Anxiety: Leaving the House

I used to go out on my own all the time. Almost all of my daily activities in college were done on my own. Even back in high school, I’m sure I did a lot of things on my own. Sometime towards the end of my pregnancy, it became more tiring and difficult to go out and about by myself, so my husband would accompany me. When I first had the baby, I wasn’t allowed to drive, so again, my husband would take me places. I didn’t leave the house much when she was first born because I was so tired, busy, and breastfeeding every 2-3 hours. Now my baby is 4 months old, and my trips away from home have become more and more limited.

I sometimes go shopping alone but no more than about 5 miles away from home. Living in the suburbs means that everything I need is close by. I go on week nights when I know it won’t be busy. I have never taken the baby with me when I have gone out alone, except once when I drove down the street to my parents house to drop her off while I went to my 6 week post partum check up. However, nearly every time I leave the house, Tim is with me. We go to my parents house together to drop off or pick up the baby. He goes to her doctor appointments. We shop together. We go to the library together. I feel safe going out with him.

I’m not sure what it is about leaving the house that I’ve grown to dislike, but I have definitely gotten more comfortable in being a homebody. I’ve grown to enjoy shopping online versus in person more now than ever before.

At first, I didn’t want to take the baby out because the temperatures were in the 100s, the humidity was extremely high, the UV was “extreme,” and she was just so young and vulnerable to germs. I told myself when it got cooler, it would be better for taking her out. Now I worry that it’s too cold and that she could be exposed to cold/flu germs, or even worse, H1n1, which has a high rate of incidence in this area. I don’t want to take her anywhere crowded. I’m worried she’ll cry and need to be carried, but I won’t have enough arms to get the stroller and everything back to the car. I want to make sure where we go has adequate changing areas and some place I can feed her if she gets hungry.

We went on an out of town trip in October with the baby for my college homecoming, and it was really difficult. I am pretty nervous about visiting my in-laws on the west coast this winter.

I know my anxiety about leaving the house is weird, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stop. In fact, avoiding it makes me less anxious when I have enough anxiety as it is, and so the avoidance has been making me feel at least somewhat better. Part of me knows it’s not good, but part of me doesn’t think it’s so bad.
I would like to get back to going out on my own more because I know I hold myself back. I would also like to feel confident about going out alone with the baby because there are so many places I want to take her like the park and when she’s older places the zoo or the children’s museum. Going to the mall today when it was crazy crowded and impossible to shop was definitely a step backwards in my wanting to go out more, but now I know I just won’t try to go to the malls on weekends, especially during the holiday season. I checked the weather for this week and plan on taking her somewhere tentatively. Hopefully it goes through and things go well.

Well, I’m a stay at home mom, but I don’t really want to leave the house either.

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