On June 25th 2013 I gave birth to our little feisty Lovebug. Our family was complete and I couldn’t be happier. Then we came home. The first week was normal newborn baby life. I was fine. She was a great baby and Monster was a typical 2.5 year old but it was fine. Then it was the fourth of July and everything changed.
Lovebug was a little over a week old so we weren’t celebrating the 4th as we normally would. We had a BBQ at my parents and watched people set off fireworks (from our front window). My amazing sister-in-law offered to take Monster to see the fireworks. A nice gesture so I could have a break and he could have fun with his cousins. I lost it. I hysterically cried at the thought of it. What if he let go of her hand? What if someone took him? What if something happened with the fireworks? What if terrorists attacked? He wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t leaving my side.
I just figured it was hormones. I mean I had a tough labor and was getting used to being a mom to two. But then the thoughts came. The absolutely ridiculous thoughts that my college degree holding rationalist self shouldn’t be thinking. I’ll give you a little glimpse. Monster stayed at my preschool with my life long best friend while I recovered. Preschool is literally a block away on my parents’ property. They both work from home and are also there. Three capable adults who love my children as their own. Yet this wasn’t ok. What if the train near my parents derailed and hit the preschool (up hill through several blocks of houses and building and a giant ditch). This isn’t going to happen but I fixated on this.
What if there was a fire? What if there was an outbreak? Chemical war? Zombies (yes I said it)? That last one was when I knew it shouldn’t be this way. I wasn’t sleeping. I was coming up with contingency plans for all of these insane disasters. I wasn’t letting anyone help me because no one could keep my babies as safe as I could. I had let this go on for a month. I didn’t want call my doctor because I knew how insane I sounded. I brought it up at my six week check-up. I told my OB and she said she could refer me to a specialist or give me a prescription for something to help. I wanted to talk to someone so I chose the referral.
Well I went home and waited for the call. I went back to work with panic attacks, a six week old baby and no answer. Well, no specialist called. I knew I couldn’t live this way and called my primary doctor. I went in to talk to her. The nurse shared her story of PPD and it was so different from mine. She didn’t want anything to do with her baby. I didn’t want my baby more than a foot away from me. I got help from my doctor and a few weeks later the thoughts of apocalyptic scenarios and train derailment became less and less. Then they were almost completely gone.
My PPD was not like anything I had ever heard about so I honestly didn’t know what was going on with me. I didn’t realize that extreme anxiety was a form of Postpartum Depression. I’ve told my friends after their children were born so they would know what to be on the lookout for. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through for as long as I let it go on.
I’m hoping my personal story…one that I’ve been trying to write for years… can help someone find help quickly. Newborns come with enough work without having extra anxiety added to it. Find help. Talk to your doctor. You aren’t alone <3.