Let me first start by saying that I was brushing my teeth this morning when God told me to write about my battle; something that seems so routine in my life now. No, He didn’t make it some “ah-ha” moment. He peacefully spoke, “Anxiety…meet my God.” So here I am, writing, and I so pray that it helps a mama out there.
So, let’s take a moment and talk about something that 10% of mamas struggle with but no-one is really talking about. No, it’s not postpartum depression (thank goodness PPD is now a subject amongst most moms). I’m talking about postpartum anxiety. Yes mama, yes, that is a real thing. And it is a great valley in my life.
As a new mama, of course you have fears and bringing home a bundle of tiny bones, fresh skin, and a life that truly depends on you, is sure to bring a little anxiety your way. But when those normal fears and anxiety take magical mundane moments and turn them into a whirlwind of emotions that then turn into a tornado and it has your life spiraling, paralyzing your ability to function normally, well, yeah, thats not okay.
There’s a stigma to postpartum depression. I don’t know why. It’s stupid, right? Like, we mamas, grew a human inside of our bodies, nourished them, birthed these amazing gifts and then we are expected to give it everything we have, while trying to heal from child birth or major surgery while our boobs are engorged with milk and our hormones are all out of wack. Your body is torn up, you haven’t showered, and you have to wear mesh diapers, so yeah, it can spark some depression. But the thing is, PPD is known and now discussed and treated. Thank goodness! I remember going to my 6 week check up and filing out the form that checked for telltale signs of postpartum depression. I remember talking my way out of being honest and rationalizing my consuming fears to be “normal”. I knew I wasn’t depressed. I knew something was off but I knew it wasn’t postpartum depression. So I tried to absorb my fears. It wasn’t until I was honest with the twins pediatrician at their one year check up (yes, it took me that long) that I realized what I was dealing with was much greater than I had ever thought. I struggled with postpartum anxiety and it wasn’t going away.
Postpartum anxiety comes and goes as it pleases. However, when it visits, it wants all of your attention. It’s an evil leech that sucks you dry. Now, I am going to be bold and I am going to be brave and I am going to share some of my outranges fears that consume me. Note, some of these have gone away as the twins have gotten older but they were simply replaced with another horror.
Silly and Irrational Fears: Struggling with PPA
- A snake is going to come up through the toilet at night, slither to the nursery and strangle a babe
- What if someone put something harmful in this formula?
- I left the oven on (I never cook) it’s going to burn down the house
- I can’t dry clothes at night because it will spark a fire
- What if Ryan is gone and I die in my sleep and no-one knows I’ve died and the babes are in their cribs just screaming and starving
- *Krew put his face in the water* He could suffer from dry drowning
- What if I’m alone and I have a night terror and don’t know and I hurt one of the babies
- The babies can’t sleep with a pillow because they might not move their heads and will suffocate. (They were sitting up at 5 months, walking at 8 and 10 months, and currently 15 months and running and climbing everything in sight. Also, they nap with a pillow)
- The need to wear form fitting pjs because what if the shirt comes over their heads in the middle of the night and they can’t move.
- What if someone is stalking our house and notice when Ryan’s car is gone and try to break in and kill us.
- I can’t leave their sound machine charging at night because it could get too hot, spark a flame, catch the curtains on fire
I know, I know. I sound crazy. These aren’t just thoughts that pass through my brain. Once they are triggered, anxiety kicks in and consumes me. My heart races. I am uneasy. My brain plays these irrational fears on repeat and I don’t sleep. Don’t even bother trying to touch me or talk to me about it while I am having an attack because I am freaking out on the inside and I will lash out towards you.
Last night, I had another anxiety attack. This time it was sparked from an article I read on people hacking into cameras. (Note, I read this article months ago but the enemy wanted to bring it to the forefront of my brain.) My body filled in pure terror as the fear of someone watching my babes on the monitor slowly began to absorb my sanity. I took deep breaths. I checked on the babes a million times and I prayed over them. I walked out. I turned around and walked back in to check on them…time and time again. Then I saw it. The 6 red lights that surround the one green light. Now, in my heart, I knew that these red lights allowed the camera to work at night, however, my anxiety told me that it was someone else watching. Now, 24 hours later, I can see how silly and irrational that is but last night, it was my greatest fear. It was real. And it consumed me like a wild fire.
With a racing heart and shaking bones, I climbed into bed. I turned on the lamp and began to pray.
“Father. I know this is just a fear but please, fill my soul with peace. I give this to you Lord. Please, take it. Fill this house with Your amazing presence. Where you are, there can be no evil. Fill me with peace Lord. Fill my heart with peace. Fill me with peace. I am asking for peace. Fill me with pea….”
And just like that, He took the anxiety. He took the fears and He put me to bed. I woke up 4 hours later to two healthy babies giggling in their room.
“Thank you Jesus.”
Anxiety…meet my God. You will try to destroy me but the joke is on you. My God fights my battles for me. You will lose EVERY time.