Anxiety in new moms is at an all time high. Use these tools, like the Owlet Baby Monitor, to get you through it!
Thanks to Owlet Baby Monitors for sponsoring this post and for providing me with a monitor to test out. All thoughts, words and images are my own.
Otto has been a pretty easy birth to recover from and baby to add to our family. I got the exact birth I wanted with him, I was able to breastfeed him, and with the exception of one sleep regression, he's been sleeping through the night since he was nine weeks old! Pretty much the exact opposite of Henry, who was a handful from pregnancy to birth and through his first year. However, just because Otto is a dream baby doesn't mean there aren't moments of "baby blues" and anxiety for me. It's so common now for new moms to experience extreme anxiety, I want to share my story with it. If you're a new mom, know that you can beat motherhood anxiety!
Like I said, Otto is a peach of a baby. We were smart this time around and got him on a schedule right at the start, and lo and behold - it worked. Unlike Henry who was unscheduled and therefore didn't sleep through the night until he was a year old, Otto was a champ and got on the three naps a day and 10 hours at night plan before he was a full two months old. I was able to have a VABC and breastfeed him, which kept my baby-endorphins flowing well after his birth, and combated any PPD (postpartum depression) that could have developed.
Recently, I decided to wean Otto. Around 4 months of age, he'd only take a bottle so I was constantly bound to my pump. I'd have to plan errand running and my day around pump sessions. I spent over two hours a day pumping! Perhaps if he was my first I could have kept going for a while longer, but when you have two kids, especially two kids two and under, that's just not feasible. I made my goal of BFing him for (over) 6 months. Yay! But I was so ready to be done. The day I packed my pump away I noticed something strange happen: I started to have anxiety.
|I thought this one might turn into a baby-ice-cube at night|
It started in the middle of the night. I woke up and my mind was racing. I was convinced the house was too cold and Otto was freezing in his crib (even though I was sweating with hormones from weaning!) Not as in, "oh, the baby might be cold I should go check on him" but rather "OMG, he's probably frozen to death in his crib, I can't go and look at him because he'll be frozen and what will I do with a frozen child?!" I thought for sure he'd stop breathing, since he can roll over and prefers to sleep on his belly now. I even would start to cry, convinced he'll get bullied in school. School! That's a good five years down the road. I would stay up crying and obsessing over how he *might* be bullied and what I could do about it. At 3am. When he was a mere six months old. That my friends, is postpartum anxiety. Irrational thoughts and fears that you can't immediately shake off as irrational; you worry and stress and think about it until you almost can't stand it. Motherhood anxiety is no joke.
I'm going to blame this late bout of postpartum anxiety on the weaning. I've been a ball of hormones, my face has broken out, my hair is falling out in clumps, I'm sleeping four or so hours at night but never longer than for 45 minutes at a time, I'm hot then I'm cold then I'm hot again, but worst of all I'm obsessing over strange things, like if my child will freeze to death in his crib at night. Did I mention our house is kept at 72 degrees? Freezing isn't possible.
Owlet can take a huge load off my motherhood anxiety with their awesome baby monitor. It fits on Otto's foot and ensures he's breathing and has a heartbeat. There's an app on my phone I can look at to ensure everything is on track, and also a docking station I can keep right beside me to warn me of anything that may be amiss (in case my phone needs to update overnight, etc). How cool is that?!
Having a baby takes a tremendous toll on you, both physically (um, duh) and mentally. You give birth and all of a sudden this little being relies solely on you for everything, even it's life. It's completely normal given the hormone changes after birth and the weight of motherhood to have a good dose of anxiety. You worry about the baby's well being, you worry about if he or she is comfortable or if that pink bottom is going to turn into a full out diaper rash. But if your thoughts start to get really bizarre and you're not able to stop thinking about it, please speak to your OBGYN and get screened for PPD or postpartum anxiety. There are treatments and help for you, and they really do help make you a happier mama! And a happy mama is a happy baby and happy family.
It's now been about two weeks since I've fully weaned Otto. My face is calming back down. I'm starting to sleep a bit more, in part because I don't have to worry if Otto is turning into a human ice cube thanks to Owlet Baby Care. My hair is still falling out in clumps, but the good news is that hair grows back. I think my hormones are starting to level off, which is making my mood more even-keeled and I can acknowledge an irrational thought as irrational and move on much quicker than I could initially. I'm slowly coming back from "the dark side" and beating my motherhood anxiety.