My feed

to access all these features

As with all health-related issues, please seek advice from a RL health professional if you're worried about anything.

Postnatal health

Anxiety related to routines and books

4 replies

bellabean · 20/10/2014 13:32

I am interested to know if anyone else has had this problem. I feel like I am coming through it now but can only recognise it in hindsight. I have a 4 month old baby boy, a little angel but has not been a great sleeper. Up until 6 weeks I was fine, then I started reading Gina Ford, Tracey Hogg, basically anything I could get my hands on, being new to motherhood and wanting to get it right. I became completely obsessed with a routine as I started to think that it was the day routine that was ruining the night. The anxiety that came with it was immense. From morning until midday I would have such bad anxiety that I would have sweaty hands, dizziness etc etc. It got a bit better later in the day. I couldnt sleep because of the anxiety, any little whimper I would hear in the night would set my heart off, and sleep in the day was completely impossible because I was so wired, so the sleep deprivation made it all worse. Sometimes it was so bad I couldn't eat. It lasted for about 6 weeks.

Now it is so much better, but I am wondering now in hindsight if I was suffering from postpartum anxiety, something on the clinical spectrum? I wasnt obsessed with harm coming to my son, more like I was a bad mother for not cracking the sleep thing. I was obsessed, it was the only thing I could talk about. I really was a mess. And I would also be interested did anyone else find the books did more harm than good by making you aim for 'perfection'?

OP posts:
SeptemberBabies · 20/10/2014 13:55

Books were the pivotal factor in my anxiety with my firstborn. She is 10 years old now and I've since had 3 other children.

I read from the library. I would take out 3 baby rearing books at a time and read them cover to cover. I had read every baby book in the library by the time DD was 16 weeks.

Looking into the psychological reason for this, it is because I am so used to being in control that I felt the need for a manual or set of instructions or steps to follow for being a good Mum. I felt a book would teach me how to be a parent. In fact being a parent comes from within.

My husband came home from work one day when DD was 20 weeks old to find me in floods of tears and inconsolable. When he asked what was wrong I explained that the book said I should be talking to my baby constantly and I didn't talked to my 20 week old DD constantly so therefore I must be a terrible mother (!)

To his credit DH did not laugh at the stupidity of this worry and the level of anxiety such a small thing caused. We talked at length that night and jointly came to the conclusion that the books were causing the anxiety. That I was a brilliant Mum and had wonderful instincts.

We agreed that I would stop reading baby books (I have never read one since) and would instead trust my instincts because my instincts would be right.

This decision was the making of me as a parent.

bellabean · 20/10/2014 14:18

Your post made me feel almost like I wanted to cry with relief! It is only in hindsight that I can see that it was since I put the books down that the anxiety started to wane a bit.

Gina Ford was the worst, but I still got obsessed with re-reading chapters of Tracey Hogg on e.g. her pick up put down methods. Then my friend lent me a couple more and I was cross referencing between them all like I was revising for an exam.

And it wasnt the anxiety waning that stopped me reading. I had (non kiddie) friends come to stay for the weekend and I had to let go of my routine ever so slightly and there was no time to read the books, in fact my husband had tidied them away in preparation for them coming so they werent sitting on the coffee table tempting me just to look up 'one more thing' again.

I hope that other people read this and realise that you should go with it a bit and dont follow these books to the letter. I am 35 years old, control is important to me (my background is as an advertising account manager) and I expected to be able to execute a plan and see cause and effect working itself out.

So anyone else reading this post who is suffering from anxiety right now... please just go with it and dont believe everything the books say, they have their place, but dont follow them to the letter!

Also an obvious thing is that everything is a phase...I am preaching to myself a bit now. So perhaps they are not sleeping now, but they will eventually. I hope other people can share positive experiences coming through the other side!

OP posts:
squizita · 28/11/2014 11:14

I'm in the middle of it with health/growth.

My dd is growing slightly slowly and the Hv is monitoring but unconcerned.
I'm reading up on every health problem it could be ... even though latch, feeding, general health etc have been CONFIRMED ok and I've been told she's healthy just a slow grower.

With me it's breastfeeding blogs and so forth ... of course some are out of date and others designed to get you to pay their private consultant!
The RL NCT lady and HV are both happy she is feeding fine.

stargirl1701 · 28/11/2014 11:25

Yes, I had post natal anxiety with DD1. Obsessive, intrusive thoughts about her coming to harm. I needed therapy.

I also feel better if I am in control. I am a teacher. I have perfectionist tendencies which I know are not healthy.

I have not felt anxiety with DD2 but I am obsessing over breastfeeding. I think because it's something new (I gave up with DD1).

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.