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The Unspoken Truth of Postpartum Anxiety

Let’s get real for a moment and talk about the unspoken side of postpartum. Often times you hear about postpartum depression, but what about postpartum anxiety?

The face of postpartum anxiety. You wouldn’t know it from this picture, but this picture
was taken shortly after I had snapped at my family while on vacation and soon after I realized
I could no longer keep up my happy facade.

I will be the first to say I did not worry about how my postpartum would affect me after birth. You see, if you ask most people who know me, my world is filled with rainbows and unicorns. It always has been and honestly, I like it that way. While I was pregnant with my first, my mom told me the one thing that she hoped my sister and I did not have to deal with was postpartum depression. I’m naturally happy-go-lucky gal, so what did I have to worry about? Ha, the joke was on me! What I didn’t know was PPD wasn’t the only thing that could rear its ugly head. 

After my first child was born I was an emotional hot mess. I mean hot mess express! I went through the first few months crying EVERY single day. I felt so alone.  Of course, I thought this was normal after giving birth. I became terrified of losing anyone around me. I became obsessed with thoughts of myself, family, in-laws, and friends dying. I can’t tell you the number of times my husband had to reassure me he wasn’t planning on dying and everyone else would be okay too!

Then came the anger. I was a madwoman. God bless my husband! I would be lying if I said it didn’t take a toll on our relationship and marriage for a while. I could not understand or explain it, but one minute I was happy and the next I was Cruella de Vil. Crazy eyes and all! Everything and everyone irritated me. I lashed out at my husband, my sweet baby girl, and family members. I had absolutely no patience and it showed. All I had ever wanted was to become a mom and I hated the mom I was becoming. I went to school to work with children and here I was comparing everything that my child did to what a textbook said. Mentally, I was not in a healthy place.

If you know me, you know I’m no hermit crab. I became one, especially after my second child. I wouldn’t call it depression, but for a while, I didn’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything. I just wanted to stay in my own little bubble. If you know anything about anxiety, it sneaks up on you like a thief in the night. Random thoughts hit you out of nowhere and there you are feeling the weight of the world on your chest. I thought it was just easier to stay at home and not have to get two under two and myself ready and out the door. Ultimately, the opposite held true and I needed to get out of the house to brighten my mood. 

I remember after a long and heated discussion, my husband said, “I don’t know what Bailee I’m going to wake up to each day. I miss the woman I married.” I missed her too! I wanted the old me back more than anything! I just didn’t know how to get there or what was going on with me that was keeping me from getting there. After talking with my best friend and husband I sought the professional help I needed. I can now unashamedly tell you that after being diagnosed with PPA and getting on the right treatment plan I finally feel like I’m getting back to my old self. That’s not to say I don’t have my moments, because I certainly do, but they are less frequent. I don't spat off at my husband for no reason and if you'd ask him now, he'd tell you I'm well on my way to being myself again. I enjoy being a mom. I don’t wish away time now, just hoping to make it to bedtime. I savor the time I get to spend with my girls and enjoy the simple little moments with them. I’m not one to vouch for taking a lot of medicines, but I can tell you without a doubt they have made this journey easier. They have helped me to find myself again. I pray a lot and if you find yourself in this same situation, I encourage you to do the same. 

Motherhood gives me the greatest joy and I refuse to let
my anxiety steal that joy from me!

If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, know you are not alone. My doctor reminded me, you have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your precious littles. Check out lovemajka.com for products that can help with your hair loss problems which is a common issue after giving birth.  There are so many support groups and resources available to you. Find someone who will support you and be honest with you to talk to. My best friend of 17 years has been incredibly uplifting and supportive! She has reminded me several times, I was someone before I was a mom, and that person matters. She is the truest definition of a friend and I am so grateful for her!  Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual and you are not alone in this journey. This hasn't been the easiest to share, but if it helps shed light on PPA and helps another momma out, I'm all for it. Don’t be afraid to seek help and remember you are not alone.

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