What is Postpartum Anxiety?
Wait, you had Postpartum Depression with your first pregnancy, and now you feel really off after your second. Your baby was born, he is healthy, your first child is healthy, so why do you feel so anxious all of a sudden?
This is something doctors refer to as Postpartum Anxiety. Much like postpartum depression, it is very bad anxiety for mothers that have just given birth. Will you be able to take good care of your baby? What will happen to your firstborn? Will you give him the attention he needs? How do you split your time between two kids? Will the new baby get hurt? Will he love you or abandon you when he grows up?
You are not alone. Many mothers worry about their newborns, but to what extent? Are you constantly worrying about your child, very irritable, and cannot focus on anything? Then you may have Postpartum Anxiety.
After my first son was born, my anxiety skyrocketed. I usually have anxiety issues, but after his birth, I was all over the place. I figured it was because AJ ended up in NICU and I was worried about whether or not he would overcome his SVT (rapid heartbeat). 2 weeks later and AJ was fine, out of the hospital and on medication that made his SVT under control.
But did my anxiety go away? No, it only got worse. Since I felt my anxiety was too extreme, even for me, I went to see a psychiatrist after AJ got out of the hospital. He told me I was suffering from Postpartum Anxiety, a condition that affects 10% of new mothers. I could not believe it. I expected Postpartum Depression, but anxiety? I did not even know that existed in relation to pregnancy.
- Changes in eating or sleeping.
- Hot flashes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Inability to focus
So what did I do once I was diagnosed? I sought treatment right away. I needed to be there for my son, so of course, there was no other option for me.
- Group support
- Anxiety medications
If left untreated, Postpartum Anxiety can last well past your child’s 1st year birthday. In fact, in some cases, women go on to having anxiety disorders such as GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and other related anxiety disorders.
I, of course, got the whole slew of treatment options. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medications were the options I went with. I ended up trying a few different anxiety medications (and by few I mean a lot) before I found Buspar, which along with my Lexapro seemed to help with my anxiety.
And because I could not nurse AJ, due to him being tongue-tied, I ended up taking magnesium supplements as well, that I happen to still take to this day. This concoction helps my anxiety greatly, back then and even now. However just because that works for me, does not mean it will work for you.
Everybody’s body is different, which means medications that work for me may not work for you and vice versa. See your OBGYN today and they will refer you to a psychiatrist that can help you weigh the treatment options. Get the help you need, for you, and for your baby.
More Information: SAMHSA’s National Helpline