Last week I began to feel those horrible, old familiar feelings. Where you have an unsettling squirm in your stomach. You feel oddly out of breath even though you’ve not been doing any exercise. A feeling of hesitance, anxiousness, worry. I’ve always been a worry wart and it has often escalated. Since I fell pregnant with Josh I had managed to have what felt like complete control over it. All through my pregnancy I had the attitude that I was growing this little life and I had to give it the upmost respect; this meant removing myself from stressful situations, not associating with people who drained me or were negative. And I am sure this all helped me in having a positive pregnancy (apart from the constant vomiting, but hey we can’t have it all)!
I knew once I’d given birth I’d have hormone overload – they’d be flying around everywhere and I’d have no control over them. And that they did – ever cried over a cube of cheese before? I have! I won’t go into it, it’s an absurd and ridiculous story, but once I’d had Josh I was hormonal nutter.
I’d expected this to a point of course. We all know the vast majority of women suffer from a few days of the baby blues and this will result in you crying at dog food adverts. But mine seemed to continue. I felt… weird. And having learnt from the past the warning signs, I quickly reeled it in and went to the doctors and got some much needed advice.
Soon after that and following doctors orders, things picked up. I felt fine again, the hormones settled, and as you all know I threw myself into Mummy life. I loved it. But as I’ve said many, many, many times, it’s hard. Some days are harder than others, but you pick yourself up and immerse yourself in the good days. I’ve learnt to become quite good at giving myself a kick up the arse if I recognise that I need it. I’ve become accustomed to recognising the familiar signs of bitch face anxiety rearing her ugly head and taking action to stop her in her tracks and send her on her miserable way!
But last week was a test. And a struggle. It was only Monday; I’d only been alone for two days, and already I was losing my grip. Josh was teething, demanding, everything a one year old is perfectly entitled to be. I’d recently won some PA work and it was that day that it went into overdrive; a great thing really – to be earning my own money again from something I genuinely like doing was fantastic. But then I started to have a gazillion thoughts rush through my head; I had work to do, I had Josh to amuse, I wanted to get him out in the fresh air, I needed to cook him some dinner, I needed to get a washing on, I needed to pop to Tesco, I had a doctors appointment. Normally I can write a list, tick these things off one by one, but that day I couldn’t. I felt like all these things to do were whirling round my head like a tornado and I didn’t know how to stop it or where to begin. Cue the uneasy nervous stomach feelings and the struggling to breath calmly.
In that moment I was livid at Sam. He was off snowboarding, having fun, no responsibility beyond making sure his nice hotel was paid for and that he didn’t over indulge in Jaigers! I am not a martyr wife – I don’t dictate to Sam and I don’t tell him what he can and can’t do. And in all honesty, I didn’t think I’d be bothered about him being on holiday; as a stay at home Mum, it’s the harsh reality that I do do most of what Josh needs! But knowing he was away, having fun and there I am trying to stop my baby from disconnecting the internet again whilst I am trying to book flights for someone to Dubai, I wasn’t a happy bunny! By Tuesday I let Sam know it; you might say I went catastrophically bat shit crazy. In all fairness to Sam he took it, he accepted what I was saying but at the end of the day he was thousands of miles away and I had another 5 days to get through.
I was finally able to take a step back. I couldn’t do this. It wasn’t just the practicalities of trying to juggle working at home with a one year old who likes to play and be read to and who I cook for and seem to be constantly washing for, but it was my emotional state too. Dare I say it, in some respects I am vulnerable. I’m an emotional person, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I am terrible for letting things get to me. But I am also incredibly strong; I’ve got through some very difficult times, as I am sure we all have in life at one point or another, and those tough times have defined me, made me who I am today. Most importantly I’ve become strong enough to say “No, enough is enough, sort this out now Fi before it escalates”.
I never want to experience a panic attack ever again. If you’ve had one before you’ll know what I am talking about. That fear, the inability to breath, the ringing in your ears; it’s utterly terrifying. Touch wood, I’ve not had a full blown panic attack since before I fell pregnant, but last week was the closest I have come to having one since then. Instead my release seemed to be crying, which I just embraced. I feel it’s important to let go of emotions sometimes and let them all out. And if that was the way it was going to be then so be it. My second way of dealing with it was talking; getting some advice from friends, asking my fellow Mummies if they’ve suffered their own feelings of anxiety and how they’ve coped and, once he was home, talking to my husband. Opening up to him and explaining how I felt. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a nice calm conversation over a cuppa. It was me absolutely ranting, venting and getting everything off my chest whilst we were driving for a lunch with family! I don’t think I even stopped for breath for about ten minutes. To his credit, he listened. It takes a lot for me to see red; I might be a bit feisty, but full on confrontation is not something that I’m a fan of. So for him to see me go crazy at him twice in one week, he realised it was time to listen. And being the logical guy he is he came up with some ideas to help me balance this crazy life style; popping Josh into nursery one morning a week and seeing how he gets on before potentially increasing it to two – this would enable me to do some work without Postman sodding Pat in the background and me feeling insanely guilty that I am not the one entertaining my child despite being just four feet away from him!
We also had the conversation that I bet most of you have had with your other halves; I need you to do more. I ranted about how I do everything – in fairness I do! From the moment he’s up to the moment I put him to bed I do pretty much everything Josh needs; feeding, baths, playing, reading, getting him down for naps, getting him out in the fresh air. Of course this is more relevant during week days whilst Sam is at work. But in between all that I am also the one doing the laundry, cleaning the house, preparing meals and all the other things you need to do round the house. Juggling so many things at once, something had to give. So hubs has said he will be trying to finish work earlier, do bath time and play time before bed so I have at least an hour a day to myself. I am someone who needs a bit of space from everyone including my husband sometimes. I like to read, I like to catch up on my favourite vlogs and blogs. I need that time otherwise I am going to lose a bit of myself. But I also need to let go a bit and let Sam do more around the house especially in terms of getting up with the baby on weekends. I was so cross when he said “you just have to nag me a bit more, tell me if you want me to do stuff”. That’s all very well and good, and the sentiment is golden and kind, but as I said to him, I shouldn’t have to ask. That just adds to the anxiety list in my head; “worry #365 am I a nagging bitch wife”!
However I have to say, talking to my husband made all the difference. It did feel like a weight had lifted. He could see my anxiety was trying to take hold again and neither of us want that. Neither of us want me to be unhappy. I’ve got a lovely life, a beautiful family. I’m a positive person and I don’t want to be unhappy. It used to annoy me when Sam would say “only you can change that” but to an extent he does have a point. If I don’t let her in too much, I can be in full control of anxiety bitch. I can take her down in my deep breathing, list writing, positive thinking kind of way! So that’s what I’m going to do.
To end this post on a positive note here are a few things that have really cheered me up over the last few days:
The boy – HE WALKS! Seeing Josh walking is amazing and I felt like such a stupidly proud Mummy!
Stopping Breastfeeding – this is a hard one to explain and I’m actually going to write a whole post about it. It’s not the stopping that’s made me happy as I’ve actually found it quite tough, I am missing that bond, but it’s that I’ve been strong enough to stick to it once the decision was made. We had a few sleepless nights and it would have been very easy to just put him back on boob but I didn’t and even though it wasn’t much fun going through that, I am really proud of myself for powering through.
This top from I Wear Mama Ink I love this range and a new top definitely got me smiling!
New Make up – what can I say! Anything that hides those bags or gives me a lovely faux glow makes me pretty happy!
Friends – simple messages sent for no reason are just the best! And so are my friends!
Snow Days! Nothing like being tucked up indoors whilst it snows outside. And Josh’s little face when he saw it was beautiful!
Tea! Tea Tea Tea. And sometimes prosecco :-)))
Quotes! You know me – I love an inspirational quote!
Sleep – being super tired on top of everything else would have just finished me off!!
Motherhood is often overwhelming. It can feel like you’re on your own sometimes. Like no one else understands. But my God, I bet they do! Anxiety is something I think can often be misunderstood, it can feel isolating. You do doubt yourself and wonder if you’re just being daft or if you’re making a big deal out of nothing. You’re not – because you ARE a bit deal and you deserve to feel happy. Talking to people about how your feeling, finding comfort in the fact others may experience these feelings and getting reassurance that those around you love you no matter what, those things are priceless and they get you through the tough days.
As I always say, let’s support each other. You supported me no end last week – for that, my heart is so grateful.