First published here on Medium, 6th August 2019
I was going to write something about how the birth professionals we trust in to offer us guidance before, during and after our pregnancy and birth journeys are not always acting in our best ethical interests. But anxiety reared its ugly head again last night so I thought it important to talk about.
I haven’t written for a few weeks, it was very intentional. I have felt depleted and I don’t always feel like sharing the worst of it with the world. The stressors that I have faced over the last year aren’t third world catastrophic but they have definitely left a mark in my mind and altered my perspective on how I have chosen to live since then. This in turn has impacted mine and my partners relationship undoubtedly. Not necessarily negatively, but without question, the dynamic you shared and the strength of your partnership- infact the strength and dynamicy in all of your relationships (including the one with yourself) will be brought into question, in the weeks, months and years post baby.
My anxieties are a continuation of the traumatic birth I experienced. I work hard to keep them in check but sometimes they get the better of me. Last night is a typical example: I’ve put the baby to bed, and I’m getting ready for bed myself. I check the baby before I go to bed (nothing too unusual), but just as I settle into bed; WHAM! All of these catastrophised play by plays of what could go wrong with him in the night. “I’ve left the fan on, what if there is an electrical failure?”, “what if I go in tomorrow morning and he’s stopped breathing again through the night?”, “what if Tom’s left before I go in to get him and he’s stopped breathing, how would I get help?”.
It really is tiring trying to keep all of these fears at bay, so for me it’s important to take it back to basics. I unpick these fears, I generally know what the root cause is. Normally it’s a run of good days and the sense it’s going too well. If anybody has watched Brené Brown’s - Call to Courage on Netflix they will probably understand how the act of showing gratitude is so important in those moments too. I talk it out loud to my partner and I share it. Share it with friends, other Mother’s, almost in an attempt to normalise these parental anxieties and take the power away from it.
I don’t know if these fears ever go away as a parent or just change shape as the child grows, but I’m working on it and showing gratitude daily for all that is going well for the here and now.