6 Surprising Symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

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postpartum depressionThe woman is sitting on the side of her bed. She’s wearing rumpled sweatpants and a t-shirt. Her hair is mussed and she’s not wearing makeup. On her face is a look of sadness and a faraway stare. Or maybe a few tears streaming down.

That is the picture most people see when they think of the symptoms of postpartum depression. We’ve learned to believe what depression looks like from television commercials for Prozac or Zoloft. Depression equals sadness, crying and despair. If we don’t look like that woman in the TV ad, then we’re not sure we even have depression or anxiety. We often think we’ve simply gone crazy, or there’s something else drastically wrong with us … but not depression.

The truth is there are a wide variety of symptoms pregnant and new mothers may experience when it comes to having antenatal or postpartum depression or anxiety. One size does not fit all, I always say, and one woman with PPD may look and sound completely different from the next one. That is why, for this installment of Postpartum Progress’ Six Things series we are focusing on the six  symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety that will likely surprise you.

1) Anger – In all the years that I’ve spoken to mothers about postpartum depression, they are always most surprised by rage and irritability as symptoms of postpartum depression, yet so many of you experience this. It may be that everything makes you angry. Or your baby, or partner, or older children are irritating you at a level that you have never felt before. You might want to throw things, or yell at everyone. Some of you tell me you know that you shouldn’t be so mad all the time, but you can’t help it, and you’re worried about how rough you are being with the people you love. For more on this, you might like The Rage of Postpartum Depression.

2)  Brain Fog – For many of us, our brains just don’t work as well when we have postpartum depression and anxiety. We have a hard time remembering things. Thinking of the right words, or any words for that matter. We can’t multitask as well as we used to. During my bout with postpartum OCD, I used to drive through stop signs, finding myself out in the middle of an intersection before I realized I hadn’t stopped. If your mind is cloudy and you feel like you’ve lost at least 20 IQ points since you had your baby, you’re not alone.

3) Scary Thoughts – Most people think they’re in full control of their thoughts. I know I had no idea whatsoever that your mind could think a thought you didn’t want it to. Then I got introduced to intrusive thoughts, which are scary thoughts that enter your mind that you don’t want and that are very upsetting but that continue to plague you.  Often they start with the phrase “what if,” as in what if I did this terrible thing or what if that awful thing happened?  It’s like walking around having mini-nightmares all the time. Intrusive thoughts are a sign of postpartum anxiety and OCD, and NO, they do not mean you’ve turned into some horrible monster. For more on this, you might like Does Having Scary Thoughts Mean You’ll Act on Them?

4) Numbness – If you think women with postpartum depression are full of strong emotions, sad and crying all the time, and instead you feel nothing whatsoever, you may be surprised. Some of you tell me that you feel only emptiness. You are just going through the motions, doing the things you know you are supposed to do but not really feeling it inside. If you are disconnected from things you used to care about and it feels as if you are hovering over your life looking down on it but no longer part of it, it’s worth talking to your doctor. This is not what new motherhood is supposed to feel like. For more on this, you might like Profoundly Alone: The Disconnection of Postpartum Depression.

5) Insomnia – Sleep when the baby sleeps, they say. But what if you can’t? It’s pretty shocking for a new mom who has never been more exhausted in her life to be unable to sleep. You keep thinking that eventually you’ll just crash, but you don’t. Or you fall asleep fine but then you wake up and can’t go back to sleep. All new moms are tired, but not being able to sleep when you have the opportunity to can be a sign of postpartum depression or anxiety. For more on this, you might like On Postpartum Depression and Insomnia.

6) Physical symptoms – Most women expect postpartum depression to impact their mind only — how they are feeling. But for some of you, PPD manifests as physical symptoms. I hear from new moms who are suffering with headaches, back aches, upset stomachs, nausea or even panic attacks that make them feel as though they are having a heart attack. If you are suddenly plagued by aches and pains that don’t appear to be caused by the flu or food poising or any other illness, they may be symptoms of postpartum depression.

As always, the best thing to do is reach out to your doctor if you are having these or other symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety. While PPD is very common, it is not normal. You don’t have to feel this way as a new mother, and there are effective treatments that can put you on the road to recovery.

Postpartum Progress (http://postpartumprogress.com) is the most widely read blog in the world on postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD and depression during pregnancy. It was created by moms, for moms. 

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  1. I’m really glad to be reading this post because recently I have been thinking—I wish Postpartum Depression had a different name. Under the name of “Postpartum Depression” it is deceiving to those who don’t know anything about it. It’s not merely depression—there is so much more to it. Sure, depression is one of the symptoms, but there is laundry list of various symptoms as well!—there’s anger, there’s anxiety, there’s loneliness, there’s lack of enthusiasm, there’s confusion and loss of concentration, there’s insecurity, hopelessness, bitterness, and guilt, and so much more!—and yet we call it all by the name of “Depression”!?! Depression is only one part of it (and for some it’s not even a part of it at all).

    • It’s very deceiving, because really there’s a spectrum of illnesses or symptoms you can experience, not just postpartum depression. You’re right, some people don’t even have postpartum depression — they may have postpartum anxiety or postpartum PTSD. But for now, the public really is still only aware of that one term: PPD.

      • Yes I agree with you Katherine, I have had postpartum thyroiditis twice, after each child, and it really is a thyroid hormone imbalance which causes similar symptoms to PPD..

        • I have have all of those symptoms and my second child is two and I had extream weight loss and I’m still fighting to gain it back . Is it posible for it to last this long

      • I feel like I can’t stand , dizzy , can barely walk , feeling like my body will shut down and I will die . Also moody , angry , anxious. Thyroid normal . I feel soooooo fatigued body aches . Do I have ppd ? I feel like I do but what about the horrific physical symptoms . Sooooo weak like I can’t even walk .

        • Physical symptoms can accompany PPD, Noha. Have you talked to your doctor? You should definitely let him or her know what your symptoms are so they can see if you have an illness of some sort or if your symptoms are related to depression or anxiety.

          • I spoke to my doctor he said they did every test on me and it is all postpartum anxiety . Is he just saying that to take the easy way out ? Can you please call me I feel so hopeless right now 3106211971. And my blood pressure has been low. He says postpartum depression will cause that too .

          • I’ve been feeling the same physically. I feel like I’m going to collapse and feel wobbly on my feet. And gets worse when I’m out. My doctor puts it down to anxiety

            • Melanie do you also feel abnormally weak ? I do and I have blurry vision with it and just an overall feeling of flu like symptoms .

              • No ha, how did this turn out for you? Just a thought- buy I actually had Mono after I had my baby and it was the reason I felt such extreme fatigue! Crazy huh? My immune system got so down from lack of sleep.

  2. At one point, while I was in the throes of PPD, a very good friend of my husband and mine addressed us in a very loving way because he noticed that something was up in our marriage relationship and he was concerned for us. When I tried to explain to him that I had Postpartum Depression, and that what he was seeing was because of it, he was like, “ok, no, I know you have PPD, but that’s not what I’m talking about—I’m talking about these other things that I’m seeing in your marriage relationship.” No matter how much I tried to convince him that what he was seeing (the arguing and such) was a direct result of my PPD, he just could not understand it. He thought Postpartum Depression was simply depression, but had no clue about all the rest that comes with it.

  3. ok..um….I am so confused by the changes on this website!! having trouble figuring out how to leave comments!!!!

  4. These are all signs of anxiety and depression that happen to occur post partum. But they are all classic signs of anxiety and depression. Scary stuff indeed.

  5. I didn't know then, but I know now..and can attest that I felt many of these emotions. Just know that if you are suffering, if you are angry to the point that it's not "you", it's time to seek help. I became angry because I had a hard time finding qualified help after admitting I needed help! (which I think admitting was the hardest, but thankfully I did!)

    • Yes. I love that point. If it doesn't feel like the real "you" – if the behavior just seems so out of character — that can be a big sign.
      ~ K

  6. Thanks so much for this post, Katherine… I felt all of these things (and still do occasionally) during the worst times of my PND. Before my diagnosis, it was definitely the anger that scared me the most. Never towards my little man, but towards my wonderful fiance. That irrecoverable feeling of things spiraling out of your control, whilst the whole time knowing it's so wrong. We found it so difficult and it was tearing us apart. Paired with this was the insomnia, the worry, the guilt, all leading to a rapid loss in weight… Cue feelings of worthlessness, ugliness, lack of confidence… And yes, you know the story well. Getting help was the best thing I ever did, thank goodness for my wonderful family doctor! And my blog is the other outlet I find a wonderful sense of relief from writing. My own kind of therapy. Thanks so much again… I look forward to hearing more from you soon.

  7. Love this, because this was my issue – I didn't know these things were symptoms. If I had known that about anger and insomnia, I'd have caught it a lot earlier.

  8. i had the anger. such anger. for 2 years. i was always angry. always yelling at someone or frustrated to the point of crying. i couldn't communicate without losing my temper. i just couldn't control it. i wish i knew then that that was a symptom as well, i may have sought help earlier as well. I didn't fully understand what was going on until i couldn't stop crying. Its been 4 years since i went for help, but i still feel the guilt and shame of it all still like it was yesterday. We have healed alot as a family but there are still somethings we are unable to talk about. I wonder all the time when i will forgive myself for what i put everyone through.

  9. During my PPD days I had so much trouble falling asleep, and it seemed like the baby would always wake me up just as I was FINALLY drifting off. The feeling of frustration and anger (no, rage!) and sadness on top of the exhaustion led me to stop going to bed entirely. I would be up to all hours of the night because I was so afraid of it happening again.
    It sounds silly when I try to explain it now, but I just couldn’t emotionally deal with the baby waking me up one more time.

    • Catherine, I’m trying to post a reponse to your comment, but apparentlly my comment is too long and the “post comment” button disappears. :( Hoping this is a glich that will be fixed so I can leave my response to you!!!

      • Catherine, I can totally relate to your frustration and anger about sleep (or the lack thereof) and the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes along with it. The SAME EXACT THING happened to me too. Just about the time I finally drifted off to sleep, the baby would wake up for his next feeding. He ate every 3 hours around the clock until he was 1 year old, and even then he still continued waking up for at least 1 night-time feeding up until he was 15 ½ months old. My depression/anger/exhaustion was so horrible and I began to HATE going to bed at night. I would cry in sheer hysteria every night at bedtime. During night-time feedings I was so angry at the world, at my own baby, and at my husband for the fact that he lie in bed sound asleep, completely oblivious to the fact that I ever even left his side…and again, I would cry. It was absolutely draining, and I believe that this lack of sleep made EVERYTHING worse, and caused my PPD to become way worse and last way longer than it ever should have. My baby just turned 2 a few weeks ago, and I am SO GLAD to say that the PPD finally left me back in February of this year (after haunting me for a year and a half). It was literally like something was physically removed from my body—I could literally FEEL that it had left me. However, I began suffering with terrible insomnia! (I guess the year and a half of PPD and night-time feedings screwed up my body’s natural sleep system). It comes and goes, and I hate having insomnia, but anything is better than the incredible nightmare of PPD and the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with it. Best of luck to you and your little one!! <3

        • Your story sounds similar to mine.. however my youngest is 19 months and im still going thru all of these listed above, started with anxiety and now its both anxiety and depression. Ive been being seen for over a year and still no difference, the brain fog, like living my life behind a glass wall, the anxiety, the ITs, everything. I have never been depressed or anxious before or after our first son, and I was fine thru my second pregnancy. I have tried every med almost I just want an answer and a solution. I pray to god everyday to heal me and keep his promise to get me thru this, but days like today and others I cant even see the light. Most terrible thing ever. I just need advice on which meds to try now, im starting therapy soon. I just dont get it, how my mind cant wrap around the fact I have two kids, but my body can…

          • I just wanted you to know that I understand how you feel. I too have been relying on my faith in god for healing. I tried antidepressants but the side effects were aweful and I threw up every day. It is good you are starting therapy soon. God doesnt want you to suffer and that is why he gives the medical profession wisdom. If you have been dealing with this for a year now then you are a strong person. Remember that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. To all the women struggling with ppd or ppa, you can do it and this too shall pass.

  10. Excellent post!!!! I had all of those during my non-postpartum depression (I am a male in college) along with the more well known symptoms (appetite loss, loss of sex drive ect.) , good to see a post like this.

  11. I experienced ALL of the above… and it seemed like every damn day that I experienced them. It’s not surprising to me that these have been found to be symptoms- they seem like RED FLAGS to me!

  12. I wish physicians would spend more time with new moms and their spouses educating them about postpartum depression. After struggling alone with many of the symptoms you describe, I finally came came out of the depression over a year after my first child was born. But the damage it did to me and my marriage will last forever. After my second child was born, I was much more aware and knew what to look for.

  13. Great article! My PPD really felt like a physical problem. I was very busy and managing to get everything done, so it couldn’t be depression, I thought. I had been depressed as a teenager, but PPD was completely different.

    • what were your symptoms?? i was just diagnosed and almost all my symptoms are physical!! what helped you get better? i just started taking zoloft. i know i had ppd after my first child, but i managed to get better without professional help. this time, it has felt so much different…i haven’t been suffering so much emotionally like i did last time.

  14. I almost got diagnosed with this but is now looking more likely to be postpartum thyroiditis. Being aware of PND is really important, but I wonder if more women should be having their thyroid levels checked AND a check for thyroid antibodies. Just a thought, as many sympoms are VERY similar.

  15. This is so true! I too had each and everyone of these symptoms when I suffered! As a volunteer to PSI I hear these symptoms a lot with postpartum moms as well with pregnant moms! Thanks Katherine for bringing these symptoms to light!

  16. This is a fantastic site.I believe my step-daughter suffers fromPPD. She had an extremely difficult pregnancy and birth and your mention of PTSD really hits home.I am anxious to have her and. other family members see this information. The first step is knowlege of what you are dealing with. Thank-you.

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  18. This website actually just made my day. Im happy to hear that while pod isn’t normal its common. I thought I was going crazy. Definitely talking to my doctor at my next appointment!

  19. I have experienced everything that was said above. A month after my second baby, I started having intrusive irrational very scary thoughts. Any bad news on TV and end-of-the-world kind of movies worsen that feeling. I couldn’t wear anything close-neck or take a shower because I feel like I was suffocating. Everyday was like a nightmare. I was so irritable, sad, and angry at small things. Then the worst thing happened. I started having panic attacks. It is the scariest thing I have ever experienced. I feel like I am having a heart attack. My husband assured me that it was just a panic attack and downloaded an article about it online. He made me read this and it seemed to work a little bit.
    It’s been 4 months now since I started having panic attacks. The scary thoughts are now gone, and I can now get in the shower and wear close-neck clothes with no problem. But the pounding heart, shortness of breath, shakiness, nausea, tingling fingers and head, and weak arms still visit often that we once had to trip to the ER. They checked everything, did X-ray, and lab works and everything was normal. At the end they diagnosed me with palpitations. No one in that ER seemed to think that I am suffering from PPD. They did not even prescribe me with medication.
    It is a torture. The only way I can get some sleep is through sleeping pill. No matter how tired and lack of sleep I am, sleeping naturally is impossible.
    At first I was in denial in fear of being thought of as crazy. For months I kept the thoughts and feelings to myself until I started reading more about PPD. On Monday I am going to see my doctor and we’ll go from there. I hope that everything will be better soon.

      • Hi ..my name is Lucy i got post partum whe my baby was 2 months i lost 40 lbs. I couldn’t swallow water i got help when i had an anxiety attack and was terrified to be alone i am now taking Zoloft and pills for anxiety within a month i started feeling better i still have some intruding thoughts that i got again because i wet off the meds for 1week and a half because i felt better i got my period and boom..i got anxiety so i talked to my therapist and saud i had made a mistake on doing that but it has gotten better and prayer has a big part in my recovery i wish It would go away completely already..i want this nightmare to b over.

        • Hi, Lucy! You are doing a great job taking care of yourself. Keep up with your treatment and you will recover. Like you’ve already experienced, if you cut treatment short, relapse is more likely to happen. Keep moving forward, you can do this!

    • Yes. I too can not see anything on the news. Actually I no longer watch the news. It’s very paralyzing to see all that.

  20. I will be 40 this month and I had a surprise baby last April. He arrived 10 weeks early and spent 2 months in NICU. I have 2 other children, ages 9 and 6. I have had ongoing issues with getting pregnant and staying pregnant. Each pregnancy was difficult and the babies were premature.
    Prior to this I have had a history of depression but it has been controlled by an antidepressant. After I stopped nursing my second child I basically lost my mind in depression, anxiety, etc. My mood swings were so severe but it took me a year or so before I finally figured out what was going on. By then I was ready for a divorce, to leave my children, and was suicidal. I just weaned my third child and since then am having similar issues but my mood swings are so severe and frequent that I cannot handle it. I have lost 30 pounds. I have severe anxiety that has led me to the ER twice now. I started to see a psychiatrist and have been put on 2 antidepressants. He recently put me on a medication for bipolar – I took it for about five days and it made me have a major breakdown. I quit taking this. I feel like everyone thinks I am crazy but I know I am not and I know I am not bipolar. This is the exact same thing that occurred after my second child and I keep telling the doctors this and they just ignore me. I am a nurse as well but I do not understand the world of hormones… I have always been majorly affected by them but during pregnancy, all throught the NICU, etc. I was great… It is probably the best I ever feel mentally. I just wondered if anyone has any similar experiences and/or what to do about this… The psychiatrist keeps giving me more meds… I was lead to this psychiatrist by a counselor that I took my daughter to and I really liked her. She diagnosed my daughter with ADD as well as myself. While I thought that this was impossible I read a lot about it and had pretty much every symptom. So she referred me to this psychiatrist. Since then I am taking Adderrall, Cymbalta, Fluvoxamine,…. My husband says it is the Adderall but I keep telling everyone this is the same thing as before. I do not want all of these medications…. I know that there must be something else that can be checked and/or done…. I know this is hormonal. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations? Thanks!

    • Leslie I am so sorry to hear you haven’t found the proper help you need. If your gut feeling is you’re being misdiagnosed then it’s time to get a second opinion. I read that you are seeing a psychiatrist . Are you able to get some therapy? It is sometimes so difficult to actually get that initial appointment but is very beneficial for you in the long run. It’s been said that cognitive behavioral therapy is so beneficial and maybe you can see someone that specializes in that form of therapy
      I myself am 14months post partum and to be honest am still dealing with the aftermath of postpartum spectrum (what I like to call it). However everyone is different so recovery is just a process that everyone goes through in differently. I suffered postpartum depression, anxiety, ocd and a bit of pptsd from c section and severe anemia the way the hospital handled it was very negligent. I am taking a low dose of Zoloft 25mg. I wish you luck and remember there are so many women out there going through what you are feeling. So much luck to you.
      ppd sister

    • Ive stuffered hormonal / anxiety problems for over 30yrs after having an ovary removed at times thought was going insane really bad after i had my son. Ive begged & begged for comprehensive hormone tests to no avail still suffering now. Say on the news the other day ppd most common when the child is 4 yrs old. I never knew this or that anxiety was part of ppd. We need more research in hormones , millions of women suffering due to hormonal inbalances

  21. As many of the other women have said about this and the other articles on this site, I am so glad I found this. Before, kept thinking I was crazy. Some days I feel like a hollow shell, others I feel like I only exist on this earth to take care of and watch my daughter grow… almost like it doesn’t matter if I am taken care of. As long as my daughter is happy, that’s all that matters… you know? I will be 7 months postpartum in 3 days. I began taking medication at 4 months postpartum after so many bouts of unbelievable rage, and then I stopped because I felt better and thought I had control of things. I felt fine for a while, but now, even today, the horrible anger, yelling, and bad thoughts are creeping their way back into my life. After reading this article, I know I am not crazy and things will get better; I just need to take control of it. It makes me feel so much better and less lonely to know I am not the only one in the world who feels this way. Thank you so very much.

    • I do know, Amanda. I know exactly what you’re saying. You’re not crazy, you just have an illness, and the way to “take control” is to realize that the best thing to do is reach out for help. Call your doctor and talk about your symptoms. PPD is temporary and treatable with professional help.
      ~ K

    • Holly, it wouldn’t technically be postpartum depression anymore, but if you had PPD and it was never treated you may still be suffering from depression. It’s worth having a conversation with your doctor about what you’ve been feeling (what your symptoms are) and what you might do about it.
      ~ K

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  25. For the first few weeks PP, I’d get horrible anxiety at 3-4pm every day. I turned into a completely different person. At 6 weeks I started to feel better. However, almost 4 months PP, I still get an anxiety at night time and if anything changes to my daughters sleep habits, I get bad anxiety. I don’t know what to tie it too other then the first night we brought her home was the one of the most horrific experiences I ever experienced. She didn’t stop screaming. My milk hadn’t come in yet and I wasn’t aware of that ever being a problem and she was eating every 30 min to an hour and she was starving basically, but I didn’t know it till afterwards when my milk came in. It was just awful and I think it scarred me. So, wheneve the sun goes down and bed time is creeping around for her, I just freak out inside and start to panic.

  26. I just had a baby and I had no idea that what im going through is ppd. I have been having all the symtoms and I honestly thought I was going crazy. I spoke to my Dr. today and i did some blood test hopefully now i get some help managing this ppd.

      • I dont know if im replying correctly but im begging for help. Desperately. My baby is 6.5 month old. Im an educated college instructor with no history of mental illness ever. About 2 weeks pp o started having psnic symptoms, severe anxiety. They tried me on lexapro tgan zoloft 25 mg. I literally thought I was dying I began uncontrollably scratching myself pulling out clumps of my hair pacing shaking twitching tapping on things and staying desperately awake for 72 hrs. They then started me on lamictal. Dont hsve side effects but seemed to help slightly for about 1 month.now tge last 3 weeks its bad again. I hate this ive lived like this for too long. Im terrified this will never end. I want to live my normal happy life again. Not live anxious wnd uncomfortable. Im also seeing an mft. The psychiatrists only words of advice, u seem some better, hang on there and tske klonapin when needed. I hate that stuff and refuse to put it in my body. I need more help then im getting. Dr said definitely not bipolar, pp gad. so desperate to stop fsking like im ok when in reality im slowly dying inside. I almost dont remember what its like to feel normal. Sad really. When will this end

        • I’m so sorry you are going through this Jenny. I’m glad you reached out for help and that you are continuing to speak with your doctor about how your treatment plan is or isn’t working for you. I’m not sure where you live, but I think perhaps also reaching out for moral support from other moms might be of real help to you. We have a listing of support groups here: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/ppd-support-groups-in-the-u-s-canada I think being able to talk to other moms with the same symptoms could help. I would also reaching out to the local Postpartum Support International coordinator in your area and talking to her about all the options for support in your area: http://postpartum.net/Get-Help/Support-Resources-Map-Area-Coordinators.aspx

        • Hi, I’m 9 months pp and I’m still experiencing anxiety and like you said just want to go back to my normal happy life. I’ve tried Klonopin occasionally but never zoloft or lexapro. Does it ever get better? Did yours go away after a year?

          • I am nine months postpartum and my severe anxiety symptoms started the day after I had my third child. I just wanted to say that it does get better. I am not anywhere near where I was when I started having postpartum anxiety. I am not fully recovered yet but I thank god for the progress I have made. If medicine helps you then try it. I tried two ssri’s and found that the side effects were worse than the anxiety. I have been going to therapy, watching my diet, exercising, taking fish oil and other vitamins, praying and trying to get enough sleep. Some days are better than others however there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You are stronger than you think you are and you can do this. This too shall pass.
            ~ I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37)

  27. Had my second child in our blended family, recently lost my 1st sons father to a drowning accident. The only way I can explain how I feel is heartbroken, like my pieces don’t fit back together. I cry about anything and everything for the past few months. Feelings of overwhelmed, anxiety, like I’m angry all the time. I have many monuments of happiness, but it seems like there is this dark cloud over me at all times, and when I think about it I cry, I ball my eyes & I think I’m going crazy. I’ve never felt this way before. I’m out going, happy, enthusiastic.. now some days, I just think.. screw it. I recently called my local clinic, I can’t get an appointment for a month. It made me angry and then I cried about it, broken on the inside I just want to get back to the old me, mentally. And turn off the water works.

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  29. I am so glad to have found your articles. I have been experiencing PPD in the form of anxiety and panic attacks after a early miscarriage/ D& C 7 weeks ago. When the Dr. said I may have PPD I was confused, thinking “hey I’m not depressed at all what the heck is he talking about?” My husband and I were upset about the miscarriage but felt we were dealing pretty well, knowing we would try again.
    I have no history of depression or anxiety so the sudden onset of panic attacks was terrifying. The hardest part is trying to find information about postpartum anxiety!

    • Megan, you could have symptoms of anxiety or depression at any time in your life. They wouldn’t technically be symptoms of “postpartum depression” or “postpartum anxiety” anymore, but if you had PPD and were never treated the symptoms could continue on indefinitely. And even if you never had PPD, any person can get depression or anxiety. If you do have symptoms, I would suggest talking to your doctor. Depression and anxiety are fully treatable. ~ K

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  31. I just had my third child 3 weeks ago and I have been struggling with anxiety attacks. I am scared to mention it to my doctor because I don’t want her to think I’m a bad mom or take my kids. I don’t feel angry or anything like that just out of the blue I will start getting nervous and have a hard time breathing. Any advice?

    • Brittany, hon, it’s important to reach out for help. While postpartum anxiety is common, there is nothing normal about having anxiety attacks. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mom or that your kids will be taken away, it just means you have an illness. Postpartum anxiety is fully treatable and I want you to reach out for help so that you can get these anxiety attacks under control. If you feel like you don’t have a good or trusting relationship with your doctor and therefore aren’t comfortable reaching out to him or her, email us at postpartumprogress@gmail.com and let us know where you live and we’ll see if there are specialists in your area that we can recommend. You can also check out our specialists page here: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/womens-mental-health-treatment-programs-specialists-us-canada-australia

    • hi there i have had 3 sections and 4 children ,i went to doctor and all was okay ,i feel anxiety and panick for 2 years and i am on citalopram 10 mg which helps alot but i get bad days where i just want be dead so i dont feel the panick i feel x

  32. Pingback: My case of postpartum depression | Cablearms

  33. Is it normal to be so short tempered and angry at your toddler for toddler behavior? I have a 3 year old boy and a 2 year old boy. I was diagnosed with depression and ocd about a year ago. I still have intrusive thoughts and I cry at night when I have a really bad day because I’m afraid to stay home alone with my boys the next day. Is it normal to have a thought you hate about your babies just playing like a record in your mind over and over? While the thought is going through my mind, I’m thinking what if I really do this? I am angry all the time and I think what if one day I just lose it? Is it weird to still be experiencing this 3 years later? I thought my intrusive thoughts were gone, but over the last couple of days they returned. Does anyone else feel the same way?

    • Nicola, I am so sorry that you are struggling. It sound like all is not okay for you so it appears that your doctor must be wrong. I don’t know a whole lot about the UK NHS, but here in the US we can seek a second opinion from a different doctor. If I were you, I’d reach out for help to someone who perhaps knows more about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, how to recognize them, and how to help moms who have them. Reach out to this group and ask for a recommendation of a good doctor in your area: http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/how-we-can-help/support-groups.html#.U_Stw41dWzt I’m sure they’d like to help you. There is ABSOLUTELY treatment that can help with these thoughts. I promise. Don’t give up.

  34. I experienced the most severe postpartum anxiety the day after I had my third child six months ago. I couldnt eat, I sobbed at nothing, I was afraid to shower, I couldnt sleep, I definitely had physical symptoms (shooting spasms up my spine, tingling in my arms and legs and mouth, dizziness, headaches), I was angry and couldnt stand my husband, I couldnt sit still, intrusive thoughts and many more symptoms that I cant remember. I have greatly improved thanks to my faith in god and my supportive family. I also see a therapist and tried medicine but it made me sick everyday. I am wondering if anyone has experienced depersonalization because of their anxiety? That is the most present symptom that is still lingering from the ppa.

    • This feed is like a godsend. So relieved that I’m not alone. I had a panic attack in Jan 14′ that followed many physical symptoms and after trying natural routes eventually went on a prescription for anxiety. Funny the doctors say no but my aunt who also had two babies close together kept saying “are you sure it’s not ppd?” Now I’m almost convinced in having pp anxiety or depression and definitely without all the sadness! Oh wow thank you thank you thank you for sharing ladies!

  35. Ladies I have been researching for hours . I don’t know what I have . Doctors checked my thyroid and everything else a normal . My symptoms are extreme fatigue to the point if where I have a hard time walking , I’m yawning left and right , brain fog, muscle twitches and spasms, sometimes anxiety attacks for example I was taking a shower and freaked out because my left leg looked longer than my right, and I also have my hair falling out in clumps and my hands shake :( I am 27 I dont know what is wrong with me. My blood pressure has also been consistently low and my ears feels clogged .

    • I felt all of those things. I even got to the point I was so anxious I was tripping. My sinuses felt plugged. I lost tons of hair and I still am. The hair breakage is the worst and the graying is fast now! I’m 28. I feel a lot better than I did but I was truly terrifying. I really recommend counselling. I hope you can have some relief! :( it will get better. I researched everything. I was convinced it was my thyroid. But reading all this I’m convinced it’s pp anxiety. My baby was 7 months when it started. Not sure if that’s normal.

  36. Hello, thanks for the article, i’m a dad, my wife just gave birth to a premature baby, who is healthy and stable so far, she is going trough what i believe is postpartum anxiety, she forgets things, best all anxious, behaving erratically sometimes, and very very convinced that i’m ill and need attention asap, does not sleep, and would want me to leave her alone at any moment, constantly telling me that everything will be ok, and that she loves me, she reckons that she is going trough rough time, we have visited her gynecologist, perinatologist (don;t know the english word for it) and psychiatrist, they all agree that we are going to be okay and in 8-15 days things will come back to normal, but still i can’t help to be worried, stressed and very scared, i love very much, and don’t want to loose the woman she was prior this, thanks for the informative article, is calming in a way, and would love some guidance/advice



    • Hi Tony, so sorry to hear of your struggles (and so sorry for the late reply). How are things now? If she is still struggling please get her to see her doctor. Those early days are hard, especially with a preemie, but it doesn’t mean she isn’t suffering from a real illness. Good luck, and come back to let us know how you’re doing.

  37. Pingback: Anxiety And Depression Diagnosis | Over Here Blogging

  38. Pingback: Anxiety And Depression Feeling Crazy During Period | Over Here Blogging

  39. Pingback: When Postpartum Depression isn’t Depression

  40. My daughter had a child 2 mths ago she is anger, irritable, gets mad quickly, unreasonable when I try talking to her, has hot flushes, complains of her legs hurting when she gets up from a sitting position or gets up from floor, forgetful and she has started back on anti depressants and meds for sleep. I am at wits end her and the baby live with me the father of the child not in picture. I have my plate full just diagnosed with BREAST CANCER and a blood disorder. I will have surgery in next several weeks but need some advice on what to do with my daughter and her Tasmanian Devil behavior. Cuz the won’t admit she has none of thse symptoms. I did not have PPD. Plz help!!!

    • Mary – I’m sorry you are all dealing with this. I’m glad she’s started meds. Hopefully that will help her stabilize a bit more and she will be able to think more clearly about what she’s going through. Encourage her to stick to her treatment plan and continue to support her however you can. All of those things will help.

  41. I have nightmares and daydreams about my kids dying all the time, and sleep anxiety that has gotten a lot better, but still happens. I never saw this as a PPD symptom before. My heart will start racing at bedtime and I can’t sleep. I am 15 months postpartum but still have symptoms. I am thankful for this blog, but there isn’t really any specific directions for how to find help, or other websites with some tips and solutions. This is less of a problem than it used to be for me, but still pretty bothersome. Usually a good cry and talking to someone helps, but I would like to have more tools in my belt for dealing with these issues.

    • The best piece of advice we can give you is to encourage you to reach out to a therapist that can help you develop coping strategies to deal with the anxiety. The skills you will learn in therapy can help you get through the rough patches that are a normal part of recovery.

  42. Pingback: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: What You Need to Know! | Cindy and Jana | NuuNest iPhone App

  43. Before having my twins I was very happy. I always smiled and felt very close with God along with the people in my life. Now that I had them I feel numb.literally. my husbands aunt which I was pretty close to passed away unexpectedly and I’m still numb to it (its been about a month ago). I get angered easily,I cry at least 2-3 times a day,I literally hate my body (twin skin plus never had good self esteem),I have thoughts of I’d like to just leave (but I know deep down I can’t or I’d come right back),I feel like a total mess.I had a healthy pregnancy but a rough delivery. My placenta abrupted with my twin daughter and started with my twin son.I also lost 2 liters of blood during the emergency c section.my twins were shipped two hrs away to another hospital while I had to stay two days at the other hospital. It started there.my twins will be 4months old march 14 and its only got worse.I’ve tried talking to family/hubby and praying. Praying helps some but doesn’t resolve it.my family thinks I need to tough it out because their terrified I’m gonna get hooked on pills (I don’t even like taking Tylenol for Christ sake)

    • April – I’m sorry you’ve been feeling this way. What you are describing sounds very much like postpartum depression. It’s a real illness and that requires medical treatment. If you do need medication (and not all cases do), there are several common medications for PPD that are in no way habit forming. I hope you reach out for help soon. You deserve to feel better.

      • Thank You. I talked with my doctor and they give me some medication to help and we are in the process of setting me up with a therapiest. So far, so good. I feel more human so far. haha Thanks again