Tag Archives: postpartum anxiety

Mama, Are You Guilty?

Grace
[greys]
noun
1. Favor or goodwill.
2. Mercy, clemency, pardon.

 

Mom Guilt.

It’s real. I said it.

It’s getting worse as the years go by and there are parenting rules for every.little.thing.

“Back to Sleep”
“Breast is Best”
“Rear Facing 4Evar”
“No peanuts before 1”
Then the next month:
“Give’em all the peanuts!” (not really, just read the AAP’s guidelines)”

Ladies, I can tell you as someone who wasn’t able to breastfeed my twins, but pumped for 6 months and tried desperately that whole time to breastfeed… I am the self-appointed Queen of Mom Guilt. I pumped enough for 1.5 babies and had to supplement with formula. 6 months was my goal for pumping and then I stopped.

I honestly wished I had stopped sooner because pumping 24/7 plus trying to breastfeed left me with no sleep, lots of guilt and really bad postpartum depression and anxiety.

At six months we slowly transitioned to formula, and our boys did just fine. Of course it wasn’t what I would have ever wanted in the beginning. I still wish I had been able to breastfeed both of them (as does our bank account). But 2 years has given me some perspective.

You HAVE to give yourself a break from the guilt. I know right in that moment it is hard to imagine anything but doing everything physically possible to feed them exactly how nature intended. It is okay for them to crab a little in their bouncy seat so you can take a 5 minute shower. Bring them in the bathroom with you, sing and talk to them. Sleep training is not going to harm your child. They will not grow up to be an axe murderer who hates their mom. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN GOSH DARN BABY FOOD.

I had all the guilt.

 

I wish I had given myself a little more grace. I think we all do the best we can and we get so much pressure on us to do everything perfectly. Follow all the new ‘we know better now’ rules.

But there is going to come a day when it isn’t going to REALLY matter, just as long as they’re fed and growing, happy and healthy. We know that you are doing the best you can, and THAT is enough.

My boys are happy and healthy at almost 2 1/2. I’m a recovering mess, though. Not enough sleep for too long, anxiety and depression have made it harder to be a mom and just be me.

Save a little bit of time, care, and love for yourself. Give yourself some grace. Do something about your ppd now. Don’t wait. Talk to your doctor. See a psychiatrist and/or psychologist.

——>Self-care<—— OMG guys. SO important. More than just grabbing a shower. Get a babysitter. Go get coffee or a smoothie with a friend you probably haven’t seen in forever. Don’t feel guilty while you do it. Scratch that. It’ll take awhile before you won’t feel guilty, but the earlier you start, the easier it will get. Go to the gym. Go for a walk. Listen to music YOU enjoy, instead of being me and listening to the “Baby Lullabye” station on Pandora all day long. For a year.

I look back at me as a mama 2 years ago and my heart breaks for her. I was so anxious and sad and desperate to be the best mother I could. I wish I could give her a hug and tell her this: it’s going to be alright. You’re going to make it through this. Please love yourself and care about you, too. Because you matter. Yes, your children are important, but you matter just as much. One day your children will be growing and happy and healthy, and you are going to look in the mirror and wonder what the heck happened. Learn your lesson a little earlier than I did, love.

Kindness. Love. Grace. Just for you. Mama, you are important.

My Journey with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

I had dealt with depressionpostpartum depression anxiety off and on throughout my life, but never like I have during this postpartum time.

Once I found out I was pregnant in August of 2014, I went off the antidepressant I was taking on the advice of my obgyn. We then found out we were having twins at our 12 week ultrasound! I had a few times where I felt down during my pregnancy, but felt it was best to just deal with it and I didn’t feel it was severe enough to go back on medication.

I had a healthy twin pregnancy and was induced at 38 weeks (which is considered full-term for twins) giving birth to two healthy baby boys. Little did I know how hormones and sleep deprivation were going to affect me in the months to come.

After stopping pumping/breastfeeding at the 6 month mark, I started feeling a TON of anxiety. Constant, niggling anxiety which just ballooned and made it hard to function. I felt depressed too, but the postpartum anxiety covered up my depression because it was so overwhelming. On the outside it showed up as anxiety (of course), irritability, lots of crying, physically being fidgety and tense and constantly telling those close to me how inadequate I felt.

If anyone knew the war that was being waged in my brain, they would have been amazed, because what was going on there was a million times worse than what was being shown on the outside. I felt like I was barely holding things together, and that any moment I was going to crack or explode and everything would just fall apart.

At the same time I was staying home mostly full-time with my twins and I continued to feel worse and worse. I was back on an anti-depressant, but it didn’t seem to be helping like it had in the past.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. At about 11 months postpartum,postpartum depression anxiety I saw a psychiatrist who was able to pinpoint what was going on. We started dealing with the anxiety first, and then uncovered the depression that had been going on all along. In my case they walked hand in hand and aggravated each other. The anxiety and depression I have dealt with since then has been so much worse than anything I have dealt with in the past.

15 months (today!) after delivering my twins I finally feel like I am on the slow road towards resolving some of my issues. I am so glad I am working with the physician I am, because it has been invaluable to find someone knowledgeable and caring, who gives me hope that I will feel ‘better’ one day.

I do feel like I fell through the cracks a bit… My OB’s office and my sons’ pediatrician’s office had me fill out surveys on PPD for the first six months, but not after that. Since I stopped pumping/breastfeeding after that point and my hormones REALLY started changing then, my more severe issues didn’t start until that point. I never felt like hurting my children or some of the other symptoms of PPD, but I did feel severely depressed and anxious. And just the other day I was reading that postpartum anxiety might be more prevalent than depression…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/postpartum-anxiety-might-be-even-more-common-than-ppd_us_57742e48e4b0cc0fa13661c0?

If I could say something to postpartum women experiencing any depression or anxiety: if you are feeling depressed or anxious, you don’t HAVE to feel this way. There are people who are willing to help you, and you are not alone. It is not ‘normal’ and you can be happy again. It may take a little bit to get things going, so don’t wait as long as I did to get help. Reach out to your primary care physician, your ob, or a psychiatrist. Don’t be afraid to tell that person how you are really feeling. Hormones and chemicals in your body do crazy things. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You will enjoy your baby. You will enjoy your life. You can be happy.

You will smile again.