Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Telling your children you have agoraphobia

Hey very brief update. I am laptop-less at the moment. Mine was a bit passed it and kicked the bucket a couple of weeks ago. Time to purchase a new one but not really had a chance to have a good look for one.

Life is good. I am LOVING being a mummy. Nathan is amazing and i love him more everyday. It feels like only yesterday he was born but hes already into size 3-6 months clothes. Tomorrow we are going to our first baby massage class. I'm kind of nervous about going, as i would be with anything new like this, but i will go for him.

Which reminds me, I had to take him to the doctors for his 6 week check. I got really nervous leading up to it as it was the first time i had to take him to an appointment. I over thought it and was thinking about how i HAD to do this. If i missed this then i would miss other things. I thought about asking someone else to take him but refused to give into the nerves. I felt it was really important to start as i mean to go on and be there for my son. Plus i know the guilt would have made me feel worse than the anxiety of going would. Thankfully i took him. Nathan doesn't like the cold, and when the doctor put him on the cold scales to weigh him he went mental so i am glad i was there to soothe him.

The next day I had my own post natal check up. This time my mum watched Nathan and I went alone. I was a bit anxious again. In fact i have noticed i have been a little edgy lately but i put this down to lack of sleep. Not getting a good night sleep always affects my anxiety, so much so that in the past i obsessed over it a little. If i didn't get more than 5 hours i would talk myself into a panic. I'm over that now thankfully because these days i prob only get 2 hours sleep before i am woken up. Then another 2 hours...and that's about it. This then has a knock on effect. I'm exhausted and so by the time I have fed and clothed Nathan, got myself washed and dressed, cleaned and tidied the house, well I don't have time or energy for much else. And so i haven't been getting out and about as much as i would like. Still though I have made sure Nathan has never spent a full day indoors, for his benefit AND mine. For him, the fresh air, and for me - well i cant afford to stay indoors for days at a time cause who knows what affect this would have on me. I don't ever want to end up struggling to walk the length of myself again and so I'm aware that the battle with agoraphobia is ongoing.

The weather is awful, dull, grey and very depressing so this ain't helping. I have been out walking Nathan and wanted to push myself to walk further but I haven't really had the nerve. I always found I needed to be fresh, healthy and rested to really tackle my agoraphobia so i blame the lack of sleep for the fact i haven't pushed quite as hard. Although i am lucky in a way, since i gave birth and HAD to go to hospital, i know that I have it within myself to do things i never thought i would be able to. So when i find myself over thinking going out and doing things I tell myself to chill out.

My support worker, and many other people, told me that my anxiety would prob be much less once i had the baby. They said i would be too busy to be able to think about all that stuff. Well I don't agree really. Yeh im busy, i am UNBELIEVABLY busy! I get up around 6am and between house work, making bottles and seeing to Nathan, i really don't get a spare minute. But i still have time to think. I prob worry about going out a bit more and that's for one reason..Nathan.

I want to be there for everything possible. Ok i always said i might not be able to take him on holiday abroad for a while but i want to do everything else. Visiting relatives, going to the park, his first days at nursery, school. Nativity plays etc. I do what we all have in common. I worry about these things before they have even arrived. Its ridiculous really because Ive learned over and over again that we cant predict how we will be at certain times. In fact in the last few years I have dreaded so many things but been ok when i have eventually done them.

I guess i see many difficult obstacles in the future but i wouldn't change it for the world. Ill make all of those things and I hope Nathan will never even know about the agoraphobia. That's another point actually.. I want to protect Nathan but I also don't want to lie to him. There will be times that my anxiety is going to be an issue. Gerry will no doubt want to take Nathan to visit his family in Canada. Wont he wonder why mummy doesn't join them. I want Nathan to see me as a strong person and someone he can rely on. I grew up not knowing any of my parents problems and i suppose that's how i think it should be. Children should be allowed to have a childhood and not have to know about things like mental health until they are older. Aren't your parents meant to be strong, reliable and not have any weaknesses (at least in the eyes of a child). Am i being naive to think its possible to keep this from him until he is about 11 or 12? I know people with extreme agoraphobia have no choice but to tell their children whats wrong, I think the children would be very confused otherwise. But for someone like me, i can appear pretty 'normal'.

Ok i am off to make up more bottles and then head to bed. Hope you are all well and 2011 is being good to you so far. Ill be getting my new laptop in the next week and can keep in touch more often. x


Anonymous said...

I have been following your posts and was glad to read the update. Your pregnancy really inspired me. My husband desperately wants me to have a baby but I am PETRIFIED. I have always had a fear of birth and agoraphobia does not help that one bit. The problem is I am 39 this year so it's now of never.
I agree, I wouldn't want to tell my child about agoraphobia. I keep it a secret as much as I can.

Today, I am actually wondering if I am pregnant! Thanks for your posts.

Anonymous said...

Oh, one thing I wanted to ask you. Did you ever have a problem with apathy and depression? YOu seem very motivated all of the time, where you always like this?

doggone opinions said...

sounds like you are doing just fine with your disorder, and glad you like being a mom.i figure when yor baby goes on a trip with the daddy you will be going too because if you don't you will be worried sick the whole time they are gone.things will look up when the weather gets better and you will find yourself going out more often. good luck some day you may get over yor fobia

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you are doing amazingly!! i love reading your blog as i suffer from agoraphobia myself and am currently 11 weeks pregnant (hence posting this anon!)and wondering how the hell i am going to cope!

big hugs xx

Laura said...


I'm 38 now and would like to have children but I also have the same concerns you do. Doing things with the children seems like something only we would worry about. My father often took me and my siblings on trips or just out for a day to give my mother a break. My mother doesn't have agoraphobia but she likes being home a lot. I don't think Nathan or anyone else will think it's abnormal if you don't go on a trip with him or if you just want time at home to yourself.

Lauren said...

Hi, I love your blog! It is always fabulous to know there are others with anxiety issues and we are not alone!
Your new baby sounds just gorgeous and you sound like you are doing so well as a mom!
BTW every mom worries about their kids I think don't you - it's just natural - and he will love you for all of you - with or without agoraphobia!

Anonymous said...

It's so nice to hear from you after a long time. I've been following your blog and it's been such a help and inspiration. I'm turning 30 this year and marriage is on the cards for next year. My partner does want to have a baby eventually but I've been scared. You have shown me that it's possible. Don't worry about telling Nathan. It doesn't matter for now. Just enjoy each day with him. You WILL handle things the right way when the time comes. Everyday is a struggle and you help us in ours. Nathan is the luckiest kid ever because he has such a strong mum.
love n luck

Anonymous said...

You are all young.... this is new for me.....anyone take some xanax for panic disorder? Then stop and its a withdrawl..... panic attacks and the beginning of agoraphopia

Louis said...

Looking in again like i promised. Looks like things are going well for you and the little one and he is cute too. Dont forget to research post partum depsression it is different for everyone the wife had difficulty with that. But I am sure you have looked into it in detail like you other efforts. Pictures of the grandsons and me on facebook if you are interested. send me a note. i am a bit protective of my facebook account as everyone should be with hacker troubles. Keep up the good work you will be on a ship to canada before you know it. or a plane.

Cloudy said...

OMG, I'm PREGNANT!!!!!! I wrote the fist two comments and follow your blog. You helped me get the courage to do this. Now I have to face it. Still in shock!

Lynn said...

Hey Cloudy i am delighted for you. Yeh i have had problems with depression but i am used to it now and i know hot to get myself out of a funk. I worried i would suffer once baby arrived too but i knew if i saw the signs i would seek help right away. Thankfully that didnt happen.

Doggone you are so right. We are having brighter days and it really lifts the mood and we are getting out more often

Anon - You are 11 weeks pregnant. Congratulations. I was worried sick i really was. But somehow you just manage. Dont worry youself sick about all the things you cant do with your baby, think of what you CAN do. Im sure you have loads of love to offer and isnt that the main thing. plus we cant predict the future. Maybe your baby will spur you on into doing more. keep me posted

Laura - You make a good point about your dad. You know i never got taken on holidays abroad when i was young. And i didnt wonder why. When your a child you dont think about those things so hopefully Nathan will be blissfully unaware until i feel i need to tell him...IF i need to. Do not let agoraphobia put you off being pregnant.

Lauren - Awww thank you. :) Im glad you keep reading. i liked the last sentence on your comment :)

Anon - So its you who nearly made me cry haha. Saying Nathan is lucky to have such a strong mum. God i hope your right and thanks so much for saying that

Louis - i thought you were on my facebook but i dont see you. ill have to hunt you down.

Anonymous - I personally havent taken xanax but know many people who have. Are you taking it or just thinking about it

jenny3dogs said...

I am writing, as I can't sleep and stumbled across your blog. I can't sleep because my partner and I will be going to the doctor tomorrow morning to try for a baby. It's complicated in our situation because we are in a same-sex partnership....and because I have fairly severe panic attacks and moderate agoraphobia (I can leave the house and go places nearby, but not further than 15 mins from home). I have discussed this with my doctors and with therapists, but I have lived this way for 13 years and am now 34. My partner really wants a baby and so do I, but I am terrified that I won't be able to be a good parent because of my mental health problems. What if I can't do it??? I am freaking out...What if we do get pregnant and then I realize I can't stay home with the baby (she is going to carry and I am going to stay home with the baby)or can't bring him/her to the doctor or what if I...the list goes on and on...Please help. I don't know what is the right thing to do for me, for my partner and for the potential human life we are "hoping" to create. Thank you for this blog and for sharing your journey. -Jenn