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Monday, August 02, 2010

A new chapter.

Bringing home Aspen began a brand-new part of my life with Kev. It has brought on a lot of uncertainty, joy, love, rewards, fears and so much more.


Unfortunately, it has also brought on unexpected anxiety for me. I wouldn't label what I'm experiencing as panic-attacks, but I would say that the physical feelings are affecting my confidence in myself and making it difficult to turn off my mind and sleep whenever I get the chance.

My next appointment to consult with my psychiatrist isn't scheduled until September. Due to the reaction I'm having mentally and physically postpartum, that's going to be rescheduled for as early as possible.

In the meantime, Kev and I have initiated a new routine to assist with my anxiety and to bring us closer together as a family. To celebrate Aspen's arrival into our home, Kev and I have decided to start reading together (again) from the beginning of The Book of Mormon. I like how the fresh beginning of scripture study coincides with her presence. I'm looking forward to seeing her progress as Kev and I progress spiritually.

The first night we started this routine I felt my anxiety lessen. I could breathe without feeling out of breath. I could focus on what we were doing without feeling overwhelmed. It was such a relief. Because we prayed before we read together, I believe certain passages of scripture offered comfort that I may not have experienced otherwise. Following up our reading and discussion with another prayer felt like a tiny way I could offer thanks to Heavenly Father for giving me exactly what I needed at that moment.

It's not that the thought of breastfeeding or hearing Aspen cry scares me. I feel comfortable trying to feed her (although it can be very frustrating) and comfortable changing her and comfortable having Kev soothe her and comfortable addressing all her other needs. I'm not afraid to go near her, I'm not afraid to get in the shower and leave her sleeping in her crib. I wasn't afraid to go to Wal-Mart and leave her at home. I'm not afraid of what's actually happening. I'm not even imagining bad things that couldhappen. The anxiety just comes from nowhere. Or... I think it's triggered when I let myself look ahead. I think to myself "oh, Kev is going back to work" and my heart starts pounding and my breath gets shallow and I get listless. I've been home alone with her before, so I don't know why the thought of Kev leaving should affect me so. I'm grateful Kev and I are going to rely on our faith to help me get through this.

I have faith that it is a good idea to meet with my psychiatrist and have these issues addressed. I don't know what she'll recommend, and I do hope that if medication is required down the road that it will still allow me to breastfeed Aspen. However, my mental health and safety is more important long-term for our family and I have faith that Kev and I will be able to pick the best option for us.

I know that Kev and I are truly blessed, and I'm grateful that I have no shame in admitting my weaknesses; that is the only way I'll get the help I want. New parents are often hard on themselves (moms especially) and we all need to feel free to talk about our fears so we can support one another. I'm so glad that so many friends and family have offered me love and advice and listening ears as I've attempted to adjust to this new life in the last few days.

This journey into parenting should not be done alone. In a priesthood blessing that Kev offered to me on our first morning in the Pink House with Aspen, he reminded me that Heavenly Father never leaves our sides. He is always with us to support us if we look to Him. The Holy Spirit is always with us to guide us and help us find happiness in our lives through good choices.

I'm confident that my choice to address this anxiety head on and battle it out is going to benefit me, Kev and Aspen long-term. It will be worth the fight. Besides, I have the best players on my team.

If you have questions about this post or any specific topics, please let me know. If you have similar experiences, please let me know. It's been so helpful for me to talk with others about this and I'm happy to try to give back in any way I can.

10 comments:

  1. That first month is so crazy emotionally. I remember freaking out at my sister because her dog ate one of Beckett's socks. Isn't that rediculous?! Your emotions are so strung out right now. My advice is to sleep as much as you can. I know it is hard to shut off your mind, but do whatever it takes to fall asleep. Watch a movie, read a book, whatever makes you fall asleep. Sleep will help your mind and body heal. That is awesome about the scripture study. I'm sure that will help a lot too. Just keep swimming. :)

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  3. I loved this post. It brought the Spirit strong in my home. You have the best coping skills, Liv. You know how to make your way through anything!
    I recently got into a depression cycle (I come and go) and I really like your idea to start studying the scriptures from the start. I started doing more serious scripture study and it has helped so much.

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  4. My second child was an emergency delivery and afterwards I had serious anxiety. I didn't realize it at the time and I didn't get help, and I really wish I had. It is real and it's just your hormones going out of whack. Do the spiritual things you're doing, but do go in and see the psychiatrist and get some meds. That's really the only way to get your brain back on track so the other stuff can help.

    Now that I'm finally (years later, sadly) feeling better I can look back and feel bad that I just suffered for so long. Yes, having a baby is stressful. But I barely enjoyed my second child because I was so stressed out and miserable. You can get through this and it will get better.

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  5. it WILL get better, and i know that because since writing this post over the weekend, i have felt better!

    and i'm going in to see my psychiatrist on thursday. phew!

    thanks for the support ladies.

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  6. Communicating and letting your feelings out and the way you feel really helps. Too many women keep it to themselves. I for one go through severe post pardom-depression. I have major anxiety, panic attacks and no sleep. I have been put on medication which does help in the long run but my panic attacks go untreated. My OB doesn't help with any of this and I don't know where to turn. This is way I am so nervous to have my baby in just a few weeks.

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  7. what a little beauty, i am so happy for you! and i love her name! so sorry you're going through some tough adjustments. ppd/anxiety is soooooo common, you are certainly not alone. i cried a heckuva lot after i took my first babe home. from my sister's experience there are many medications that help and also allow you to continue breastfeeding. you sound like you have a great plan of action and that is wonderful. it will all work out. you were made for this.

    i found it helpful once caleb went back to work to just be around others as much a possible. i tried to visit family or have friends over to just hang out during the day so i didn't have to talk to the walls. it really helped. i wish you all the best!

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  8. Oh, my darling friend. The funny thing about having a baby is that it is so normal to feel so..not normal.
    Unexplained crying jags, sleeplessness, anxiety. All normal. And somehow, each day gets a little easier and a little easier and one day you wake up and go, "Gee, I feel back to my old self again."
    I'm not saying don't talk to your psychiatrist. Kim was my psychiatrist. I couldn't have done it without her.
    Do not fear. The Lord blesses us mothers.
    Soon you'll be toting that darling angel all over town, or watching Gilmore Girls with her, or watching her roll around on the floor, and these strange first days of motherhood will be a but a memory.

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  9. you have such a good attitude, and i really appreciate your honesty too. i would look into scientific journal articles about depression/anxiety medicines, because they will give you stats and the most recent info on what is ok to be on while breastfeeding, etc. best of luck my dear. xoxo.

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  10. I had SUCH a hard time after having Eva. It is so hard not being able to get enough sleep. And I use to be on medication for anxiety when me and Clint were dating. But I still feel it all the time and I know all about the heart pounding. I hate it.

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