Postpartum Anxiety // My journey through the fog

About 3 days after giving birth, I noticed my old friend anxiety creeping back in. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I barely had any problems with it… I actually felt the most stable during the influx of hormones than I think I ever have. But 3 days postpartum is when your hormones crash and lucky for me, this shook me to the core.  I started having dark thoughts and back to back panic attacks at night which prevented me from getting any rest or naps. My appetite disappeared – stomach in knots. I was choking down food that I once loved. Diarrhea [my blog, so it’s not TMI 🙂 ] & elevated heart rate. Clammy, & my skin felt like it was on fire.

I’m no stranger to anxiety… I’ve dealt with it, on and off, for most of my life. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination which is the catalyst for why I get anxiety. There are also outside factors, like when people I care deeply for treat me unfairly. There are herbs like Kava-Kava, & Valerian Root, and even L-Theanine [amino acid in green tea] for mild “anxiety” that to me just help with stress. I’m thankful that western medicine exists for when my anxiety becomes crippling, chronic, or mentally exhausting. There are some medications that really work for me to stop my mind from spinning like a hamster on a wheel, that help me to take some deep breaths and feel like a relaxed, normal human-being. However I am breastfeeding and do not want any of these chemicals, aka pharmaceuticals, to enter my baby’s blood stream. But stress and anxiety can also affect milk supply. ugh. Not to mention anxiety is such a brain fogger. I found my glasses in my shirt drawer, and I put a dirty dish in the pantry.. little things like that.

Luckily at day 3, one of my midwives, Sara Rosser, had been encapsulating my placenta. The placenta is composed of beneficial hormones, chemicals, iron, and proteins which helps with hormonal balance, milk supply, boost energy, pain relief and can also help to slow bleeding. I started taking these so soon as they were handed to me and over the course of a few days started to take note of their effects. My imagination slowed down, and I started feeling like a somewhat normal person again. I’m dealing with some external drama so I still have the external anxiety triggers happening, but I can eat more, I can be happy more, and I can absorb the beauty more in my every day life. Some of these stresses are affecting my milk supply but I’m trying not to let external issues plague me. I couldn’t imagine where my mind would be if I wasn’t taking these placenta pills. Seriously.

I need to focus on my personal, internal mental health so I can operate at my best with my newborn. She’s such a good, sweet, baby girl. I love her so much and don’t want to let my intermittent anxiety robe me of these precious, first few months that I’ll never get back. I’ve been sharing her so much that it’s my turn to be selfish and take the time I want with her. I’m going to have to start setting healthy boundaries. Grow a tougher backbone. Return to journaling. And ask God to smother me and my little family in infinite grace and give us a spirit of peace in this next season.

“Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

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Giving Every Minute a Name

Hazel has been with us for almost 3 weeks. So far, she’s still breathing. Every day I keep her alive is a success. [First-time-mom syndrome]. Time seems to slip through my fingers these days. I feed her every 3 hours – diaper change, breastfeed, bottle feed, diaper change, swaddle, put her down and pump. By the time I’m done with my routine, an hour and a half has passed and then I clean the bottle and pump parts for the next go around. By the time I finished with all of this, I have a little over an hour until my routine starts again. In this precious hour I can eat, work on Eden, take a shower,  do laundry (and try to remember to put the clothes in the dryer), straighten up the house, make more baby wipes, restock the nursery with diapers, take out the trash from her room, start dinner, clean up after dinner, workout (when I’m at least 6 weeks postpartum), or rest. It’s crazy how insanely busy I can be in a day, and when I try to tell Robbie what I’ve done or accomplished, I draw a blank… but I’ve been hustling from 6:15am – 10:30pm.

When people say being  a parent is a “full-time job”… what they mean is a “full-time job with overtime but has great benefits.”

There’s so much that needs [or I want] to get done in a day and I’ve done a good job not getting overwhelmed [yet]. Since she is on a schedule, it gives me the opportunity to schedule out my time and priorities as well, once she’s put down and content until the next feeding. It’s like “giving every dollar a name”, except with my minutes.

My goal over the next few weeks is to identify what needs to get done, and what I’d like to do and mesh that in with Hazel’s schedule.

Hazel has been such a little sweet gift to our family. She sleeps well at night and during the day, she’s fussy only when we change her and when she’s about to eat, and she likes to snuggle 🙂

If you’re wondering where I’ve found time to write this blog post, it’s after my 6:30am feeding. This is the time where I can have breakfast, get on the computer and take a shower. I don’t know what I would do without my baby monitor. It helps being able to see her in her crib, knowing she’s not suffocating on something, or crying.

Getting me on a schedule with Hazel will be good for us. I won’t feel as aimless and I’ll have something to shoot for every day. I also don’t want the things I’d like to accomplish in my day to overshadow my priceless time with Hazel either.

It’s a balancing act. Time is a funny thing.