When you arrive home from the hospital life can be overwhelming and difficult to adjust to. But what happens in a few weeks when you still feel overwhelmed but you are far from depressed. You're happy as can be and you don't have negative thoughts at all about that precious new baby. Well, I assumed overwhelmed was normal and knew I didn't fit the postpartum depression sign and symptoms so I kept moving ahead.
Was I normal for worrying that my baby would become a SIDS statistic? Probably.
Was it normal that I kept my eyes on her a lot to make sure she was still breathing?
Was it normal that I double checked her straps on her swing, car seat etc.
I'd like to think so.
Was it normal that I put a few steps in place to assure that I didn't forget that super tiny super quiet baby in the backseat of my car?
Some don't think so but I'm the type that believes it's dangerous to say "I could never do that"
Was it normal that my mind was consumed ALL the time with scenarios of how she could get hurt or die?
Was it normal that my OCD (actually diagnosed, not throwing the acronym around) then kicked in and I became obsessive compulsive about preventing the scenarios in the intrusive thoughts?
I knew I wasn't normal when I checked my backseat 5 times between the sitters and work (3 miles) to make sure she wasn't in the car after I had just dropped her off.
I knew it wasn't normal that intrusive thoughts of her suffocating, falling and hitting her head, or not breathing entered my mind more than 3 times per hour.
I am a Christian and fully believe that God is in control and nothing I do can change His plans if he takes her to heaven. This was relieving and I fully understood this but I could not stop. The obsessive compulsive behaviors and intrusive thoughts were too frequent to stay focused on the truth. So many people encouraged me to pray and let God be in control. I did those things but I still needed help.
That's when I got help. Asking for help from my doctor was such a relief. I cried. He was very kind and reassuring. I began a medication which ended up helping but not being right for my whole body. I then, after a reaction, began seeing my general practitioner who referred me for counseling.
Counseling helped a lot. It was more work than the medicine but yielded greater results. I still struggle today. She's almost 15 months and some days I feel accomplished when I don't double check things after my husband. Some days I pull the car to the side of the road to check her car seat one more time, and some days I let her play in dirt and take risks. Each day is different.
I have also found that eating well and exercising keep me in a good place with all of this. There is a lot of research connecting exercise and things such as depression, anxiety, etc.
I'm thankful for the help I have received from my doctors, friends, family, counselor, and God. And my husband.... He's amazing. He doesn't get offended and he knows when to go along and when to pull me back to reality
I want other moms to see that postpartum depression isn't the only thing to watch for. I was officially diagnosed with postpartum depression but I was happy, I was obsessed with keeping her safe. Postpartum Anxiety and OCD was under that depression umbrella that's why it's diagnosed that way. Be aware moms and dads and friends. Get help and talk about it. If you know me feel free to talk with me and if you don't know me post here etc. Talking and being aware is powerful.
Here she is miss sassy pants herself.