Since May is Maternal Health Awareness Month I thought I would write about my postpartum experiences.
The symptoms of postpartum depression are fairly well known: A feeling of not bonding to your baby, wondering whether your baby would be better off without you, and crying for no reason.
This was not my experience and I think mine is something you still don’t hear enough about. I worried about everything. If my baby’s pediatrician appointment was a week from now I worried about how I was going to make it there. I’d wake up in the morning with my heart racing and my first thoughts were “What’s for dinner?” or “How am I going to handle dinner?” I had twelve bottles for my baby and I washed them constantly, scared to death I would run out of clean bottles.
When I had my sixth week check-up, the nurse screened me for postpartum depression, but I wasn’t depressed, I just kept thinking these thoughts.
I saw my family doctor who chalked it up to being a new mother. I went back to my life with my son with these racing thoughts that bordered on torturous.
Eventually I alone decided that this WAS NOT the product of being a new mother and I sought help from a therapist.
I learned that besides postpartum depression a woman could also develop postpartum anxiety or even postpartum OCD. According to Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz, “We call postpartum anxiety the hidden disorder because so few moms recognize it and it often goes undiagnosed.” In fact, postpartum anxiety is more common than postpartum depression and the two can often overlap.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of postpartum anxiety, depression or OCD, and need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call the Postpartum Support International Warmline (English & Spanish) at 1-800-944-4PPD (4773),
or email PSI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postpartum disorders are treatable but sometimes it takes a mother alone to recognize that she needs help.
This is a blog hop! To see other posts about maternal mental health, click here.