My Struggle with Postpartum Anxiety
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.
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.