Breast Feeding Anxiety

I wanted to have a baby since I was fourteen years old.  

The desire to have a child of my own awoke within me one evening when I was babysitting.  The child had a stomach ache and I held her, crying in my arms, until her parents came home.  Only her parents could soothe her, I could not.  I felt the tremendous power of her need for them as she held onto me with her tiny hands,  I wanted to experience a bond like that in my life.  I wanted to be the one who was wanted, needed and capable of soothing the child.  

It took me 26 years to finally hold my own precious baby in my arms.  

There could be no doubt that this child was wanted.  I had suffered years of desperation and fear that I wouldn’t have a child.  And yet, when she arrived I thought,

“Oh, damn, what have I done?”  I got really scared.  

I thought I’d been duped into having a child by some vast parent conspiracy that tricked people into having babies by saying, “It’s so great!” when it’s really misery.

Now that my child is 10, I can tell you honestly: having a child has been the greatest joy in my life.  

Additionally, the beginning was a bit of nightmare.  Every parent is different, though, and I may have been an unusually anxious mama.  But don’t feel like something is wrong with you if you’re having a hard time.  It’s challenging for everyone.  Like any new job, it’s a bit uncomfortable when you’re the new guy who doesn’t know how to do their job yet.  It takes awhile to learn the different sounds and meanings of your child’s cries.  It takes awhile to find the tools you need to take care of the baby and yourself.

Here’s my best advice.

  • Don’t be afraid of your feelings: Acknowledge, express and accept your feelings.  They’re an important part of this grand adventure.
  • Join a mother’s support group:  Being able to share what I was experiencing and learn from others and simply have company…saved my life.
  • Take care of yourself: Sleep, eat well, bathe, get out of the house, don’t isolate – see friends, let your partner parent also.
  • Kiss and Cuddle: Your child and your partner…especially when you feel like you’re going off the deep end.  Instead of yelling or running away, try leaning in for a kiss or a cuddle, smell your baby’s head, kiss their little fingers, put your arms around your partner and feel their warmth and support.  Reconnect to your love when you’re feeling the opposite and this will soothe all of you and help you return to a calmer state of mind.

 

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