Sunday, January 30, 2011

PPA: Postpartum Anxiety

I went to church today.  It was the first time since Ethan's birth.  Terral has been a few times, and he offered to stay home with Ethan so I could go to sacrament meeting.  Then my mother-in-law offered to watch Ethan so we could go together.  This week, we decided to take her up on her offer.

My first concern was how Ethan would do without me.  He nurses pretty frequently, and he didn't really take to the bottle the two times we tried it in preparation. We decided to try it anyway.  Our backup plan was to leave Terral's cell phone on vibrate so Natalie could call if  she needed to.

My second concern was that our ward now has church at 9:00.  I know it's not extremely early, but based on previous nights and mornings, it seemed an almost impossible feat to get all of us fed and ready on time.

The closer it got to my leaving, the more concerned I became.  Not so much about the time--I could deal with being a little late, and if it didn't work out at all we would just try again later.   As far as my other concern goes, logically I knew Ethan would be fine with his grandma, and if he couldn't be comforted we could get home quickly.  The concern that kept growing was that I didn't know how I would do away from him.  At first, it didn't occur to me that it would be a problem.  After all, it was only for an hour.  But as the time drew nearer, the more anxious I became.

We made it to church as the congregation sang the opening song.  I felt bare and self-conscious.  Terral kept assuring me that everything would be fine.  I kept asking about the cell phone.  "What if you don't feel the vibration?"  (Our new phones have a faint vibration that can go unnoticed.)  "That only happens when I'm walking.  It's close against me when I sit," Terral replied.  I checked just to be sure.

At one point I felt a let-down.  I'd heard about mothers at work having a let-down when their babies cry, even though they aren't anywhere near.  "What if he's crying?  Can I check if we've missed a call?"  No call was missed.

I tried not to look at the clock too often.  The talks were nice, the choir was nice (although it was weird not singing with them), and it felt good to have taken the sacrament, but I was having a hard time keeping my mind on the meeting.  I distracted myself a bit by getting my friend's baby to smile.  I want to see my own baby smile.

Finally it was over.  We made it.  As I opened the door to our apartment, I was almost surprised at the silence.  He wasn't even fussing a little bit.

We found him asleep in his grandmother's arms.  She sat quietly rocking him.  He hadn't even needed the bottle.  He was perfectly contented, and she thoroughly enjoyed the time with him.



  1. I'm glad you were able to go! I've had anxiety problems before, and I can only imagine a mother's anxiety, but you did it! Yay, Mary!

  2. That first time away from your baby is hard! Sounds like every mother I've ever known. And now you've done it! So the next time (whenever that may be) won't be quite as difficult.

  3. gotta love that baby/mommy bond. Nothing like it. :) don't worry, in about 9 months you will be ok...or 2 years.:)

  4. Awwww.... that was so sweet! And seriously - you're a great writer. Very real.

  5. Hate to say it, but I don't know if that feeling ever goes away Mary! Yes, it does get easier to leave your baby for an hour or 2. And then someday you won't hesitate to leave him. But then you'll have your first night away from him and it will all come back again. I imagine it's the same for their first day of school. (Right now, I hate the thought of Ryan going to school because of that.) But that bond is something precious; and just like labor, the pain is worth it. :-)


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