Why Can’t I Breathe?

For the first 3 months postpartum, every morning when I opened my eyes I was consumed by fear and sadness. I was scared that I would have to go through another entirely new day full of the unexpected. Would my son cry a lot today? Would he feed okay? Would he want to be held for most of the day? There were too many unknowns and I had no idea what to expect. It was unfamiliar territory and it made me feel very vulnerable. Waking up in the morning was a challenge, and I hated it. I would wake up and have a panic attack. And if I am completely transparent, I wasn’t a single mom, I had a lot of support, but there was something in my head that kept telling me I wasn’t good enough. That I was somehow going to mess this all up. That my son would need something, and I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to help him. I just wanted him to be okay, and because of this, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect. I felt I had to be perfect, so that he would happy.

I became a very anxious person. I never understood the power anxiety could have over a person until I experienced it myself, and boy was it an awful feeling.

But when he turned 3 months, its like something changed in our relationship. Its like we started to connect. Perhaps it’s because I started to speak to people about my struggle. But for the first time, I felt like I was actually starting to bond with my son. When we locked eyes, I felt like I could take care of him.

Make no mistake, I was still very very far from feeling confident in my parenting skills, but I was starting to build a support system to help me through some of my concerns.

I also stopped Googling for “help”. Whenever I wanted to understand a behavior my son’s exuded,  or a solution to help him with a struggle like gas, I would Google. I found that Google left me confused and it stressed me out. There were so many solutions, I became overwhelmed. So, with the guidance of a doctor, I decided to stop.    

Best. Decision. Ever.

When I started to slowly trust my own instincts and to reach out to people I knew, instead of a comment wall, I started to feel more confident in my own skills. If a solution didn’t work, I could reach out to the people who initially guided me and say “hey that didn’t work, got another idea?”. The open dialogue helped me work through my anxiety.

I still suffer from anxiety today – but I feel like I have the tools to work through it, and with time, I hope that I can overcome it.

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Get Out Of My Uterus

A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law and his wife had a daughter, and while I am happy for them as they enter this new chapter in their lives, it’s shone a fluorescent light on my life – that I don’t have a child. Now, I have to nod and smile as every family member I meet feels the need to tell me that I need to have a child next. All I want to do is scream “get out of my uterus”.

When did it become okay for people to tell you when to have kids, and why do they assume I want to have them? Yes I am in my 30s and have been married for almost 4 years, but I didn’t realize that people were tracking my “expiry date”.  From what I hear, I am getting old and being married for as long as I have, and childless in the Indian community is apparently a crime – or at least that’ how it sounds when people speak to me. Perhaps I am too “modern” for my own good, but I don’t think children are a fashion accessory. I am not going to have them because other people tell me to.

Having children is a lot of responsibility, and a lifelong commitment – that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I think you need to be mentally prepared for the sleepless nights, projectile vomit, inquisitive minds and exciting arts and crafts projects. Yes, I see the good and the bad.

This is not a decision to step into lightly, and since it takes a village to raise a child, I have come up with what I think is a great solution. Those who feel it is okay to volunteer my uterus as a home for a new baby for 9 months have been added to a list of potential babysitters. If/when I decide to have children, they will be dropped off on their doorsteps for a fun sleepover whenever they drive me crazy. You’re Welcome!

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