First let me preface this article by saying that you are a good mom. If you suffer from anxiety or depression you’re a good mom. If you don’t suffer from anxiety or depression you’re a good mom. If you take medicine for your anxiety or depression you’re a good mom. If you manage your depression with yoga and diet you are a good mom. The biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we are not good moms and we are alone. Not true. Let’s say it one more time YOU ARE A GOOD MOM! And you are not alone. Most moms whether they admit it or not have had moments of feeling the baby blues or worrying about strange things after they become a mom.
So let’s talk a little bit about what is normal mama anxiety and “baby blues” and what is postpartum depression or an anxiety disorder. (disclaimer: I am not a psychiatrist so please talk to one if you have any concerns).
You experience sad feelings, irritability and anxiety that comes and goes and just lasts for about a week or so after your baby is born- NORMAL
You continue to feel worthless, alone, desperate, sad, frightened or extremely anxious to the point that you are not able eat/sleep and/or take care of your baby- NOT NORMAL.
Worrying that your little one is sick, too hot, too cold, too something, not enough of something else…and then these worries pass and you’re able to spend time with friends or take a nap or put the worries aside – NORMAL
Worrying so much about different things that you feel paralyzed and sick with worry for days- NOT NORMAL.
Worrying that your baby isn’t getting enough to eat and then consulting with pediatrician to ease your fears and then being able to stop worrying- NORMAL.
Worrying that your baby will stop breathing- NORMAL.
Staying awake all night staring at the monitor to make sure baby is breathing- NOT NORMAL.
Feeling irritable and anxious all morning and feeling better after lunch and talking with a friend- NORMAL.
Feeling irritable and anxious for days and not feeling able to eat or distract yourself from worrying- NOT NORMAL.
Feeling weepy, emotional, and having mood swings in the first week after giving birth – NORMAL.
Not being able to stop crying, not being able to get out of bed, feeling that your family would be better off without you- NOT NORMAL.
These are just a few examples. Depression and anxiety can feel different for everyone. For me, depression feels a lot like the “upside down” in Stranger Things. It’s a darker, colder world and there are monsters lurking around every corner. Anxiety feels like my body and mind are stuck in a vice and I’m paralyzed. I can’t make any decisions. Go with your gut, if you are not feeling like yourself reach out for help.
Some places to start:
Your OB! They can often recommend a therapist and/or psychiatrist.
Your insurance! They often list therapists and psychiatrists that are covered under your plan.
RESOLVE CRISIS NETWORK! Is always available if you feel you or a loved one is in immediate danger. This is their number: (888) 796-8226
Take care of yourselves mamas ! And you are NOT alone!