Deciding to have a baby after struggling with Postpartum Anxiety for a year was NOT an easy decision.
We had just bought the house we knew we were going to raise our kids in and started a new season of life. Things were great, and we finally began to feel settled after what had been a rollercoaster of a season…
But, I still had this longing in my heart, this deep desire to have another baby. I dealt with grieving over the idea of never having another baby for as long as I could, but this desire wasn’t going anywhere…
In fact, it was getting stronger. After sitting down and explaining how I was feeling to Matt, I realized something….
I felt broken. Damaged. I carried a lot of guilt over not being mentally stable enough to expand our family. Women are created to carry and bear children – and here I was, unsure if I was capable of doing it anymore.
I couldn’t stand the idea of our family not growing because of something wrong with me. So, after doing a lot of work with my psychiatrist, and praying and talking A LOT about it with Matt, we decided to try. We would give it 2 months, because we wanted the baby to be born in early summer at the latest, and if we didn’t get pregnant then we would put the idea off for another year…
It took two weeks. I was ecstatic, overwhelmed and excited. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone.
But then, one morning when I was waiting for the kids to get up, it really hit me. What if it happens again? What if its worse? The memories of my postpartum period with Emerson came flooding back, anxiety and panic set in and suddenly I was afraid that I had just made a terrible decision for my family…
I was angry, frustrated and defeated. All the work I did to get through the anxiety and now this!? I spent the first half of the pregnancy worrying A LOT.
But, one day, I was playing with Emerson and thinking about everything that happened to get to this point and I realized how worth it it really was.
So I made a plan – a plan for the rest of the pregnancy, a plan for if the anxiety came back, and a plan for if it was worse. Having a plan made me feel a lot better, and I continued to do a lot of work on myself in order to have the best shot at a good outcome for me and the rest of my family.
Fast forward a few months and we were in labor. I’ll write all the details about Macie’s birth story in another post, but what I can say is that it went better than I had imagined. In fact, I felt more in control of my choices and what I needed than any of my previous labors, and I have the work of digging myself out of PPA to thank for that. Our hospital stay was restful, anxiety free and filled with quality time snuggling my new babe.
But, when we got home, I began to doubt our choice again. For two days I sat around, on the verge of a panic attack, waiting for the PPA to return. I woke up in the middle of the night, expecting it to come flooding back. I worked myself into a full blown panic attack, convincing myself than my descent into anxiety was right around the corner. Flashbacks swam through my mind, and I was scared. For 48 hours, I was sure that I was going to have to battle for my mental health again…
And then it didn’t come. The nightly panic attacks, the struggle through heavy anxiety all day long, the desire to just hide in my bed from the world, the insomnia, the terror….
it never came back.
What did happen was me learning that once you have experienced anxiety, you can make yourself experience anxiety over and over again. You can talk yourself into a panic attack a lot easier than you can talk yourself out of one. I was, unwillingly, sabotaging myself….
So, I put my plan into action. I called my psychiatrist immediately to talk through the anxiety and make sure it was “normal”, I upped one of medications – a decision we had already planned for by having it at my house in case of an increase in anxiety, I told my husband exactly what was going on, began taking my placenta pills and had my doctor add in another prescription strength B vitamin….
and then I got out of my own head. Each night when I go to bed, anxiety tries to creep its way in, but I’m on top of it. I remind myself of how the day has gone, recount the good things around me, and remind myself that worry and PPA are not the same thing. I don’t let myself talk myself into the downward spiral.
When I woke up today, I realized that my first thoughts were not about anxiety. They were about snuggling my baby before the other kids woke up. They were about savoring my cup of coffee early, and catching up on laundry. They were about how excited I am about the garden, and planning a canning schedule. My thoughts were normal. And, I finally realized that I am happy. A different kind of happy, a happy I haven’t felt in a long time.
I’m excited for this season of life. I look around and can’t believe that this is the life I get to live, day in and day out.
Deciding to have another baby was a huge leap of faith. Truthfully, it could have been bad. I mean, having a child is always worth whatever you go through to get there, but it could have cost us another very dark season. We chose to believe we wouldn’t. We decided to believe that God wanted to use this birth, this child to show us how far we have come.
And it has done just that, giving birth to Macie has brought this whole journey full circle.
It has shown me that its time. Time to move forward to the next season of life. Time to stop living in this shadow of PPA, of defining who I am because of it. Time to take what I have learned, all the good parts of my journey and carry them on into the next chapter. Its time to leave the hard parts behind, to say good bye to the fear, the worry and the pain.
I will always be open about my journey. I will always be willing to share my story. I will always listen to a mom share her struggles while she is in the depths of the battle…
But I won’t be there anymore. 2.5 years of my life is enough for PPA to have a hold of.
So, if your wondering, I’m okay. Things are great. I am happy, sleeping and enjoying summer with my kids. I am spending time with and dating my husband. I’m working along side him to build our homestead….
So you don’t have to ask if I’m okay.
I’m sitting here about to nurse my crying babe, with my kids fighting bed time, watching shark week and looking forward to the adventures that tomorrow will bring…
The name Macie is of French origin.
The meaning of Macie is “weapon”.
It is also of English origin, where its meaning is “gift of the Lord”.
It is also the female version of Maccius – a roman version of the name Matthew.