It was May 11th. I walked into the hospital so nervous but so ready to give birth to my baby girl.
As the clock struck 12:15am, sweet Riley Blake was born. The morning of May 12th was the best day of my life.
The next three days were magical. I was surrounded by nurses who helped me tremendously and answered all the 500 questions I had. I was well taken care of. My boyfriend was by my side and my daughter in my arms. My heart could have exploded with love. Everything made sense in those moments.
Three days later after being discharged from the hospital, we walked out to our car to load up and head home. There was something very sweet about being discharged on Mothers Day. My first ever Mothers Day as a mom and I got to take my daughter home. As soon as we stepped foot outside though… it hit me. It hit me that there was a world. A world full of disaster and hatred. See I was cooped up in the hospital those last three days and with just having a baby, everything else left my mind. I was focused on nothing but RB. In that room, I felt protected and supported.
But. A rush of anxiety quickly filled me as I was reminded, after stepping foot outside, that the world we live in is a scary place. Something precious turned into something fearful just like that.
Driving. Being out in public. Sleeping. I swear I didn’t sleep for the first month after having RB because I didn’t know how. What if something happened? What if something went wrong? What if she turns on stomach?!
When we went out in public I imagined just covering her up so no one could see her. Mama Bear instantly came out every.single.time. I was nervous to do anything besides stay at home.
I never knew this side of motherhood existed.
All those times my mom “overreacted” was just her acting out of pure love. She loves me so much so that she didn’t and never does want anything to happen to me. And if it did, she would probably blame herself. — These words have come out of her mouth before, but I never understood them until I became a mom.
Motherhood is worrisome.
I love my daughter more than words can express. My heart could burst with all of the love that I feel with just a thought, a look, and a hug from my sweet baby. I don’t know what I would do if something were to ever happen to her.
And that’s where faith comes in. That’s where mom friends come in.
[If it wasn’t for Instagram I would have never met Jordynn. She has shown me that it’s ok to open up about these feelings. The biggest thing is she has shown me that I’m not alone.]
A piece from my mom friend, Jordynn–
The day Olive entered the world will forever be the best day of my life. She made me a mother long before she came into this world and she gave me my purpose. It wasn’t until she was pushed out of my body and put into my arms that my world truly changed. I was no longer in control, she was. My new role as her mother was to tend to her needs as they came, help her learn and to grow, nourish her body and her brain.
I had no idea what I was doing. I still think most days I have moments where I’m clueless and at the beginning it was hard but it was easy at the same time.
Becoming her mother felt so natural to me, from the second they handed her to me she felt like coming up for air.
She was my daughter and instantly became my everything, I don’t know how I ever lived a day without her and I’m not sure how I ever will again. If you’re a mom I’m sure you can relate with the overwhelming worry that comes over you sometimes, “are they okay? are they hungry? are they sleeping enough? eating enough? she’s been sleeping a while.. can you check if she’s breathing? is she too hot? too cold?” and there’s also all the big things you worry about too but you just pray that those things will never happen to you.
Everyone warns you about things like SIDS, tells you that breast is best , co-sleeping is dangerous, don’t spoil the baby, this is what I did and my kids turned out just fine, give them a bottle, they’ll be fine. Then you ask yourself is my baby okay? Is my baby healthy? Am I doing enough?
But my question is how are you? Are you okay?
I was aware of postpartum depression and anxiety but I didn’t pay much attention to it because it would never happen to me. I feel like the focus was always on her and no one really stopped to ask how I was. So, I think I forgot to check in on myself, I forgot that my needs mattered too.
I wrote this when Olive was 3 months old,
“Somedays it hits me like a bag of bricks, I feel emotionless and it feels like everything I do is nothing but “going through the motions.” Other days are better and on those days I live in denial of the struggle that hides behind closed doors.
It’s in the quiet alone moments I struggle. The moments I am by myself and realize I am not myself, I am no one I can identify with other than just “mom.” In the quiet darkness when the baby sleeps, my husband snores and I lay awake, unable to sleep. In the moments I watch her on the baby monitor and hallicunicate. I watch the tiny screen and imagine someone kidnapping her and taking her away from me. In the moments I am alone, peeing while she is in the other room, I imagine walking out and having her be gone- taken from me. In all of these moments I somehow forget how to breathe, I forget how to think and I forget how to feel. In all of my alone moments I feel numb. I do not know who I am other than just “mom” and I no longer feel normal.”
Everyday since she has been in this world has been a struggle.
I remember feeling so afraid taking her home from the hospital, it was like I suddenly realized there is so much in this world I needed to protect her from. It’s been almost ten months since I became a mother and most nights I lay awake at night staring at the ceiling and my mind still doesn’t stop. I imagine every ridiculous scenario about what I should have done differently that day, I reflect on things that I said and all the things I should’ve done but couldn’t. Sometimes it feels like nothing at all. Some nights I lay awake unable to form a proper thought, just radio silence. I didn’t know how to feel or act or who I am anymore when Olive isn’t around. If I wasn’t her mom than who would I be? What is my purpose? What am I even doing? I struggled with being a wife and a friend and everything else. I don’t know how some moms do it, I’m constantly having a hard time.
I can’t drive anywhere without feeling tight chested that something could happen to her, I worry about car accidents and can literally vision them panning out in my head. I never imagined loving someone this much and being frightened to death to lose them. I’m constantly aware of all the danger surrounding us and I’m terrified of all the things I can’t control.
I have nightmares of horrible things happening to her.
It started with a man secretly living in our attic, he watched us for months and then killed Olive right in front of me. I couldn’t leave her alone for weeks after that dream started, now I’m afraid someone is going to break in. I wake in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and afraid like someone is standing right in front of us. All of these terrible irrational things race through my mind constantly throughout the day. There is no end and there is no break.
There was a day where I realized something was wrong and it was the only moment that I feel I truly failed Olive as her mother. It had been a long day, for no real reason other than I was exhausted. We typically spend our days playing, laughing and singing. This day was different. It wasn’t until 4-5pm that it really hit me and when it did it hit me hard. Olive was laying on her playmat, absolutely content with herself and I had music on in the background. I was so overwhelmed with what I was feeling that it just consumed me. I felt so much but nothing all at the same time and I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t sing, I feel like I wasn’t able to be happy in that moment. She was perfectly fine but I realized in that moment that I was not. To this day I am thankful that it only took once for me to realize that something inside of myself wasn’t right. I think I had known it all along but from then on I promised myself I would be better and get better for myself and for her.
A few months later I found myself in a doctor’s office, I was overwhelmed with questions but finally I received some answers. I was diagnosed with a severe generalized anxiety disorder that worsened postpartum.
It answered so much for what I was feeling, I was given a little bit of hope that maybe one day things would be better.
“She found that when she mothered in her own way, she mothered her best way.” – January Harshe
Becoming a mother has made me resilient, I feel empowered and kind of like a badass. I feel confident in myself and my abilities and my choices. I no longer care what people’s opinions of us are and I am mothering in my own way. Most days we are happy, most days I know I got this. I struggle every single day to be better, I struggle to battle my own racing thoughts but I am better than they are and I am bigger than they are. The hard days come and I embrace each good day as they come. Motherhood has been a whirlwind. But we are mothers, we are so much stronger than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.
In case no one has told you today you are so important, you are worthy of love and happiness and you are needed.
— Jordynn Alexander-Falcones
More words. Different voice. From another mom friend–
Postpartum anxiety is the worst feeling ever! Never thought that I’d be one of those moms that would’ve experienced it. I felt so alone even with the support of family. I felt the pressure doing everything perfect having to know EVERYTHING for my baby and also worrying about getting my body back in shape. Literally everything triggers you to feel sad and endless tears!
— Valeria Sanchez
Moms. You aren’t alone.
Find a friend. Find a prayer. Find hope. Find peace.
If you’ve struggled with anxiety or depression in any way, shape, or form please ask for help. Not only for yourself, but for your kid(s). Living with anxiety and depression is rough and no one deserves to go through it. Take care of yourself momma ♥