When my first son was about two months old, I started having graphic nightmares. This was also the same time period when I would find myself randomly pulling over on the side of the road to take deep breaths because I would suddenly find it hard to breathe. There was a pressure in my chest that sent me to the doctor for a series of tests, only to determine that was (thankfully) physically healthy, but suffering emotionally. What I thought was symptoms of a terrible disease, turned out to be signs of postpartum anxiety, something many women experience after giving birth.
As psychologist Jonathan Abramowitz told Parents magazine, postpartum anxiety is a hidden disorder, because it is often unrecognized and undiagnosed. This condition looks a lot like regular anxiety, but with more of a focus around your new child or your new role as a parent. If I had not made that appointment to see my doctor for my chest pain, it's possible I would have suffered alone and continued to worry about what was wrong with me.
If you're experiencing more worry and panic after having a baby, check these 11 signs of postpartum anxiety to see if they sound familiar. You don't have to live with this, help is available.