‘I didn’t put my baby down for 7 months’
A mum has revealed she didn't put her baby down for the first seven months of his life, because she was terrified something awful would happen if she did.
Deianna Mawad, from Five Dock in Sydney's inner west, said she barely slept and was "desperate" to free her arms but felt she couldn't put her son Elijah down without risking his safety.
The 32-year-old told Kidspot her struggle with post-natal anxiety would mean she would sleep on a recliner with Elijah in her arms, and only put him down to shower when her husband Fady got home from work.
"No matter how tired I was, I couldn't bear to put him down," she said.
"I became an expert at one-armed living, where I would rock Elijah on the left and use my right for chores."
But burnt dinner and putting dirty washing in the drier soon became the norm for the sleep-deprived mum.
Deianna said as the months ticked on, her husband Fady continued to sleep in the couple's bed alone.
"Elijah had never been in his bassinet, which had gathered dust," she said.
"My worries continued to escalate too, as I stressed about everything in the outside world that could hurt my precious newborn."
By the time Deianna took Elijah for his six-month vaccinations, she was at breaking point.
The new mum felt as though she was screaming on the inside but she still couldn't tell people how she felt.
She was terrified of being viewed as a "failure".
Deianna was trapped in a cycle of her own making and desperately wanted to break free.
"I hadn't slept in months and desperately wanted my arms to be free, but I couldn't. If I put him down something bad will happen, I thought," she said.
"By seven months, Elijah ate, slept and bathed in my arms. I literally hadn't put him down for his whole life."
Seven months in, Deianna finally broke down to another mum at baby group - who suggested a specialist clinic where she could book in for a three-week stay.
The counsellor revealed she was suffering from post-natal anxiety, a condition which makes mums obsess over their children - affecting their day-to-day life.
She coached the mum through her first night sleeping apart from Elijah.
Deianna says neither she or her lad slept a wink that first night, but gradually he cried less and less - until he was sleeping through the night again.
When she returned home, Deianna slept in the same bed as her husband for the first time in eight months.
Elijah is now two, while Deianna and Fady have just welcomed their second son Benjamin.
This story originally appeared in The Sun and has been republished here with permission.