It’s crazy that we really do sit there sometimes and think- we are the only ones going through this, all of the other mommies look so happy! They have their houses clean, happy babies in bed by 8pm and not a dish in the sink. It’s not true and I’m SO glad so many people have come forward with their honest situations so we can all start relating instead of trying to live up to this unrealistic motherhood image we are given.

I do want to start by saying I don’t think I am experiencing postpartum depression, but rather went straight from the baby blues to postpartum anxiety. Many things trigger it, and I can tell you EXACTLY what it was & is for me. Thank GOODNESS to the gals who told me the same things did it for them, yay- I’m not totally crazy!

Unfortunately for me, the day it began was the day she was BORN. Watching my child be passed around in the hospital in front of me when I had only held her ONCE and not even immediately after she was born, but two hours after because of the surgery was difficult. I tried to suck it up then, but it was hard watching  my little baby burrito go from person to person when all I wanted was to hold her. It wasn’t even 12 hours before she was kicking the crap out of my ribs and her heart was beating next to mine inside of me.

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Two weeks later, Thanksgiving comes and family visits over the course of the weekend. I had been crying 2-5 times daily. Not just tears of happiness, full out cry sessions. These are the BABY BLUES and please if you’re pregnant- know that they are totally normal! It’s just your hormones going wild post delivery. I would stare at Camryn and cry. SO hard. SO often. Mike’s like “honey I’m worried about you!” But we read up on it and whewwwwwwwwww, that’s normal.

Thanksgiving really was the beginning of the anxiety snowball of hell starting to roll down the mountain and escalate for me. Good analogy right? LOL! I don’t know what it is about people and yanking your child out of your arms, but DO NOT DO IT PEOPLE! Don’t!!!!!!! Family or friends…you have no right and not all mothers can emotionally tolerate this kind of action so early on. Especially a first time mother. I felt like she was being treated like a rag doll to be passed around and it made me sick to my stomach. I just wanted her back. I really don’t care how anyone else feels about it, you didn’t carry her, she’s not yours, and I need her. That’s when the anxiety really began. I cried the entire weekend to Mike and told him I was freaking out that people were always going to be doing this to me and making my heart nervous by snatching up my daughter from me.

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Christmas comes and everyone wants to pass the baby around again. Everywhere we went and everyone we visited and who visited us wanted to pass around the little ‘doll’ that is my child AGAIN, but I couldn’t let go of her. I could NOT stop grasping her and holding on as tight as I could. I had this horribly vicious instinct to protect her even though I know no one is trying to ‘hurt’ her..I just in my heart and soul didn’t want people to take her from my arms.

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Then came the advice & commentary. The unwarranted, demeaning and downright ridiculous comments from people. A lady in TJ Maxx telling me she’s really ‘fat’. Cammy could be sweating bullets and it’s something about her ‘not having socks on’ … I’m holding her and someone tries to tell me I’m not supporting her neck enough and the worst…………………..anything to do with breastfeeding. I KNOW how to take care of my child people. Nursing is so emotionally and physically draining (yet rewarding at the same time, it’s weird!) so I really don’t need anything else to stress me out. But the anxiety kept coming and coming and coming.

The next few months after the holidays were TOUGH. Tough on our marriage, tough on our hearts. I went back to work two weeks after having a c-section, because I’m work addicted to say the least, and I should have had a babysitter lined up for editing days. This would have helped me so much, but my office is my home and I didn’t have anyone’s house to take her to locally. The anxiety and constantly cleaning and OCD’ing was skyrocketing as my business picked up for the new year.

It’s gotten better but only recently and she’s 9 1/2 months old. I’ve gotten through the baby blues, I still have the anxiety, but it’s gotten better since my before-baby-totally-lazy-bum-husband has started to pick up the slack with the household! It’s unbelievable. He has always been reeeeeeeeeeally bad about doing any chore (except the trash, he knows I refuse to take it out hahah!) but he’s done a 180. Thank goodness! I don’t have to kick him out! Just kidding, hahaha 🙂

I am working very hard everyday to stop being so OCD and panicky when it comes to baby but it’s a challenge. My mind is always racing, I clean like a nut job and I feel like I’m not “allowed” to sit down and ever enjoy any time to myself. Even when she naps, I just don’t feel like I should be sitting still.
I know next year I have to work less to avoid more breakdowns because it’s so hard to run a business and be a new parent, and anything I can do to lessen the postpartum anxiety will benefit me and my family <3

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Just know you’re not alone.
You’re NOT a bad mother if you feel this way.
We’ve all dealt with it to some degree, but whatever you do- do NOT listen to the jerks that say “It doesn’t get any easier”
…they just never found a way to deal with it.

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Resources:

Symptoms to consider whether or not you may be having some issues with Postpartum Depression/Anxiety/OCD

{www.postpartumprogress.com}

Okay.  Here we go. You may have postpartum depression if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • You feel overwhelmed.  Not like “hey, this new mom thing is hard.”  More like “I can’t do this and I’m never going to be able to do this.”  You feel like you just can’t handle being a mother.  In fact, you may be wondering whether you should have become a mother in the first place.
  • You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this.  You feel like your baby deserves better.  You worry whether your baby can tell that you feel so bad, or that you are crying so much, or that you don’t feel the happiness or connection that you thought you would.  You may wonder whether your baby would be better off without you.
  • You don’t feel bonded to your baby.  You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you see on TV or read about in magazines.
  • You can’t understand why this is happening.  You are very confused and scared.
  • You feel irritated or angry.  You have no patience.  Everything annoys you.  You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies.  You feel out-of-control rage.
  • You feel nothing.  Emptiness and numbness.  You are just going through the motions.
  • You feel sadness to the depths of your soul.  You can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying.
  • You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better.  You feel weak and defective.  You feel like a failure.
  • You can’t bring yourself to eat, or perhaps the only thing that makes you feel better is eating.
  • You can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, nor can you sleep at any other time.  Or maybe you can fall asleep, but you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep no matter how tired you are.  Or maybe all you can do is sleep and you can’t seem to stay awake to get the most basic things done.  Whichever it is, your sleeping is completely screwed up and it’s not just because you have a newborn.
  • You can’t concentrate.  You can’t focus.  You can’t think of the words you want to say.  You can’t remember what you were supposed to do.  You can’t make a decision.  You feel like you’re in a fog.
  • You feel disconnected.  You feel strangely apart from everyone for some reason, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
  • Maybe you’re doing everything right.  You are exercising.  You are taking your vitamins.  You have a healthy spirituality.  You do yoga.  You’re thinking “Why can’t I just get over this?”   You feel like you should be able to snap out of it, but you can’t.
  • You might be having thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind.  Or you’ve thought of driving off the road, or taking too many pills, or finding some other way to end this misery.
  • You know something is wrong.  You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right.  You think you’ve “gone crazy”.
  • You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
  • You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you.  Or that your baby will be taken away.

You may have postpartum anxiety or postpartum OCD if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • Your thoughts are racing.  You can’t quiet your mind.  You can’t settle down.  You can’t relax.
  • You feel like you have to be doing something at all times.  Cleaning bottles.  Cleaning baby clothes.  Cleaning the house.  Doing work.  Entertaining the baby.  Checking on the baby.
  • You are worried.  Really worried.  All. The. Time.  Am I doing this right?  Will my husband come home from his trip?  Will the baby wake up?  Is the baby eating enough?  Is there something wrong with the baby that I’m missing?  No matter what anyone says to reassure you it doesn’t help.
  • You may be having disturbing thoughts.  Thoughts that you’ve never had before.  Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were.  They fly into your head unwanted and you know they aren’t right, that this isn’t the real you, but they terrify you and they won’t go away.  These thoughts may start with the words “What if …”
  • You are afraid to be alone with your baby because of the thoughts.  You are also afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm, like kitchen knives or stairs, and you avoid them like the plague.
  • You have to check things constantly.  Did I lock the door?  Did I lock the car?  Did I turn off the oven?  Is the baby breathing?
  • You may be having physical symptoms like stomach cramps or headaches, shakiness or nausea.  You might even have panic attacks.
  • You feel like a captive animal, pacing back and forth in a cage.  Restless.  On edge.
  • You can’t eat.  You have no appetite.
  • You can’t sleep.  You are so, so tired, but you can’t sleep.
  • You feel a sense of dread all the time, like something terrible is going to happen.
  • You know something is wrong.  You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right.  You think you’ve “gone crazy”.
  • You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
  • You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you.  Or that your baby will be taken away.

Thank you to Sarah A. for this recommendation! I’ve heard it’s wonderful & inspiring! ——–> Down Came The Rain (Brooke Shields)

I absolutely LOVE this blog post from one of my former clients who is now pregnant with baby number TWO!!! It covers more about Postpartum Anxiety. I needed to read this! Her blog is a great one to follow!

I hope this was helpful and not depressing! Get support if you are feeling helpless- you AND your baby deserve for you to be as happy and mentally healthy as you can be! 🙂

Look at this face. We just decided last night I think next year it’s time for another <3

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Posted by:amandahedgepeth

Hey there! We're a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.

8 replies on “You’re Not Alone | Postpartum Anxiety & Depression & OCD | Personal

  1. Amanda, you are amazing! I feel for you and am so proud for you all at the same time! You have a beautiful daughter & a Wonderful Husband. Thank You so much for saying what is so hard for many to admit!

  2. Amanda!! You’re not a failure, so don’t think that!! You are already a couple HUGE steps ahead of the game with acknowledging this & trying to find a solution instead of letting it consume you!! Anything I can do to help you, I will!! Reach out to me sometime, I’m your friend & I’m always on your side!! 😀 Thank you for posting & sharing your struggles with all of us loyal readers!! You’re an inspiration in more ways than you know!! BTW, planning baby #2 is excellent news!! Cheers to both of us hopefully seeing blue plus signs !!!!

  3. Amanda, thank you for having the courage to post this. When I went to write this reply, I almost just sent you a private message, but then thought the better of it. We, as women, have nothing to gain by hiding our problems and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, so here are my thoughts. I hope they can help someone as yours have helped me! When I had Charlotte, it was as if I changed into another person. I had the same anxiety you did (what is with people wanting to just hold the baby all the time? what about me?) and to this day, I still believe I had postpartum SOMETHING. Maybe anxiety, maybe depression, who knows. I didn’t ask for help. I thought it was normal, that everyone felt that way, or worse, some days that I was the only one who felt that way. To this day, and Charlotte is 2, I still have the symptoms of postpartum depression, almost daily. I’m terrified of having a second child because what if it gets worse? What if I’m not capable? I definitely think it’s time to talk to someone about the way I feel and I’ve been putting it off a long time. So THANK YOU for being brave, putting yourself and your heart out there and for being a great friend! I wish you and Mike and Cammy the best in your adventure for #2. Much preciousness will ensue, no doubt! If you ever need someone to talk to, you know I’m here 🙂

  4. beautiful post! my baby is almost 8 months……and i think I hibernated the entire winter. He was born in January, and I didn’t leave my house but a few times until I return to work in March. We didn’t have people over because I could not breathe when anyone but me was holding Chet. I just couldn’t take my eyes off my baby. I still worry. I still don’t like to share him with the world. As of right now, he has still spent more of his life in my belly than not. I’m not sure I will ever out grown this feeling (and I’m okay with that…I’ll learn how to process it better).

    Thank you for sharing this 🙂 you sound like one amazing mama…and your husband sounds like a fantastic support system!

  5. So glad you mentioned the book. I actually have it if you’d like to read it, you’re welcome to borrow it Amanda. 🙂 In fact, any Mama who needs to borrow it is welcome to it! <3

  6. I have postpartum ocd when my son was 9 months. I didn’t know what was happening to me. IT came out of nowhere. I have never in my life had any depression,anxiety,panic attacks,or any kind of ocd. I thought I was going crazy. Thank god I have a great support system. My husband, family and friends helped out so much. For those going Thur postpartum ocd i know its hell. All the what ifs. Your subconscious telling you all this bad horrible thinks. I just wanted them to go away. I’m still dealing with postpartum ocd. I’m alot better then what i was a year ago. I believe it takes time, support, meds for me. It will go away with time.

  7. Amanda,
    You hit the nail on the head for me. I am finally realizing I have PP Anxiety possibly OCD. The last few weeks my symptoms mainly that feeling of dread have been increasingly worse. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Aaannnndddd now I’m crying again.

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