When I was a new mom, I had the baby blues. Then, it developed into postpartum anxiety. A part of me feels like most moms probably have postpartum anxiety to some extent, but with our first daughter… mine was pretty bad. I was anxious upon anxious upon anxious about every little thing already, but something other parents were saying to me added fuel to the flames and I had to work overtime not to stress out more than I already was every time I heard it.
Simply put, I didn’t need to hear it. Even if some people think it’s generally from a “good place”, impact ultimately matters more than intention, and it impacted me so negatively.
Every time I was told it’s going to go by fast and I needed to cherish every moment, I panicked. I would have to fight back tears until I got to the car or away from the person. It already felt like it was going by too fast every single hour. And I was trying really, really hard to cherish every moment but I was also having a hard time cherishing when I was in the thick of rough patches.
Where’s the online test where I can measure if I’m cherishing enough? If I have a bad day… am I going to lose cherishing points? How fast is it going to go, where the’s math equation for that so I can prepare to withstand the velocity?
Even if it’s true, I’m not sure it’s necessary to tell someone using those words and that phrasing. I am deeply DEEPLY in this feeling right now of understanding how quickly it goes as my first daughter gets ready to enter middle school next year and my youngest is in first grade, going into second this fall. I’ve been aching lately. It’s been borderline unbearable to process how much I understand they aren’t little babies anymore. I get it. The speed of light. Noted.
I didn’t need to hear it then (and I still don’t now) because I was already mourning every little stage that passed, watching my first little one grow up and change so quickly was painful. Not all parents are created the same and some can’t relate to my drama. But, some of us a fucking puddles day in and out with anxiety that screams “you’re not cherishing it enough! you’re missing it all! HURRY! she’ll be in college tomorrow!!!!!!” and when we’re told essentially to be grateful, when we already are… it doesn’t feel great at all.
What I’ve always said to new parents instead is that they are going to literally want to kiss their babies face off and they will have to refrain, LOL. I also say they are going to laugh SO hard when their baby does certain things and it will become an incredible source of entertainment. Better than anything that’s made them laugh before. I also tell them how amazing it will be when their baby mimics them via expressions and sounds back to them and how adorable it will be to see themselves in their own kids. I just say happy things. I just already speak to them as if I know they are going to cherish all they can, and as if they already know the hard truth that is does in fact go by quickly. But I can’t transfer the ache I have in me now to them, and rob them of that brand new baby season of life and wonder and joy. This is just my perspective, but I know from talking to moms through the years that many feel the same.
Thank you for being here. Sending love from Hatteras Island.