While everyone who has a baby and everyone who encounters anxiety are going have their own varied, unique experiences; I think it’s fairly safe to assume that there’s going to be moments of fear and discomfort that result from both. When you put them together, leaving the mom in question to battle both anxiety and the changes motherhood brings, it should come as no surprise that being a new mom with anxiety is so much more stressful. The sleepless nights, the fact that we’re thrown out of our normal routines, the constant tears; it can make something that’s already hard feel downright impossible.
To be fair, I’ve never been a mom without anxiety, so there’s a chance I’m overlooking something here simply because I've learned to adapt to both motherhood and anxiety simultaneously. In other words, my "normal" includes anxiety, and I don't know what it's like not to have it or deal with everything that goes along with it. However, my math skills are pretty sharp lately since I need to keep up with various measurements and numbers involving my kid’s clothing sizes, as well as the number of stickers he requires for his teddy bears, so I’m confident that one challenging thing plus another challenging thing equals an extra-challenging thing.
So, let’s explore, shall we? Here’s why being a new mom with anxiety is at best complicated, and at worst, a volcanic lava flow of unending stress and fear that can make a scary world seem scarier.
Our List Of Things To Be Afraid Of Just Grew Exponentially
All the ways that my anxiety flared up before and after my kid was born are long conversations best saved for another day (and when copious amounts of soothing beverages are readily available). Please just trust me that the “after” list was much more intense.
Making Time For Treatment, Or Self-Care, Or Whatever We Need To Do To Manage Anxiety Is That Much Trickier
However, it is an opportunity to be much craftier like using tummy time as dual “lay on the carpet and chill out” time for mom. Which, reading that back, sounds kind of sad. Trust me, though; it was the best.
The Internet Is Both A Source Of Calm And A Source Of Terror
I know, I know, one should hardly seek solace or search for information on motherhood message boards and through Google searches. However, I consider myself a pretty savvy internet user (aren’t we all?) so I’d approach both with the best of intentions and still unearth more unpleasantries than expected.
We Have To Wonder If It’s Weird That The Poison Control People Know Us By Name
I like to assume it’s because they have a great record-keeping system, but I’m not going to ask. Just in case they don’t, I really don’t want to deal with the effects it’ll have on my self-esteem.
We Are Weary Of How The People Who Answer The Phone At The Doctor’s Office Are Thinking Of Us
Me: "Yes, hello, it's Dena. Can we please talk about acceptable colors of baby poop?"
Sleep Deprivation Complicates Things A Little
Sleep deprivation and parenthood are mentioned together so often it might not seem necessary to bring it up here, but it totally is. Not only are we awake at ungodly hours with crazy things creeping into our minds, but the fog that lack of sleep casts over everything makes it that much tougher to deal with anxiety.
Hanger, Or The State Of Being Hungry And Getting Angry, Plays A Factor
Not sure about everyone else but in my house "hangrxiety" is a thing. It’s real, and it’s not spectacular.
Everything The Baby Does Sets Alarms Off In Our Heads
I remember talking with some of my baby’s medical providers, and they’d ask simple questions like, “Is your son acting normal?” and I’d want to be like, “I’ve never done this before, I don’t know what normal is.” Eventually, I got the hang of it, but it wasn’t easy.
Thinking About The Worst-Case Scenario For Every Situation We Encounter Is Exhausting
I know the chance of something terrible happening to my son while he’s sitting in my lap at the park are very slim. Logically, this is just undeniably true and I can rationalize the reality of almost any situation. But still, there’s a chance that something could happen, so I can't help but go there mentally.
Thankfully, I know I'm not alone and there are plenty of resources out there. In the meantime, I'll be over here, enjoying Amy Poehler GIFs and snuggling my toddler and doing whatever else I need to do to help keep my anxiety at bay.