Your anxiety is overwhelming right now
You’re struggling right now, and that’s OK. We all struggle at times – although I get that you feel like you’re the only one.
Your labour wasn’t what you expected it to be. The antenatal classes which you found so helpful gave you a false sense of security. They told you that “most women” don’t have drama and interventions during their labour, and you believed them. But you weren’t “most women” and your labour left you feeling vulnerable and weak, in a state of shock.
You were told by other mothers that “once the baby is on your chest you will forget the pain in an instant,” but you didn’t forget. You felt numb, scared, overwhelmed and exhausted and you wondered what was wrong with you. There isn’t anything wrong with you, don’t forget that alongside all of those emotions, what you felt most of all was love for the tiny baby girl in your arms. Don’t forget what your body had just been through, and what it had achieved in delivering your baby safely – all of those emotions were natural.
You thought that post-natal depression was a mother who couldn’t bond with her baby; you’d seen it on the television and read about it in magazines. You didn’t think that you could be suffering with it, because the bond you had with Freya was the opposite, it was strong, pure, unbreakable. You didn’t know that post-natal anxiety existed, so you put the thoughts you were having down to hormones and tiredness, and to you being a “worrier.” You will learn, a lot later into your journey as a mother, that post-natal depression and anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes, and that it does not reflect on your abilities as a parent, or your love for your child whatsoever.
Your anxiety is overwhelming right now, it’s manipulated your mind into believing that you won’t see your precious girl grow up – but I want you to know that you will be there for her first birthday, her first Christmas, her first steps. You worry that you’ll be gone before she’s old enough to know you and remember you, but you will learn to control these thoughts – one day they won’t take over your days. You’ll have to work on this, practising what you are taught in your CBT sessions, and it won’t be a short process, but it will be worth it to enjoy your daughter without your fears tainting the memories you make.
You will face setbacks, and that’s OK too – it’s all part of the process and you don’t have to pretend that everything is OK all of the time. Trust those around you – they have your best interests at heart and they will get you through the hardest of times. I know it feels like you will be in this dark place forever, but you will get through it and you’ll be stronger because of it.
You see other mums who seem to have it all together, but I promise you they all have days where they don’t get dressed, don’t leave the house, don’t cook a proper meal – that’s real life, and nobody posts their whole day on social media, only the “highlight reel.” Your baby is happy, healthy, fed and warm – nothing else matters, and you will realise this in your own time.
You will be so proud watching Freya learn and grow. She is so clever, kind, funny and full of character. Not to mention cute enough to get away with just about anything. She will be your little sidekick, she spreads happiness wherever she goes, she is a credit to you, and regardless of what you may think, you’re actually doing a pretty good job.
“The days are long, but the years are short,” so take your time, bask in the wonderful little human you grew, and be kind to yourself. You really have got this.
Love Nat x