Postpartum Anxiety Left Her An Emotional & Physical Wreck

Share Button

Maggi B.Today I’m happy to welcome Warrior Mom Maggi B., who shares not only how postpartum anxiety wrecked her body and mind but also the 6 things that saved her.  

When my daughter was born nearly two years ago, I knew right away that something wasn’t quite right. Not with my baby – she was perfect, healthy, and beautiful. Something wasn’t right with me.

I had been really anxious during my last trimester and had been so hopeful that once my baby was born, I would bounce back and feel good. Instead, I spiraled into a horrible bout of postpartum anxiety. Within 48 hours of her birth, I developed HORRIBLE insomnia. I could not sleep. I would lay in a sort of stupor, night after night, listening to my new baby go through the cycles of sleeping and waking, unable to get any rest myself. I went ten days in a row getting anywhere from just minutes to maybe two hours of broken sleep each night (and none at all during the day) and pretty much had an emotional collapse.

In addition to not being able to sleep, I had no appetite. I’d only gained 15 pounds while pregnant. I was breastfeeding, and barely able to eat a bite, which left me weak and exhausted. I lost 20 pounds in the first week after my daughter was born; all 15 I’d gained plus another five pounds I couldn’t spare. I was a sliver of my former self, a shadow.

I had awful health anxiety, phobias, and the blackest, bleakest depression. I felt like there was toxic sludge moving through my veins. I rarely went outside. The people and places most familiar to me suddenly seemed foreign. It was a truly surreal experience. I felt like a visitor in my own body. I could see my face reflected in the mirror but I hardly recognized the pale, frightened, exhausted woman looking back at me.

I was a wreck. I can’t even describe how awful I felt. I was terrified all the time, terrified I would never sleep again, that I would never feel like myself again, that I had ruined my life. Here I had this wonderful baby, and I couldn’t enjoy my time with her because I was awash in anxiety, and fear. If it weren’t for my mom, who cared for me and my daughter for the first four weeks postpartum, I have no doubt that I would have had to be hospitalized. I could hardly care for myself, let alone this fragile new being. My mom made sure I ate even if I wasn’t hungry; she and my sister helped cover night feedings so that I could take medication and try to get some sleep.
The road to recovery was long, and tiring. There were setbacks, and days when I thought all progress had been lost. On those bad days, I returned to Postpartum Progress and other support sites and read (and reread!) stories of hope and recovery. I told myself I would get there, too. I would get to that place called better.

Here I am, nearly two years later, and I feel GREAT! I feel 100% like myself again. 100%! I never, ever thought I would be able to write those words. Here’s what saved me:

  • Postpartum Progress and its stories from other moms who had felt as terrible as I did, and came out the other side
  • My daughter’s pediatrician, who immediately recognized I was spiraling down and insisted I get help
  • Medication: Zoloft, and Trazodone for sleep
  • Support from family and friends
  • Therapy
  • Time

I have been off all sleep meds for almost a year now and I sleep just fine. Each and every night I am thankful for it. In fact, I can honestly say I am thankful for my experience with postpartum anxiety. It has made me a kinder, more compassionate person. It taught me that “normal” is the most amazing feeling, and I don’t ever take it for granted. Postpartum anxiety has also brought me together with so many brave moms who fought back against it, and won.

For those of you still struggling with postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression or OCD, please know that it will get better. It may take longer than you’d like, it may mean taking meds, but you WILL get better. And better is wonderful.

Share Button
About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

Tell Us What You Think

Comments

  1. I’m at the two year mark…just a bit past it now and am praying and hoping to have this turn around story! Thank you for sharing…oh and thank you for making me “Warrior Mom of the day” yesterday. Hugs and love. xo

  2. I had postpartum anxiety, among other PPMADs, it was horrible and debilitating. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I’m just past the one year mark with my intense struggle with PPD and am so glad to hear your words of hope. Things are getting worse for me, so I’m off for a med adjustment in the next week, but in the meantime I’m watching my marriage collapse around me. I can’t wait for the day I can say I feel “normal.” Hopefully most things I hold dear to me now will remain intact.

  4. Brittany says:

    Mine started I. Third trimester as well. My boy is now 20 months old and I still am battling this fight! Racing thoughys, physical symptoms, panic attacks, fear of having panic attacks, agoraphobia…you name it. I tried every natural route it seems. I decided it’s finally time to go see a psychologist. So hopefully this will be my beginning to the end I’ve waited so long for!

  5. I am so happy to hear survival stories! Postpartum Progress helped me too. I have 4 kids and each time suffered horrific postpar tum anxiety. This time was by far the worst. I had to be hospilized for a week right after my baby was born. My youngest is now 11 months. I am sleeping again. Ihave hope! I lost all hope for months and had to trust my loved ones and was carried by th.
    eir hope alone. Im almost back to myself. Some health issues are holding back full recovery but its coming! Thank you for sharing your story. I too have become kinder and more compassionate for others. We are ALL fighting our own struggles.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and giving hope to those who feel like there is none. I have been going through PPD/PPOCD since November 2013 and with support from family, meds, and seeing a psych I am feeling much better but still not 100%. For those going through the thick of it, they need to read these stories to know they will someday make it out. God bless!

  7. Thank you for this post. I can relate 100%, the insomnia was the hardest on me. I felt like I was being tortured. I’m so happy to hear you’re at 100%, I can’t wait to get there!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story. This was EXACTLY my experience with PPA/D. The insomnia was so incredibly terrifying. I too thought I would never sleep again and I still have notebooks from that time showing how obsessed I was with sleep. My appetite was non-existent for a while too.

    I’ve been 97% better for a long time now. I say 97% because I still have wobbles and I’m still petrified of going back there which affects my mood and anxiety a little. It’s so encouraging to hear you say you are now feeling 100% yourself x

  9. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear you are feeling 100% yourself again. I had a very similar experience and I’ve been using meds, therapists on and off, and a sleep routine to help me get back to better. I feel like I take 3 steps forward, 1 back, 2 forward, etc, and slowly it’s getting better. I have experienced a couple of setbacks in the past 2 months and it has been so sad and hard, but overall I know I’m getting better. I go to work, take care of my daughter, and am working on finally getting my husband to understand. It has been so amazing reading people’s stories on this site the past few days, and the feeling of hope it gives me is the best part. I know that I will come out on the other side, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel! It’s hard to focus on the big picture but I know this is vital so I try my best.

    Thank you thank you thank you for sharing, and congratulations on recognizing you needed help, seeking it out, and prioritizing your health (you and we all are worth it)!

  10. Your story touched me deeply! It resonates with my current struggle with PPD/PPA. My daughter is almost 5 months and I have more good days than bad and for that I am so grateful. Thank you for providing hope to others, because sometimes in our darkest moments hope is the only thing that keeps us going

  11. I am having a tear reading your story. I am exhausted from the fight tonight but getting better very gradually. I live in London and this website has helped me as much as my meds and therapy. I got ppa 4 months after my third child and never had before. Terrifying is not the word! Wish the UK would catch up in recognising and informing mums about postpartum anxiety. I was convinced I wasn’t suffering from postnatal depression as it was anxiety that came in waves where I would be flooded with negative thoughts until I cried. I hope to tell my story when I am better to help other mums just like you have. Thank you. X x x

    • Hang in there Polly. I know it’s hard. I’m thrilled to hear Postpartum Progress has helped you in some way. And don’t feel bad about the UK – it’s the same here in the US. But we’ll keep doing our best to make sure moms know about all perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. ~ K