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My Story About Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

unhappy-imageI share my story to help inspire and encourage other mom’s to reach out for help when needed and know that you are NOT alone!

My story:

My husband and I were ecstatic when we found out we were pregnant with our second child. It took us MONTHS to get pregnant with our first daughter, but this time it was easy.

The pregnancy itself was perfect. Yeah, I had a few headaches, some days I was emotional and tired, but overall it was great. I hadn’t gained much weight, perfect round belly, full hair and beautiful glowing skin. I was truly blessed!

Labor and delivery couldn’t have gone better either and on January 30th 2018 we welcomed our second daughter to this world.

Things were a bit different at home this time around. There was no “rest when the baby rest” time. We had two kids under the age of 2, a sick dog, and I was running a business.

Around 4 months post-partum I noticed that I wasn’t feeling “normal”. I was exhausted. Eventually the exhaustion really set in, so did the anxiety, followed by constant fears and worries. Everyone asked “How’s it going” “How’s life with 2 kids” and I always replied with a smile saying “Good, or Great”, cause it was! I had 2 beautiful girls, a loving husband, a rewarding career, and great team of workers…what else could I ask for? But I will never forget the day in May while I was at work and thought I can’t hold it in anymore, I am completely losing it.

I had fallen into a deep and VERY dark place. My mind was racing from worry to worry, without a breath in between. I thought there was no way out. I will never forget my family, and most importantly, my husband who climbed down deep into the hole that I was in to pull me back out.

I can never, ever thank my Mom enough for making me call my OB’s office. I will never forget the amazing doctors and nurse practitioners who sincerely listened to me as I sobbed out my anxieties and fears. After some serious convincing, I began taking anti-anxiety/depression medicine. I will never, ever deny that at that time, I needed it. I truly believe, that if I didn’t reach out for help when I did (and it was almost too late) that I wouldn’t be here today.

It’s been a few months since I got help and things are much better. My anxiety and worries have calmed and overall I am feeling much better. Of course I have some low days, but I know I can get through it.

Here is a few things I learned from my experience with Post-Partum Anxiety and Depression (PPA/PPD):

1. It’s not always text book. I didn’t have feelings of neglect for my kids. I wasn’t depressed. It was more about worries. I started worrying “what if this” and “what if that” then it was a like a tumble weed that kept going and going and kept getting bigger and bigger, until I thought there was no way out.

2. It doesn’t always start RIGHT after your baby is born. Books always mention PPD/PPA symptoms start after baby is born. I felt great until about 4 months PP. So be aware that these symptoms can happen at any time after baby.

3. You can’t be your own doctor. I thought since I was in the health care field, that I would know the signs and symptoms and would be able to correct it myself, but I was wrong! Get help!! Talk to friends, family, counselors, doctors, God. Whatever you need to do.

4. It doesn’t always look like you are having issues on the outside. My friends and family didn’t notice anything. I was still taking care of my kids, going to work, getting “life” done.

5. It’s not your fault. I kept thinking what did I do wrong? How could I have prevented this? It’s not your fault. Our hormones change dramatically during and after pregnancy. Just remember, you can do this and it’s NOT YOUR FAULT.

But my best advice for all the new and beautiful mamas out there? Accept the help. Take care of yourself! As hard and completely “selfish” as it may seem to you, take care of yourself. Because, sweet mamas, you cannot take the same amazing care of your babies without tending to yourself as well.

If the feelings of unhappiness, exhaustion and being overwhelmed do rush in? It is OK. It happens to more people that you could ever imagine. You are not alone!

Reach out to someone, anyone. I reached out to a few friends/family, and when I did, they responded in ways I never could have imagined.

I realized now that postpartum anxiety is actually a common struggle with many mothers and I wish I had spoken up about it sooner.

There are so many women struggling with this and they don’t necessarily ‘look’ depressed or anxious. Most people struggle in silence like I did. I hid it very well, even from my husband. So please remember, sometimes, all it takes is a simple phone call, a text, a social media message to simply check in on a friend, a co-worker, a loved one. Because you really never know when you may find yourself as someone’s life-preserver.

Here is a link to a great book that I read. It explains about the changes we experience during and after pregnancy and how we can help with those hormonal shifts. Please, check it out.

~ A sincere thank you to my husband, family, friends and co-workers who supported me along the way. Love Dr. Lindsay Daniels

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