My Postpartum Struggle

Woman with face in her hands

We’ve all heard of postpartum depression but have you heard of postpartum anxiety? Well, until my daughter turned two, I hadn’t. I had post-partum anxiety, and I didn’t know it. It started when I was pregnant. I worried about horrible things happening to my baby. What if somebody kidnaps her? Hurts her? It’s my job to protect her so I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do that. When my daughter was born, those thoughts lessened, a lot. So, I didn’t think much of it. I still worried but the anxiety changed. I couldn’t relax. I had to keep myself busy or else I felt anxious. I lost 50 lbs due to the loss of appetite. My head was in the clouds. I blamed this on the fact that I couldn’t get anything done because K was such a high needs baby and that I just needed to catch up. I couldn’t sit down; I had to be doing something productive at all times.

Over time, the thoughts decreased, and I started to relax a little. Then, one day I stumbled upon an article about postpartum anxiety. I read it, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. This was me! I was happy that there was a name for what I felt but saddened that it took two years to find out what it was. Nobody talks about this. When I was in the hospital after giving birth, I was given a package of information, and one of the sheets provided was for a post-partum adjustment group for women with postpartum depression. No mention of anxiety. Postpartum anxiety can lead to depression, so it’s something that needs to be taken seriously. I don’t want other women to go through this.

When I was pregnant, I was too scared to talk to anyone about my anxiety because of the anxiety itself. I was afraid my baby would be taken away once she was born. Which I now realize was silly but that fear is a part of it, and it’s common. According to Postpartum Support International, symptoms of postpartum anxiety include constant worry, feeling that something bad is going to happen, racing thoughts, disturbances of sleep and appetite, inability to sit still and even physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea.

So please, if you have these feelings, you have to tell your doctor. There’s no shame in asking for help. Medication and therapy can do wonders if that’s what you and your doctor decide is right for you. You don’t want to look back in a few years time and regret the time you feel like you lost with your baby as I do.

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