It's no secret that life as a new mom can be challenging. You’re left dealing with the exhaustion and hormonal shifts associated with birth, tending to another human being every hour of every day while simultaneously trying to heal. Add anxiety to the mix, and it's easy to feel like your world is unmanageable. With everything going on, however, you might not even realize you have anxiety. I mean, I didn’t. My body was trying to tell me I had postpartum anxiety, though. I just didn't really know how to listen.
When my son was born, I had very little time to stop and think about myself or my feelings. He was whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unite (NICU) right after he came into the world, and then to a different hospital’s NICU 30 minutes away. As you might imagine, anxiety (along with a slew of other awful feelings) overwhelmed me. But even after my son got better, and even after he came home from the hospital, there was still this horrible anxious feeling I just couldn’t shake. And while I’ve always battled with anxiety on and off throughout the course of my life, I hadn’t really given it much thought in my postpartum life. After all, worrying is just what a new mom does, right?
Sadly, it took a while for me to realize that some of the symptoms I was experiencing weren’t necessarily “normal.” It took me a while to understand that in order to take care of my son to the best of my ability, I had to take care of myself first. That meant taking the time to listen to my body, especially when it was trying to tell me I had postpartum anxiety in the following ways: