Only a handful of people know this but I experienced (suffered sounds like a terrible word) post partum anxiety – a pesky little brother of PPD. I was not depressed and was actually incredibly happy but I was an emotional basket case, anxious all the time, crying for no reason, just hormones out the wazoo after James was born.
I felt a little bit like a walking cliché. In 2015 we moved back “home”, got pregnant (not easily but still) then in 2016 we had a baby and bought house….one big happy perfect family! So, in an effort of full disclosure I am truly SO, SO happy and I’m kind of in awe that everything is falling into place. I absolutely love my little family, our beautiful house and the life we live. However I will admit that it has not been easy. I am thankful for an amazing supportive husband, a family that will do just about anything to help us out and a wonderful community that has kept me sane.
Admitting to myself that my hormones were all out of whack and calling my Obgyn was one of the hardest things i’ve ever done. Realizing that you have anything in the PPD spectrum is hard, they label you as having a “mental health disorder” and although it is nothing to be ashamed of it and it quite common, it feels super shitty. James is a great baby but since he started small, he came with a bit more stress than the usual amount of newborn stress. Add in the pressures of house hunting and starting back to work and all the logistics of keeping a small human alive (pumping, bottle feeding (read: force feeding), endless dishes, dr appointments, etc), it all took a toll. I finally went to my doctor and talk to her about postpartum ‘whatever you want to call it’. I don’t want to call it depression because I was/am truly happy and I love my baby and I love my life. I’m calling it postpartum anxiety and it felt out-of-control. I could feel my blood pressure rising at the littlest thing (a very strange feeling), I would cry at the drop of a hat and I was just uncomfortable in my own body. I didn’t feel like I had control of my emotions and I felt like hormones were flooding my body. I made the decision that I needed to take something to help control my anxiety. I have never had any trouble with anxiety before and I knew it had to be associated with post partum hormones and big life changes. Since I strive to be fairly transparent and authentic I didn’t want all my pictures of my beautiful baby to cloud everyone’s perception of my beautiful life. Nobody’s perfect and I certainly am not. I say this because going and talking to my doctor was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Admitting that you are somewhat mentally unstable is not easy to do as an adult. I was reassured that everything was completely normal and that this is actually a lot more common. Similar to miscarriage and infertility nobody likes to talk about it – it’s taboo. Nobody wants to advertise “this my adorable perfect family….oh with a side of Prozac”. The hormones associated with breast-feeding and raising a child and loving something so unconditionally totally caught off guard. You feel powerful and powerless at the same time. It took me a while to be able to talk about it (seriously, this post has been in my drafts for like 3 months) but I’m happy to share my story if you can help others out. Because damn, raising a child is one the most exciting, terrifying and humbling experiences of my entire life (thus far).
*I am happy to report that after ~3 months of “treatment” I am feeling much better and feel like my old self again 🙂 🙂 🙂