The other day while laying in bed my husband said to me something along the lines of, “I feel like I finally have my wife back. You have been a different person since our son was born and I’m so happy to have you back.”
This really hit me and kept me up shedding tears that night. He was right. I’ve been with this man for 12 years, he has seen it all and has been with me through everything. How could I be a different person? We have two beautiful boys; Leo who is 2 and a half and Lincoln who is 5 months.
My pregnancy with Leo was different.
It was in the middle of COVID, a global pandemic where it was scary to even leave your house and see loved ones let alone be pregnant with your first baby. I went to appointments alone, delivered my son in a mask, and was the most scared I’ve ever been. My postpartum was not easy. I really really struggled.. mostly silently. It was easy to be that way when the world was shut down.
I was deep in an anxiety filled world. Scared of everything, never letting my son out of my sight let alone someone other than a trusted family member hold him. If I had him, then I felt like I had control, nothing could happen to him. I avoided any gathering, any party or social event. I slipped deep into the anxious feeling that everything bad would happen. I loved Leo more than life itself, and still do. We have a bond I think that is stronger because of it. Him & I were together all the time.. but at what cost?
I had loved ones who noticed quickly, but I would hide it from others.
I didn’t answer the questions on the postpartum survey honestly. Part of me thought that what I was feeling was normal. I never had a kid before so I didn’t really know. I was encouraged to seek help from loved ones, but that was too much of another task for me. The thought of taking in another thing was too much. So I just kept going… I did get better, but still not there. The world revolved around Leo and I and I guess I never really noticed.
When I got pregnant with Lincoln, while we were so excited, I was also terrified.
I didn’t want to have those anxious feelings like I did with Leo again. My pregnancy was rough. I fell and broke my foot. Being pregnant and being a toddler mom and working while having to be immobile is impossible.
When I was about 6 months pregnant I took another fall. This time I landed directly on the baby.
I spent the next three days in the hospital hooked up to monitors. It was a very tricky time to navigate. I was stuck in the hospital, stuck with other people watching Leo, and having to let that happen was so hard.
This baby needed me, and it was a realization I had to make. At the time they weren’t sure if the baby was going to have to be delivered that day, or what the next course of action would be. He was only 2 pounds at the time. His blood was mixing with mine and the blood tests were taking forever to come back.
I remember very vividly my husband Michael leaving for coffee and me, staring at the heart monitor, listening to the heartbeat, and not knowing if it was the last time I would hear it. I remember feeling so helpless I sat there and recorded the heartbeat so I could always have it.
I had a friend reach out to me at this moment and she sent me a song and I just kept playing it in the room. A song about hope and faith. This got me through. Thankfully he was okay. We got released and sent home. He was born perfectly healthy at 39 weeks.
After he was born I was still on high alert. However, this time was different. I was forced to ask for help, since I couldn’t possibly keep up with two. I started to release control a bit and realized that it was okay. I asked for help. I went to my doctor for my six week check up, answered the questions honestly, and spoke up. I went to therapy, only a couple of sessions. This helped me on my journey to working through postpartum as a mom of two.
But this time is different. I feel like I’m less anxious, I want to go out, I want to spend a weekend away with my husband and family.
These crippling fears come back occasionally. Part of me wonders if I should be considering medication or other strategies. But for now 5 months in, I am at a way better place than I was almost 3 years ago. I’m finally seeing the light again.
This whole new transition isn’t easy. Having the weight of everything on your shoulders all at once is life crushing. But I now am taking at least 10 minutes of time for some type of exercise alone, doing my grateful journal at night, and soaking up my family.
I am so thankful to crawl out of this hole I was in, and for my loving husband to have supported me when I wasn’t myself.
I am also thankful to have found a helpful resource called LinqCare to help me work through postpartum as a mom of two They are a group who help folks who are dealing with prenatal/postnatal anxiety and/or PPD. I used them for my therapy and they’ve been amazing. They called me immediately after my OB appointment, got me in right away, and stayed in contact. They are very easy to schedule, talk to, and find the perfect fit. I used both the therapy and the psychiatrist. They are extremely responsive and help guide individuals to support most suitable for their needs.
6 Things That are Helping Me Work Through My Postpartum Anxiety As a Mom of Two:
Sharing my feelings, fears and thoughts with my loved ones
Sharing my feelings, fears and thoughts with my OB or PCP
Accepting help from others when I needed it most
Making time to go out with friends or take a family trip
Making time every day to do something for myself
Jotting down 3 things I was grateful for every night
For another article on PPD/PPA, read The Dad Perspective: My Journey to Parenthood.