Friday was our first really bad day around here. Zeke was having one of those days. One of those days where he just could. not. behave. It quickly escalated into me having one of those days. One of those days where I just can. not. be. patient. The mixture of which resulted in poor Malachi having his first one of those days. He soaked up all the tension and stress in the house, not to mention the screaming (I will admit both Zeke and I were screaming at times) and could. not. sleep.
By the time Josh walked into the door I had Zeke locked in his room, crying, Mal in the swing, crying, and I was in the kitchen attempting to make dinner and you guessed it, crying. It was my first anxiety attack in maybe a year.
One thing that having Mal has taught me is how truly not normal my hormonal response to having Zeke was. I have always been prone to anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness. I have known these terms, and that I have a tendency toward them, since early high school. You would think I would have recognized, therefore, what was happening. But still, in those early weeks and months after Zeke was born it was all too easy to ignore the signs that something was wrong. Or to shrug them off. Or to tell myself it was just me being me. Or that postpartem anxiety was MORE than what I was experiencing, that I was blowing things up and making a mountain out of normal mommy behaviors.
But it wasn't normal. Everytime he cried I would go into a full panic attack. Sweating, beating heart, racing thoughts, panic. Every time. And Zeke cried a LOT as a baby. I checked his breathing hourly, if not more, all night long. I thought about SIDS 24/7. I raced around the house all day. I couldnt sit, I couldnt be at home, I had to be doing doing doing all the time. Almost daily I broke down into obsessive worry about some little thing.
And partly because I thought it was normal, and partly because I knew it wasnt normal and was ashamed, I told no one.
A friend of mine recently blogged about the postpartem depression she experienced after the birth of her second child. Her honesty in admitting what she went thru inspired me to admit my own battle with postpartem anxiety. Ivory linked to this amazing article about the signs of postpartem depression as well as postpartem anxiety, and I will do the same.
Its just so easy to shrug the warning signs off. Its simple to pretend that everything is ok, out of fear, out of shame, out of simply not understanding that its not.
But please. Dont.