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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4 thoughts on “Postpartum Anxiety // My journey through the fog

  1. Anxiety after having a baby was the worst! I pray you start to gain even more peace over this because it’s what caused me to miss out on so much with my first. I don’t want that for you and Hazel and Robbie.

  2. You are a brilliant young mother – thankful you have the support system you do – take time to enjoy it – I didn’ t have that. Enjoy every day!

  3. Jenny, I had postpartum anxiety that started 4 months after having Ty. It was my first experience with real chemically based anxiety. My symptoms were similar, minus the panic attacks. I got treatment and relief, but it was a hellish couple of months. Also Good to hear you are recognizing this for what it is, which is your body’s chemistry, not your fault or your choice. Good to hear that you are feeling better with the placenta pills, but don’t hesitate to treat your anxiety in whatever way is necessary if it worsens. Hazel will be fine, breast milk or not, however, you will not if you let it go. Lori

  4. Sweet Jenny! Girl, the struggle is REAL and I’m so glad you posted so we know how to pray. I remember after Brendan was born (I was only 22 and a single parent), just wondering when I would feel “normal” again and when life would get back to “normal.” I was so in love with that little person but, BOY, did I have to fight the urge to run away when the hormonr fluctuations began and I had to return to work. I was so conflicted, b/c I loved him so much that I knew I would gladly give my life for his, but I also craved structure and normalcy again. With each of my babies, I felt all of those things and had to remind myself that a “new normal” had to emerge and that I would, indeed, feel like myself again one day. (And, DUDE … extended family scenarios were intensified by a million during that time … I eventually just hid myself away with my newborn and told everyone to leave me alone – except my sweet husband, obv.) PRAYING for you, Robbie and Hazel. Just roll with it – and trust God’s faithfulness and ability and willingness to complete all that He began in you (including Hazel Anita!!). Every time you hold that baby imagine, with that glorious imagination of yours, that this is EXACTLY how the Lord sees you. He is not tolerating you, He is longing to hold you and watch you rest in His arms. Mamas need to be parented, too!! Thankfully, THIS Father also happens to house perfect love. #whoops … #novella

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