It is not the end of the world. Even though it might seem that way at the time.
Before diving into the hard part, I wanted first to share where I am now in life, and how things have turned around.
After the birth of my baby, I had a good week or so, incredibly tired, but I was mentally coping. Until everything went south. I'll get into that part in another post though.
At the time, I thought it could never get better. I felt I lost so many things in the process that it was impossible to live a normal happy life after that. I could not bond with my child, heck, I was afraid to get close to her. I remember how I would panic every time I was alone with her, or when I'd see her wake up from her nap. I wanted to spend as little time with her as possible, trying to find any excuse to escape. I could not sleep if she was sleeping in the same room as me, I would stay up all night listening to her every move. The scariest part. I didn't feel attached to her at all. Like she could be anyone else's daughter. Didn't feel connected. Felt a whole lot of responsibility, with very little affection. It really pains me to say that. But it's true. I was blinded by anxiety I couldn't see anything good at the time. Just the burden and the extreme fear of.. well everything really. It was definitely a dark time, but I will get into it more later.
Fast forward 3 years. My daughter turns 3 end of Summer. She is one happy child. She makes me laugh every single day. I can't go a day without seeing her and playing with her. I couldn't have imagined a better connection or bond than the one I have with her now. I take care of her on my own completely almost all the time. We travel alone, get on planes alone, sleep in the same room alone. I am a normal 100% capable mother and care taker and I am learning everyday how to do things better. Again I am a mother and I make mistakes just like other mothers, I just mean I'm not freaking out about it. I make mistakes, I do not panic, I make amends. Basically, I can call myself a mother now. Which is something I could not feel at all 3 years ago. I'm taking courses and reading parenting books! I'm genuinely interested in her and how to make her the happiest baby, or well, toddler, in the world.
I know what I'm saying seems like a given. But to me, this is a blessing. A blessing I truly could not picture back then. I could have never imagined the love I have for my daughter right now. I love everything about her! Her laughs, her jokes, her cheeky comments. So much so that we actually decided to have another baby, and guess what, I'm 5 months pregnant now and couldn't be more excited!
Don't get me wrong, once you've been diagnosed with Postnatal Anxiety, you tend to get it again with every birth, so it was a big decision. A decision I would have probably said no to 3 years ago without thinking twice.
But now, after seeing how far I've come, and how we've both turned out. I can safely say I'm ready to go through all of it again. Why? Because it was not the end of the world. God it was difficult. The most difficult challenge I've ever had to face in my life. But I know more now. I know it passes. I know it gets better. And I have my daughter as proof. Every time I doubt myself, I look at her. Yes there will be difficult times ahead. And yes I have to prepare myself for all possible scenarios. Which I am and I'll get more into that in another post. But there will be beautiful moments in the future that will make all of this worthwhile.
I have hope, I have faith and I will do everything I can to be better prepared for the upcoming period given the knowledge I have now. By knowledge, I don't just mean about babies and toddlers, but mostly about myself. I understand myself and my triggers and my anxiety a lot more now, that even when I might find it difficult to control, I know that it will indeed pass, like it has before.