Postpartum Anxiety: A Multitude of Fears

Continuing with yesterday's theme of postpartum anxiety and OCD, thought I'd share this from reader Della P.:

"I was never depressed. I didn’t feel despair or hopelessness. I didn’t lack the connection with my first baby or my second. I loved them. I also worried myself sick. I obsessed. I made mountains out of molehills. Eventually, I became paralyzed by fear. Fear, anxiety, paranoia — I don’t really know the difference — overwhelmed me. I couldn’t differentiate my maternal instincts from my obsessive and intrusive thoughts. It was terrible, the worst time of my life. Fear is such a four letter word.

This fear, anxiety and paranoia that I was feeling was a totally treatable illness that I waited longer than I should have to deal with. Sure, it’s natural to worry as a mother, but when has it gone too far? I don’t know, but professionals do. Learn from me and receive the help that is out there waiting to make you better. Get the help you need that will allow you to feel joy in the role of motherhood. Just by reading this, I know you are taking steps, and I applaud you for that.

Now, Ihave learnedthat most of what I worry about never happens. There is great truth to the old acronym, F.E.A.R., standing for False Evidence Appearing Real. I also know I am good mother who feels peace and is so very grateful to be a survivor. It is all because I received the help and treatment I so desperately needed and because I now take care of myself and my little girls."

Some moms have the symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Some have one or the other. What matters is that, no matter what combination of symptoms we have, we get the help and support we need and deserve.

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.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. I went through PPA and it also went untreated for a long time. Not because I didn't try to get help, though, but because my doctor's check list was all about PPD and didn't address anything I was going through.

  2. I never knew that. What F.E.A.R. stood for. Makes so much sense. I have a tough time not believing the thoughts when they're present. I don't know how to shout at them to go the hell away and so I sit and stew.

  3. I had faced Panic disorder and I know how these mental disorders can change your life. Yoga worked great for me and I think faith in god and yoga can do wonders for mental disorders.

  4. Della P. says:

    Pamela, I don't know your situation, but medication and therapy were really key for me to be able to trump the thoughts when they happen. (Medication lessened them and therapy helped me to learn to combat them.) And, yes, Texas A.L., yoga and faith have helped, too, but medication and therapy were the most important things (first steps) for me (and the ones I desperately avoided for far too long… Learn from my mistakes and get the treatment that's out there. The thoughts are symptoms of a treatable illness.)
    Betsy, that just stinks but it is a sign of the times. My OB didn't even screen although he is screening now. Maybe you should bring him/her Six Things Every Health Care Pro Should Know that Katherine has on the left side of the page.

  5. When I started having symptoms, I was never depressed. I was chalk full of fear and crippling anxiety and had no idea that it was a symptom. I am so glad that you got help and are moving forward.

  6. I just saw the Winnie the Pooh movie and thought of this that I wrote a while ago. The "Backsun" from the moview is a perfect example of Fear as false evidence appearing real. Pooh can teach us so much.