Most people have a basic idea of what postpartum depression is, but fewer people understand the effects of postpartum anxiety. It’s a very real thing and can impact women who recently gave birth in ways that make it difficult for them to care for themselves and their newborns.
Postpartum anxiety is a feeling of excessive worry after giving birth.
It’s normal to have minor worries and concerns about your baby—especially as a first-time mother. However, there’s a big difference between the typical concerns you might feel and excessive worry that’s negatively impacting your life.
If you’re concerned you might be experiencing postpartum anxiety, the best way to know is to learn more about it. Let’s dig deeper into what the condition looks like.
What Causes Postpartum Anxiety?
There are many factors that can contribute to anxiety after giving birth. For some women, the dramatic shift in hormones can make it difficult to manage stress, and might make you feel more anxious. Everything from stress to a lack of sleep can also contribute.
However, some women might be at a greater risk than others for developing this type of anxiety.
If you have a history of anxiety or mental health struggles, you might be more prone to experiencing it. You might also be at risk if you’re caring for multiple children, you have an unsupportive partner, or your little one has health issues or complications.
What Are the Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety?
Again, a bit of worrying is perfectly normal after having a baby. The symptoms of postpartum anxiety are much more extreme. Some of the most common include:
- Difficulty staying calm
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulty focusing
- Withdrawing from people
- Controlling behaviors
- Feelings of fear
This type of anxiety can also manifest itself physically. It’s not uncommon for women to experience nausea, loss of appetite, and muscle tension. Sleep issues are also often a problem. As a new mother, you’re likely not getting a lot of sleep, anyway. When you have the opportunity to rest and your anxiety gets in the way, it can be dangerous. Getting enough sleep is important for your mental and physical well-being.
What Can You Do?
Do the symptoms above sound familiar? Do you think you were at a higher risk of developing postpartum anxiety because of your past or a recent stressful life event?
If so, please know you’re not alone. You’re not a bad mother, and you don’t have to feel this way forever.
Like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety can go away on its own. However, there’s no way to determine how long that might take. The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to get some help along the way.
Lean on friends and family for support as often as possible. Consider joining a local group with other parents who are struggling. It can help you realize you’re not alone and you might hear some advice or inspirational information that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
Take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can’t care for your baby if you’re completely depleted. Practice self-care each day. Try to find things that help you relax and activities that reduce your stress.
Most importantly, if your anxiety is impeding your quality of life, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. Therapy is one of the best options for new mothers dealing with postpartum anxiety. Together, we’ll get to the bottom of what might have triggered your fear. Then, we’ll work on effective solutions to manage it, and eventually move past it. You deserve to enjoy this time with your little one, and it’s possible to do so without fear.
Contact Valued Living Therapy to start working with an experienced therapist.