You don’t get to keep him. He won’t stay long. He is to precious for this world. He will be leaving you soon.
This is different than the anxiety I suffered from earlier, a World War Two air raid siren screaming through my head THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN! THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN!
The baby was not in the oven. He was safe in my arms, sleeping peacefully and making the sweetest sighs and little smacky nursing noises.
But it rang through my soul with an urgency of absolute fact that it was happening. THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN! THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN!
Again, the baby was NOT in the oven.
That same baby, now seven months old is sleeping – for the moment anyway- in his crib, tucked in the next room which seems miles away. He is safe. I hear his sleepy sighs over what his big brother calls the ‘momnitor’. And I lay there with these steely whispers in my head.
You don’t get to keep him. Anxiety whispers again. He won’t stay long. He is too precious for this world. He will leave you soon. And worst lie of all: It will be your fault.
I’m watching Law and Order in the late, late, late night. Anxiety not only whispers but it wakes and won’t let me rest. I hear the character say “He was doing so well. On his meds but then he thought he didn’t need them anymore and went off of them” An often used plot device I used to find amusing. Who would stop taking medicine that was making them so…normal? Then I realized, I haven’t taken mine in days.
I didn’t make a decision to stop taking it. I just…forgot.
It happens every so often, as I am pretty open about my struggle with postpartum anxiety, that someone will say with a heavy sigh and not a small amount of judgement “I just wish you could have tried meditation or something before you turned to those drugs.” I want to scream out, but I just try to think of Jesus. Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do.
I wonder how well it would go over if I said to someone who had, say, a kidney problem “I just wish you could have tried meditation or something before you turned to drugs” or asthma “Do you REALLY need drugs for that? Can’t you just do yoga or something? Why don’t you try acupuncture, I mean do you really need those life saving drugs that let you be present for your children, participate in your life and laugh and smile again?”
Forget judgement. Screw judgement. I have postpartum anxiety, which means something in my brain is misfiring, my body is releasing adrenaline incorrectly. Our brains are our bodies, it isn’t a mental illness. It’s just an illness.
I reach over and thankfully take my pill. This little pill which let’s me be me. Then I hear the baby waken, hear his sweet mewling cry and the beginnings of speech- the mamamama. Gratefully I pull back the covers and hurry to his room, scooping him up, kissing his sleep warm cheek and stealing the heavenly scent of his freshly washed hair. We settle into the rocking chair and I tell myself he is here, he is safe, he is staying.
I thank God for him. And for Zoloft.