Having a baby is a life-changing event for even the most eager of mothers, and the adjustment to post-baby life can come with a lot of struggles. Fortunately, the difficulties many mothers face are finally gaining more attention in the media, as evidenced by the rather recent increase in studies and articles highlighting the realities of postpartum depression (PPD). Unfortunately, PPD is not the only condition that may affect new moms. Postpartum anxiety is also all too common. But because this condition is still gaining media attention, the signs someone you love is suffering from postpartum anxiety, or PPA, may surprise you.
Although anxiety largely exists in the mind of the person who is suffering from it, you may be able to read their moods or behaviors for clues about the condition. And sure, most new moms get a bit frazzled from the sleep disturbances and general whirlwind of activity associated with caring for a newborn, but postpartum anxiety goes beyond the norm. Of course, an outsider can never really know what's going on in the head of another person, but if a loved one shows some of these signs, then you may want to encourage her to get help. After all, motherhood is hard enough without adding something as insidious as anxiety to the mix. Read on to see if these signs remind you of your loved one.
1. They Have A Loss Of Appetite
Although they may not always make the time for food, plenty of new mothers have a healthy appetite, especially those who are breastfeeding. But if a new mother simply cannot eat or has no appetite at all, then she may be struggling with PPA, as explained in Postpartum Progress.
2. They Can't Sit Still
Is your loved one prone to restless pacing? According to Postpartum Support International, an inability to be still is one potential symptom of postpartum anxiety, as it's common for anxiety sufferers to feel on edge.
3. They Have Difficulty Sleeping
Sure, it's not at all uncommon for new moms to go without sleep. But in most cases, this is because they have to meet the needs of their babies around the clock. If a new mom has trouble sleeping — even when she has the time and opportunity to get rest — then this may signify a case of postpartum anxiety, as explained in Seleni. Constant worry may prevent anxiety sufferers from getting needed shut-eye.
4. They Have Trouble Concentrating
Mommy brain is a real thing, but individuals with postpartum anxiety may have exceptional difficulty concentrating, according to AnxietyBC. This may be a problem in its own right, but combined with other symptoms, such as an inability to get enough sleep, mothers with PPA may have a great deal of trouble focusing.
5. They Are Obsessively Checking Things
Is your loved one unable to rest unless she's double-checked everything in her home? If the need to check on things — such as the oven, locked door, or the baby — becomes overwhelming, then this may be a sign of PPA, according to Postpartum Progress.
6. They Have Extreme Fears
For many people, anxiety shows up in the form of catastrophic thinking: you feel a sense of doom, or expect the worst of the worst to happen at any moment. Women with postpartum anxiety may show this in the form of a fear of dying or losing control of their life, as explained in Baby Center. If your loved one seems to have a larger-than-life fear of failing her baby, or even going crazy, then you may want to step in and encourage her to get help.
7. The Suffer Dizziness & Nausea
Sometimes anxiety can manifest as physical ailments. For instance, as explained by the American Pregnancy Association, women suffering from PPA may experience dizziness, nausea, or even hot flashes.
8. They Have Trouble Breathing
If you've ever witnessed someone have a panic attack, then you know that hyperventilating is a common symptom — not to mention one that's painful to watch. PPA sufferers too may deal with a shortness of breath, as explained by Baby Center. Your loved one may benefit from a visit to the doctor if these disturbing breathing problems become too commonplace.
9. They Are On Edge
Is your loved one just completely unable to relax? As explained by the Centre of Perinatal Excellence, women who suffer from postpartum anxiety may constantly seem irritable or on edge. This may be yet another reason to lovingly encourage the new mom to seek help, because parenting is hard enough without the added burden of postpartum anxiety.