Many, many times a day since my last child (fourth and final) was born, I ask myself and those around me if my daughter is breathing. I ask if she has anything in front of her face. I ask if her chest is moving (no, really, did you see it? Can you check again?). I feel her skin to make sure it’s warm, somehow expecting that it won’t be this time. I wake up in the middle of the night and lay my hand on her chest to feel her breathe. I have even pulled over on the Causeway bridge when I poked her and she didn’t startle.
Logic doesn’t always prevail
I know that she’ll be just fine. I’m aware that she’s probably not just going to stop breathing for no reason. I follow the advice and the guidelines and safety recommendations. Yet for some reason, I get incredibly anxious over making sure she’s breathing, I make myself nauseous. I don’t sleep because I wake so often fearing the worst, and I don’t want to let her go.
The strange thing about anxiety is that even when you know what is likely, logical or probable, you still believe the opposite to be true. Every fiber of me is saying she’s going to be dead and still, I’m not at all surprised when I find her breathing and even grinning in her sleep.
I don’t talk about it because it doesn’t make sense. I tell myself it’s not too severe and that it will go away as she gets older. In my search for peace, I went back today and re-read a post that I didn’t previously understand, written by Andie in 2013. In this post, she talks about her struggle with Postpartum Anxiety and how she began her journey to healing – exactly what I needed to read.
This is just the beginning for me. I know there will be countless sleepless nights and fear-provoking car rides in my future, but I’m hoping there will be fewer and fewer as time progresses. My baby girl is six-months old now, and she deserves to have a healthy, happy momma who doesn’t wake her in a panic when she’s not breathing heavy enough to be visible. I am committing to talk about it and try to understand. I am committing to heal.