The day I had to go back to work after my 12-week maternity leave from my son’s birth was one day I wish never to repeat again. It was a Monday, and Halloween night, so I had something very exciting to look forward to after work. But the idea of leaving my son alone with someone other than me was emotionally too much. Granted, it was my regular sitter for my twins, so how he was being cared for was not the issue. It was that he wasn’t with me that was the problem.
As the weeks went on to being a working mom again, something didn’t feel right. I felt off but didn’t know how to explain it. I had never felt this uptight, or overly anxious about everything after my girls were born.
I didn’t understand what the issue was.
It all came to culmination on a winter day – the weather forecast was for a couple inches of snow and I had this horrible feeling that if I even went down the street with my kids in this weather, we would get into an accident. I had previously been having horrible thoughts of getting into car accidents with my infant son, and the thoughts became too much. I called my OBGYN, who saw me within a few days, and after talking to her about all my feelings, she told me I most likely had post-partum anxiety.
These are a few things I didn’t realize at the time:
- I most likely had anxiety issues before my pregnancy. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how likely that is for everyone, but even though I had never been diagnosed with anxiety before my pregnancy, I am confident in saying that I was a little anxious about some things, mostly with my work habits and need for some things to be perfect, prior to my son’s birth.
- It’s OK to admit that something’s not right. This was a huge problem for me to address. As someone who is a perfectionist to a degree, how could I admit something was wrong? I always wanted to make everything right. As a mom, I’m not supposed to have any problems – I need to be ready to help my kids or husband with their problems. Having a candid conversation with my husband, though, and telling him that I just didn’t feel right and I didn’t know what was wrong, was ultimately what convinced me to contact my doctor.
- Counseling can be a life-changing asset. A lot of people may roll their eyes or stereotype you when they hear you’re in counseling. That should be the opposite of how people should act. By going to counseling for over a year now, I have been able to work past my post-partum anxiety and dive into other underlying anxiety triggers in my life. Having a great support system, including family, friends, and counseling, has truly made a significant impact in my life.
I now have enough confidence to identify when things aren’t right and when I can’t accomplish something. These are things I would have never thought I would have been able to do before without the help of my counselor and the identification of my anxiety issues.
I feel like because I didn’t feel this way after my first pregnancy, I didn’t want to admit things could be different after my second pregnancy. If you aren’t feeling like yourself in any way after your child is born, I encourage you to talk to a doctor. It could be the first step in a life-changing experience that makes you be the best you, and the best mother possible.