The last two weeks I’ve been typing up this blog but I’ve erased it every time thinking it was stupid. But today.. I’m going to finish it. I don’t care how stupid it sounds. I want to share my experiences and life with y’all and anxiety and my mental health is a HUGE part of my life. I realized, after A LOT of going back and forth, that there is someone out there who is having this same struggle. Or has gone through this same struggle. So I’m sharing it.
August 6, 2018 I gave birth to our third baby girl. Elyssandra. We had made the decision that she was our missing piece and she completed our family. The next day I was wheeled back to the OR to have my tubes tied. I still stand 100% behind this decision, I do NOT regret it. Ellie is our missing piece. Our family is complete. Postpartum anxiety tries telling me otherwise, though.
This last year I’ve fought everyday with my anxiety about our last little baby growing up. I knew she’d grow up, turn one, then she’d be 5 before I knew it. It’s inevitable. They’re going to grow, even when we tell they they can’t! In fact I think us telling them that speeds up time.
I had no idea the next year of my life would be hell for me. Every day I fight postpartum anxiety. Some days I win, some days anxiety does. I’ve had generalized anxiety disorder for years but this whole new level of PPA was (and still is) very scary for me. I have trouble leaving her with other people. In fact, August 1 was the first night she was without me and it sucked. We were at the beach so I was able to stay busy with the other two girls. But once night time came it hit me hard. Would she sleep? Is she crying for me? Will they check her all night like I do? Will she hate me? Is she being taken care of like I do? The thoughts go on and on. I have trouble handling the fact that she will grow up. I have trouble not being with her. I have trouble allowing anyone else to care for her. I have trouble letting anyone else help. The list goes on.. it’s a nightmare.
I keep a brave face, I smile, I act okay because I don’t want my girls to see me like this. It’s hard to keep it bottled up. It’s hard to act like I’m okay when my brain is making me believe every worst case scenario will happen when I’m not there or within an arms reach of her.
All of that to preface the anxiety I’ve been dealing with over her first birthday. I wanted to do something big for her first birthday since we will never plan another first birthday. I wanted so bad to pick a theme, buy a cute outfit, buy all the matching decorations. I really wanted to. Every time I tried to look at ideas and inspiration I felt an anxiety attack coming on so I immediately closed out of the window or app and didn’t look back.
On Pinterest I had created a birthday board for Ellie and had started looking at cute summery themed parties. I was so excited. I remember the day that I created it.. I felt the anxious thoughts and feelings coming.. I closed the app.. and didn’t even open the app for about a week. Just thinking of planning her party and I was in panic mode. I kept trying to push it aside because every mom DREADS the first birthday. It is so bittersweet and while we want to celebrate our baby we don’t want our baby getting older/bigger. What I was feeling was much more than the normal dread that I had felt for the other girls’ first birthdays. This then put me into a nice mom guilt head space which made me feel like complete shit.
I hope that one day I am able to plan a nice party with cute decorations and a cute theme. This year I tried. I really did. I couldn’t get past my anxiety surrounding her first birthday. Every day that got closer and closer to her birthday it got worse and worse. I wasn’t even looking forward to my own birthday this year because it’s four days before Ellie’s. It was a constant reminder that Ellie would be turning one and I just couldn’t find myself getting excited. Again, I put on a brave face and a smile. No one even knew I was having problems. It all brings me back to the reason why it has taken me so long to type this up. I felt like I was stupid for having anxiety about planning a nice party for my daughter. My anxiety kept telling me that I was stupid, that people would make fun of me, that I was a shitty mom for not handling this better.
So today, August 11, we celebrated Ellie’s first birthday at the park with just family. It wasn’t the party that I wanted to plan but it was a nice party and I am thankful that family came! Maybe next year I can tackle a bigger party and decorate and celebrate her in a bigger way. Maybe next year I won’t have these thoughts flooding my mind. Maybe next year I will have these thoughts and if I do maybe next year I will be able to win the fight. I won’t know until next year rolls around.. but I hope that this next year is much easier on me than her first year of life has been.
Dealing with postpartum anxiety has not been easy for me. It is a constant battle in my brain where rational me knows whatever my anxiety is telling me is wrong but I believe it anyway. I am sorry for the fact that this blog is all over the place but that’s how my brain works.
Ellie, if you read this when you’re older know that your first birthday didn’t mean any less to me than your sisters. I know that you won’t remember your first birthday party but, again, anxiety is telling me that you will and that you will someday hate me for not throwing you the party that I envisioned for you. I sincerely hope that you never know what it is like to live life struggling with anxiety.
Thank you all for reading. Know that if you are struggling with anxiety, or any mental health disorder, I am always willing to listen to you vent, talk, whatever it is you may need!
Until next time,