One of the reasons this Blog came to be was because I wanted to share my experiences, and struggles as a new mom. One of my major struggles started the day I found out I was pregnant. Antenatal anxiety started its course and from there it became full-blown postpartum anxiety.
During my pregnancy I was always in my head. Thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Not once did I have any positive thoughts. Having dealt with a miscarriage before, it became my biggest concern. It was hard, and mentally tiring, but it became a routine to always think negatively. I would sleep longer so the days would end sooner, I was obsessing over disturbing thoughts, and don’t even get me started with my mood swings. I once cried because my husband forgot to bring me breakfast. (How dare he?)
When my son was born I thought I could finally let my brain breathe. Now here he was, a beautiful, healthy little boy Masha’Allah (with God’s will) and for the shortest time my head was clear. I was sent home 24 hours after and I was overwhelmed with fear. I was constantly afraid, there were so many what if? questions that were racing through my mind. All of the scenarios going through my mind at this time all ended with the worst possible conclusion. I was now obsessing to keep him safe, I stopped trusting my family to care for him, and as a result I couldn’t sleep, eat or rest properly.
A few weeks went by and I have now completely isolated myself. My family started to realize that I had a problem and tried to help as much as they could. Anything they tried, failed. I felt as if I was the only one who could protect him and care for him and no one else knew how to. (Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it)?
There were so many times I would lay in bed and just think about all the things that could harm him. I remember when Zay was 7-months-old and I was getting ready to go out for my birthday, I was holding him while walking down a flight of stairs, in heels. I didn’t think of it as a problem then, but as soon as I hit the bed that night, all I could think about was what if I had fallen? I stayed up for at least 2 to 3 hours just thinking of all the things that could’ve happened to my son if I had fallen. Never again did I walk down a flight of stairs in heels again.
I had to seek medical help a few months in because my anxiety was just getting in the way of everything. I couldn’t sleep because of the racing thoughts, I couldn’t drive because I would imagine getting into an accident, I couldn’t shower because I constantly heard him crying when he wasn’t. I couldn’t leave him for even a minute afraid that he would stop breathing. I was exhausted. I knew something was wrong and I knew this “something” wasn’t depression, depression was the complete opposite of how I felt. I just knew that I needed to get help, not just from my friends and family but from a medical professional.
After getting medical help I was taught some techniques to help me relax. Most of the techniques had to do with sharing my experience with other moms, meditation, and or exercise. My doctor suggested I start leaving my son with trusted family members for an hour a day. And so, I began spending an hour at the gym, leaving my baby home with my parents. The first few days were tough, i was anxious to get home to see if Zay was okay, and he was. And so, I continued going to the gym everyday. And everyday, I came home to a perfectly healthy, happy boy. Within two months I was healthier, mentally. All those obsessing thoughts diminished drastically.
Zay is now a year and 5-months-old and I won’t say that the anxiety is 100% gone, but I am proud of how much of it I have overcome. I still can’t leave him with my parents or other family members overnight, (even though my mom lives 2 blocks away from me) but they can now spend as much time as they want with him during the day. I still bombard them with text messages or calls every hour on the dot to ask how he’s doing and they hate that lol, but I can’t help myself.
My anxiety got to the point where it left reality behind. And for the longest time I thought it would go away on its own, but it just kept getting worse until I spoke to someone about it. I didn’t think anything or anyone would be able to help, which is why I didn’t reach out sooner, but there are medical professionals out there that know what they’re doing and they can help.
To read and learn more about postpartum anxiety, just click here.