Postpartum depression, anxiety, and panic are REAL! There is also a difference between having the baby blues and experiencing anger, panic, confusion, desperation, and the hopelessness you may feel when you have postpartum depression and anxiety.
After my second child was born, I had severe postpartum bleeding. I lost a huge amount of blood after delivery, including a clot nearly the size of a football. This event was very scary, but I was fortunately still at the hospital and the medical team was able to stop the bleeding. However, the feeling of panic and anxiety associated with the event never went away. I was worried from that point forward about why the postpartum bleeding had happened, especially because there was no guarantee it couldn’t happen again. As I thought about how things could have turned out differently, I didn’t know if I should ever have any more kids.
Eventually, I became pregnant with my third child, and I was terrified because of the trauma both my husband and I had experienced. I was not emotionally equipped to handle the anxiety I would experience throughout the process. My relationship with God helped me immensely, as the only peace I had was knowing He was there for me. Having this feeling of dread hanging over my head the whole pregnancy made the entire experience overwhelming to me and my husband.
Luckily, my baby was delivered safely and without complications. However, the anxiety, fear, depression, and feelings of helplessness were so real. It was hard to express them to others because I didn’t feel like they would understand (or, I was afraid they would think I was overreacting). Instead, I frequently poured my heart out in prayers. People are more understanding than they used to be about postpartum mood problems, but many people go without help. We all need to create more options and opportunity for those who are suffering.