Stillbirth, Marriage, Parenting and Anxiety…Oh my???

I always want to write so much, I need to write so much. I need to get it outta my head and onto this screen, but parenting a newborn, finding time to  keep the house in order, maintaining my relationship with my husband and remembering to do anything when I am so sleep deprived all interfere with my ability to write.

Stillbirth has affected me, who I am, how I view the world, so completely and totally. In some ways for the better. I take nothing for granted, I know what matters in life, I can cut through the bullshit like it’s nothing. However, in a lot of ways, Stillbirth has changed me in ways I would rather not have been changed. I find it hard to relate with a lot of people because I know what matters in life and can cut through the bullshit. I feel alienated from so many people cause it’s like they have no freaking clue. I feel like a snob, like I look at people and think they are just so…I don’t even know..unaware.

The anxiety from the PTS affects everything I do all day. This has gotten worse since Evangeline was born and has left me wondering if I need to be back on anxiety meds.  This anxiety taints everything I do, including my marriage, which was rock strong before recent days and I pray still is, but we have grown apart to be sure. I just pray he can hold on and we can keep working on things. I think he will, but again, the anxiety makes me paranoid, I fear he will seek out intimacy elsewhere. Probably all in my head.

Truth is..4.5 months in we have not had sex. Anxiety is totally to blame. I do not want to have Evangeline out of my sight ever..I fear if I can’t hear her breath she might stop breathing. She is a very light sleeper, and we wake her up so easily, so we just haven’t done it…but I know this is a major bone of contention with Dave, I feel it and I understand. He never wanted to co-sleep, I did. He compromised with the understanding that she would be moved into her own room around 6-7 months, when she could hold herself steady and roll over. I was ok with that then, but now the idea of sleep training causes me sooooooooooo much anxiety. My throat closes up and I feel my blood pressure spike just thinking about it. Again, I on some level seem to have convinced myself if she is not next to me, she will die. I am beyond terrified of SIDS, I can barely say the word or I start panicking..but I know I am just so tainted by Evan’s death, I was nervous before, but now I am neurotic. Dave really thinks I am neurotic..I know I am. It’s one thing to be a concerned and cautious mom, I am kinda over the top and wonder if it’s unhealthy. I wonder if anxiety med’s would help or if I am just who I am, and just have to accept that.

That being said..I can’t be who I am at the expense of my marriage. I say over and over I never thought having a living child would test my marriage more then stillbirth did…but it has..it really has. We both adore her, but Dave needs to be a husband and a daddy, I have to figure out that balance. I am nearly neurotic. We are going out to dinner tonight, alone, since my mom is here and can take care of the baby and I couldn’t sleep last night worrying about leaving her.

It doesn’t help that everyone disagrees with my attachment parenting. EVERYONE..I have no support. Mom even pulled the "Your not being fair to her" card. I.E She won’t be able to do anything without you. I showed her Dr. Sears information that attached babies grow up to be confident children.(So much more to say on this..) Anyhow, Dave also want’s me to put her down, at least when she is asleep..I honestly just want her to be happy. She is happy on me, so I keep her there. She cried so much in the first 3 months that I am just so grateful she barely cries anymore that I want to do whatever I can to keep it that way..I love her in way I never knew I could love, it’s a scary strong love. My life would be over without her.

Anyways, I hope to come back and elaborate on this..I have to stop for today, Mom is here and we have things to do. It’s just something keeping me up at night these days. That, the nightmares and the baby that want’s to nurse every 2-3 hours all night. I am one exhausted and moody mama.

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About mommamaynard

β€œLife is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” β€” Albert Einstein. When it feels like your world has been shattered, and you have reached rock bottom, you must make a choice: Stay where you are and fade away, or keep moving forward. Thankfully I chose to move forward and was blessed with the two most wonderful children after the death of my first in early labor. Things are looking up.

Posted on June 11, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. just yeah to what janice and maria said. also we did the mattress next to the bed (we had two queen together) and now have the crib in sidecar, so eli can start the night out there and we can have adult fun, or now i do lay him down in there and he’s ok for a bit.

    i’m not going to lie, i held him for the first year sleeping. i was terrified of SIDS too. I did what I had to do to feel he was safe and be sane, and “getting over it” wasn’t part of my plan of mental health πŸ™‚ holding him when he was sleeping at all times except in the van wasn’t.

    I would recommend trying to dtd when she is NOT sleeping. Less stress. that’s what i found. even though I don’t advocate videos for children under 2, maybe see if a little video clip will hold her attention for a few minutes. or when she’s in the bouncer/saucer, whatever, sneak away. i felt much better able to focus on KEITH when I knew eli was ok (ie not sleeping, haha) so often good times for us were when M went to school, dance, whatever, and Eli would be in his saucery/swing and we’d sneak away. or even now we just slip in a video for mairi (and eli watches it, gah!) and sneak away for a quickie πŸ™‚

    screw people who say you aren’t doing her a favor. i will tell you right now, that i get compliments all the time on how outgoing, confident, etc mairi is-not afraid of anyone or anything (well except deer heads, HA!) and she’s never had sep. anxiety (as a toddler, etc). Same with Eli, he RUNS into the childwatch at the Y now, cries when he sees me coming πŸ˜€ and is so securely attached that he is comfortable when i do leave him, kwim? it works.

  2. just yeah to what janice and maria said. also we did the mattress next to the bed (we had two queen together) and now have the crib in sidecar, so eli can start the night out there and we can have adult fun, or now i do lay him down in there and he’s ok for a bit.
    i’m not going to lie, i held him for the first year sleeping. i was terrified of SIDS too. I did what I had to do to feel he was safe and be sane, and “getting over it” wasn’t part of my plan of mental health πŸ™‚ holding him when he was sleeping at all times except in the van wasn’t.
    I would recommend trying to dtd when she is NOT sleeping. Less stress. that’s what i found. even though I don’t advocate videos for children under 2, maybe see if a little video clip will hold her attention for a few minutes. or when she’s in the bouncer/saucer, whatever, sneak away. i felt much better able to focus on KEITH when I knew eli was ok (ie not sleeping, haha) so often good times for us were when M went to school, dance, whatever, and Eli would be in his saucery/swing and we’d sneak away. or even now we just slip in a video for mairi (and eli watches it, gah!) and sneak away for a quickie πŸ™‚
    screw people who say you aren’t doing her a favor. i will tell you right now, that i get compliments all the time on how outgoing, confident, etc mairi is-not afraid of anyone or anything (well except deer heads, HA!) and she’s never had sep. anxiety (as a toddler, etc). Same with Eli, he RUNS into the childwatch at the Y now, cries when he sees me coming πŸ˜€ and is so securely attached that he is comfortable when i do leave him, kwim? it works.

    • I have 0 doubt that attachment parenting works, believe me, I just get so tiered of people coming down on my choices, I just say, my child, my parenting.
      The big thing here is finding time for Dave..
      Evangeline is absolutely NOT in anyway a self entertaining baby..seriously. Never accepted the swing and will not last more then 10 minutes max alone in her play chair, still to small for her exercauser. She may get better with age, but right now my marriage is going rough because we haven’t sex in almost 5 months…so I have to try harder.
      What I have done today and I pray will work,when she get’s nap ready, I take her into our room, lay with her on top of the bedding with the safety barrier up, nurse into a deep sleep and slip out with the door open and baby monitor on, then I can make nookie on the couch(hopefully) and still be really really close to her (rooms are side by side. Gonna try that for a week and see how it feels.
      Thanks for the feedback and encouragement.

    • I have 0 doubt that attachment parenting works, believe me, I just get so tiered of people coming down on my choices, I just say, my child, my parenting.
      The big thing here is finding time for Dave..
      Evangeline is absolutely NOT in anyway a self entertaining baby..seriously. Never accepted the swing and will not last more then 10 minutes max alone in her play chair, still to small for her exercauser. She may get better with age, but right now my marriage is going rough because we haven’t sex in almost 5 months…so I have to try harder.
      What I have done today and I pray will work,when she get’s nap ready, I take her into our room, lay with her on top of the bedding with the safety barrier up, nurse into a deep sleep and slip out with the door open and baby monitor on, then I can make nookie on the couch(hopefully) and still be really really close to her (rooms are side by side. Gonna try that for a week and see how it feels.
      Thanks for the feedback and encouragement.

  3. *hugs* I will never know how you feel or what you are going through, but I want to tell you that I’m listening. Have you gone to see anyone (a psychologist) about your anxiety or thought about doing so? There will always be things you worry about re: Evangeline, and you won’t be able to keep her close to you forever, you know what I mean? You can’t let anxiety rule your life, and it will, if you let it.

    You will get through this. You should definitely have some sex, though. When you can.

  4. *hugs* I will never know how you feel or what you are going through, but I want to tell you that I’m listening. Have you gone to see anyone (a psychologist) about your anxiety or thought about doing so? There will always be things you worry about re: Evangeline, and you won’t be able to keep her close to you forever, you know what I mean? You can’t let anxiety rule your life, and it will, if you let it.
    You will get through this. You should definitely have some sex, though. When you can.

    • Can’t afford the counseling or I would be all over that, I am on Mat leave with no benefits. I tried to seek out counseling after Evan died, through the hospital reproductive mental health, they just told me I did not have postpartum depression and was coping well, then they gave me anxiety med’s and sent along my jolly way.
      I have tons of residual pelvic pain as well, and I know a chiropractor could help immensely, however, like therapy, it’s pricey, and I am on limited income, so I have to suffer through until we find ourselves in a better place.
      Neither counselling nor chiro are one time fixed type situations, I have to be able to commit to ongoing sessions.,

      • I’m sorry to hear that. I know from experience that therapy is pricey and one time just isn’t enough; I was seeing someone about my health anxiety, and it was $150 a session (I so picked the wrong line of work), so I had to stop going when our insurance ran out. Do you get benefits when you go back to work? Are there any sort of support groups in your community? 😦 I wish I could be more helpful.

      • Thanks. I will get benefits when I go back to work, but it’s $500.00 a year max, so not alot of counselling. You know there really should be a support group for parenting after stillbirth..there is only a support group for recent loss parents. I will talk to the Chapelin that headed up our group and ask for advice on getting that underway.
        You have been helpful πŸ™‚ thanks.
        P.S Wanted to say I was totally thinking of you during the Will/Emma closing scene of Glee last Tuesday πŸ™‚

      • Thanks. I will get benefits when I go back to work, but it’s $500.00 a year max, so not alot of counselling. You know there really should be a support group for parenting after stillbirth..there is only a support group for recent loss parents. I will talk to the Chapelin that headed up our group and ask for advice on getting that underway.
        You have been helpful πŸ™‚ thanks.
        P.S Wanted to say I was totally thinking of you during the Will/Emma closing scene of Glee last Tuesday πŸ™‚

      • I’m sorry to hear that. I know from experience that therapy is pricey and one time just isn’t enough; I was seeing someone about my health anxiety, and it was $150 a session (I so picked the wrong line of work), so I had to stop going when our insurance ran out. Do you get benefits when you go back to work? Are there any sort of support groups in your community? 😦 I wish I could be more helpful.

    • Can’t afford the counseling or I would be all over that, I am on Mat leave with no benefits. I tried to seek out counseling after Evan died, through the hospital reproductive mental health, they just told me I did not have postpartum depression and was coping well, then they gave me anxiety med’s and sent along my jolly way.
      I have tons of residual pelvic pain as well, and I know a chiropractor could help immensely, however, like therapy, it’s pricey, and I am on limited income, so I have to suffer through until we find ourselves in a better place.

      Neither counselling nor chiro are one time fixed type situations, I have to be able to commit to ongoing sessions.,

    • I know you understand re: the letting Anxiety rule your life. That is why it’s helpful, your not just talking out your butt ya know.
      I am taking small steps, like driving with her is a huge big scary thing for me, so I am trying to do it more, so I can overcome that fear. For me, doing the thing I am most afraid of is the best fix for it, cause it takes it power away when I realize it’s not as big as I thought.
      Like pregnancy after stillbirth ya know, it was rough, but I did it, and now I would do it again..

    • I know you understand re: the letting Anxiety rule your life. That is why it’s helpful, your not just talking out your butt ya know.
      I am taking small steps, like driving with her is a huge big scary thing for me, so I am trying to do it more, so I can overcome that fear. For me, doing the thing I am most afraid of is the best fix for it, cause it takes it power away when I realize it’s not as big as I thought.
      Like pregnancy after stillbirth ya know, it was rough, but I did it, and now I would do it again..

  5. (((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    I’ve been the mama everyone is telling to stop attachment parenting. I hated that so much!!! And in retrospect it is clear that Remy needed more than the average baby and if I hadn’t given him that, I do not think he’d be as happy as he is. OTOH, I wish I’d had more date nights early on with Mike, since that positively affected our marriage more than anything else (we were having sex, just not enough, and not intimately enough).

    I have no answers, just commiseration. And love. And hope that you guys get to the other side of this. (And for frack’s sake, start having sex again! Soon!)

  6. (((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    I’ve been the mama everyone is telling to stop attachment parenting. I hated that so much!!! And in retrospect it is clear that Remy needed more than the average baby and if I hadn’t given him that, I do not think he’d be as happy as he is. OTOH, I wish I’d had more date nights early on with Mike, since that positively affected our marriage more than anything else (we were having sex, just not enough, and not intimately enough).
    I have no answers, just commiseration. And love. And hope that you guys get to the other side of this. (And for frack’s sake, start having sex again! Soon!)

    • Thanks. We had a date tonight, Sushi, came home 2 hours later to a passed out baby who cried herself to sleep on my mom and awoke first sound of my voice and started screaming again. However, 10 minutes late she was all smiles again LOL, poor little thing. Wish mom lived closer so I could do this more and get her used to being with someone aside from me.

    • Thanks. We had a date tonight, Sushi, came home 2 hours later to a passed out baby who cried herself to sleep on my mom and awoke first sound of my voice and started screaming again. However, 10 minutes late she was all smiles again LOL, poor little thing. Wish mom lived closer so I could do this more and get her used to being with someone aside from me.

    • Thanks. I know we will get through this stronger then ever, we had a good chat on our date the other night, but I still feel his huge tension, and I just feel I am not being fair to him at all. I really need to remember that my marriage still needs my attention, new baby or not. Dave is only human and needs his wife’s attention. He is such a good husband, I need to let him know I do appreciate him.

      • (((((((hugs)))))))
        Your mama lives ao much closer than ours, but yeah. I am sometimes VERY jealous of ppl who’s parents live in town. But then, not! (Ao much drama goes along with it, sometimes! And with our parents, it would!)
        You’re both doing the best you can. Remember, you’re a team. Keep that in mind and you will be able to get through any challenge!

      • (((((((hugs)))))))

        Your mama lives ao much closer than ours, but yeah. I am sometimes VERY jealous of ppl who’s parents live in town. But then, not! (Ao much drama goes along with it, sometimes! And with our parents, it would!)

        You’re both doing the best you can. Remember, you’re a team. Keep that in mind and you will be able to get through any challenge!

    • Thanks. I know we will get through this stronger then ever, we had a good chat on our date the other night, but I still feel his huge tension, and I just feel I am not being fair to him at all. I really need to remember that my marriage still needs my attention, new baby or not. Dave is only human and needs his wife’s attention. He is such a good husband, I need to let him know I do appreciate him.

  7. I had such similar thoughts when Sofia was that age! The anxiety, sadness, stress… just wanting to make Sof happy.

    The best advice I can give you is to keep following your instincts. I know you will anyway, but I need to say it to you. John was against co-sleeping before we brought Sofia home from the hospital – within the first week of her tiny little body between us, he said “she can sleep with us for as long as she wants to!”

    That being said, there are one or two nights a week that John sleeps on the couch, even today LMAO. But that is also because Sofia is huge now and we have a Queen-sized bed that she crawls back into in the middle of the night (she starts out the night in a small mattress next to the Queen, where I can nurse her easily).

    Intimacy is hard with a newborn! I hope Dave realizes this… it’s not as easy for mamas to “detach” as it is for dads. And it really shouldn’t have anything to do with co-sleeping or bedsharing, because I know you guys are more imaginative than that πŸ˜‰

    And that’s not even just for post-loss mamas – most moms, esp. first-time moms, have a hard time separating from their mommy-role to the woman-role so early on.

    That being said, I know how much your marriage means to you. If therapy and/or medication may help, I fully and truly support you seeking them out. I also encourage you to spend time with Dave, even if it’s just an hour a night or in the morning, or whatever – if you can accustom yourself to feeling like Evangeline is safe for a few moments, even in the same room, so you can go cuddle with Dave and watch a show… that will become habit and less scary and is a step in the direction towards intimacy (which we know is not purely sex, right?)

    Ok, my friend, I’ve blathered on enough. Just know I’m here for you – these thoughts you write are SO familiar, even the thought of “I need to blog more!!! but have a baby and can’t!!!” I love you and know you will make it through – you have a gorgeous child. Enjoy her. You are a good mama ❀

  8. I had such similar thoughts when Sofia was that age! The anxiety, sadness, stress… just wanting to make Sof happy.
    The best advice I can give you is to keep following your instincts. I know you will anyway, but I need to say it to you. John was against co-sleeping before we brought Sofia home from the hospital – within the first week of her tiny little body between us, he said “she can sleep with us for as long as she wants to!”
    That being said, there are one or two nights a week that John sleeps on the couch, even today LMAO. But that is also because Sofia is huge now and we have a Queen-sized bed that she crawls back into in the middle of the night (she starts out the night in a small mattress next to the Queen, where I can nurse her easily).
    Intimacy is hard with a newborn! I hope Dave realizes this… it’s not as easy for mamas to “detach” as it is for dads. And it really shouldn’t have anything to do with co-sleeping or bedsharing, because I know you guys are more imaginative than that πŸ˜‰
    And that’s not even just for post-loss mamas – most moms, esp. first-time moms, have a hard time separating from their mommy-role to the woman-role so early on.
    That being said, I know how much your marriage means to you. If therapy and/or medication may help, I fully and truly support you seeking them out. I also encourage you to spend time with Dave, even if it’s just an hour a night or in the morning, or whatever – if you can accustom yourself to feeling like Evangeline is safe for a few moments, even in the same room, so you can go cuddle with Dave and watch a show… that will become habit and less scary and is a step in the direction towards intimacy (which we know is not purely sex, right?)
    Ok, my friend, I’ve blathered on enough. Just know I’m here for you – these thoughts you write are SO familiar, even the thought of “I need to blog more!!! but have a baby and can’t!!!” I love you and know you will make it through – you have a gorgeous child. Enjoy her. You are a good mama ❀

    • I agree with you, Maria. It’s hard to switch from MOM to WIFE/LOVER, especially in the first few months and especially with a first baby. I still have a hard time putting our relationship first.
      Like Maria, I had a twin bed on the floor right up against a wall and our queen bed (which was also on the floor). This worked well to ne near Julia but still have some space for myself, and for cuddling with my husband! I also highly recommend some kind of white noise/nature noise machine. Something to drown out the noises in the house so baby could sleep through whatever mom and dad are doing – dishes, movie watching, sex…. πŸ˜‰
      And yes, practice spending time with your hubbie without Evangeline in your arms, or maybe not in the same room, even for a few minutes at a time. It will get easier, I promise.

      • Glad to know it’s not just me, I am not totally bonkers.
        Thanks for all the words of encouragement guys.
        Dave is so good to me, and he really is getting nothing in return right now, he is doing everything..with no sex.
        He needs me to be more balanced.

      • Glad to know it’s not just me, I am not totally bonkers.
        Thanks for all the words of encouragement guys.
        Dave is so good to me, and he really is getting nothing in return right now, he is doing everything..with no sex.
        He needs me to be more balanced.

    • I agree with you, Maria. It’s hard to switch from MOM to WIFE/LOVER, especially in the first few months and especially with a first baby. I still have a hard time putting our relationship first.

      Like Maria, I had a twin bed on the floor right up against a wall and our queen bed (which was also on the floor). This worked well to ne near Julia but still have some space for myself, and for cuddling with my husband! I also highly recommend some kind of white noise/nature noise machine. Something to drown out the noises in the house so baby could sleep through whatever mom and dad are doing – dishes, movie watching, sex…. πŸ˜‰

      And yes, practice spending time with your hubbie without Evangeline in your arms, or maybe not in the same room, even for a few minutes at a time. It will get easier, I promise.

    • Lots love to you miss M. I am always happy to heed your words. We were here for each other during the dark days after our babies died, and I am glad to know we can still be there for each other now, with regards to being a parent post stillbirth.

    • Lots love to you miss M. I am always happy to heed your words. We were here for each other during the dark days after our babies died, and I am glad to know we can still be there for each other now, with regards to being a parent post stillbirth.

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