I had postpartum anxiety about 5 weeks after my first baby was born. I had butterflies in my stomach all the time that made me feel sick, and my throat was so constricted I almost couldn’t swallow. My heart would race, my palms would be sticky, and I couldn’t sleep. Rooms seemed to be spinning, and I would pace around the house in tears. It was horrible.
However, this experience was so much more than an emotion. Postpartum anxiety and depression is a physical illness connected to fluctuating hormones, and it is treatable. No mother should ever have to feel ashamed or broken for feeling this way, and no mother should have to suffer quietly. Telling someone about what you are going through doesn’t mean you’re a threat to your baby or even yourself; you just need someone to help you.
The medication I was prescribed was amazing for me, almost like a miracle. I even was able to continue breastfeeding my baby. With my second pregnancy, I did counseling before the baby was born and had a plan in place. I also was seen by a wonderful OB/GYN who specialized in psychiatric care.
Throughout this experience, I was grateful for the support of friends and family. They didn’t minimize what I was experiencing or try to blame it on hormones or a lack of inner strength. Prayers and personal courage helped, but so did doctors, nurses, and medicine. To any mother out there reading this, I want you to know it’s going to be ok. Because of the help I received, my kids are healthy and happy, and so am I.