Most people have heard of postpartum depression, but postpartum anxiety doesn’t often get as much attention. Unfortunately, it’s something that impacts many new mothers after giving birth.
Understanding what postpartum anxiety looks like will make it easier to receive a proper diagnosis and get the help you deserve.
While this type of anxiety won’t last forever, it’s likely the last thing you’ll want to deal with while trying to take care of a newborn.
So, what is postpartum anxiety? What can you do if you’re struggling with it?
Feelings of Fear
The definition of postpartum anxiety is excessive worrying that occurs after having a baby. It can happen after giving birth, or even after adopting a child.
It’s completely normal for new mothers to worry a bit here and there, especially if it’s their first child. You might wonder if you’re doing something wrong, or you might be worried about your baby’s well-being when they’re so tiny.
However, when that worry starts to consume your every thought, it might be a sign of a bigger problem.
Postpartum anxiety can feel crippling and overwhelming. You might be constantly nervous, or even panicked. Unfortunately, that can lead to some dangerous symptoms.
What Are the Signs of Postpartum Anxiety?
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with this type of anxiety, it’s essential to know some of the common symptoms.
Fear and worry, of course, are the major signs. However, they’re often accompanied by other symptoms, including
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle tension
- Feeling on-edge
- Increased irritability
You might also experience a constant feeling that something bad is going to happen or struggle with irrational ideas that become obsessions.
As you can see from those symptoms, postpartum anxiety can take over your life when it’s left untreated. Not only is that harmful to you, but it can keep you from giving your child the care they need and deserve.
It can often be difficult for mothers with postpartum anxiety to bond with their babies. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad parent. However, if you let your anxiety go untreated, it could negatively impact your child’s development, and might even cause infant neglect.
The first step toward treatment is recognizing and accepting that you’re struggling with postpartum anxiety. Once you’re able to do that, you can reach out for help.
What Is the Treatment?
Anxiety can take many forms. Although postpartum anxiety is something very specific, the treatment is often similar to what you might receive with any other form of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
The most common treatment is therapy. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is often the most effective, as it allows you to get to the root cause of the issue before working on strategies that can help you manage your fears and worries.
Stress-reduction techniques can make a big difference when it comes to taking control of your symptoms at home. Things like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can all be used to combat anxiety and pull you back to the present with your little one.
In some cases, medication is used to help with anxiety. It can either be used on its own or as a supplement to therapy.
If you had anxiety before you became pregnant, or you have a family history of the condition, you might be more susceptible to postpartum anxiety. However, anyone can experience it, and it’s important to be prepared, know the signs, and know how to get help.
If you think you’re dealing with postpartum anxiety, there’s no reason to feel guilty or ashamed. But, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment.