Everyone knows it can be hard to have a newborn baby. Even though it’s the most amazing and loving time of your life- we have to admit that it is really freaking hard.
I worried about everything possible, obsessively researching the safest mattress, the best practices for sleep training, feeding, cloth diapers, vaccines and on and on. What if he swallows a toy and chokes, what if he falls, why won’t he sleep; my mind was on a
Am I doing this right?
The CDC suggests that 1 in 5 moms are affected by Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders, but I believe that it is much higher. Sure it’s normal to feel exhausted, and yes there are common motherhood growing pains. But when the constant anxiety makes it hard to go to the grocery store, or feel safe in your home with your baby then there is a serious mental health problem here for new moms, and dads.
I should have talked to my doctor about how I was feeling sooner. But my worries and fears seemed so real and normal, that I didn’t feel like a doctor could help me. I never felt like I was overreacting, or irrational… I felt like I was being a good protective mom.
But how much anxiety is too much? I had 5 postpartum anxiety for 5
The day we were due for dismissal my son was getting checked for his release and the doctor noticed something was wrong. Within minutes doctors started coming in and nurses were asking us all of these questions. And then within an hour they had my son downstairs for an ultra sound.
I was blindsided and unprepared for this. None of the books I read had prepared me for the emotions this separation would cause.
We had to make an immediate decision to have
I said yes to this transfer; yes to this surgery. I had no idea what we were doing, there was no time for pros and cons- and I
My husband called when they arrived at the other hospital with news that the doctor wouldn’t do the surgery. He thought the anesthesia was too risky, and I admit I was very relieved. I thought great just come back! Anything to have him not in surgery and back in my arms. But the hospital I was at didn’t let my son or husband back- per a policy that broke every moral law I know. So I went to them. The next morning we were
Finally at home with our flawless newborn, soaking up his scent. I watched him in amazement feeding him till he
We saw a specialist and he suggested we operate and said that he would do the surgery if it was his son. After a few weeks of pondering the pros and the cons; worrying about what could go wrong and endlessly reading articles we decided to go through with the surgery. It was a success, and he came home that night.
Now we could move on, and stop spinning. A new chapter awaited us. All the darkness was behind us, and things were good.
Until he would cry, and I would worry why. Or something would look red or irritated and I’d think something was seriously wrong. If he was fussy and
Uncertain and afraid, I began worrying about everything that could go wrong.
I never thought that this experience could have led to
But as the days went on, worrying about his health became a
I feared I couldn’t protect him.
On a cold night in February, I had a very bad panic attack that caused me to run out of my house in a bathrobe, around the block to my Grandma’s house with my baby; because I didn’t feel safe. My sister said, “ I think you have postpartum anxiety”. I didn’t talk to a doctor, try therapy or take any medications. After everything we had been though, a doctor was the last place I wanted to go. So I coped. And I believe this is what is expected of us new moms, is to cope.
But what if what we are coping with isn’t what we
Postpartum anxiety became a label I used to understand and validate my fears, my behaviors, and my inability to function some days. It helped me validate myself, and I hoped it help my husband understand where I was at all these months- and ultimately years.
I did all the things- yoga, meditation, tried every supplement known for anxiety. Things worked a little. But what I needed- was to be ok with it. I needed to accept that this was my experience. I was mad at the hospitals, I was mad that we had to go through this. I replayed all the ways we could have done things differently… I kept trying to make it better. Make it right.
I was stuck. I resisted all the anxiety and avoided situations that would stress me out. The pressure this put on my career and marriage was getting to be too much. So I finally got into therapy.
I can’t say one specific thing healed me, but I know I needed to feel the pain. I needed support and understanding from my husband that so much of this was out of my control. Within a few weeks, I felt the anxiety started to lift. I wasn’t overly anxious in situations that would have previously caused me to panic. I didn’t need to check on him while he was sleeping. I could just be.
Postpartum anxiety took the joy out of the earliest years with my son. I didn’t seek out help early enough so instead it’s wrath overtook our family. And it’s the main reason we have an only child.
We need to get the word out so that future mothers can have a better transition into motherhood. I hope I can help new moms, inspire an understanding of this growing issue for women, and create a change in our system that allows for more education on mental health issues in postpartum to be given to new parents.
If you think you may have any symptoms of postpartum anxiety or depression, please get help as soon as possible. Or if you know someone who just had a baby, share the information out there, check up on them and see if they are acting strange or distant. They may need help.
Some things that helped me are:
Talking to your friends and family about how you are feeling. See how they can help you find some time to go take a yoga
Journal, write and cry. Move the emotions out of your body.
Adaptogens and Supplements. There has been a huge trend in the wellness world on adaptogens as these help your body “adapt” to the
Try therapy and/ or medication. There are so many treatments out there that can help you find solutions to managing with postpartum anxiety.
If you have had postpartum anxiety or depression, Id love to hear from you. Did you get help? How long did it last? Have you found any natural supplements that helped?
Here are some additional resources,