In case it doesn't come through loud and clear on this blog, I suffer from some anxiety issues. It can range from mild anxiety to panic attacks, depending on the day and the trigger. I've mentioned it here and there before, but I never really dwell on it. I've occasionally thought about taking medication to help with it, but at this juncture, medication is really out of the question for me. I breastfeed exclusively, and I cannot take the risk that even a fraction of the medication passes to Evaline.
Motherhood is wonderful. I love my daughter so much. When she goes to bed at night, I miss her. I look forward to the next day, not knowing what it will hold in terms of my daughter's growing communication skills, movement (she's already trying to crawl), eating habits, and everything else. Each day is a surprise and a gift.
That is tempered by staggering (at times) anxiety. We've been slowly introducing solid foods now that she is 6 months. It has been causing borderline panic attacks. I have a deathly fear of her choking. I'm not sure where it comes from, but every time she eats, I start to panic inside. My heart was set on doing baby led weaning, but quite frankly, I'm too afraid. We're going middle road. No purees or baby food. She gets whatever we have for dinner, mushed into baby-gumming chunks. She's handling it great, and she loves to be involved with dinner. My anxiety is slowly abating, but I'm sure something else will take its place.
It all boils down to control. I am a control freak. And now I have this tiny person, whom I love with every fiber of my being, whom I would die for, and she depends on me to keep her safe. It's terrifying. Utterly terrifying. I need to control everything to make sure that I am absolutely keeping her safe at all times. There are things I should control - a pool alarm for her grandparents' unfenced pool is reasonable. Making sure that the dog is never left alone in the room with the baby is reasonable. Making sure her toys are child safe is reasonable. But smashing every particle of food into atoms is not. She has to grow up, and I can't (nor should I) protect her from the whole world. Sometimes I can't sleep at night because I envision all the terrible things that could happen to her. All of the terrible things I read about in the news. I wind up getting angry at myself for focusing on so much negativity. Worrying does nothing about tomorrow, but it certainly robs today of its pleasure.
I hope that with time this abates. When I'm not anxious, it's wonderful. When I am, it can be nightmarish. Some of my friends have suggested that this may be a form of PPD. While that may be true, I return to the fact that due to breastfeeding, I will not be taking anti-depressants. This is after a few days of heavy consideration.
Lest you all worry, I am fine. The anxiety comes in spells. After spending the weekend with my mom, in-laws, and other various relatives who all raised children successfully and watching them interact and feed Evaline, I am a great deal less nervous about introducing foods. I'm dealing with it.
And something to end the anxiety post with: Evaline sleeps in our bed at this time for a variety of reasons. Every morning, I am woken up by soft patting of my face with small baby hands. When I wake up and look at her, she gives me the biggest, gummiest baby smile you have ever seen. There is nothing so sweet as being loved like that. Nothing.