I’ve never been a worrier. Anytime I’ve thought of something to worry about I was able to remind myself that worrying is a futile effort and a waste of my time. But now I have a baby.
Now I worry about everything. I worry about her. I worry about whether I’m providing enough stimulus when she’s awake, whether she will have any disorders that I can help prevent starting now, whether she’s reaching milestones on time, whether she’s healthy, whether she has a flat head, whether she’ll choke after eating if I put her down to sleep too quickly after nursing, whether her neck muscles will develop well with the small amount of tummy time we do. She’s only 9 weeks old and my mind is full of worries.
I can mostly control my worries about my daughter. If she has a disability, we will deal with it and there isn’t anything I can do for her right now. She will develop her neck muscles and learn to sit and grasp things whether I force her to do tummy time or not. I’ve seen her cough up milk enough times to know she knows what to do when it gets caught in her throat.
I have more trouble controlling my worries about myself. I’ve heard enough horror stories about Post-Partum Depression to know that it might sneak up on me without my realization. I know that depression lies and that PPD can present itself in as many ways as there are people. I’ve always struggled a little with depression. When it happens, it sneaks up on me and I don’t notice it until I’m coming out of it. I wish I had never heard the awful things that can happen to someone who has PPD. It makes me second guess every emotion, every thought, every movement. What if my thought of “I’m tired and need to not be holding this baby” is an indication? What if my desire to spend the evening away or my crying because I’m frustrated that I can’t get all the housework done or the fact that I find newborns boring…. What if this means I’m suffering from PPD and it’s going to get worse?
These are the thoughts that bother me most. I can’t control my daughter’s future. All I can do for her is keep her safe and healthy and love her. So worrying about her future is futile and I can stop that worry. I guess I can stop worrying about myself too. Why in the world can’t I? I think I’m afraid that if I stop worrying about it then it will sneak up on me and I won’t see it coming. I suppose I should take the same stance on my own mental health as I do with baby girl’s physical health. Just keep doing everything I can to keep myself happy and healthy and let the rest of the world happen. If I slip into PPD I have to trust that my husband, friends or family will see it and get me the help I need.
I have to understand that it’s ok to feel sad without thinking that I have PPD. It’s ok to want to be alone sometimes. It’s ok to want to not hold the baby all the time. It’s ok to find baby toys and music and shows extremely boring. I am still my own person with this crazy range of emotions and thoughts. I can exercise and eat right and spend time with the people I love. Other than that, I can’t stop PPD from happening and it certainly isn’t worth my time to worry over.