I’ve been eager but also nervous to share this post about the startling reality of postpartum anxiety. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks my entire life (literally, since I was 4 or 5 years old). Still, the severity of postpartum anxiety caught me completely off-guard. It was completely debilitating. Before I was pregnant, I took clonazepam for my panic attacks, but it isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. My anxiety got worse throughout my pregnancy and towards the end, it was constant and very overwhelming.
I actually hadn’t had a severe panic attack in years until I started having them when I was pregnant. Then I had one during labor and once I gave birth, I started having them everyday, sometimes more than once. I was afraid to sleep because I woke up overheated and in a panic every time. The constant feeling of panic was unbearable from the time we got home from the hospital until 3-4 weeks later. It’s really hard to describe but it was basically a feeling of pure fear 24/7, about everything. Not sleeping enough, having no clue how to take care of a newborn, life being SO different and not knowing if it would ever feel normal or the same again, the list goes on…
With normal anxiety, you can typically breathe through it and it eventually goes away. This feeling was NOT going away. I would start shaking/shivering uncontrollably at random points throughout the day. I couldn’t focus on the precious, incredible human I had just given birth to at all. Not only was I worried about everything concerning Milo, but also with Tristan’s health (he had emergency gall bladder surgery 1 week after Milo was born), and my own. We went to our first pediatrician appointment 3 days after he was born and I cried the entire time. Milo had lost too much weight and he had jaundice. Those are both really small things that were resolved within a week but they felt enormous and catastrophic at the time.
I left that appointment and called and asked my doctor for something for my anxiety. I was breastfeeding so I still couldn’t take my clonazepam. She prescribed me Zoloft and I started taking it that day. Within 1 week, I was no longer having panic attacks everyday. I was still having crying spells and constant feelings of worry. She increased my dosage and by the time Milo was 4 weeks old, I felt like myself again. I also take these CBD softgels daily and I think they help with my overall anxiety.
In the midst of postpartum anxiety, I honestly never thought I would feel like ME again. I’ve been able to truly enjoy each day with Milo and soak in every precious moment ever since. That in itself is such a huge blessing. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for the startling reality of postpartum and PPA/PPD. The best thing you can do is to get help as soon as possible. I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life so I wasn’t afraid to admit that I needed help or to take medication. Unfortunately many people are afraid to do those things. Comment below and tell me your experience, or ask me any questions at all! I’m an open book about pregnancy/postpartum/motherhood. xo Leah