Fear as a New Mom

I have not struggled with Postpartum Depression, but I had a difficult first week home with Jack. I have a long history of anxiety and it was something we were all watching for as I hobbled to my feet as a new Mom. The first night was scary. Jack cried a lot (although at that time one peep out of him seemed like hours of uncontrolled crying). My husband and I stayed awake the entire night. I barely remember what we did. I think we were mostly afraid to fall asleep. Afraid of what? I don’t know. I think that was the problem for me in that first week. I was afraid of something, but not quite sure what it was.

I was afraid of something happening to Jack. I had intrusive thoughts of him falling down stairs or into the water at the beach. We didn’t hang out on the stairs or go to the beach yet so these were irrational thoughts. They only kept me afraid. I imagined him getting crushed by a chair leg. We didn’t leave him on the floor, but the ugly thoughts and images rushed to my mind. I look back now and realize I was feeling the weight of responsibility for this new human being. I was faced with the reality that there was no way out of this job. I was in it for life and it required a maturity, level of responsibility and commitment from me that I had never experienced before.

I was afraid of something happening to me. I had intrusive thoughts of me falling down the stairs, getting knocked out and Jack just lying there crying and crying and crying. The thought of that made me sick to my stomach; it made my heart hurt. I was terrified that I would get cancer and die and Jack would not have a mother. My own identity was in question. My very purpose on this earth was changing. Had changed. Changed in an instant.

I remember it being very dark. We had the shades closed, kept the house quiet and slept when Jack slept. I wanted to so badly to reach out to my husband to talk to him. I kept it all in. It never felt like a good time to have a breakdown. Jack needed us at every moment and we responded at every moment. About a week or 2 postpartum I was able to tell my husband how I was feeling. It turned out he was having similar feelings. We were able to confirm that these feelings were likely normal in the midst of such changes. We grabbed onto each other and haven’t let go yet. Our lives are no longer dark; the sun beams light Jack’s face every day. I am no longer consumed by thoughts of terrible things happening (well, mostly). Now I spend most of the time giggling at something that happened yesterday, dreaming about playing in the snow this winter and wishing like hell he would just fall asleep already.

Abby Theuring, MSW

About Abby Theuring

The Badass Breastfeeder is a mother, writer, social worker, attachment parent, proud breastfeeder and advocate. Her career as a social worker has shown her that gentle and connected parenting is vital for life-long emotional health. You can find her blog at www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheBadassBreastfeeder.

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6 comments

  1. Thank you so much! I have three beautiful children and am a mommy to an angel as well. After the loss of our third child at 9 was pregnant I have had bad anxiety. I have had so much anxiety with our new baby that I didn’t with our other two. Sharing your feelings have made me see I am not alone in the anxiety department. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for being so honest and writing about your fears. The day I had my son I started worrying something was going to happen to me and he would grow up never knowing his mother. I would actually cry about it. I would call my sisters and tell them that they are responsible for teaching him all about me. I also was extremely protective. I would feel anxious when I knew someone (other than my husband, sisters, and Mom) was going to hold him. This resulted in my MIL telling my baby that his mother is selfish. My Mom assured me that it’s all normal. My midwife reminded me that it’s my first baby and natural to want to protect him. My husband is the best. He said, “You don’t take a beabr cub away from its mother, how are you any different?”. I’m 6 months post partum and doing much better handling my fears. I spend most of my time now playing and enjoying my baby. I’m glad I’m not the only one with these fears.

  3. Your Comments AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEN! Love all of your posts I just read! Im right there with ya on all this stuff. I think after a high risk pregnancy and difficult all around times, I am so go with the flow. My child is amazing and he will be how he will be:) I have another son, who is 12, so its been a long time since Ive been with a baby. About six other girls just had babies, between work and family, and I am so sharing this with them. thank you!!!

  4. Thank you. My daughter is 7 weeks and I’ve been crippled with feelings like this.

    • Hey Mama, I am so sorry to hear this. If it goes on too long you might want to consider seeking some help. Have you talked to your doctor/midwife?

  5. I had those overwhelming, intrusive fears too as a new mom. My biggest fear wasn’t the typical “I’m going to drop the baby” but rather of someone stealing my baby! I recall our first family outing together when our son was a few weeks old. We went to a sporting good store so my husband could get winter boots for work. I wasn’t baby wearing yet so I simply carried the car seat around the store. I could not look away from that car seat for 1 second! I was absolutely appalled when my husband set the car seat down, turned his back and walked 5 feet away to look at some boots. What if someone took the baby?! My son is 22 months old now and while the thoughts aren’t as constant, they’re still there. I’m terrified to look away for more than 2 seconds, and I have to have the baby monitor on him at all times even though our house is pretty small and the walls are thin. What if someone sneaks into the bedroom through a window and takes my son?! Earlier today there was a loud noise outside, probably just a car back firing or a noise from construction up the street. But the rest of the day I kept having images of my son playing by a window and being shot by a stray bullet right in front of me! I should note that I did struggle with a good bout of PPD, but it’s nice to hear that even people who haven’t had it still have the same thoughts and feelings. From what I’ve been told, that constant worry never goes away, even when your kids are in their 40’s and have kids of their own.

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