I wrote this post over 5 years ago but just rereading it brings back all those memories and feelings. I think it’s so important for moms, especially new moms, to know they are not alone. These type of feelings are absolutely normal and it will pass (it most cases).
I first knew something in me had changed the day after Maddox was born. We were in the hospital and Maddox was lying down and started to cough (it sounded like maybe a small gag/choke). I jumped up screaming for Josh and ran to Maddox. I burst into tears and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Maddox was completely fine. It was honestly maybe 3 coughs, but I was so completely overwhelmed with worry that something was wrong or he was hurt. I grabbed Josh after and said (while sobbing) “I thought something was wrong.” That was when I knew something had changed.
I’m normally very laid back. From the beginning I didn’t fret over Maddox falling down. I let him climb and explore and figure things out on his own. I let him get hurt and waited for him to decide if he needed comfort (versus instantly running to check if he was ok). However, despite my worry-free attitude, when Maddox was born I suddenly had this overwhelming -at times crippling- fear of us dying. I wasn’t worried about everyday things. I was suddenly worried about freak accidents that were completely out of my control. Car accidents, fires, cancer, you name it. If I’m being completely honest my chest is tightening and my eyes are tearing up right now just thinking about it. Having Maddox made me realize that if anything ever happened to me or Josh, Maddox would be losing a parent. Worse than that, if anything ever happened to Maddox. And that was a crippling feeling. Dying had never even really occurred to me before. I never thought about how old I would be when I died or even what would happen if Josh died. It just didn’t cross my mind. But suddenly I was consumed with worry about not only keeping Maddox alive, but making sure Josh and I were alive long enough to see Maddox grow old.
In the beginning I had these thoughts and worries constantly throughout the day, everyday. As time has gone on I get them less often, and when I do start to worry I’m able to push those thoughts aside so they don’t become all consuming. I can usually brush it off, tell myself I’m being ridiculous and get distracted by something else until the feeling has passed. When I do start to get the truly overwhelming, worrying feeling, I find it’s best (for me) to just go with it. Be worried, get it all out, and talk to either Josh, my mom or my grandmother. Luckily, they are all great about listening to me talk about how worried I am about things I can’t control, and they hardly make fun of me at all (kidding, of course). By the way, if I need someone to just listen or talk rationally, I call Josh. If I need someone to understand, relate to how I’m feeling, and commiserate/cry with me, I call my mom. And If I need someone to patiently listen, tell me they understand and then gently tell me to pull it together, I call my grandmother. They each have their own way and all serve key purposes! I should probably mention I have an amazing family. I know I’m extremely lucky. Even with all that love and support, and my normally laid back, worry-free attitude, I still have times of overwhelming fear. And I totally blame Maddox! He’s lucky he’s so cute 😉