I don’t think I have postpartum depression, but since I’ve had my baby I have out of control anxiety. I can hardly sleep because I’m so afraid of SIDS. I obsess over thoughts of accidents and disasters and losing my baby or my husband.
Is that normal? How do people cope?
First of all, can I say, welcome to motherhood! I was one of the first people in my group of friends to have a baby-and I remember getting asked a lot “how does it feel.” To me, it was best summed up by this quote:
“Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
— Elizabeth Stone
I felt like I could never be in charge of my own happiness again because a little human held all of it in his tiny little body. With that overwhelming love, came an even more overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety.
There is a certain amount of anxiety that comes with parenting, especially when you are a new parent. You are completely, 100% in charge of the well-being of another human being. Anxiety is a natural response to protecting your child, and making sure they are safe. New research has actually shown that post-partum anxiety is more common than post-partum depression, so you aren’t alone!
While it is totally normal to have anxiety after having a new baby, this anxiety should start to subside over time-if it doesn’t, that is a red flag that there may be more to it. If you find that your fears are irrational, damaging or all-consuming, check with a doctor. He may talk about medication with you, or refer you to someone who can help you with coping methods.
If you are generally able to rationalize your thoughts, but are having a hard time getting sleep-I would highly recommend investing in a baby sleep monitor.
I slept horrible when I had my first baby-and I totally blame the fact that I was so paranoid about SIDS, that I was waking up constantly just to check on him. I wish I would have invested in a monitor so I could have gotten more sleep. Sleep is the key to feeling good in the first few months of having a new baby. If I could re-do anything with my first little guy, it would be buying a sleep monitor, HANDS DOWN.
Here are a few reputable sleep monitors:
Angel Care: The Angel Care monitor is nice because it comes with a video monitor as well-which is huge if baby is in another room and you like to check in. The monitor is nice so it can go under the mattress-so you don’t have to constantly charge a sock or readjust. It’s also a pretty good price at about $100, considering that you will pay the same amount for a video only monitor. (It also has a 2-way communication feature which is awesome.)
Snuza: The Snuza is a clip on device that goes on your babies diaper when they sleep. It senses abdominal movements, and vibrates if the baby isn’t having enough in a certain period of time-which generally is enough to rouse the baby. After 3 attempts, it will alert you. Keep in mind this is NOT a good option if you co-sleep because it picks up other people’s movements, not just babies. It also is priced at around $100.
Owlet: The Owlet is the option we personally went with. I liked the fact that I would get notifications on my phone, as well as on a monitor that was next to my bed. So if I ever woke up in the middle of the night, I could look at the soft green light and know all was well. We really liked the portability of the Owlet, and took it on vacation with us a few times. My only issue with it was that I constantly forgot to charge it, or my husband would leave it in our babies pajamas when he changed him and it would get lost. There is also a little bit of a learning curve (we got several false alarms in the beginning.) The price is higher than most at $300, but was worth all of the extra sleep and peace of mind we got!
If a brand new monitor is not in the budget-check your local yard sale pages. I have seen a TON of these for sale second hand, and many are in great condition.
Let me know if you have any questions, and most importantly, get some sleep and enjoy the ride!