Postpartum Anxiety – It’s real. I have it. It sucks!

June 20, 2022, Tiffany Newman

I have talked briefly about my struggles with postpartum anxiety/depression in previous blogs.  Well, I am wanting to dive right into it a little more.  When I found out I was pregnant with Carson, I was so thrilled.  I began all the research, followed the development of my little one, and wanted to make sure that I was prepared as best as I could be.  That being said, I also thought about postpartum depression.  My family has a lot of history with depression in general, so I knew that there would be a good chance that I would most likely have to deal with it myself. However, at the time, I was totally against getting on medication or anything for fear that I would harm my baby.  I told my husband that I wanted him to pay attention to my moods and actions after our baby was born in case I couldn’t tell myself that I was changing.  He agreed, and I felt more relief having someone who would watch out for signs.

My pregnancy was amazing.  I was truly uncomfortable at the end, but other than that, everything else went smoothly.  The day we went into the hospital for the birth of Carson was such an amazing day but also the start of my anxiety.  I was truly terrified of this little human.  Being at the hospital for a few days of recovery was nice because we constantly had nurses and doctors who would come in a check on him (granted, this gave me even less sleep at the time).  I always had someone there, and if he were to have an issue, he was in a safe environment.  However, that was a very short amount of time.  We soon had to bring him home, which was when everything came to a head, and my anxiety worsened.  I would sit up at night and worry about everything.  Would he stop breathing in the middle of the night while I was sleeping?  What if I dropped him? What if the dog is not good with him?  What if I am not a good mom?  So many questions would race through my mind EVERY SINGLE DAY and night.  I would constantly worry that something would happen to him if I took my eyes off him for even a moment.  It was constant fear, constant worry, and it was exhausting. My husband would always try to ease my worrying by saying that he would be fine, that he was safe in his own bed, or that I was a good mom.  He would tell me that we would watch the dog closely, and if there were any signs of issues, we would deal with them.  He was my ultimate rock, but the thoughts and fears would constantly come back.  There were a lot of tears and a lot of sleepless nights (and not just because Carson was up all the time).  My mind never stopped thinking about the ‘what ifs.’   It got to the point that I would just cry for no reason or get angry or irritable a lot faster.  This lasted several months.

By the time Carson was around three or four months old, I couldn’t take the constant crying, lack of sleep, and constant fear.  I finally decided I needed to talk to my doctor about what I could do to remedy this and start feeling like myself again.  I went in and discussed the options.  I was still hesitant to get on some kind of medication because I was still breastfeeding, so my OB sent me to a therapist to see if we could get to the bottom of it before we tried medication.  I had a few sessions with her, and we discussed what issues I was having and some ways to deal with them.  She told me to have at least one to two nights a week of solid sleep (at least 6 hours in a row) and see if that helps alleviate some of the problems.  She also ended up discussing some medication to take and that I could start with the lowest amount to see if that can help relieve some of that anxiety.  The medication she suggested was safe for both pregnancy and breastfeeding, so I decided to give it a try.  I needed to do something.

Once I started this medication and tried getting a few nights a week of solid sleep, I felt mentally better.  I felt like I was my old self and could really enjoy motherhood with my baby.  Once we decided to try for a second child, I chose to slowly wean myself off the medication because I did not want to have that in my body as a precaution.  My OB and I discussed this, and she helped me to do it slowly and safely so that I would not have any issues.  We discussed that if I got back to that frame of mind, I should think about going back on them and that they would not hurt my child during pregnancy.  I was able to wean off them successfully, but once Caleb was born, I asked my OB to prescribe them again because I did not want to go through the anxiety and depression again.  I enjoyed the newborn stage so much more with Caleb because I knew my body and what was most likely going to happen after birth.

I wished I had gotten control of my postpartum anxiety a lot sooner after giving birth to Carson, but I am ultimately glad that I got on it eventually.  If anyone says that postpartum depression/anxiety is not a real thing, they are completely wrong.  So many women go through this, and some do not seek the help that they need.  I am thankful for the follow-ups that I had with my OB and the knowledge and skills they must watch out for women who may be showing signs of PPD or PPA.  I am also thankful for my husband, who stayed honest and true about keeping an eye on me.  PPD and PPA are real issues and, once addressed, can make a world of difference in the lives of the woman and those surrounding her, including her baby.


Did you know? 1 in 7 Moms and 1 in 10 Dads suffer from postpartum depression.PSI logo

Get help by calling the Postpartum Support International HelpLine at 1-800-944-4773 #1 En Español or #2 English. Text “Help” to 800-944-4773 (EN) or Text en Español: 971-203-7773 or visit  Help for moms, dads, families & partners, queer parents, military families and postpartum psychosis.


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