Helter Skelter.

When you have postpartum anxiety, as I do, you can be feeling fine, taking your meds, and using the breathing exercises you’ve been taught and then suddenly its like that scene in JAWS. You know the one where the lovely bikini clad woman is happily swimming along and then is suddenly pulled underwater by some unseen terror. That’s me this week. Apparently the trigger is duh nuh duh nuh {JAWS theme} preschool. The terror is at night, and this time it’s rearing it’s ugly head in my dreams. The dreams, oh the dreams! The nightmares.  I was unprepared for this because my first go around with Postpartum Anxiety I never slept. Ever.  Even if we could get The Boss to sleep, I was unable to rest, watching him like a hawk praying that he would make it through the night, that he would wake in the morning. It was terrifying.

This time I have an equally sweet little baby boy, but Huck? Huck sleeps. Praise sweet baby Jesus. And while he slumbers, making sweet little baby sighs and snores, I’m having nightmares. The dreams involve a circular metal elevator with no walls and a boy falls from it, becoming trapped underneath. Or The Boss being trapped in a covered turnstile almost being crushed ( I manage to free him and then steal an ergo and babywear my 40 lb 3 year-old. I don’t believe we need Freud to interpret this). Last night it involved leaving a small baby behind with a clearly unfit caregiver as The Boss and I walked away in the dark unprotected into danger. Sophie’s Choice. It doesn’t take a CSI team to solve the mystery of where these dreams are coming from or why they’re occurring. The mystery of how to let them go is harder to solve.

I thought I had a real handle on my PPA this time. Once I started having the panic that someone had put Huck in the oven I took quick action. Knowing this wasn’t a normal level of panic made it easy to recognize what was going on and get help. I would hold Huck at night and tell myself over and over ‘He is not in the oven. He is right here and safe” much the same way I would repeat “Max is safe, he is not underwater” a million times a night with The Boss. The only difference this time is knowledge. It only took me from Saturday when I first noticed my symptoms till Monday morning to call my doctor. Last time Max was 18 months old before my doctor asked the magic question and it all poured out.

But I digress.

The dreams…what to do? I wake, sweaty and in a panic; resisting the urge to race into The Boss’s room and scoop him up. That is what’s best for ME, but not what’s best for him. What’s best is for him to rest. Even at 3 sleep is still elusive for my boy, I don’t dare disturb it. He deserves a mom who is confident and never lets on that preschool is terrifying. For mommy, that is. If he were to bring something like that up then I, as mommy, need to reassure and calm him. Even if I am hysterical on the inside.

I am surprised by this panic because I do want him to go to preschool. I adore his teacher. He is more than ready – other than that pesky potty business- he wants friends. He wants to play. I make a silent promise to him every day not to let my worry prevent him from happiness. I will not infect my baby with my issues.

It’s so hard! Especially when he talks non-stop of the roundabout and wanting it to go faster and faster.

Gee. I wonder where those circular metal images in my nightmares came from?

For now breathing in and out and letting my baby go, well that will have to be enough.

That and Zoloft.


19 thoughts on “Helter Skelter.

  1. Katherine’s tweet sent me over to you. I so feel you – everything is going so well and then, bam! One trigger and you’re back to where you never wanted to be. So many hugs.

  2. You rock!!!! You put into words what many of us can’t… and GOOD JOB on preschool… it was a fight between us and the other side finally saw the light… so it was either preschool or kinder with 27 other kids… preschool won…

    You are our champion of this horrible anxiety’s… THANK YOU and hug those boys knowing that you are an amazing momma who protects them fabulously!

  3. oh my love, you are such a terrific mama. absolutely fantastic, you are. you’ve got this, woman! make this anxiety your bitch, and kick some ass. you’ve got a ton of us who are willing to put brass knuckles on with ya. love you hard.

  4. I had PPD so I get the nightmares. Oh, how they were awful…and the images. Sleep depravity also happens when dreams are consistent. In a few years all of it will be a hazy memory. I know that is probably not what you want to hear..but really looking back it flew by and now…well, now I have other struggles…but those days were really bad anxiety wise.
    I know you will overcome this time, look back and see how strong you were.

  5. UGH! What an awful thing to have to deal with. On the other hand, your boys are SO lucky to have you as a Mom. Your love is so palpable, and wonderful. Hang in there friend, this too shall pass. Or so they say, right?

  6. Oh mama, big hugs to you. I know you need more than hugs and I wish this would just disappear for you and *poof* everything is wonderful. I know it takes work and determination, but remember that you beat this before and you can push through again. You’ve got a whole army of mamas.

  7. After W was born I kept waiting for ppd. I was certain it was right around the corner. I didn’t realize that anxiety could be just as brutal. When I finally spoke to my OB at my 6 week lady bits check my anxiety was ALL CAPS. I was so thankful for the meds that helped. And they continue to help. much love to you as you turn your corner, sweetie

  8. PPA sucks. I had it and I was afraid to go on the balcony for weeks, and then when we moved up here I was afraid of the garbage chute. And I had the jerking awake to make sure Robert was breathing, and the general background level of anxiety making me act like a crazy person. I am dreading what might happen with this next kiddo, but like you at least this time I know not to hide it or ignore it until Baby is 15 months old like last time.

    Acupuncture helped me a LOT. It’s worth a try – might help augment the Zoloft… Good luck sweet mama!

  9. I would imagine meds-wise you are up on everything. I didn’t have PPA or PPD, but during my pregnancy I was a bit of a wreck. My doctor prescribed me Vistaril. It was meant as an allergy medicine, but it doubles as something that helps you sleep and is safe if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. What I like about it is it calms my thoughts, but doesn’t put me to sleep. It helps me sleep when I got up with the baby and then go right back to sleep. Again, my anxiety was comparitively mild, but it helped a lot.

  10. My dreams usually involved roller coasters or amusement park rides. I’d find myself on some crazy twirly fast ride, trying to hold my baby close to me and her neck safe.

    Knowledge is power, and just knowing what’s going on can hopefully be of some help to you. You are not crazy- you are a loving mother in a crazy world.


  11. Thank you for this description of PPA. I continue to struggle with it. The racing thoughts are the worst. Thank God for Zoloft. Sending you a virtual hug!

  12. You have been on my mind this week, clearly there was a reason. Hello, Melissa, get back here and keep up more often! I too appreciate your willingness to share. I have never been diagnosed with PPA and never even considered that I may have it. But now I sometimes wonder, when I’m driving to work and have a mini panic attack and worry sneaks into my head that something bad will happen to my sweet boy or even my bigger babies (graphic, horrible thoughts). I wonder, is this normal mom/worry thoughts or some sort of pp that is the culprit? Maybe it’s normal mom worry, but I have to work hard to not think those terrible thoughts whenever my mind has an idle minute….I think I’ll be bringing this up at my next well check up….

  13. Pingback: Postpartum Progress Stong Start Day. | Minky {moo} Motherhood & Mimosas

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