POST BABY ANXIETY
POST BABY ANXIETY
This makes me feel ashamed. Not good enough, just thinking about how I have and still can feel at times. Now I am in a "stronger" place I believe if I type this post really fast and press publish it will make it easier. It's something I really want to share because I feel like it's important that no one feels alone. That you don't feel alone.
I took the news really well when we found out that Eli was deaf. I was strong for Eli because that's what my boy needed. We also had so much to do that you don't really have time to sit and just think and process.
Anxiety started to creep in. I always stressed and worried about the future, unable to be present and enjoy the now. I spent a lot of my time worrying about Eli's future. I consciously had to make myself stop and enjoy the now.
I had a lot of social anxiety. I would pack the boys bag ready to go out for the day then start overthinking the process. What happens if Mase runs off and I can't leave the pushchair? People will stare when I take Eli out and he has hearing aids on. People will look at me funny when I am signing to Eli. I would overthink so much that we wouldn't go out. We only went out when we had to or if I was by myself. Then I would feel guilty the boys weren't going out which made me feel more anxious. It was a big vicious circle.
I didn't let many people know how I was actually feeling, most people saw that "I was fine". That's what I would tell people so why wouldn't they take me at face value? I would post lovely pictures of the boys so of course everything was 'fine'. I made it look 'fine' because I so wanted to feel 'fine'. There is a saying "dress for the job role you want". Well I was letting the world see how I wanted to feel not how I was actually feeling.
Eli had a lot of appointments in his early weeks and for months Mase had a lot of sleepovers with my in laws, mainly so he didn't have to be in hospital and get bored. Instead he could play and have fun with his grandparents. That support was amazing, but would make me feel like I was letting Mason down and that I was choosing Eli over him. This was irrational and I know that now, but it felt very rational and hard at the time. I would cry just leaving him. I'm crying writing this because I remember how vulnerable and raw I felt and no one really knew. I didn't express this to anyone. Leaving the boys is one of my biggest triggers with my anxiety and it's something I am very aware of and work hard on.
My sister in law probably knew the most and was amazing because there was never any judgment. I think that's the hardest part when you are opening up to anyone, that you might feel judged. Sometimes it's because they don't understand, sometimes because they don't want to. I have always been the emotional one in my family and my feelings are quite often brushed off as 'dramatic Jane' or 'emotional Jane'. But actually I felt really alone and really lost with all of these feelings.
I am loads better at trying to push myself to go out and do more with the kids alone. Once I'm out it's actually a lot easier and my anxieties start disappear. One of the things that help me is thinking of each small step rather then the whole picture. For example pack the bag. Get The boys ready. Walk down the stairs. Etc. Breaking it down doesn't makes it so less scary.
It's continues to be hard, but never feel alone and try to speak to someone if you can. It is so important to speak your truth.
WRITTEN BY JANE HENRY
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