Mental Health, Motherhood, Parenting

My Struggle with Postpartum Anxiety

postpartum anxiety and depression
Hello, I’m Healing Mama and I’ve struggled with postpartum anxiety.  I’m not ashamed to openly admit it.  I’m sharing my story in hopes it will help someone else.
After Bumble Bee was born, my anxiety wasted no time settling in.  I would constantly worry about EVERYTHING!  I slept on the couch, with him in his bassinet for month because I was afraid something terrible was going to happen to him.  After a month we finally moved to our bedroom.
When my husband would travel I would have horrible panic attacks.  My heart would race and my mind would create all of these crazy scenario’s that might happen on his trip.  It started to get really bad.
I was overly protective of my children.  Or when they got sick I always thought of the worse case scenario.
These are just a few symptoms of my postpartum anxiety.
www.postpartumprogess.com describes postpartum anxiety as:
Postpartum Anxiety & OCD
You may have postpartum anxiety or postpartum OCD if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:
-Your thoughts are racing. You can’t quiet your mind. You can’t settle down. You can’t relax.
 
-You feel like you have to be doing something at all times. Cleaning bottles. Cleaning baby clothes. -Cleaning the house. Doing work. Entertaining the baby. Checking on the baby.
 
-You are worried. Really worried.  All. The. Time.  Am I doing this right?  Will my husband come home from his trip?  Will the baby wake up? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with my baby that I’m missing? No matter what anyone says to reassure you it doesn’t help.
 
-You may be having disturbing thoughts.  Thoughts that you’ve never had before.  Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were.  They fly into your head unwanted and you know they aren’t right, that this isn’t the real you, but they terrify you and they won’t go away.  These thoughts may start with the words “What if …”
 
-You are afraid to be alone with your baby because of scary thoughts or worries.  You are also afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm, like kitchen knives or stairs, and you avoid them like the plague.
 
-You may feel the need to check things constantly. Did I lock the door?  Did I lock the car? Did I turn off the oven? Is the baby breathing?
 
-You may be having physical symptoms like stomach cramps or headaches, shakiness or nausea.  —-
 
-You might even have panic attacks.
 
-You feel like a captive animal, pacing back and forth in a cage. Restless.  On edge.
 
-You can’t eat.  You have no appetite.
 
-You’re having trouble sleeping.  You are so, so tired, but you can’t sleep.
 
-You feel a sense of dread, like something terrible is going to happen.
 
-You know something is wrong.  You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy”.
 
-You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
 
-You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you.  Or that your baby will be taken away.
 
postpartum anxiety and depression
 
After dealing with this for about 4-5 months postpartum I decided to take action.  My quality of life was suffering and I was tired of it. Here are a few steps I took to help me get back on track. However, I do suggest seeing a professional first. I just decided to see if I could make some changes before I sought professional help.
1. Cut caffeine.   Caffeine seemed to be the main culprit in my postpartum anxiety.  Since I was a new mom and tired all of the time, I consumed a lot of coffee.  After a cup or two, my anxiety would sky rocket!
2. I cut dairy.  For some weird reason when I ate dairy I would have an anxiety flare up.  I googled it and there seems to be a connection with dairy and anxiety.  Dairy also caused trouble in other areas of my life click here to find out.
3. Time alone.  At the time I was trying to be super mom, and every time I got into supermom mode    I would crash.  I thought I could do everything, and be everything without getting anything in return.  Eventually, I asked my husband to take the kids while I went to Mom’s Night Out.
5. Vitamins.  I also had to make sure I was getting enough of the right nutrients.  So I made sure to take a multivitamin and an omega-3 fish tablet everyday.
4. Staying Connected to God.  Prayer was a big source of my healing during this time.  I could tell God everything that was holding me down.  I usually wrote my prayers in my journal.  I would tell God all of my worries and troubles.  This help tremendously.
When I started doing these things I did notice a change in my anxiety level.  I manage it now with watching what I eat.  I still keep my caffeine and diary consumption to a minimum.  I also make sure I get up early before the children to have quiet prayer time, and time for myself.
-Love,
Healing Mama

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21 thoughts on “My Struggle with Postpartum Anxiety

  1. Thank you for stopping by to hop. Lol it is slow going, but the first few hops usually are;0) This post is great. Anxiety is very real and very debilitating. We need more posts like this. More awareness and support! Good luck. Seems like you are on the right track! Have a wonderful day!

  2. I Love this post. I suffered with Postpartum anxiety with my first. He cried so much and I was only 18 years old. It was very hard. I think what helps the most is to ask family members to help. Telling your spouse how you are feeling is super important. Thanks for sharing Healing mama. So many mammas feel this. It is normal.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I live with severe anxiety and panic disorder, and unfortunately it's something a lot of people don't understand because it's a mental illness that's all mental and can be triggered by anything. And it's something much more common in new moms than you'd expect. I just really appreciate that you brought this up because not many people are aware of what anxiety can do to a person: it's not just being stressed. So thank you!
    http://www.theradwife.com

  4. Hello HGA! Yes, asking for help makes a big difference. As mom we feel like we have to carry the world on our shoulders and that's not the case. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  5. Hello Morgan! Yes, I complete agree the triggers are the worst. When I tell certain family members I struggle with anxiety they look at my weird. Also, people don't understand it's an ongoing struggle. I wouldn't wish anxiety on anyone. You are so right it's not just stress. I also have to watch for certain triggers. I starting to learn what my triggers are (besides what I've listed above).

    Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story with us! I'm so happy we are all spreading awareness of anxiety.

  6. I'm also cutting down my coffee. I adore it, but all that acid and caffeine in my body was not doing me any good.
    I'm glad to see that you found healing without invasive treatments.
    I'm not a mother, but I can imagine how difficult it must be.
    Have a beautiful day!

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