Anxiety On Board
Child India|May 2018

It’s totally normal for new moms to feel both #blessed and #stressed. But if your worries are spiralling out of control, reach out for help.

Jennifer King Lindley

WHEN MY SECOND child, Ethan, was 9 months old, I wore faint tracks in our dining-room rug from pacing too much. I had tingling in my arms, twitching muscles, and galloping thoughts. I loved my children , but over the previous few months, the bliss I’d experienced after the birth of my son had faded. My brain became a very bad neighbourhood, and I was scared to be there alone. During brief breaks while my husband watched the kids, I’d go for jogs, trying to outrace the anxiety that followed me like a storm cloud. How could I be in charge of two needy little people? I kept wondering when the real parents were coming home.

Of course, as a second-time mom, I knew to expect some stress and worry. But this time around was definitely more challenging: Ethan was still waking up every two hours the way newborns do, and his 3-year-old big sister, Hannah, was demanding and sulking over losing her spot at the centre of the universe. I had decided to wind down breastfeeding, so my hormones were probably in a free fall. Still, none of it explained my flashes of terror, bolt-awake panic, and the fear that I was literally going crazy. It all felt like nothing I had ever experienced before.

After one particularly miserable night, I went to my family doctor. Once he had ruled out physical causes, he chalked my symptoms up to stress, handed me a prescription for an anti-depressant, and sent me on my way. I doubted a little vial could ease the storm inside my brain, but within a few weeks, the medication kicked in. Ethan also started—at last!—sleeping better. Gradually, the combination allowed my mind to quieten and my twitching body to follow suit. I began to feel normal again.

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