It’s been a while since I reported on my PPD / PPA experience. It may seem that I’m completely recovered. That’s almost accurate. I have indeed gained a lot of confidence as a mother, and a lot of things no longer bother me like they used to. I’ve definitely come a long way.
Yesterday, I faced a PPD / PPA fear of mine…and won. One of the biggest fears that I had was going to places with my son without any support. I was always convinced that something would go wrong and that I wouldn’t know what to do. I was fearful of not having anyone there to help. I was worried that I might endanger my son somehow. It created a lot of anxiety, and I found it easier to just avoid any instances. Up until yesterday, we rarely went alone together. There were maybe one or two occasions, but they were very short.
The day had finally come where I could no longer avoid a long outing. There were two places in which I had to bring my son alone yesterday. I was still nervous about it, especially because he is now vocal and moves quite a bit. In the past, I would worry about how he might be bothersome to others, or that I might be forced to cancel my obligations.
The first instance was my therapy appointment. I have never brought my son to these appointments. I wasn’t comfortable with the thought, because I didn’t feel that I would focus on anything with him there. I would instead spend more time ensuring that things were calm and that he was comfortable. Back then, I would pay a sitter to watch him or lately, rely on my mother in law to watch him. This time, neither option was available.
The old me would have been wrought with questions. What if he cries? What if he becomes inconsolable? What if he has a tantrum, or gets really hungry? What if we lose focus and I just can’t get help that day. What if he gets hurt?
Amazingly, a few of these things did happen, but I was unfazed by it. It seems that I went into automommy mode; I met his needs while in discussion with the doctor. I wasn’t nervous or scared. I just went with it. He wasn’t even that fussy at all. He actually enjoyed myself, and I got the therapy I needed. WIN!
Right after the appointment, we were supposed to meet a friend for dinner. This was the first time that he and I would be going to a restaurant without Daddy’s help. Again, my former self would have been overrun with thoughts. What if he gets hungry? I can’t carry my seat cover and those high chairs are DISGUSTING! What if he’s too noisy and cries? What if he gets sleepy? He doesn’t like those high chairs, how will I eat? What if people complain that he’s too loud? How will I handle an outburst by myself?
It turns out, my friend was running late. I had to sit at that restaurant with my son without any help. I was slightly worried, but didn’t show it. The high chair was disgusting. I hated it! I tried to wipe it down, but it never looked clean enough. I cringed each time he touched part of it. He cried, and dropped his toy. He cried again and dropped his bottle, which rolled on the floor, underneath the table, with the nipple touching the wall. I had everything but the kitchen sink with me, but I was not prepared for that.
I was feeling disgusted and anxious. I felt that the bottle and toy were contaminated and ruined, and that he was also dirty from the chair. He became slightly fussy and I just there silently begging him to behave.
Then, I took a deep breath. I told myself it wasn’t his fault for being fussy. He had a long day, and it’s not even close to being over. I hadn’t feed him any solids, so he could just be really hungry. I decided to pull out his favorite movie and distract him until my friend came. He smiled and quietly sat in his chair as soon as it came on.
My friend came shortly after and I was able to wash the bottle and the toy. I stopped obsessing about the high chair and focused on my friend and son. Things turned out well, and it became a great dinner without any fuss from Mommy or son! WIN!
I struggled a bit in the beginning, but I’m glad that I was able to overcome my anxiety over these situations. I can’t avoid things any longer – it’s time to meet these things head on. There will be another time where I’ll have to take him with me to appointments, and there will always be meetups with friends without Daddy coming along. These small wins definitely show that I’m on my way to full recovery!
stock photo from stocksnap.io, artist Tai Jyun Chang