The delivery of my daughter couldn’t have gone more smoothly. I expected unbearable pain and an overdose of stitches, but I took the lucky way out. I was only in labour for four hours and once she was ready to make her appearance, I was able to do so with only three pushes.
Hearing her first cry was the most beautiful tone to my ears. She stared into my eyes with a certainty that I was her mommy. I was her food and her comfort. In a matter of four hours I took on the biggest job there was, along with the anxieties that tagged along for the ride.
Before we were discharged from the hospital I had sprouts of escaping hormones that couldn’t be tamed. I knew that at this point, it was all normal. I had just given birth and nothing was screwed on tightly. Each time they wheeled her back into the nursery I cried. As much as I needed the sleep I preferred watching her. The moment tears rolled down her soft cheeks, I doubted my abilities in being a good mother. “She just needs a diaper change, it’s okay.” But that wasn’t good enough for me. Maybe she was sitting in her diaper for too long and now she hates me. This whirlwind of emotions hit me with no warning and all I could do was blame myself for allowing it to happen. Normal, huh?
My first night home was disastrous. My milk hadn’t fully come in yet and that led to more hesitation. Was I really fit for this job? I felt the furthest from it. I wanted everything to just be perfect. A part of me knew that it was okay to mess up but I didn’t want to accept “my best.” I wanted to be THE best. All of these failures didn’t go hand in hand with how hard I was trying to be flawless. I wanted nothing more than to keep my daughter happy, without realizing that my happiness was just as important.
Months went by and I couldn’t shake off the feeling of defeat. My daughter was striving but I was falling behind. I was too anxious to leave the house with or without her. My mind created these terrifying thoughts that were impossible to ignore. Car rides meant accidents and public places signified germs. It was all too much to handle along with taking care of the little human I brought into this world. When my doctor blurted the words postpartum depression, I ran. I knew a lot about it and warned myself that it could happen, but refused to accept that this had turned into my life. My mental health wasn’t as crucial as putting a smile on my daughters face. But this thought ultimately lead me down a wrong way street, and as a new mom I couldn’t let this happen.
Medication was my way out, my path to recovery. I was skeptical at first glance but looking back on it now, I wouldn’t have chosen any other route. After a few trial and errors I found the right medication to better myself. I needed to regain my strength, not only for me, but for my daughter as well. It was so easy to say that these feelings I had were normal, but I felt the furthest from that. Allowing myself to get used to the medication was a huge push toward sanity. I was still anxious but I didn’t let those thoughts control my life. That was exactly what my daughter deserved.
I’ll be the first to tell you that the word normal will be thrown your way thousands of times. You will feel less than the dirt on the ground, but you are so much more than that. If you feel like you are experiencing similar tendencies from what I have described, don’t be ashamed to seek help. Your mental health, especially as a new mom, is vital in growing your family. There is nothing wrong with needing an extra push toward happiness.
18 months later and my daughter is still beautifully happy. I’m now toward the end of my second pregnancy, and I can already feel the anxieties headed my way. But I am fully prepared to shut them down. My two kids deserve a radiant mother and that’s what they’ll receive, anxieties or not!
Good luck in all of your journeys. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me!