As a young adult I would say that I had experienced anxiety – in graduate school i experienced my first panic attacks. although they were debilitating, i was able to work through the issues that were triggering these feelings.
i had heard about women who were dealing with post partum depression, and my providers had counseled me on the possibilities. i felt like i was educated on PPD and I knew I could go to my provider should I ever feel inadequate and/or depressed.
what happened to me immediately following the birth of my daughter was more than debilitating and quite frankly i had never been educated on post partum anxiety and the ways that it would present itself.
i constantly felt like people were coming to hurt my baby. we would have visitors non stop and i couldn’t help but to be stand offish. i felt like nobody around me cared about her well being, and i alienated myself. i can’t remember anyone around me helping me with my feelings. while alienated i felt deeply that i was being pushed to the side while this new beautiful baby was the center of attention.
this is hard to write because i deeply care about the people around me and the family that surrounded us with love to welcome Cassidy into the world. it’s only at three years post partum that i can logically explain what i was experiencing. there is no way that i would have been able to articulate my feelings to my OB or family members. when i tried to explain things to those close around me it came off rude and dramatic. i wasn’t taken seriously.
what’s empowering about the motherhood tribe on social media is that we’re able to tIalk with each other and learn so much about things that affect others. the more women are educated on post partum life and screened for possible depression/anxiety disorders, the more comfortable people will be with addressing it. education also needs to be provided to the immediate family who will spend the most time with the individual as well.
How PPA presented itself and things I will pay closer attention to the next time around:
Sensitivity to temperature- I was constantly freezing. I wore sweaters and high socks and would start shivering uncontrollably. There were a few times when I had to wake up my significant other so he could take over and I could try to make my body relax.
Alienating myself from others – this one should have been easy for me to spot because it’s no different than how I react to general anxiety. not wanting visitors and then staying to myself until they would leave was very common.
Picking fights with my significant other because I couldn’t communicate how and/or why something was making me uncomfortable. Although I won’t say that all of my concerns were invalid, I will say that somethings I genuinely couldn’t explain why they made me so uncomfortable.
Fixating on certain ideas and/or people – this was a HUGE hurdle for me post partum. Whether it be that someone didn’t come at the time they said they would or they did something that rubbed me the wrong way. I was extremely sensitive.
Sound sensitivity – I still experience this, but any type of prolonged crying, or the dogs barking/whining, the television on or music playing was really hard for me to deal with. I feel like it would cloud my head and I would be immobile. Still happens to me, but coupled with post partum hormones – it was a whole other beast.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health – please be the friend they need and get them help.