Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Postpartum anxiety

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Hi, My name is Carrie, and I have experienced postpartum anxiety. It took me 4 months to figure out what was really going on. I thought it was asthma. I thought it was allergies. But I kept pursuing it, and finally found out that my panic attacks were just that. Panic attacks.

The reason I feel lead to write about this is that from what I've read, this is something that is under-reported, and often lumped in with postpartum depression. I know when someone mentioned that maybe I was experiencing some ppd, I thought 'but I'm not depressed... I feel fine. Except for the shortness of breath, the nausea and vomiting, the tight-chest, the tingling hands and feet, the cold face.' Let's not forget the nearly constant concern over what would happen if I was alone when I had an attack, or how I would take care of the baby, or would I have to go to the hospital, or what if I was driving, or in public, or in a strange place...

What I've come to find is that post-partum anxiety fits into the continuum of post-partum disorders. People talk about the sadness and the "blues" but this just doesn't get covered. I haven't done thorough research, but I know what I've experienced. Did it ruin my life? no. Did I need to be medicated for it? no. But I did need to know was what was going on, and what I could do about it. Honestly, it was as simple (for me) as talking about it to people I trusted and who were supportive, resting more, making sure to take my vitamins and to eat well, and to start getting some exercise. I haven't had an attack since early June, and but I still occasionally struggle with nagging worries about if/when there will be another attack.

While it is completely normal to experience some kind of postpartum reaction, sometimes it's nice to know what really is going on.

What is frustrating, though, is that as common as this is, it's not something anyone really talked to me about before hand. It was only after I started asking my friends and family that people spoke up and said, yeah, that happened to me, too.

To all the moms out there who have anxiety, God Bless you.


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