Is it normal to have anxiety about having a new baby when you’re already a Mom of two? As we approach our third daughter’s December due date, I cannot help but wish I wasn’t so far along. I’m more scared to have this baby than I was any of my others because I know how much my life is going to change. Well, let me rephrase that… I know how much ALL of our lives are going to change.
Anxiety About Breastfeeding
There will soon be a newborn in our home who relies mostly on ME for food every two hours. Unless we have some unforeseen complications, I plan to breastfeed the baby. One change between how I will feed her versus her sisters as babies is that she will be introduced to a bottle at a much earlier age. Annabelle did not receive a bottle until she went to daycare at 7 months old; Ailey, well she refused the bottle for all of time. We will bottle feed the baby so that I can return to work outside the home after maternity leave. The bottle will also be way for her Dad and sisters to bond with her during feeding time.
Even though we will be using a bottle, the milk needs to come from somewhere – that place being ME. The thought of being attached to a breast pump is nerve-wracking in it itself. I recall lugging a giant breast pump around when I was teaching elementary school. Breastfeeding is an incredible experience and having the ability to pump milk for your baby is just as wonderful. However, there is a loss of freedom in life when you are the sole provider of food for a baby. This is very overwhelming after not breastfeeding for four years.
If formula is necessary, then that is the route we will happily take. Annabelle and Ailey had dairy allergies, so I adhered to a strict dairy free breastfeeding diet for 1-2 years after having both girls.
Anxiety About A New Baby in the House
Having a new baby means committing to a new profession as a dairy cow and wet nurse for a tiny dictator who doesn’t speak English. Sleep will, without a doubt, be infrequent and a luxury of the past. For the first few months, any time I close my eyes I will run the risk of being interrupted by our boss baby. She will demand food, a diaper change, a burp or even a snuggle – all in a language none of us will understand. Newborns love to play guessing games with their caretakers called, “Why am I crying?” It can take days/weeks/months to learn the baby’s cues and different cries, but the exact amount of time spent playing the guessing game is unknown.
The adjustment period involved with brining a new baby home, often known as the fourth trimester, is both an amazing and confusing time when our family will get to know our new boss. She will learn to know us as well: Mom with the milk, Dad with the warm snuggles, Annabelle with the sweet songs and Ailey with the story books. I understand very well that a new baby in the house is a huge change for anyone who lives here.
As far as how my fears about how my daughters are going to adjust to a new little sister, that’s a whole other post for another day.
Anxiety About Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues
After both of my pregnancies I was fortunate to avoid the baby blues during the first six months. It was not until later in my postpartum period I experienced postpartum depression after weaning from breastfeeding. I know the baby blues and postpartum depression are more common than society allows it to be. One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth (source). With that being said, I am anxious about the possibility postpartum depression and anxiety.
Some people may wonder why I’m so worried about something possibly occurring months from now, but I am no stranger to mental health issues. I have had anxiety for years and suffer from something called catastrophic anxiety. Weekly therapy helps me cope with my mental health struggles tremendously. However, just because I’m under treatment for anxiety, that doesn’t mean I am not worried as to how hormones will change my current mental state.
I’m really good at preventing anxiety during pregnancy (or attempting to), but what about postpartum anxiety? We will have to wait and see how that goes.
What it Comes Down to… I Can’t Fear the Unknown
Truth be told, we will all be FINE after the new baby arrives. Life’s ups and downs have prepared us for handling the unknown more times than I can count. There will be a lot of tears – from our new boss and probably each one of us a few times in the first months after her birth. But it’s nothing we can’t handle.
We are so excited for our family of four to become a family of five (even if it means turning over our home to our very own Boss Baby).