Fear of the Known

I have struggled to write this post for some time.  I was afraid revisiting my thoughts on and memories of postpartum depression (PPD) might cause more anxiety as we talk about possibly expanding our family in the future.

I am more scared today of having a(nother) child than I was two years ago before Aliya was born.

1 week old

Before Sassafras was born, I feared the unknown.  I had no idea what to expect.  I was afraid of being an unfit mother, of being able to survive on little to no sleep, on failing at everything.  And much to my chagrin, I believed all of these fears had come true when she was born.  I am not sure how much the chemical/hormonal imbalance affected my mind, or how much was due to my Type A and self-critical nature.  My feelings of guilt, worthlessness and failure, coupled with insomnia and anxiety, ultimately led me down a dark path of despair and depression; I felt like an impostor, completely helpless and out of control, and was the most scared I had ever felt in my life.

Today, I fear the known.

Moms always say, “You’ll forget!”  Or better yet, some moms used to say to me, “You’ll miss this!”

Perhaps I am not far enough removed to miss it because I have not forgotten and still remember the painful details of that time.

I have forgotten things like when she learned how to sit up.  Or when she rolled over for the first time.  Or how many ounces she was drinking at 4 months.  Luckily I have thousands of photos and fewer blog entries documenting these milestones.  Yes, I am that mom – the one who litters your Newsfeed with hour-by-hour updates.

I have not forgotten the sleepless nights.  Or how Aliya would cry and scream during feedings and how defeated I felt when I made the decision to put her exclusively on formula at eight weeks.  Or feeling completely alone.  Or wondering when KK would realize I had completely lost my mind.  Even though I was in a fog, I still remember all of it.

Who knew having a newborn could be so terrifying?

I am sure part of my experience had to do with the anxiety every first-time-mom has with her first baby.  And while I know I will never be a first-time-mom again, I also know there is a very real possibility I may experience postpartum depression again.

I may just be insane enough to do it all over again.  I just need to finish writing my pros and cons list.

For you moms who experienced a difficult time TTC, or a difficult pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum period – have you ever felt this way?  Were you afraid to try again?

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9 thoughts on “Fear of the Known

  1. Honestly… I have forgotten all the pains on the early days. But recently I have gotten to be around three moms with newborns… and I have to admit I’m not looking forward to going through it again. Maybe for some of us, it’s better to leap before you look. Or have your husband “accidentally” knock you up?

  2. I had PPD and it is one of the reasons why I only have one child, who is now 5. I am terrified to go through that again. I know that there are some antidepressant medications you can take beginning in your third trimester, so you get them “on board” so to speak before the baby is born…but I still don’t want to go there EVER again.

  3. hi amy! i came to your blog via rageagainsttheminivan (your guest post on what i want you to know). when i saw your picture, i recognized you from some of my friend annette’s pictures! thanks for sharing your story!

  4. I saw your post at Rage Against the Minivan and stopped by to check out your blog!

    I can totally relate to what you’re feeling. My son is 13 months old, and I’m definitely not far enough removed to miss or forget the first few months. I didn’t have PPD, but my son was tongue tied and nursed every 30 minutes for an hour at a time for the first six weeks (until we finally got it fixed.) It was so awful! I know that I want to have another child eventually, but knowing what to expect makes it scarier than it was when I was pregnant for the first time.

  5. Pingback: Becoming a Mother of Two | MiFOCALS

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