Marriage and Anxiety Triggers
I have two triggers for anxiety that I consider to be of the postpartum variety: earthquakes and sleep issues.
This week has been an exercise of being gentle with myself with respect to both. Tonight, though, it’s the sleep that’s getting me.
Thomas is wholly two, and showing it in every way possible. This includes diaper changes (you would think we were torturing him), cleaning up (don’t get me started) and, as of late, sleep. It’s extra difficult because we know he’s exhausted, but he wants to be awake and investigating everything. Can’t say I blame him, but we need him to snooze.
His procrastination is also at an all-time high. This week, he has started to ask for dada instead of mama to put him down. Dada, you see, reclines the rocker in his room, whereas Mama won’t do it, only does two minutes of cuddles, and then puts him to bed.
The part I’ve left out … I’m not the only one with postpartum anxiety in this family. While mine is driven by sleep issues and the earth (literally) shaking under my feet, my husband’s is driven by not doing the right thing. It’s complicated when you’re dealing with a two-year-old who tells you what to do without really knowing what it is they need.
Thomas, tonight, told Dada he didn’t want to go to bed. And then started sobbing. Jake kept telling him he was putting him to bed, and then would keep him up longer in case he was missing something. After about 10 minutes, I finally stormed in, took Thomas, sat in the chair for two minutes, and then put him down. All of us are unhappy campers right now, with Jake slamming things around in the kitchen, and both Thomas and I in tears.
This is the point where I feel the most lonely in my marriage. I need something so desperately … an easy bedtime. That’s reinforced by routine and sticking to our guns, not my husband’s strong suit. At the end of the night, when we’re supposed to be the most “together,” we’re both sad and stressed and anxious in opposite rooms of the house.
In two minutes or 20 or 200, when Thomas finally settles down, I know this panic gripping my chest and throat will finally ease. I’ll start to breathe again. But until then, it takes everything in me to not run down there, slam open Thomas’ door and yell at him to “STOP.” It takes everything in me to not scream at Jake for “putting us in this position” (although a more clear-minded Jess will certainly see things differently).
Until then, I sit. I breathe. I wait. And I hope that it calms down soon.