Anticipating anything new brings with it a multitude of emotions. We, humans, have the capacity to experience such a vast array. They wax and wane with our thoughts. Each wave is different in intensity and substance.
I remember in the months leading up to my sons’ birth feeling this up and down, back and forth ride like snails at Joyland (A mini theme park for primary school kids in Great Yarmouth). It was reasonably smooth with the odd judder and bump but nothing to take my breath away or make me scream.
Apart from when it got to 3 months before JC’S arrival (That’s not his name but what we called him pre-birth as he was due Christmas Day).
The 1st thing that happened was a mess up with the financing of our new house (Yes, I know, crazy to be moving whilst pregnant, but we were renting and wanted our own place to bring our baby home to), this then caused enormous stress, sadness, and anxiety.
“This new home might not be ready for JC if we don’t get this mortgage issue sorted soon”
The stress was coming from the difference between my original expectations and the potential that I now imagined.
Nothing had really changed!
It was just another hoop to jump through. Some extra paperwork to complete. An oversight and a solution were both discovered within days of each other.
Yet my mind whirred on. What if…?
What if the house purchase doesn’t go through?
What if the landlord has already rented out our house again?
We will be homeless.
We won’t have anywhere for JC to sleep!
It will be freezing cold. And Christmas.
And we will be on the streets with a newborn!
When I look back, I realize how that all sounds a bit crazy. But at the time, it made perfect sense to me.
I didn’t feel safe until September 1st when we got a phone call to say the mortgage company had signed off on everything and we could move in.
Excited and relieved, we moved in on September 9th.
September 11th, 2001, at lunchtime I was at work, and I had the radio on in the background. I heard the live reports of the 1st plane hitting the World Trade Centre in New York.
I checked online on BBC News 24 just in time to watch the live footage as the second plane hit tower two.
Horror. Deep sadness. Anxiety. Grief. Disbelief!
I thought about the loss of life and the pain for all those people involved.
But I also grieved for the loss of a sense of safety in the world in the days that followed.
It was not knowing where or when terrorists may strike that caused me anguish.
This made me question bringing a child into the world. I felt unsafe again.
This thought faded as Christmas approached and I started maternity leave.
When I met JC the first thing I thought was “You’re so small and perfect I have to keep you safe”.
And that’s how my Perinatal anxiety started.
Feeling the need to protect him (and myself) from all life’s uncertainties.
It took a long time. But once I had a correct diagnosis, started daily meditation, and was able to access Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, life started to feel alright again.
Recognising that I needed help, then getting it, enabled my son and me to enjoy the snails together and to ride the big dipper together now occasionally too.
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