On the Other Side

The New Yorker
Baby girl slept almost twelve hours last night without a peep. She has been sleeping eleven pretty solidly for a couple of months, but usually likes to wake me up around 3am with just a quick whine. Just enough noise to get me up and looking at the monitor to then see her roll over and go back to sleep. And it is funny because instead of being so proud that she can go back to sleep on her own, I am annoyed that I was awoken at all.

And then I feel guilty.
And then I remind myself of how much we were getting up in the night not so long ago.
Then I feel proud of her.
And then I cannot wait until I hear nothing at all in the night.
And then that makes me a little sad because she is so sweet when she needs a snuggle.
Then eventually I go back to sleep.

If you have a kid, you know these endless mind circles that envelope you about pretty much every milestone and event. It is exhausting and the funny thing is you are the one creating them, in that damn hormone stirred mind of yours.

I do not open up too much on the blog about my personal life. I mostly just give just a glimpse and the problem with that is that it is usually the rosier side of the picture. But just like anything we share on the Internet, life is so much bigger than our iPhone screen. I have shared a bit about the craziness since having my second baby, but I feel now I can really tell you a bit more. Not only for you to know that my life is just as messy and insane as every one's, but also because it feels therapeutic.

After the three month mark had rolled around after sweet Mary Adele was born, I started to feel more like myself. But all of the sudden, things took a turn. I started feeling anxiety like I never had before. The kind that grips your insides and makes your heart race. The kind that keeps you from sitting down for more than a few minutes. The kind that makes you obsess about every little thing. It was terrible and so not my personality. I knew it was bad when I went to a spa day and had a panic attack. Yep, if you cannot relax at a luxury spa you are pretty much screwed.

The worst part was that it was not about anything specific. I had no worries about my kids, their care, or the way our life was and I was generally happy most of the time. The anxiety came and went with no pattern. It would be bad for a couple of days, then not show up again for another week. Being a solutions oriented person made me want to find the problem, deal with it and move on, but that was not what this was about. It was hormones. It was biological. It was time to go get some help. So I did. 

Post-partum problems have such a vast spectrum. In my case it was very mild and did not take much more than time for it to pass. From depression to anxiety and everything in between, we all need a little help in those first few months or even the first year. I hope by writing this that a new mom out there opens up to her husband, calls a mommy friend for advice, or makes an appointment with a doctor, because we all have the right to feel like ourselves in the middle of baby land.  If you are not experiencing full on post-partum depression, you may feel that help is not really needed. But there is help if you want it, because just feeling a little off base can feel like so much more when you are a new mom. 

Who knows if we ever become again the people we were before baby. Clearly my middle of the night mind circles were not present before, but being in charge of another human probably makes us all a little crazy. Which I would not trade for the world, given the love I feel for my two babes. 


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