There's an intense amount of anxiety related to new motherhood. So much so that I began having anxiety about my anxiety. "Oh gosh, should I do that? I might get anxious, and then I'd get anxiety." I found myself talking about my anxiety constantly; people were starting to get sick of hearing the word. Lack of sleep, a diet that consists of "Oh, is that food? Or sort of food? Or was it once food? Either way, I'll eat it," and a complete inability to get organized over the past 4 months created the perfect storm for AnxietyFest 2010.
So, it became my New Year's resolution to stop the madness. I started reaching out to other moms to find out if they experienced this and what they did to stop it. I can't TELL you how many new moms experienced anxiety that was unlike anything they'd ever felt before in life. It was so common that I stopped asking, "Did you feel anxiety?" and replaced it with, "When you felt anxiety..." Why are there a gazillion books on Yoga but only like 2 on postpartum anxiety?! WHO LEARNS YOGA FROM A BOOK? Moms had all kinds of suggestions, including supplements, exercise, meditation, and talking to a therapist. I tried all of them. Every suggestion definitely helped, but it wasn't until I went home over the holidays that I found the ultimate anxiety pill.
My cousin and his wife (I call her "Girl Cousin") gave birth to beautiful twins 3 weeks after Abe was born. We both wanted kids so badly and both worked hard to have them, so to share in the experience of pregnancy and raising kids at the same time was soooo Hallmark in a good way. I asked my Girl Cousin if she had anxiety. She laughed that laugh that was a little bit like, "Oh yeah, I sure have" and a little bit like, "Ha, like I have time to think about anxiety right now." Her answer to the problem? Have twins. She said that her days are so full of baby that she doesn't have time to have anxiety.
"But don't you get nervous when your kids scream in public?"
"Nope. I usually laugh."
"But aren't you worried about someone holding them who might be sick?!"
"No, I just ask if they're sick and if they say yes, then I ask how sick and whether or not they can still hold a baby."
"Really? But what about sleeping? And growth spurts? And college???!"
"There's two of them. I can never keep them both happy at the same time. So I just try to keep them alive at the same time."
Then, a little switch in my brain got tripped. In the days that followed, that switch tripped a bunch of other switches. Pretty soon it was like a physics experiment in high school and sparks were flying everywhere. Ha! She doesn't care if her kids get water in their ears when they're in the bath, because they're both still alive! This completely changed my perspective on parenting. And while it falls under the heading of Try Less Hard and Good Mom/Bad Mom, there was something about this one explanation of it all that turned it around for me. If I had two kids at once my main concern would be keeping them alive because I wouldn't have time to do much else.
So I told David we must get pregnant again immediately in order to quell my anxiety.
This gave him anxiety.
Now we're back to square one.