I thought what I was feeling was normal.
Going from having one child to having two was a challenge for any mom, right?
And not having the desire to get dressed or do my hair was typical for a new mom.
I had a tough pregnancy that included a hyperemesis gravidarum diagnosis and anemia. There were a few complications during my scheduled c-section that led to a hard recovery. I didn’t expect my son to be such a different baby than my daughter was, and there was a learning curve as I learned to mother a baby who needed a lot of attention.
Oh, and I got mastitis.
The feeling of being overwhelmed all of the time, not being able to sleep even though I was exhausted, and not ever being able to do or be enough was surely something that all moms felt, right?
According to my doctor, wrong.
After nearly a year of trying to find my footing with a new baby, I finally talked to my doctor about it a couple of weeks ago. After talking and a short assessment, she diagnosed me with postpartum anxiety.
I was relieved. Finally I had an answer for what was wrong with me.
Postpartum anxiety doesn’t always come with tears.
Whenever I thought about postpartum anxiety or depression, I pictured sadness and despair. I’ve had friends who championed through it and there were times when they were puddles of tears. That isn’t what it’s been like for me.
I’m not alone.
I’m not sad.
So what’s the problem?
I never really felt depressed during this postpartum period, just…off. Like, I couldn’t quite pull things together to do everything that I needed to do. There were times when I would hide in the house wearing the same clothes for days at a time because picking out something else took too much energy. My hair was a mess because lifting a brush seemed like the hardest thing ever. Even though I had intentions of cooking for my family every night, I ended up ordering delivery more often than not.
It could be that my hormones are out of whack and the mild anti-depressant that my doctor prescribed will help me find my center again. Perhaps talking to a therapist will help me organize my thoughts and give me more peace. It might be that as my son gets to be more independent, I’ll come back to myself and feel less overwhelmed.
All I know is I’m grateful to my doctor for hearing me when I shared with her what I was going through, and for not brushing off my concern that I wasn’t feeling like myself.
It’s important to take care of myself.
My husband, daughter, and in-laws have all pitched in to keep my house running. My husband is cooking and grocery shopping more than ever, and my daughter changes diapers and is always looking for ways to help. Whenever I need to, I can hang out at my in-laws’ house and they’ll watch my son while I catch a quick nap or do a little work.
I don’t know for sure where this anxiety stems from or why I have it. I know it’s important to take care of myself so I can take care of my baby. The first step was talking to my doctor and getting diagnosed. The next steps are asking for more help, and showing myself grace.
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Copyright or Author: Brandi Riley
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