I went into preterm labour with my first child which was stressful but then came another challenge. My daughter spend 5 weeks in then NICU. It was so hard being surrounded by these small sick babies. The nurses were mostly kind, sometimes a few of them made me feel that I was in the way but most were okay. It was really hard to go home at night and leave my baby, but it did get easier as I got to know the nursing staff better. I also realized how important it was for me to get a good night sleep and how much better prepared I was to deal with things the next day. I found my partner and I got pretty irritated with each other on the days we did not sleep well. At first we took turns being with our daughter but one of the nurses suggested we come and go together and this was a good change as it meant we both slept better and had time to talk as we drove to and from the hospital. My partner could not come daily as he had to work and I know he felt really guilty about this but it was good that we talked about it and I sent him updates during the day. It was also really good to talk to the counsellor and the social worker at the hospital to get some support. I realized it was better for me to get in the habit of speaking up when I felt uncertain or afraid.
Bringing my daughter home was so nerve-wracking. In the hospital I had nurses to help with everything and they kept her monitored. I got very anxious at home (I think we visited our doctor every 3 days at first!). Every noise or roll woke me up and I was so worried she would die in her sleep that I woke up every few hours to check on her. I was also obsessed with how much weight she gained because I was nursing and topping up with formula and then pumping. I became exhausted. The less I slept the more worried and the more I worried the harder it got to sleep. Eventually I needed help. I saw my family doctor who diagnosed me with postpartum anxiety. We made a plan to get better which mostly required me to ask more people to help me. My mom started coming over every afternoon so I could try to nap (at first I just laid in bed stressing), and my partner took over all responsibility of meal planning (we ate a lot of take out and noodles). I realized I had really isolated myself and that my partner was more capable than I gave him credit for.
From a fellow mom