Jill Williams Krause: On The Impending Doom of Postpartum Anxiety

postpartum depression, mental healthDear New Momma,

Wow. Are you tired, or what?

This mom thing, it is not for the weak… or those who can’t stomach coffee. I mean, I think eventually we all end up chugging a pot at some point, even if we hate the stuff.

If you’re feeling exhausted, fuzzy, sore, and, generally, like a truck hit you, please know that’s pretty normal when it comes to life with a new baby. Unfortunately.

What I want to tell you, though, is there are some things you may be feeling, hearing or seeing that are not so “normal.” I say this because it’s SO hard to decipher between what is and isn’t just a typical response to the 180 shift of your life once you become a mom when you are in the trenches.

See, I went for a really long time thinking what I was experiencing was just me being a mom… and really sucking at it. I thought what I was going through was a result of my inability to adapt. Instead, what I was experiencing was postpartum anxiety.

What that looked like for me was constant racing thoughts, lacking the ability to focus on one task at a time, paralyzing pressure to get stuff done, an incessant overwhelmed feeling, no real emotional connection with my baby, and an ever present fear of impending doom.

It was also accompanied by very real, graphic visualizations of my baby getting hurt or dying. Of me hurting my baby or accidentally killing her. And an over the top fear of stair cases, heights and railings.

I was constantly on edge, always yelling and snapping at everyone I loved. It peaked for me with an actual anxiety attack, during which I was convinced I was having a heart attack.

Once I finally figured out that all of that did not equal typical motherhood, I reached out for help. I talked to people, to survivors, to doctors. I took medicine. I took control of my life.

It’s been a long 7 months since I finally recognized postpartum anxiety in myself, and I wouldn’t say I’m cured, but I am coping. I am at a point now that I never imagined I’d ever be this time last year. Remember, at that point I thought I was just destined to be a terrible mom. That it was something I’d never overcome.

Now, I’m not saying I sit here today the perfect mother, but I am living and learning how to overcome postpartum anxiety every day. I am on my way OUT of something I didn’t know I was stuck so very deep in for so long.

So take a look around at the other stories that are shared here today. Take a look at the amazing resources this blog has to offer. If you recognize that you’re experiencing something beyond the “normal” shift into motherhood, if you even suspect it, reach out. Get help. Your life does NOT have to be defined by this. YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOTHER, and you can get better.

~ Jill

Jill is a mother of 2, a toddler and a preschooler, and blogger at BabyRabies.com, where she takes a mostly humorous and very honest look at life as a modern mother. You can follow her on Twitter @BabyRabies, like her on Facebook – Facebook.com/BabyRabiesBlog- and you can read more about her experience with Postpartum Anxiety here:http://www.babyrabies.com/tag/postpartum-anxiety/page/2/

The 4th Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit 501c3 that raises awareness & advocates for more and better services for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Please consider making a donation today, on Mother’s Day, to help us continue to spread the word and support the mental health of new mothers.

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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Comments

  1. (hugs) So very glad to read your voice here today. Your words are so encouraging and full of hope. May your journey out continue to brighten and don’t ever lose sight of the light…

  2. Jill,

    I didn’t even KNOW such a thing as PPA existed until I was on Twitter after having had my third baby in October. Much of your post here resonates with me and I’m so glad you shared in this mother’s day rally with Katherine & the rest of us. My post doesn’t go up til later but I fear it doesn’t hold a candle to everyone else’s. THank you SO MUCH for being so vulnerable and sharing this.

    xoxoxxo & Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. I’m so proud of you, Jill, for reaching out and getting help, and then for being open about it. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. my ppd/ppa was HEAVY on the “a” too. I was a BITCH to everyone and I was sure Eddie was too good to be true after our miscarriages and struggles, so I just started imagining (and freaking out) about the ways he was sure to die.

    nice, right?

    thank you so much for being here today. I still struggle with thinking the same stuff is going to happen with Charlie, but this time, thanks to my meds, my therapy, and my family, it doesn’t consume me.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Jill! I dealt with a lot of anxiety after my son was born and by reaching out for help was able to get back to a “normal” feeling again {if there is such a thing!}. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. Jill, my battle with PPD and PPA was fueled by my anxiety. I too felt that “ever present fear of impending doom” and “paralyzing pressure to get stuff done”. I am so glad that you reached out for help and shared your story.

  7. Laura-Chris Barnes says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jill! I think ppa is so overlooked, there is a lot of focus on ppd. I have found the anxiety can sometimes be even more overwhelming & challenging to deal with – especially when you are caring for your children full time & have a spouse! So happy to hear you can see your light at the end of a very dark tunnel!