It is no secret that my anxiety skyrocketed after I gave birth to Bub. After four months I was getting confident going out to the park and visiting friends in their homes (on my own with Bub). We had gone to a birthday party, the shopping centre, the nursery and two short bushwalks.
That was it. That was with my partner too (my security blanket).
When Bub was 19 weeks old there was an event that I had to go to. There was no getting out of it. It was a wedding. A massive, loud, extravagant wedding.
A family member was getting married. My partner was in the bridal party. It was the type of wedding that I would have probably loved in a previous life, when I could drink and had little responsibility.
As for the new me, it was my worst freaking nightmare.
I like to think that I would not have gotten so anxious about it if my partner was going to be with me. I knew he was leaving early in the morning. I knew he would be busy during the ceremony and the reception and also in between. So I started to worry well in advance. I won’t even go into all the things I was worried about because that would take 10,000 words to write. I think there was approximately three months worth of worry that peaked on the wedding day.
I managed to do my hair (I washed it) and put on makeup in two minutes. I managed to get myself and Bub to the ceremony successfully. When I arrived I got out of the car and saw a brother in law. He stupidly asked how I was. I lost it. I burst into tears.
From that point on there was no point hiding my anxiety. I was honest with everyone. If people asked me if I was ok I told the truth, that I was practically consumed with worry and fear. I didn’t want to pretend. I wanted support.
I do not regret showing my ‘weakness’. I think it was the best thing I could have done that day. Not everyone understood, not everyone said helpful comments, but (I hope) no one judged me and boy did I get a lot of support.
Thanks to that day, being forced to confront my fears, I have realised two things.
The first is that my family in law really do care and would do anything for me. I don’t see them often and I don’t talk to some of them very much. I underestimated the help I would get at the wedding. But my mind was blown. They held and entertained Bub, they changed her nappy, they rocked her to sleep (well through lots of crying then eventually to sleep). They sat with me when I needed to escape. They listened to all my anxious rants. They ensured me everything would be fine.
Guess what? Everything was fine. Not great, but fine.
The second thing I realised that day is that no matter what happens when I am out with Bub, everything will be OK in the end. Bub barely slept that day. She was absolutely beyond overstimulated (my worst fear!). There were tears but not as many as I predicted. She still fell asleep at night. She still smiled and giggled and me the next day. She didn’t hold a grudge at me. Maybe that will kick in in a few years time.
I now feel like a weight has being lifted of my chest. I feel like Anxious Mum Syndrome has dissipated. I doubt it has completely gone away. I know I will get anxious in the future, it is just me.
I do feel more confident though and more relaxed when it comes to going out with Bub. I feel like I will be more willing to say yes to things instead of ‘Sorry, I can’t come’.
Thanks for reading.