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All the Stages of a New Mom's Panic Attacks

Photograph by Twenty20

Having a new baby in your arms is so amazing and heartwarming. There's nothing like that precious newborn face right in front of you for the very first time. It feels like your heart literally grew a million times its size. Your baby’s face is perfect, even if it’s a little “squeezed” after his or her time in that very tight birth canal. You couldn’t imagine a lovelier image than the one of your new child.

However, holding your newborn is also like having the music stop and holding the “hot potato.”

It’s like you’re holding a potential time bomb, guaranteed to poop, ooze and cry, and produce other sorts of liquids and sound effects like you’ve never seen or heard. The sounds that come from a newborn baby are not from this world. Your fear that you are about to mess up another human’s life is both terrifying and a tiny bit accurate.

It’s a whole new kind of anxiety that the new baby in your arms brings. Here are the various panic attacks (complete with stages) that will grip your soul while in the throes of new motherhood. Buckle up, baby. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

1. What Did I Do Wrong Now?

You are absolutely sure you did something wrong. Whether it was a noise that woke the baby, to a diaper change that turned your bubba into a screaming mess, it must be your fault.

The new mom’s fear: Everything is my fault. Did you not bounce the baby enough? Did you not speak in a sweet voice? Damn, new mom—the fault is all yours.

Not really, actually. That’s the good news!

2. Will I Ever Know What I Am Doing?

Of course, there is the ever-parading fear in your mind, doing a cha-cha with a marching band in the middle of the night, booming: Will I ever know what the eff I'm doing?!

This thought will grip you when you are doing anything that requires breathing or deep REM sleep.

You will fear that you will never get the hang of this little alien life form you gave birth to. But oh, you will. No worries!

3. Why Did I Think This Was a Good Idea?

You will question your sanity. Curse your partner's sperm and penis. You will wonder how you bought into this motherhood idea and who sold you on it. Didn’t the advertisements look so pretty and glossy?

You will shuffle around in a sleepy fog in slippers and unattractive, unwashed clothing, wondering how you got coaxed into this idea.

You will look at your baby and suddenly remember why.

Is that Darth Vader lying in your arms or is it a newborn baby?

4. What the Heck Was That Noise?!

Is that Darth Vader lying in your arms or is it a newborn baby? Is it a pug hanging out in the crib or a human child?

The noises that come from a baby will keep you awake, night after night after night—no matter how tired you are when you’re a new mom. You fear that a ghost has taken over your house, or worse, that your newborn baby will burst into flames, given the exorcist type noises they're making.

It’s like rocking to sleep your old, busted car: Every grunt, breathe and rattle, you wonder if your kid will fall apart, piece by piece in your arms. It’s comforting ... really (said no mom ever).

5. Will My Child Lose Their Mind From Crying in the Bathtub?

You’ve made the water lukewarm, but the electrifying peals ejecting from your baby upon putting one toe or appendage in the water is enough to make you feel like you are not a mom, but a torture device.

It doesn’t matter how cute rubber ducky is or if you got the little mesh bathtub sling: your baby is losing her mind and you feel like you may never have a clean child for the rest of your life.

6. Why Is This Kid So Damn Hungry?

You will stare at your aching breasts or that bottle and wonder if it contains not nutrients but air, because your baby will demand … and demand … and demand food.

You will feel like either the worst bottle-preparer in the universe, or the absolute worst cow with the worst milk known to humankind.

You will question if your baby has a tapeworm and wonder how he’s not a giant yet.

Don’t worry—there is no tapeworm.

7. Why Is My Child's Poop Like a Nerf Water Gun?

Your baby will shoot poop distances you’ve never seen, until suddenly, you’re a new mom acting like a wide receiver, trying to catch a stream of poop with a diaper or any other absorbent material. My daughter’s poop literally crossed a TV room rug.

You may question the dynamics and physics of it all, and wonder if your child is superhuman. Sadly, your baby is completely regular and normal, but still so, so cute ... when she’s not squirting poop on you.

Generally, having a child will have you question your sanity, judgment and character but it will also be the best thing you do—and the best reason to collect gray hairs.

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