When Angel was born it changed everything. I thought I was ready for her since I had read every baby book I could get my hands on, but of course I wasn’t. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for being a mother. It’s not that the physical part was hard. That was the easy part. No, what was hard and still is, is the emotional part.
Her first week I tried to breastfeed, but had to give up when I started having muscle spasms in my legs. They were so bad that they would almost throw me out of my chair. So I had to get back on my medication. I knew I had to be on it, but that still didn’t stop me from feeling like I was a failure. I made Jake give her the first bottle because I couldn’t bare doing it myself.
Having to ask for help was very hard for me. I am a very hands on person. I felt like if I asked for help it would make me less of a mom. Of course I had to ask for help. Like when Angel got colic. The only thing that would help was Jake walking her around the house, bouncing her up and down and talking to her. I tried everything to calm her down but the rhythm of walking was what she wanted and needed. So everyday at 6p.m Jake would start the routine of walking her around and I would sit there berating myself on how I couldn’t give her what she needs when she needs it like someone who can walk is able too. It soon became apparent that when she would get hurt or upset the only thing that would calm her is someone walking her around.
The feeling of helplessness started to slowly disappear the older she got, with Jake’s help. He would work with me on finding easy ways to take care of Angel. We kept a bassinet by the bed that I could get her in and out of during the night, and during the day I used it to transport her around the house. I also had a baby sling I put her in when we left the house. Then, when she was to big for those, we used a belt to strap her to me as she sat in my lap. But with the helplessness disappearing it was replaced with something much worse. Possessiveness and anxiety.
I have always had anxiety in the car since my accident, but it got worse after Angel was born. I started having full-blown panic attacks if it was raining or snowing. Or if Jake was driving to fast, which was anything over 40mph. I also had anxiety that if I wasn’t there, Angel would get hurt. I think every mom has that fear but it kept me from being able to go on dates with Jake.
The possessiveness came in the form of me not wanting anyone taking the first milestones Angel went through in life. I’m not talking about her first words or her first steps. I mean yeah I wanted to be there for those, but I knew that there was a possibility that I might not be. I’m talking about someone giving her, her first food or taking her on her first trip to the park. Just random silly things. I didn’t want to miss out on anything new she went through. So that made it hard for me to let anyone watch her. I mean what if they gave her, her first cookie and I wasn’t there! I was pushing people away from me and driving Jake insane.
So when Angel was six months old we moved to Jake’s hometown to be closer to his parents and for better job opportunities. It was supposed to be a time for new beginnings, but my anxiety was at an all time high. That’s when I finally decided to get help.
After I got diagnosed with PPD ( postpartum depression) everything changed. I finally had the energy and willpower to get up and do things. I became more active and my stress and anxiety was finally manageable. I can let family members watch and enjoy Angel as well. But most important my relationship with Jake improved.
I finally realized that I had been in denial for four years. I could let myself grieve the life that I wanted, and appreciate the life I now have. I wanted to be a massage therapist, but instead I became a mentor, and stay at home mother. Who knows, maybe I will find a career later when Angel’s in school. But 2015 is a new year and I will make the most of it. I will live in the here and now and finally enjoy my life just the way it is. Imperfectly perfect.