Therapy Works! How I Overcame New Mom Anxiety and Baby Blues
By: Alena Conley
We are expecting our second little one and couldn't be more thrilled. Of course the biggest question of the day has been, "what are you having?" Many of my friends and family had anxiety around knowing the sex because of my disappointment last go round. They feared I would be back throwing shoes or devastated with the outcome of a boy again. But to be completely honest, I had such peace around the outcome either way. Here's why.
Therapy. Yes, I have my own personal shrink!
Around my 8th week of pregnancy I started having severe anxiety about my new bundle of joy. Mostly fear around my delivery because my last one was so traumatizing for me. After much research I realized that child birth for many women are considered high trauma events, similar to car accidents or being robbed at gunpoint. And until one has really healed from the event, several things can trigger fear, sadness or even depression.
For me, outside of being forced into a C-section by my impatient hospital and doctor. Watch "The Business of Being Born" for a better understanding of how hospitals and surgeons are robbing mother's of natural birthing experiences. I had convinced myself that my C-section ultimately resulted in a feeling of not being loved by my son, Parker.
These were my thoughts - because of my C-section, those initial hours of bonding with my child were taken away from me. Once I arrived home from the hospital I was so drugged and in pain, I could barely interact with my son outside of nursing him. I felt his connection with my husband Prince had been formed instantly in the hospital during moments I literally have no recollection of. I once saw a picture of my son from his first week and asked "who is this"? I honestly barely remember the first week of my child's life. It seemed like he could be held by everyone in the room, but at soon as he would come to me he would lose it!
How could this be? This is NOT what everyone promised a Mother/Son bond would be. It didn't stop in the infant stages. I continued to suffer from the feeling of it being Prince & Parker and I was just the outsider coming to deliver milk. Even as Parker grew older I remember walking into his room one morning to get him dressed and him instantly shouting "NO, Daddy!" while pushing me away. Man, that was definitely a rough day.
So now we have this second baby on the way and all I can initially think is, SECOND CHANCE! Second chance at having a child that loves me. Then I instantly thought, wait...what if I can't have a VBAC as planned, what if I have another C-section baby that hates me??? Three nights in a row this kept me up at night and I finally admitted to myself, YOU NEED HELP.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
— Romans 12:2 NIV”
I'm writing this post because everything I have experienced since making the decision to seek professional help has been life changing for me in every way.
I could honestly talk for hours about all of the breakthroughs I have experienced in just six therapy sessions. But I'll spare you. But what I have found is literally just being able to transfer my thoughts to my mouth to someone else's ear has been such a weight lifted off of my spirit. I feel so free. This is not like talking to family or friends, or even killing your hubby with your constant whining. This is SO much better! The harder part is having to really take the feedback that the therapist is giving you, accept it and start making changes.
For me, my therapist helped me work through my thoughts around my traumatizing delivery by going "deeper" and then even "deeper" to identify some real issues that I had never realized ultimately impacted my disposition towards both my husband and son. She also challenged me by making me realize that perhaps Parker could feel my fear or negative energy when I was around him, thus making him draw nearer to Prince. I found this also to be true. Because the moment I became more intentional about watching my "energy" around him, it was like a magnetic force that drew him to my heart.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.
— 2 Timothy 1:17”
I found it fascinating how a few small intentional changes in my mindset, habits and time spent with him has completely transformed our relationship in such a short amount of time. Truly exemplifying the quote "change your thoughts, change your life".
I had not realized how many toxic thoughts were clouding my ability to be the mother and wife that I desired to be in a way that did't feel "forced". It's been said that "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear". Outside of me finally committing to seeking guidance through therapy. Several other "teachers" appeared that really help me to get hold of the thoughts that I was letting control my life. I attended a women's event where Dr. Caroline Leaf spoke and I purchased her book "Switch on Your Brain" while committing to her 21-Day Brain Detox Plan. A must read! She's amazing.
It's beautiful how God can use both significant events like bringing a child in this world, and insignificant events like attending a seminar to truly point you towards him. Therapy has not only been healing for me, it has created more space for the Spirit in my mind. Allowing God's voice to come through much clearer.
Needless to say, I'm stoked about becoming a family of four but even more excited about starting this journey with a clear and sound mind that is no longer clouded by fear of the past or anticipation of the future. Only focusing on God's presence in this present moment.
Original Article: www.alenaconley.com/blog/genderreveal
Click here to watch the awesome baby reveal for The Conley Family!