was ready for the anxiety to hit. I’ve also had a few years of finding ways to deal with my anxiety.

So now, with a nine-week old baby, the old anxiety has indeed kicked back in. But this time I am ready for it. I see it, and I feel it, but I’m trying hard not to let it take over. I catch myself sometimes, halfway through nap time panicking that maybe he’s been asleep too long, not enough… but then I remind myself to just breathe, that he’ll sleep as much as he needs and it is all fine. So I step back and take a deep breath, and just be in the moment. Some days are worse than others, the tight, sick feeling in my stomach.

With the girls, I’d never have been able to take them away as tiny tots as I’d be panicking too much about sticking to the routine. We did take Beastie away, but not until he was 3 months old. Oren is eight weeks and we’ve been away three times already, as well as having had numerous ays out. Yes, prior to going my anxiety kicks off big time, and I really have to fight while I’m there to keep it at bay.

But it’s a fight I’m winning, little by little every day. I refuse to let anxiety take over our lives, to miss out on the fun stuff becuase I ‘need’ to stick to a routine, or to obsess about every little thing this time around. While my anxiety levels are high, I’m pushing through it and trying to keep living life without letting it hold me back. It’s not always easy, and there are times that the tears flow because I am just so anxious. I’m finding trying to live each day one by one helps, to plan things and get out and about. To not sit home and hide away.

It’ll pass, and until then I just have to ride the bad days out and remember that this too shall pass ♥

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