I've been wanting to write this post for a while but have been weary of putting it out there for fear that someone might misunderstand what I'm saying. But today I read the blog of another mom who went through something similar when her child was a baby and it gave me the guts to hit the publish button... Here goes:
Remember when I had that issue with sleeping a little while back? Well, things have kind of gotten a bit crazy since then. In my head.
Yes, I managed to get over that specific issue - I no longer grip Ruby to my chest at night while she's sleeping, refusing to put her down because she might succumb to SIDS if I am not holding her. However, I still have to force myself to fall asleep at night - because now that she is in her own room and I can't see her while she's sleeping, I get this gut wrenching sense of dread that washes over me as I'm trying to fall asleep, because yes, I'm still afraid of SIDS.
But that's not all.
During the day, I imagine a million different horrific scenarios that could happen to Ruby. And these "thoughts" or waking dreams or whatever you want to call them are so vivid that they cause actual physical side affects with me. When one of these "thoughts" gets in my head, my heart pounds and my chest hurts and my breathing speeds up and I get tears in my eyes and a big knot in my stomach and I break out in a sweat.
And the thoughts aren't just, "What if a car were to hit Ruby and I right now as we're out walking with the stroller" the thoughts are more like - What if someone in a stolen vehicle comes careening around the corner or up on the curb right now and hits the stroller and then my arm would get ripped off (because I have a wrist band attached to my stroller), and then upon impact the stroller would fly up into the air or across the street and I would be laying screaming in the streets while I tried to get to my baby and I can visually see how mangled she might be.
And the wrist band on the stroller? That's because I've had vivid thoughts of me falling while walking downhill with the stroller and then Ruby rolling away down the hill, gaining speed until she crosses a street and a car might be coming and might hit her... and then the I imagine the carnage that would ensue.
I also freak out when I walk down the stairs while holding her. Yes, it's one thing to consciously think about holding the railing while walking down the stairs, but it's quite another to imagine how it would look to fall down the stairs and what would happen to the baby, which stairs she would hit, how she would land, and what the results might be - she might break her neck and be forever damaged, or she might die.
In fact, even while safe in my house, sitting on the couch watching TV it happens. If I see a plane crash on TV I might start crying in an instant because I can imagine what it would be like if I had Ruby on a plane and it crashed and how it would feel, how scared I would be, how horrible it would be.
I drive like a god damned granny these days because I am petrified of being in a car accident! Is that guy going to pull out in front of me? Is someone going to run a red light and smash into Ruby's side of the car? (You should see me inch through intersections) That guy is coming up too fast behind me, is he going to rear-end us? And the stink-eye I give out if anyone changes lanes near me without giving enough notice...
And then there's the massive gang wars going on in my area right now. Yeah, stray bullets and the whole bit.
Please let me clarify something here - I'm not fantasizing about harming my baby. Oh god no. It's very much the opposite. It's like my biggest fears are materializing into waking nightmares. I feel like I have very little control over the nightmares but how can I not have control over them if they're happening while I'm awake???? I don't understand!
These thought occur every day (and night), all the time, no matter what I'm doing. It is terrible.
I know that this can be a sign of PPD, but I don't feel like I've got that. Even though I was at an extremely high risk for it, so far I've felt really good, really strong and confident - in fact I've never felt so confident and happy in my entire life. It's just this one thing... and it's horrible.
I feel really guilty for having these thoughts. What kind of mother would imagine this stuff happening to her baby? It's just not right. Am I fucking sick, or what? What the hell is wrong with me?