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Post Natal Anxiety/Name remorse

(59 Posts)
prolificnamechanger Wed 10-Jul-13 09:39:29

Hi everyone

First time I've posted in this topic although I've posted a lot on the baby names section...

It feels so trivial but at the same time this is taking over my life. I really regret DD's name and my worries over it invade almost my every thought. I wake up fretting about it, sometimes in tears. It's my last thought at night. I will be playing with my DD or cuddling her and there are the thoughts, eating away at me. It's ruining everything.

I've always been a worrier and the sort of person who goes over things after the event to see if I could have done things 'better'.

There are several reasons why I regret DD's quite unusual name - but mainly it's because I'm worried she'll get bullied for it (posts on the baby name threads on this site have fed this fear, by the way).

I have also got very jittery about other things - worrying that some awful accident will happen to her or that DH and I will be killed and leave her orphaned. the other night, I was watching Countryfile of all things - a nice, non controversial programme - when suddenly I was having awful thoughts of us all dying. And thinking, 'Why is no one else worrying about their own deaths and that we're all going to die?' I feel so afraid all the time.

I've been referred for counselling but I just find that I spend the whole sessions going over and over things and crying - and I don't really feel I'm moving forward.

I spoke to my HV about it yesterday and of course ended up in tears - she was very nice but asked me to to make an appointment with the GP. The receptionist was quite sniffy with me when I made the appointment and told me I couldn't see the doctor until next week. This receptionist is rude to everyone - before all this, I would just have rolled my eyes at her rudeness and not let it bother me. But I felt crushed and walked away feeling like a total horrible, weak failure and rubbish mum and human being.

One thing that I am not worrying about is DD's wellbeing. She is such a happy baby and I don't let her see that I am worrying or upset. She has only see me cry a couple of times and didn't really understand as she's only 15 months.

Sorry for the long ramble but I just wanted to see if anyone else had experienced anything similar. I feel so silly and can't really express it to my family and friends - they think I'm being totally melodramatic to 'not like' DD's name. I feel guilty because, you know, there are wars and famines going on and I'm worrying about this.

I have got quite good at painting on a happy face and pretending to be ok when I'm with other people.

But my worries over her name and that she'll be bullied for it are crippling me. I can't see how I'll ever get back to normal life with all this worry and fear hanging over me.

Thank you in advance for any advice. I actually feel better having got all this out.

JimmysMum1988 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:49:11

Lovely name!! Was on my list before I found out I was having a boy!! Xx

prolificnamechanger Sat 20-Jul-13 13:46:25

Thank you, thank you for 'mammouth' post! It all makes so much sense to me.

It sounds like you had a hellish time. But you have really illustrated so much of how I'm feeling.

Thank you. And glad you are feeling so much better.

BlueSprite Sat 20-Jul-13 13:33:19

What's a mammouth?! Mammoth grin

BlueSprite Sat 20-Jul-13 13:30:10

Oh gosh, I have been where you are now, in terms of having an OCD-related condition postnatally. It's horrendous, absolutely horrendous, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to you.

Several points:

1. It's fantastic news you are going to get CBT. This has changed my life. I had body dysmorphic disorder, which is an OCD related condition, but to be honest, it doesn't matter what your 'obsession' is - whatever it is, it will take over your life and in some cases make you feel suicidal, no matter if everybody else in the entire world is telling you it's not a big deal and even though deep down part of you understands it's not normal to be this gut-wrenchingly desperate over something.

CBT helped me in two ways. Initially, my mind was absolutely unable to be changed about the severity of my percieved problem. It my mind, no one could ever persuade me otherwise. However, CBT was able to make me see that I shouldn't be feeling suicidal over my problem - I didn't deserve for it to be causing me so much distress, to the point I told my family that when my DS was 6 months old, I would be killing myself because I couldn't cope with feeling like this. I chose 6 months because I decided that DS would be able to manage without breastmilk by then, but he would still be young enough not to miss me. It's very hard writing this now. The only word I could use to describe myself then is 'desperate' - it's not quite the right word, but the closest I could get to describing the agonising distress.

After a long while - I was also on a high dose of Lustral - CBT slowly came to make me question the validity of my hitherto strongly-held belief. In time, that belief began to wobble and I began to question it. Now, 3 years later, I can honestly say I am happy and confident that it is NOT a problem, even though nothing has 'changed' physically.

This will seem impossible for you now, so don't worry about it. The thing for you is to focus on how you are feeling about this - you shouldn't be feeling so guilty and distressed over this. For the next few weeks and months, I think you should focus on "If this 'problem' can't be fixed, I want to at least not feel so horribly bad about it".

2. The name itself. I know reassurance will only help you for a few minutes or so. Then the doubts will come back in. If you are anything like me, you will both be begging for reassurance and equally be unable to take it, no matter how much somebody tries to tell you your DD's name is lovely. However, I will say, I genuinely DO think it is a beautiful name, both the full name and the nickname.

The 'funniest' thing is that I have known a very attractive women for about 10 years whose nickname is Minnie. Although I am aware of it as a possible nickname for girls' bits (among zillions of others!), I can honestly say I have never made the connection between the two with this woman. She has always just been Minnie - and always will be. Even now I have made the connection via reading this thread, it doesn't make any difference to how I feel about her name. It has just washed past my brain (as it will do for the vast majority of people). Just a lovely, and quite funky, name for a very cool lady.

I truly don't think you should seek to change her name. For my perceived problem, I was dead set on cosmetic surgery. I was trying to work out all sorts of ways I might pay for it. Now I am back to being 'me' again, I thank god I never went down that route. It would have opened a whole can of worms. I feel convinced that if I had had the cosmetic surgery, my obsession would merely have shifted to something else. That is the nature of the illness. Again, I know you will have trouble believing this (I always thought, "Ah, but MY case is different!" when people reassured me that the thoughts came from OCD/depression), but try to open your mind to the possibility, especially when the thoughts are at their most invasive.

3. I was on Sertraline (Lustral/Zoloft) for the last 3 weeks of pregnancy and all through breastfeeding (until DS was 8 months). The highest dose actually, 200mg. If it provides any reassurance, my psychiatrist at the time was able to reassure me that minimal amounts come through in your milk. DS is now 3 and is developing brilliantly - no issues at all.

Good luck, lovely. This isn't going to be forever. For now, you must do your best not to entertain those 'what if' thoughts about bullying and how you might go about changing her name. For now, focus on day to day tasks and whenever the anxiety starts to mount up, choose something to do that distracts your mind, even if it's just doing a crossword (crosswords got me through when I was too anxious to even watch TV or read a book). I really am thinking of you - it's the hardest thing to go through, but you won't feel like this forever.

Sorry for the mammouth post blush

GherkinsAreAce Sat 20-Jul-13 13:28:32

If I met a little Marianne new to the area I would think, what a lovely name smile and be v jealous envy

Smartiepants79 England Sat 20-Jul-13 13:19:53

It is a beautiful and classic name. I love it.
You have a good solution to some of your worries. A nickname is just that. She could be Annie or even Marnie instead.
Get some help and hopefully you will be able to start enjoying her properly again.
I don't suffer with PND or anxiety and I still worry about losing my DD or leaving them alone. I also worry about the world ending! (Think Revolution/day of the triffids/the stand) I actually find myself planning in my head what we would do and where we would go! I find it hard to go out without a huge bag of stuff to cover all eventualities in case in it happened while we were out! Madness!

prolificnamechanger Sat 20-Jul-13 13:05:39

Thank you.

Also sorry if there were too many details about my birth on there. Got a bit carried away. Hope it didn't upset anyone.

Would love to hear from you, Buildingmycorestrength.

Minnie is the name nearly everyone calls her, as it is what we started off with. It is a bit of a long, tedious story!

But we are soon moving to a new area (actually the whole idea of moving has been quite stressful and hasn't helped matters!) and I will make sure she is introduced as Marianne to everyone new. Am hoping we can keep Minnie as just her family nickname.

Thank you. It is reassuring to know you aren't the only one.

freelancegirl Sat 20-Jul-13 13:00:42

I know the anxiety is a separate issue but I just want to say the name is absolutely gorgeous and was on my list before I had DS (wouldn't have suited him!). I will definitely consider it if I ever have a dd. I love the nickname too and know a gorgeous, successful woman in her 30s with that name but if you really weren't happy with it her full name is lovely and also has several lovely other nicknames possible from it. Maria, Mari, Mary, merry, may, Anne, Annie...My DS has a long name too and tbh I just love the full version and am not yet using the nicknames I thought I would.

I can relate to the anxiety too. i visualise bad things happening to DS, myself and everyone I love all the time. I sometimes think if I don't visualise it then it will happen too and I wi have wished I had visualised it. The rational side if me is so far managing to keep the anxiety in check but the thoughts are still there bubbling under the surface. I look at other parents and wonder if they're feeling it too.

picnicbasketcase Sat 20-Jul-13 12:47:07

I think her name is very nice smile That's probably not helpful but just thought I'd say anyway.

buildingmycorestrength Sat 20-Jul-13 12:43:18

I think it is worth exploring the traumatic birth thing a bit more with a therapist. I will pm you my recovery story if you want...it is not about the details of the birth so shouldn't be too triggering for you, but might help you to see how things can improve. Pop me a pm if you would like that and I'll do it next time I am on my laptop. grin

Whiteshoes Sat 20-Jul-13 12:39:16

Oh bless you. There is nothing like a baby to make you anxious. I was very anxious about my little one when she was tiny. I remember telling a quite hard-faced paediatrician, expecting her to shout at me for being so silly, and to my surprise she said it was completely normal to respond to a vulnerable newborn with anxiety!
However, there is no need for it to destroy your peace of mind. I cannot recommend CBT enough, and I'm so glad you're going to get this. Fantastic and good for you for being strong enough to go to your GP to get it and medication. Well done! The really strong people go and get help.
As for the name, I utterly love Marianne, and actually wish I had chosen this (or, the related, Mary) as the full version of my baby's name, so she had something longer to choose. I think Marianne is so beautiful. (I am an ex-goth, and can recommend Marianne by the Sisters of the Mercy to make you feel the romance of the name!)
What about swopping the nickname as that's the thing you don't seem to like? My little girl is May, which was the nickname of my grandmother, who was properly Mary, but never used it. May is a much more obvious shortening of Marianne than Minnie in my view. (Sighs at idea of having a Marianne of my own... She would be tall and have long dark hair and appear to know things the rest of us don't.) Or even Mary, which I also love? They are essentially the same name, and it's a cute, old-fashioned name which I think works as a shortening/different version of Marianne. My May has ended up with loads of nicknames which she answers to by accident. They include Maisy (not even a shortening and not a name I particularly liked before!), Maisy-Poo-Poo (yes! I've used it in public. Bad stares off the other mums), Bertie (and I wonder why people think she's a boy) and on and on. So there's loads of scope to develop nicknames and drop them and swap them as they get older. I'm obviously not planning on her filling out her UCAS form with Maisy-Poo-Poo...

prolificnamechanger Sat 20-Jul-13 12:16:47

In a way, I feel like changing her name would be a fresh start so I could do things better, somehow. Even though I know that's not really possible...

prolificnamechanger Sat 20-Jul-13 12:11:35

Thanks, both of you. Really appreciate you replying.

Yes, it was quite traumatic - she was back to back and got stuck but for various reasons, I was left pushing for three hours - sometimes without a midwife there, only DH. It was very frightening. I honestly thought I was going to die (although I am sure lots of women feel like that during labour - afterwards I was embarrassed by how much of a fuss I made but I did honestly think they were going to leave me on that table to die).

She ended up being a ventouse delivery and was quite badly bruised. I had quite a few stitches and also damaged my back in the delivery and was in pain for months.

She also had feeding problems which made the first weeks very hard and stressful.

I don't think I was thinking straight when we chose her name. DH really loved it and I went along with it a bit.

My worries over it were pushed to the back of my mind because of all this. It was only when it came to registering her that I realised how unsure I was.

And from then on, it's become an obsession that I can't shake.

buildingmycorestrength Sat 20-Jul-13 11:49:24

Hiya, I think Marianne is a lovely name... smile

I had a traumatic birth with my first, and chose his name in a hurry straight after because I thought I was going to die. I was really wobbly and funny about his name for ages...sometimes I couldn't remember it, in fact! It always made me very emotional and I'd wonder whether I'd chosen a bad name for him and so on.

Having treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder helped me so much. It is more than just counselling, and was totally transformative. Obviously I don't know if you had any trauma at all, but just bear it in mind as something to think about.

beakysmum Sat 20-Jul-13 10:45:34

Poor you. Ive had PND/ anxiety and its awful.

I'd say don't make any changes including DD name (lovely btw) while you're feeling like this. Get meds and then decide in a few weeks time. I didn't take meds untilDS was 6m cos of worries about the brbreastfeeding. But I wish now I'd done it sooner, meds helped me so much. Remember, it's very difficult for docs to test meds on pregnant/ breastfeeding women so it's very difficult for them to give a guarantee. But IME benefits outweigh any risks.

Hope that helps. Thinking of you x

prolificnamechanger Sat 20-Jul-13 10:26:33

Hello again, everyone.

I was hoping to have got a handle on this thing. But I had a major blip yesterday. It culminated in me crying on the train on the way home from work (no one could see - I was squashed into a corner, facing a door and was doing that whole silent crying thing).

Then I sobbed on DM when I got home - she was over because she was minding DD while I worked.

It's the first time she's seen me like this. She was shocked but amazing and really understanding. I felt embarrassed to have let my guard down as I've only really told DH and counsellor how I feel. I felt guilty for laying it all on her. But in a way I think it's better that it's out in the open.

It just really shocked me that it came out of nowhere. What happened was I bumped into someone I hadn't seen for a while and he asked DD's name. When I told him, he sort of chuckled. He is a chuckly sort of person, if that makes sense, and I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it. But of course it was like a punch in the stomach to me. I walked away from our conversation and just broke down. All at once I felt panicky, hot, sweaty and like a black cloud had descended on me. As though I would never feel better again. As though I've failed at everything. Given my daughter a terrible name. Most of all, I felt like a a terrible mother.

I even felt like I'd rather not be here because I can't deal with this anymore. I would never do anything to hurt myself and would never want to leave DD but I felt as though carrying on like this was just too hard.

I told DM all this because I am tired of keeping it all to myself. She thinks I'm depressed but I don't think that I can be because some days, I feel fine. This gloom and despondency just seems to come when I least expect it.

I'm ok today but feeling quite drained by it all.

Since my last post, the GP has referred me for CBT therapy and has prescribed Lustral. But I haven't started taking it because I'm nervous about the effects when you're breastfeeding. I told the GP I was still feeding DD and she said it was safe but, after reading the warnings on the box, I'm nervous.

But I think I need something because I can't carry on like this. Has anyone else taken Lustral when breastfeeding?

It has now got to the point with this that DH has agreed to let me change DD's name if I really want to. But the only name I'd want to call her is her middle name. Because although I can't seem to accept her first name, I don't want to give her a completely new name because it would seem unfair - to her and to everyone else who loves her name.

God, I am sick of all of this. I just want to be happy again. Sorry for the ramble. Just easier to get it all out on here.

Thanks for reading if you've got to the end of this...

fourpaws Thu 11-Jul-13 09:41:31

Hi prolific! Glad today looks brighter, lovely to hear that :-)

prolificnamechanger Thu 11-Jul-13 08:07:19

Thank you everyone. I've woken up feeling that today is a good day. Your messages have helped more than I can say.

I'm going to try the diary idea and ask GP about CBT, as well as looking at the books and website mentioned. Lots to keep busy with!

Thanks again.

LemonPeculiarJones Wed 10-Jul-13 15:55:07

Hey OP,

I'm pg with a boy but had he been a girl she would have been Marianne. I adore that name - so beautiful and also very cool.

A friend of a friend is called Marianne and is a really beautiful, poised, creative woman.

Love Minnie as a nn too. Totally gorgeous.

smile

peachypips Wed 10-Jul-13 14:06:14

I had Marianne as one of my girls names but never got to use it. As said before, it is unusual and beautiful but not trying too hard.

Stripedmum Wed 10-Jul-13 13:18:31

Fab post fourpaws. 'Challenging' thoughts is something else I've found extremely helpful.

I should add OP the diary initially should be hour by hour. flowers

MarnieMadden Wed 10-Jul-13 13:15:48

Marianne is a lovely name, reminds me of Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility! Its a lovely feminine name.

Stripedmum Wed 10-Jul-13 13:13:55

Oh God. I've been through postnatal anxiety hell. It's not a nice place. In fact it's a living hell. My obsession was that I didn't love my son 'enough'. It invaded every thought, coloured every nice moment as you describe.

Now. I have tried a lot of bloody things. It's two years on and I now have a DD. Things are still up and down but nowhere NEAR as bad as they were.

You need to accept that the problem is not the name. You have anxiety. Everytime you feel not right, irrational etc it's anxiety. Anxiety. Anxiety. Anxiety. That is all.

THE most helpful thing for me has been to firstly write down all of my 'symptoms' - eg. Worrying about going mad, worrying about feeling confused, etc. Then every day I track how anxious I'm feeling. So 0 - 10. Record your results for a few days until you can internalise it.

You will then see that your anxiety goes up and down - and when you feel really bad you can float through it, knowing it will reduce again. I think you seem to post when it reaches a fever pitch and so that would be a '10'. However when you are relaxing at night it could be a '2'. It's important you keep the diary all day as evidence that it's not continuous, which is how it seems when you're in a state.

Hope that makes sense. Good luck.

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 10-Jul-13 13:05:54

Oh and I know someone with this name who was stunning, chilled and generally very well liked. This alleged nn connection is just rubbish - ignore.

Beautiful, beautiful name smile

fourpaws Wed 10-Jul-13 12:46:47

Hi namechanger - oh I do sympathise with you. Of course your daughter's name is fabulous (graceful and distinctive without being weird - perfect!) - but hearing that doesn't always help with these cruel obsessions, does it? Take if from me I have totally been there, in my case I convinced myself I had harmed my DD when she was younger, though GP etc insisted I had done nothing wrong. Round and round and round and round and round in my head it went. I ended up loathing myself. I needed help!

I found a counsellor who among other things taught me CBT which I think is really helpful (though it takes a while, it isn't instant) - write down your dreadful fear, then challenge it with something more rational. Bit by bit it does help bring you back to a saner place, at least for a while, then just keep doing it again. And at the same time, I have been on sertraline for just over 4 weeks now, and though it was pretty grim to begin with (for me, I felt made things worse to begin with, if anything - ugh - but it takes everyone differently) I really think it has helped me get back on an even keel.

You CAN get out of that awful place. I do recommend the CBT because I think its always going to be helpful to me when the next terrifying worry or dark thought comes up, and the next. I use it most days for something or another, I amazed how much I have got in the habit of searching for problems ("scanning" they call it).

My GP recommended the anxiety chapter in a book called "manage your mind" which lists 13 distorted ways you tend to look at things when you are anxious - quite helpful to spot yourself doing them - I do almost all of them (catastrophising, black-and-white thinking, taking the blame - yep, I'm an expert!) . Also "Overcoming Anxiety" gives tips on this, its a "book on prescription" in most libraries.

And last of all I like the free stress and relaxation podcasts on the Mental Health Foundation website, I've got a couple of them on my ipod - they only take about 1/4 of an hour, and are quite good if you find yourself getting wound up.

Good luck. Do go and ask for some help, I'm so glad I did.

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