With a new baby in the house some worries are expected. Especially if it is our first born. But what if worries are persistent and with little base ground? Probably you already heart about postpartum depression, but what about postpartum anxiety? According to Germany University of Heidelberg, 11% of mothers developed postpartum anxiety, while 6% developed postpartum depression. Overall this affects 1 out of every 7 women. Unfortunately, postpartum anxiety and depression often occurs together. Read personal story about that HERE.
What are the symptoms that shouldn’t be overlooked?
If you had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks or longer you might have postpartum anxiety. Anxiety can also appear during the pregnancy.
• Having trouble quieting your mind. You are worrying all the time. You feel like something horrible will happen.
• You are unable to relax. You feel tense and on edge. You feel that you have to do something all the time.
• Disturbing thoughts which can vary from “harming your baby” to “not being a fit mother”.
• Physical symptoms like stomach cramps, headaches, shakiness, nausea, panic attacks.
• Disturbances of sleep and/or appetite.
• Feeling that something is off with you.
Seeking help is important
In the culture where motherhood is represented as something joyful it is hart to seek help when you are experiencing postpartum anxiety (or depression or obsessive compulsive disorder). Never the less, you are not alone.
It is very important to seek help sooner than later even with mild symptoms of postpartum anxiety. Left untreated, can interfere with your ability to bond with your child. Many moms find it helpful to talk to psychotherapist. It is important to have someone who acknowledge your panic, gives you support and strategies to deal with anxiety. Use of medication is also possible, even if you are nursing. This is determine on a case-by-case basis.
Could I predict it?
Knowledge about postpartum anxiety can help to catch the disorder in early stages which make treatment easier. If you have family member with (postpartum) anxiety or previous history of anxiety you have greater possibility to develop postpartum anxiety.
But that can happen to every mother, no matter the history. There might be a physiological explanations for mood disorders during and after birth. During that time our body goes through drastic hormonal changes. Which makes pregnancy a particularly vulnerable time for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
You are not alone! Encouraging video from other moms