Accruing some extra worry is normal when you have a baby. Having another life aside from your own to be responsible for puts a lot a pressure on a mom. Those first few months after having a baby were some of the most stressful I've ever experienced — I even suffered from terrible nightmares about by new baby. But how do you know when your worries have crossed over from everyday concerns into the realm of something more serious? You may have heard of PPD, but what is PPA, also known as postpartum anxiety, and how will you know if you've developed this mood disorder?
This condition looks a lot like regular anxiety, but with more of the worry focused on how you're doing as a parent and your child's safety. As psychologist Jonathan Abramowitz told Parents magazine, postpartum anxiety is a hidden disorder, because it is often unrecognized and undiagnosed, which is to say, it is often considered a response to the new role as mother and not properly addressed by professionals. Moms with PPA experience intense anxiety and worried feelings starting immediately after the birth as well as gradually over the first year of their baby's life, according to Psychology Today.
With more and more mothers presenting with this condition, doctors are taking careful notice to identify the signs. According to Baby Center, there are a number of symptoms associated with postpartum anxiety disorder, including extreme anxiety or irritability, chest pains or discomfort, fear of dying or of losing control.
If you have been experiencing these feelings, talk to your doctor about treatment to help you manage PPA. For example, many health care providers are recommending cognitive behavioral therapy for moms with PPA. This type of talk therapy, often referred to as CBT, is "short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving," as Psych Central explained.
Making a plan to reduce your anxiety and manage it in a healthy way sets you up to be the mother you imaged yourself to be. Self-care during this postpartum period is just as important as caring for your little one.