Anxiety: Then & Now

I’m an amazing worrier.  Not a great skill to have, in fact I’m not sure it should be labelled a skill at all.  But, regardless of what you call it, I’m good at it and often take worry to the next level and work myself up into a ball of anxiety.

I was having a middle of the night conversation with a fellow blogger about anxiety the other night.  Like me, she is new mom after years of hard fought struggle.  Our conversation about anxiety got me thinking, have I really changed since becoming a mother to a living child?

Before, while living through recurrent pregnancy loss my anxiety was absolutely not healthy. In part anxiety eventually lead me to leave my full-time professional career. I was consumed:

  • Will this baby live?
  • How will we get through this miscarriage? Will I have another D&C, or will misoprostol actually work this time?
  • Will we ever have a child(ren)?
  • How will Mr. MPB react to another loss?  Can our marriage survive?
  • My body is truly failing our children.  This is my fault and I cannot stop it.
  • If I eat this or that will it cause another miscarriage?
  • Can I exercise, if so how much?  Is it even worth risking it?

Then with adoption, I continued to worry.  I worried about:

  • When will we have a match.  I hate waiting.
  • Will the match fall through?
  • How much money is this going to cost us in the end? (heck, I still worry about this one)
  • Will our child be healthy?
  • Will we have a good relationship with our potential birth mom?
  • Will our child be scared from his adoption experience?
  • What if we have a revocation that occurs after we are already caring for baby?  How can we survive that?

And now that I’m parenting, the anxiety is still there.

  • SIDS
  • Is Baby MPB eating enough?  Is he growing enough?
  • Is Baby MPB happy enough?
  • Should baby MPB be doing this or that at this age?  What’s his next milestone, what if he is late for it?
  • How is our birth mom?  Is she okay?
  • What if we go to bed and Baby MPB is gone in the morning?  As in, this is all just a dream and it’s going to come crashing down around me at any moment. (Until now I hadn’t thought about the idea of kidnapping, but now that’s going to be stuck in my mind too).
  • What if I trip and fall and Baby MPB gets hurt?
  • What if he stops breathing?
  • What if I die and he has to grow up without a mom?
  • What if we are driving and someone hits us and his car seat turns out to be defective and he dies?
  • What if I fall asleep with Baby MPB and roll over and kill him?

So, clearly, I’m just a crazy lady.  Right?

I’ve been thinking about this but I’ve decided I actually don’t think I’m crazy.  I think this is all pretty normal.  First, I think all parents have fears.  Second,  I think parents who have endured hell (i.e. some sort of infertility struggle) to have a child face a unique set of fears. Third, there is a common thread in all my fears – the pain of loss and the fear of more loss.

I know all too well the pain of losing a child too soon.  And now that I am actually holding this one I just cannot even fathom the idea of loosing him.  Just by reading my above lists I can see that my fears during recurrent pregnancy loss have stayed intertwined in my thought processes since then as I am still afraid of losing our child.  After experiencing five losses, loss is all I know.  I’m not used to having a happy ending.

Today as a new mom, it’s requires real and deliberate effort on my behalf not to focus on these fears and not to play the dangerous what if game.  I basically refuse to read books and/or google milestones so that I cannot obsess about them (except when rolled over at 7.5 weeks, I did google that one).  We bought a Snuza Hero to help us sleep at night (which worked great until my sleep deprived mind accidentally put it through the washing machine last night, turns out they aren’t waterproof and their customer service is seriously lacking).  We monitor every single ounce of food he eats (thanks to the Feed Baby Pro app we know exactly how much he is eating).  We do not co-sleep (I just cannot get over this fear so it’s best for me to avoid it entirely).  I still work to train my mind not to focus on the really scary bad stuff that could possibly happen maybe one day. And, I still see my counselor about once a month.

I’m not going to lie, at times it’s hard work.

But, I will acknowledge that what comes easy now is that I am continually reminded of the goodness of our current situation. We are so incredibly fortunate to be parents to an amazing little boy so I absolutely refuse to take a moment for granted.  And so, I am thankful that we survived all the earlier heartache with our marriage and mental health intact.  And, I’m thankful we found our path to our son via open adoption.

Again, I wont lie, it’s not perfect.

For me, the reminders of all that we have endured to get here help me focus on living today and staying focused on the present. Whenever the fears rear their ugly head I just remind myself that today, we have Baby MPB and so today is a good day.  (And then I text/email a few amazing women who get it and unload my crazy on them!  Thank god for amazing friends!)

If you like this post, please feel free to share and please click the follow button on the side or return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

44 Comments on “Anxiety: Then & Now

  1. As strange as it may sound, it’s comforting to now my “crazy” is shared by people who have similiar stories… I feel like quite a freak at times 😦

    Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly… No one truly gets it… I too have lost four babies and this story of ours has definitely taken its toll. So I really identified with every word you wrote. Thank you.

        Like

  2. Oh my gosh I think the anxiety is a battle we will always fight as mothers, women, humans. I had the snuza and all the same fears. You are doing a great job Momma!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I’ve decided too – this is normal. Maybe the IF/adoption stuff isn’t normal to the fertile population, but even that stuff is normal for those of us who walk this path.
      Our snuza is officially dead from it’s spin in the washing machine so I ordered a new one already knowing how important the piece of mind is to Mr. MPB and I.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve had every worry and more that you listed regarding baby (aside from the adoption related concerns of course). The truth is, those things could happen. And that terrifies me! I’m still trying very hard to let go of what I can’t control. It’s a process for sure….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not surprised to hear that you have the same worries! How can we not worry? But as you say, it’s a process to learn to let go of what we cannot control. Some days are definitely better then others.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The pain of loss and the fear of more loss.

    I could have written this post, everything you say echoes my anxieties – even your specific list. We had a dr appt for Smoochers yesterday and we had to go to a shopping centre that was built in the 70s – the parking is redonk and as a result everyone drives around like only 10% of their brain functions. I was sitting in the back with the little fellow (I’ll eventually sit up front!) and I had an intense urge to ask DH to pull over so I could check all the straps etc because I was worried the seat might not withstand an accident. On our first stroll using a boba wrap yesterday (love!) I obsessed about him suffocating and when a guy grabbed his dog as we walked past with our dogs, my heart stopped as I imagined a dog attacking one of my guys, and being helpless to assist, because I need to protect the baby

    Liked by 1 person

    • You just reminded me of the time when we were driving on a freeway in the USA with newborn Baby MPB and I freaked out on Mr. MPB. Baby made a weird sound and I lost it. I was like WE NEED TO PULL OVER NOW! WHAT IF HE CHOCKED AND DIED!? PULL OVER NOW. Ya, he was fine. It was just a new baby sound that I hadn’t heard yet.
      And yes, suffocating in a wrap was also a big deal to us. He was so little but we had to fly and a wrap was a basic necessity for air travel but he was just so little that we both worried constantly about his breathing.
      Yes, we will worry, and that’s okay! Keep doing what you are doing mommy, you’ve got this. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wont lie, i have some of your parenting fears too when i was a ftm will G.

    Now my fears are more like if we crash which baby will I save!!
    And i m absolutely horrified when I read awful news and imagine it happening to me.
    So you are not alone and its normal.
    My mom still worries about me. I had a chat with her on worry and she said dont ever think you stop worrying, now I worryfor my grandkids too!
    Thats life I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh, I cannot even fathom the thought of which baby to save!! Here’s to desperately hoping you never have to make that split second decision!
      And thank you so much for reiterating that this is all normal! Mom’s worry and that’s normal. 🙂

      Like

  6. This all sounds very common to me. Worrying about your child is a sign of caring. That said, living with this much worry and fear must be emotionally exhausting (as is parenthood in general, I guess). I am in awe that you have managed to continue working to some extent throughout the adoption process and new Motherhood. I feel like I can barely get any work done just worrying about what I will be worrying about in a few months when my baby is born. So I feel for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, all this worry and fear can be consuming and emotionally exhausting. But that’s why I also have to focus on the good stuff otherwise I think I’d get buried in all the worry and fear.
      Truthfully, this is one of the few ways I think work is actually a good thing for me right now – it forces me think rationally and outside of the mommy worry.

      Like

  7. I think your first sentence of your post should be – “I am an amazing WARRIOR” not worrier! Because sadly these things you worry about are normal for someone experiencing what you have gone through. And here you are with your son in your arms, despite all your anxieties, despite your rocky journey – you have fought tooth and nail to get to the things you worry about now – and these things are things that most parents absolutely normally worry about!!! So you are an amazing Warrior 🙂 thanks for being inspiring!!! 🙂 Keep fighting!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are so sweet!! Yes, I guess we all warriors aren’t we?? Walking this path has been the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and to be here today, still standing, is pretty awesome.
      Thank you for always being inspiring as well!! Honestly, you truly amaze me!

      Like

  8. I like that! Warrior, not worrier. It’s very true!!! It would be strange if we didn’t have a learned response of caution after how we got to motherhood. But it also means we persevered through the challenges like warriors!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a mother to six I finally realized that my worrying was for naught because our kids grow up just fine with/without the worry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like some very wise words!! I know rationally you are right, I’m just not sure I can let go of all the worry. But I will keep trying to reduce it. 🙂

      Like

  10. All new parents have this. I too am especially fearful of dying and missing out on my baby’s life. Every body pain sends me into a freak out for her. You will never stop worrying, but being 10 months in, I can tell you it does get a tiny bit easier, but there are always new worries.

    Like

    • Oh my gosh, don’t even get me started on this fear. I think it’s probably one of my biggest fears that he could end up having to live life without a parent at his side.
      Also, thank you. I so hope with time the anxieties do decrease a bit. I like to think this is all part of the adjustment of becoming a mother.

      Like

  11. You’re totally normal. Btw, there’s something called a Snuza that you put on the baby’s diaper to alert you if they stop breathing. It’s a little over a hundred US dollars but worth every penny. It let’s me sleep without worry. If it can’t detect movement it will alert you. Just a thought!

    Like

    • I totally had the snuza until I accidentally put it through the washing machine yesterday! I have already ordered a new one because it’s worth the piece of mind!
      And thank you for reinforcing that this is all normal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve written several times about my anxiety as a mom. Not that I didn’t have anxiety before, but now that I have my daughter in my life, it’s reached a peak. At least, I hope it’s a peak because I don’t think I could handle anything worse. The last time I blogged publicly about anxiety, I got a lot of comments from other moms saying that basically, anxiety is normal as long as it’s not interfering with you living your life. For me, it reached a point where it actually IS interfering with living my life. For example, I start wrapping C up in her baby carrier and suddenly I’m overwhelmed by visions of tripping and falling while wearing her and all I can see is blood everywhere from where she hit her head and I stop what I’m doing and put her in the stroller instead because I can’t stop seeing that horrible mental picture. That’s where I drew the line and saw a doctor about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so impressed by your ability to see that your anxiety was becoming too much and to reach out for help. You truly are inspirational and an amazing women!
      As an aside, my counselor is adamant that I continue to make seeing her a priority as she thinks I’m at high risk for this type of anxiety too. So far, I think I’m doing okay. But, I do have similar thoughts to what you’ve described the odd time but so far I’ve always been able to push them aside fairly easily and quickly. But, I’ll admit it is nice to know that I have someone checking in on me at least once a month. I hope if it becomes a problem for me she’ll see it right away and possibly before I even recognize it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You sound like you’re doing great! I honestly don’t think it’s possible NOT to worry when you’re a mom. It’s just part of the package deal. And you’re already ahead because you see a therapist regularly, so you have an outlet and someone watching over you. I think you’re in great shape!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Can I join the crazy lady club? I worry about all of that stuff too! The baby stuff not so much anymore but I STILL check Evelyn’s breathing every night! I think this must be a mom thing? Or maybe just a moms with anxiety thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The crazy lady club is always welcoming new members! You can absolutely join me. haha!
      But, truthfully, I don’t think we are crazy for worrying about our kids. I think we are all completely normal. 🙂

      Like

  14. Pingback: Blogger Recognition – Bumbi's Mom

  15. There will always be something to worry about. It is how we handle the worries that makes the difference. New baby tie is def a time for heightened paranoia. I still check on Monkey in the middle of the night to make sure he is breathing. I don’t think I will ever give that up. I’m not a co-sleeper either as just can’t get past the risk. It is good you don’t though as apparently it is less safe if you aren’t breastfeeding (my cousin had to formula feed and she researched the hella out of it). Something to do with instincts – apparently you are more attuned when bf. Anyway even as a breast feeder I still can’t do it! Freaks me out lol You are doing great 🙂

    Like

  16. I agree, I feel like this is all pretty normal. I think it would actually be odd if you DIDN’T worry about things like this. So don’t be too hard on yourself!! I’m glad though that things overall are going so well with everything, and that baby is happy and healthy. Try not to worry too much, and like you said, be sure to enjoy every day!

    Like

  17. All that you described sounds perfectly normal to me all though I don’t know how reassuring that is coming from me. I didn’t co-sleep either, I did obsess over milestones for a bit until I just accepted that we weren’t going to hit them on time and so I just learned what they were so I could help her get there. I feel like the worry will never go away. I read something about a sickness outbreak or some horrible toy gone bad and I worry like crazy. But I also see a doctor for anxiety and depression so that helps.

    Like

  18. 8 months later I’m still worrying about most of what you listed. You are not alone. Something that’s helped me release this worry is making a plan. If I were to die, will my hubby carry out what we desire AND what I desired for our son. Now this doesn’t work on all circumstances but it eased my mind. This is all normal until it’s interfering with your life. You’re doing amazing. Promise. Also, the Wonder Weeks App. I love it. It helps you recognize developmental leaps and milestones and gives you small pointers on on what babe is learning.

    Like

  19. Amen. There’s a process of losing your innocence when you experience infertility/loss that naturally leads to these anxieties — not only do you KNOW that the worst can and does happen, but when one thing after another goes wrong, you come to expect it. There is no going back to that magical feeling at the start of the TTC process, when you were excited and assumed that everything would be fine.

    And yeah, new motherhood is just designed for anxiety, I think! Today for me it was worrying about my baby being both sleepier and fussier than usual, and then there was a whole saga with the thermometer and poop everywhere (who knew that they poop when you take their temperature?), all just to find out that his temperature was fine and he woke up his happy, smiley self in the afternoon and was just like, “What’s the matter, mom? It’s a great day!” Sigh. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You made me laugh with the first sentence….I am an amazing worrier too…like award-winning…ha! It’s not good…so tell me if you figure out how to control it..k? Love ya girly! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh my goodness I could have written the majority of this post. I have so much anxiety and everyday I have to work at pushing aside my fears. But it does stem from something you wrote.. “I’m not used to having a happy ending” and I can tell you that’s where the majority of my fear is coming from. I have a snuza my friend just gave me yesterday, but then I was afraid to try it in case it goes off without a cause for concern causing me more anxiety. Imagine that.. I was worried about being worried.

    Like

  22. I think everything you’re feeling, especially after all the loss you’ve been through (including losing your Mom and Sister), is completely normal and I’m happy that you’re still taking the time to go and see your counselor. I hope that as Baby MPB grows older, your fears will lessen a little (and not be replaced with new ones)!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Catching up. This post immediately made me think “I am a worrier” and I started humming the Scandal song…

    Liked by 1 person

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: