Tag: anxiety

Parenting, anxiety, and smudged nail polish

Parenting, anxiety, and smudged nail polish

It happened. There’s no going back. There are certain moments and events that change your life. Irretrievably.

No matter what happens from now on, I have been forever changed.

Exactly five weeks ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. We’re parents. To be honest, it’s still a surreal experience for me. I still catch myself staring at my son in a state of disbelief. In a good way. A great way.

They say that nothing can prepare you for parenthood. And yet, we still attend antenatal classes, download the apps, follow the blogs, etc. Does it prepare you? I think that selecting the correct classes etc for you can help to prepare you to a certain extent.

The thing that best prepared me for being a mommy? My journey through depression.

And no, I’m not talking about postnatal depression here: on the contrary, I have found the first five weeks of motherhood to be incredibly fulfilling.

So just how on earth did the most trying and devastatingly dark periods of my life prepare me for the most overwhelmingly poignant experience?

Ironically, my journey through depression (“through” implying that you can in fact reach the surface and gasp the fresh air) has taught me many invaluable lessons. Not only have I gained insight into my own psyche, for want of a better word, but I have also come to understand what kind of life I want to lead, and the best mindset and approach to realise this.

The goal-oriented, perfectionist, compulsive nature of my anxiety just doesn’t wash with the daily reality of being a mom. I sat down last week to write a blog post. I got as far as switching on my laptop. That’s it; no further. There is nothing perfect about parenthood. Nothing. I decorated the nursery exactly as I had imagined: a perfect replica of my vision. Two days ago I found myself moving furniture into the centre of the room so that I could wash off projectile pee from a large section of wall and nearby furniture. As for being compulsive, it’s simply not an option. Especially when you have a newborn who has a finely tuned sixth sense that wakens him as soon you step into the shower, pour a cup of tea, or apply a fresh coat of nail polish.

My resultant level of anxiety? Nada. Why?

Before becoming a parent I decided that I would try to be as mindful as possible. I decided that I would not set goals. That I would not entertain ideas about being a supermom. That I would adapt my days to my child’s routine to the best of my ability. That I would not read a single pregnancy or parenting magazine. That I would take each day as it came. That I would trust Mother Nature to give me sufficient maternal instinct to ‘wing it’ for the most part.

So far, I’m managing. Of course, it’s only been five weeks. I might be singing a very different tune next week. Or at three o’clock tomorrow morning. Regardless, my point is that depression and anxiety have provided me with countless opportunities for growth. Sure, I did not grasp all those opportunities. But I did take advantage of some.

It is this ongoing process of reflection and growth that I hope will stand me in good stead in this new stage of my life – smudged nail polish, tepid cups of tea, and all.

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Insomnia-fuelled cringe-worthy craziness meets ‘Sound of Music’

Insomnia-fuelled cringe-worthy craziness meets ‘Sound of Music’

Last night was one of those  nights. You know the kind – when a rooster in the suburbs, Maria from The Sound of Music, feelings of impending anxiety, and silly rhyming couplets somehow make a sensible combination. That kind of night.

Unrelenting heat and a thirty-two week cumbersome pregnant belly is not a combination that lends itself to a good night’s sleep. I do not cope well with sleep deprivation. At all. On any level. What I find to be most unsettling is that it has the potential to trigger anxiety. Which is all very well when you can take a delightful little pill for anxiety. I can’t right now, for obvious reasons.

Last night I tried meditation. I tried quenching my thirst with a few sips of an isotonic drink. I tried reading. I was still awake when the bloody rooster that someone introduced to our neighbourhood started crowing. At bloody four o’clock in the morning. (I will find that rooster. And I won’t hurt it. I’ll simply introduce it to our cat. Who’s very friendly. And an adept hunter. )

really hope I’m not alone in this, but my thoughts start going in all sorts of crazy directions when sleep evades me in the early hours of the morning. Sometimes I dream up creative projects. Sometimes I start planning home renovations. Sometimes I compose silly little rhymes. Last night was one such occasion.

For full dramatic effect, you need to sing these lyrics to the tune of ‘My Favorite Things’ from A Sound of Music. Because insomnia makes your creativity meet your crazy in a place that you seldom want to revisit come the morning.

I’m feeling anxious but no meds for tension

Going a bit crazy from sleep deprivation

Lots of ‘to do’ lists followed by nothings

These are a few of my frustrating things.

 

When the cock crows, when the pain stings

When I’m feeling sad

I simply remember my frustrating things

Then I really feel quite mad.

Somehow, I don’t think I have a calling to be a songwriter. Or a singer.

Am I alone, or do other people also have weird and wonderful thoughts in a hazy insomnia-induced state???000 blog signature