I’ve always been prone to anxiety.
I thought when my son would be born, I would be unable to sleep, constantly worrying about whether he is breathing or not. While, there was a little of that in the first few weeks, I was blindsided by a different kind of anxiety.
My son was very difficult to get to sleep, and to stay asleep. He would cry a lot, and often it took ALOT to settle him. I didn’t go out much in the beginning, but when I began to think about venturing outside of the 4 walls I was encased in 24/7, I felt anxious. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to settle my son if he cried.
I ventured out one day when he was asleep, hoping he would stay asleep. I was wandering around the Warehouse, when he woke up – crying. I raced to the counter, where a nice lady advised me there was a parents room nearby. I walked as quick as I could to the parents room, Dylan still crying, becoming more and more anxious and stressed. I felt like everyone was looking at me, judging me – “she can’t even settle her own baby”. “Why is her baby crying?” “She’s not a very good Mother if she can’t settle her baby!”. These thoughts going around and round my head. I got to the parents room and fed Dylan, thinking perhaps he was hungry. He fed, I put him back in the capsule and he cried again. Even louder. I rushed back to the car to get home as fast as I could, drowning in anxious thoughts and feeling very stressed and overwhelmed.
After that outing, I didn’t go out with Dylan, other than for a walk around the block for weeks. It traumatised me. Where did this anxiety come from?
I had to train myself to take him out and not freak out. I started with short trips, and VERY slowly increased them to longer trips. I felt less stressed and anxious when I went out with my partner too, but I needed to get out while he was at work as well, for my own mental wellbeing.
I slowly gained more confidence, knowing that I CAN settle my son if I need to. I replaced anxious thoughts, with positive, optimistic ones – choosing to believe those instead. I learned to roll with whatever happened (ok I’m still learning!) I told myself that other people aren’t judging me – and if they are – who cares! They don’t know me, or my baby, so their opinions do not matter.
Anxiety is tough, it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. If you are experiencing anxiety right now, be gentle with yourself, and know that you can get past this. You got this, Mama.