My most recent pregnancy was wretched. I didn’t have much morning sickness, I was just the normal amount of tired, the baby grew beautifully, and I had no medical complications. But I had perinatal anxiety, and that made everything suck, and it still sucks.
It started in my first trimester with an increase in panic attacks. I normally get them a couple of times a year, but they started happening a few times a week. The doctors kept telling me that I was just anxious about having another baby, but I knew it wasn’t normal pregnancy anxiety.
As the weeks went by, I started having panic attacks so frequently that I was checked into the local hospital. I simply could not catch my breath in between the episodes as they were just compounding on top of one another. In addition to the panic, I was also having very depressing and suicidal thoughts. I knew I had no intention of ever killing myself, but the anxiety made me feel that I might be going crazy and eventually take my own life without my consent. It was such a dark time, you guys.
The hospital stay set me up with a new dosage for my anxiety meds as well as a therapist and a psychiatrist. I visited both of them frequently throughout the rest of my pregnancy, and I found a bit of comfort when my psychiatrist told me she would set me up with a women’s mental health clinic if or when we ever decided to have another baby.
Theodore Patrick was born on February 18, 2015, and almost instantly, my anxiety vanished. While it was reassuring to know that it was pregnancy hormones causing all of this (and not me actually going insane), it left me with the question: Do I ever want to go through this again?
We’ve always wanted a large family, and we still do. After our older kids were born, we knew we would get pregnant as soon as we were able again. But this time was much different. It’s not a given that I will go through the same suffering the next time, but I am at a much higher risk.
And that’s where we are right now. Do we want another child? We do. Am I ready to face that same type of pregnancy if God asks me to? I don’t know.
There are days when I am positively positive that I am ready for another. Theodore was so worth it, after all. But, the majority of days I am too scared to face the same fate again.
Our plan for now is to wait until the good days outnumber the bad days. And we pray. Lord, let us know what you are asking of our family. If you would like us to bring new life into the world, make it abundantly clear, and help us to feel peace in your request. We desire more children but fear the implications on my mental health. Thank you for all of the blessings you have already bestowed on our family. Help us to leave the future in your hands and to suffer well if you so ask it of us. Amen.
God brought good out of my story. He filled me with the Holy Spirit and enabled me to write a book filled with all of the tips and tools I use to manage my panic and anxiety. Check out 30 Days to Calm in my Etsy shop, and enter for a change to win one here.
To Enter: Follow me on Instagram (@callherhappy), and then comment here telling me that you did (or do). I will choose a winner June 6, 2016!