Postpartum Depression’s Ugly Step-Sister; Postpartum Anxiety

Yesterday, I went to the doctor for sinus related symptoms. She looked me over and was about to send me on my way with a prescription when I asked her, “so I don’t have throat cancer?” I realized how bewildering this question may have come off, so I proceeded to explain myself. And when I say explain myself, I mean I unlocked the chamber of my deepest thoughts and fears.

I told her that I have anxiety and always have. I become fixated on a thought and, at times, I let it consume me. Since having Beau, I became so fearful that something bad was going to happen to me and he would be left without a mother. I imagined that after he was born, I would be worried about something happening to him, but it’s just quite the opposite. My life became so much more valuable since becoming a mom. I’ve never felt more important or needed in my life and that thought drives me to insanity at times.

I explained to her how badly I wanted kids. Despite, having no fertility issues, I held onto this fear that I would never be able to reproduce. It became so real, that I convinced myself that it would never happen. Now that I do have a child and I am a mom, I can’t help but to question what I did to deserve this? I feel so happy and fortunate, it scares me. It’s like, I’m not allowed to be this happy. So, I fabricate some tragedy in my mind and immerse myself in it. I told her that that’s why I think I have throat cancer, because I just can’t have it all. My anxiety tells me that.

I told her that at times, I feel robbed of these special moments with my son. I tell myself to stop being irrational because years from now, I will be so mad for wasting these precious years of Beau’s life and my life being worried.

I was reluctant to open up about this to anyone. I’ve called the doctor’s office with the intention of addressing this issue, and then hung up after two rings. I have a blog that I wrote a couple months ago saved in my drafts that I was just too afraid to publish. I was afraid that I would be judged or viewed as a failure or, even worse, an inadequate mother. There is such an emphasis on postpartum depression, but not nearly enough on postpartum anxiety. When I went to my six week follow up and was screened for PPD, I assumed everything was okay with me because I didn’t fall under that category. I thought that maybe this was how you were supposed to feel after having a baby. Maybe it was just hormones. But then I got realistic with myself. The thoughts I was having were obsessive and irrational, and frankly just not that healthy.

Becoming a mom, has made me a better person in so many ways. I value myself more and realize how important my well being is. So, in my quest to bettering myself, I decided it was time to finally talk about my mental health. I didn’t really plan on opening up to my doctor like I did, but I think maybe I just approached my breaking point. She was so open minded and understanding of my fears. She validated my thoughts and didn’t make me feel crazy. She assured me that motherhood is full of worries, but you have to find that middle ground. She told me to take more time for myself and to focus on the things that make me happy, like my son.

Before I left, I told my doctor that the 20 minutes she spent talking and listening to me, definitely helped more than the amoxicillin she prescribed for my sinus infection will.

I hope my story resonates with someone and possibly gives them the courage to seek the help they need. Don’t be ashamed of your demons, be better than them.

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