Dear Anxious Mom

No morning sickness, no depression—just a racing heart and churning stomach? Feeling completely on edge and overwhelmed for absolutely no reason? If those first few days or even years of motherhood aren’t dreamy and glamorous like you anticipated because you are clinching with nerves, don’t worry you are not alone. Postpartum anxiety is real.

Background story--ready, set, go. I have always been a bit of a worrier but not to the point where I felt it was an issue. I was fine my entire pregnancy but after I had Hutton, BOOM, I felt an instant change within me. I would lightly bring up my worries about my anxious feelings in conversation to people and it always got brushed off as “welcome to motherhood, you will worry the rest of your life”. I would leave every conversation feeling defeated, feeling like maybe this is the new normal and I am going to feel this pit in my stomach forever. I didn’t sleep a wink the first week we were home with Hutton, Trey finally called my mom at one point because I had a complete emotional breakdown but had no idea what was wrong. Bizarre, I know but it’s the truth. I felt so just devastated and sad but had no clue why. My mom came over and I explained to her that I felt like I was going crazy and ultimately we blamed it on lack of sleep and not leaning on anyone for help, I was trying to be supermom to early in the game! After finally getting some rest I was for sure thinking my symptoms would subside. I was wrong. Every day it was like a constant struggle to do anything because I was terrified something bad would happen whether it be to Hutton, my husband, or even family and friends. My gut was constantly in a knot. Was I nursing Hutton enough? Was he developing normal? Was I being a good mom? A good wife? I didn’t want anyone to help with Hutton because no one would do things exactly how I did them. I refused to even let my in-laws keep him because I was so scared of letting go. One night Trey finally convinced me to send Hutton to his parents house for the night, I cried the entire time I was getting ready and after we left him I cried the whole way to dinner. I was never concerned for Hutton’s safety due to lack of effort on my in-laws part it was just a gut wrenching fear that he would need me and I wouldn’t be there. It sounds silly to people who have never felt this type of anxiety but I promise it is so real! I continued fighting these emotions and telling myself I would get passed it the older he got. Little did I know it would continue to get worse.

Fast forward 11 months, Trey and I got married and went on a 14 night Honeymoon trip to the Greek Isles. What a trip!! We had a blast but boy talk about anxiety…. I was a ball of nerves! We facetimed with Hutton everyday and I emailed with my mom constantly but it didn’t help me feel any less nervous that if something happened to him I was across the world. Or if something happened to us, would he be okay? Who thinks these morbid awful thoughts? I do! So towards the end of the trip I had a full blown anxiety attack. When you literally can’t breath and feel like you are about to die, you will do anything to make it stop. I never felt depressed or disconnected from Hutton so I knew it wasn’t postpartum depression but I knew the amount of nerves I was feeling wasn’t right and was taking over my life. I wanted to understand what I was feeling and be able to put a label on it for my husband to understand exactly why I was feeling the way I was, but I couldn’t so that added to the frustration.  I was done feeling restless, moody, and weepy. I couldn’t take experiencing rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, or insomnia, I was officially at my wits end with all of it. I went to the doctor immediately when we got home and was prescribed to anxiety medication for when I felt this overwhelming panic feeling. It has changed my life. If you think I am sensitive Sally and need to pull myself up by the boot straps and get over it then that is totally fine, you have obviously never felt true anxiety before, and I sincerely hope you never do. I have learned breathing techniques and ways to calm myself down internally without medication and am proud to say I haven’t taken a pill in months. 

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” What a powerful quote. You can’t control everything, when the anxiety begins to take over do not be ashamed, ask for the help! Your little ones are only little once, don’t let anxiety or depression steal the joys of everyday. Anxiety is a natural response to protect your baby but it can be over the top and become mental noise crowding your mind. There is a HUGE hormonal shift during pregnancy and post pregnancy people do not fully understand the crash your hormones take during the 24 hours after labor. Add to that the sleep deprivation, adjusting to your new relationship, new responsibilities, and society’s expectation that this should be the happiest time of your life regardless of anything else. No wonder so many mamas come unplugged! It is tough going through all of these changes and having no idea what’s really going on.


Mamas, I am here to tell you, you are not alone. Feeling anxious is totally normal and do not be ashamed to admit your feelings. So much can happen post partum and it is crucial to your relationship with your child that you seek help to understand what you are feeling. I personally never felt a divide between Hutton and I but I do believe that I was so worried about him that I didn’t enjoy him being tiny as much because I was paranoid the entire time trying to do everything perfectly. Anxiety is something I will deal with forever and I know that, I am at peace with that because I am very aware of what sets me off and can control it better now. If you are going through something similar talk to your ob-gyn, your husband, friend etc. Talking it out with someone aloud helps bring so much awareness to you personally that you may not even need medication you may just need to understand where those feelings are coming from. You are not crazy. You are not weak. You are not a bad mom. You are not alone.

Chatt Later,
Mallory


2 comments :

  1. It is so real! I didn't realize that postpartum anxiety existed until a friend told me about a podcast from Stuff Mom Never Told You. I was glad to know that what I was going through was something that other moms went through, and that it had an explanation.
    Thank you for sharing your story!
    Awareness is important on issues like this. <3

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    1. Yes I think its important to bring these issues to the fore front and bring awareness to other women.

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