With the birth of my second child, I didn't experience the same debilitating postpartum depression (PPD) I had with my daughter. I didn't spend hours curled up on the bathroom floor, wishing I were dead, and I didn't lose every last bit of myself. I did, however, have panic attacks. I became irritated when loved ones visited for too long. I insisted I was the only one allowed to do the bathing, rocking, and feeding. In short, I realized new moms with anxiety have it harder than other moms, and that constant, debilitating fear makes enjoying the process of having a new baby damn near impossible.
From the moment I held my son, I was in love. I couldn't imagine a single moment not spent staring into his big eyes. I wasn't very great at being the mother my 5-year-old daughter needed after he was born, though. Confined by an anxiety disorder, I could't figure out when I should stop tending to my newborn and start focusing on my daughter. Internally, I couldn't handle it. Those seemingly new mom situations that are taxing but manageable, suddenly became major issues because I had no control over my anxiety. It dictated my everything.
Five years later and I still consider myself a new mom. Every day, for me, the clock starts over and there's something new to learn, new to discover, and new to worry about. That restart also reminds me, for better or worse, of all the ways the world could hurt me or my baby. So with that in mind, and because speaking openly and honestly about mental health issues like debilitating anxiety is a necessary form of treatment, healing, and education, here are some of the ways having anxiety makes being a mother just, well, harder: