My Struggle With Post Partum Anxiety, and what I’m doing differently this time around.
I love everything about being a new mom. From the baby snuggles to breastfeeding to all the cute clothes. There’s so much newness and joy to embrace. And even with all that love and happiness, I still struggle.
I have a family history of anxiety and depression, and though I don’t often talk about it, I thought it was important to share my experience with postpartum anxiety since today is World Mental Health Day.
For many expectant and new moms, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders are a reality. In fact, maternal mental illnesses, impacts nearly 20% of pregnant and postpartum women. And in my case, I didn’t realize what it was that I was going through until much later.
Going back, I’ve always wanted three kids but it was the transition from one child to two that I found incredibly difficult. With one, I could handle her needs and then deal with my own. But when we brought home a new baby, suddenly there was no time for me and often it felt like an impossible balance between my two girls. It was one of the most difficult times in my life, but on the outside you’d never have known.
Looking back on it now, I can say I definitely struggled with postpartum anxiety through that time, but didn’t know enough to talk about it, or to even really recognize my symptoms. Like lying awake worrying about things that could happen to my baby or my family, feeling completely and utterly out of control and feeling on edge all the time.
The reason I didn’t share with anyone isn’t because I was ashamed but because I didn’t see it or understand it myself. Because at the time I chalked it up to just being hormonal and exhausted. I was used to saying I was fine without actually stopping to think about how I was really feeling. And as a second time mom, I didn’t think it was something that would affect me.
But as I look back now, I realize that I should have reached out for help. I should have spoken to someone about how I was feeling. At the time I lived in Stouffville, part of York Region, which offers a number of supports to soon-to-be and new parents like:
- Transition to Parenting – a 12 week course for moms with babies up to 12 months and pregnant women who are experiencing mood changes
- Health Connection – provides up-to-date, accurate public health-related information to York Region residents
- eChat – offers expectant and new parents the ability to ask a registered nurse health questions confidentially and anonymously through online chat
- YorkParent – a free monthly newsletter full of helpful tips and resources
So whether you’re new to parenthood or not, it’s important to realize that each pregnancy and child is a whole new ballgame …and so is how you’re going to feel. This time around, I’m making sure I’m more aware of how I’m really feeling, and am ready to ask for help, when and if I need it.
This post was sponsored by The Regional Municipality of York (York Region)