Hello!

I'm Kristen. Mom to Luke and Zoey, two-year-olds extraordinaire. Trying to keep a foot in the advertising world (I freelance part-time as a writer/creative director out of San Francisco and Boston). Recently relocated to Albuquerque, NM for my husband's job (I love it). Trying to do the creative stuff I did before babies, but it's hard. Hoping to be an outdoorsy/backpacking/ snowboarding/surfer girl again someday, but fear that may be in the past. Really, just trying to embrace change and find balance--and to be grateful for all the things big and small that are good in my life.

Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

 

 

 

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Wednesday
Apr252012

Postpartum Anxiety

One of the things I was fearful of while I was pregnant was postpartum depression. Thankfully, I haven't had to contend with that. But what's taken me by surprise is some pretty serious anxiety, and also (and maybe this is the same thing, I don't know) how I don't seem to be able to stop playing horrible scenarios over and over in my mind.

It started right away, a few hours after the babies were born, laying in the hospital room just thinking, "I don't know how I'd survive if something ever happened to these children."

Now that I'm home, I worry about SIDS. A lot. I worry about tripping and falling down the stairs with one of the kids in my arms and them being irreversibly harmed. I worry about the babies being kidnapped by people who would do horrible things to them. 

And then I think about all the awful things...stories I've heard of things done to babies, especially in war time, the Holocaust, stories I won't repeat here because I don't want them to get into anyone else's head.

I don't know if all of this is a hormonal thing related to postpartum, or something else. It's worse this week, and a) I got my period (not even 6 weeks after delivery...which Dr. Google says is rare but not unheard of), which always makes me crazy emotionally, and b) the anniversary of my brother's death is this weekend, and I try to pretend it's not happening, but my body and mind know and I always have a really hard time with things this time of year. Oh and that's the other thing...I keep replaying and replaying calling my parents to tell them their son is dead...God, what an awful memory, and it hurts even more now that I have kids of my own.

I keep thinking about losing one or both of my children and how I would cope, how I would survive it when the reality is that this is not something I need to be thinking about and dealing with unless it happens...there's no benefit in "rehearsing" in my mind how it would be.

I didn't expect all this...was not prepared for it. And I'm not sure what to do about it. My husband says I always go to the dark place, and it's true, and I need to stop...just not sure how to do that. 

Hoping after the anniversary of my brother's death all this will ease somewhat. It's so weird because I'm so happy. I'm just so fearful of the universe taking everything away...

XOXO

 

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Reader Comments (15)

We've all thought those terrible thoughts...its natural when you are so wholly invested and IN LOVE with those two little angels. I don't have half the death experience that you do (fortunately) and I still had those and many more scenarios (being in peds and the horrible things that can happen) run through my mind. My sister told me when I opened up to her about those thoughts, that she too had them....and that you literally just have to stop thinking about those things. When you start to feel your imagine start to wonder - stop; take a breath and focus on something else. It helps. It doesn't erase them all...I still ahve fleeting worries about "crazy" things happening and my daughter is 3.5 (or even to my husband!) and I just have to shove it away from my brain. The possibilities of "what might happen" are endless and you mind will literally drive you crazy. You are soooooooo normal....it's just amplified being post partum, having your period (damn AF), and then of course, your dear brother's anniversary death. It does get better. Love ya! xoxo

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChantelle

Nearly 10 years after my first nightmares, I still have those horrible thoughts. You just learn that they are normal, and that most families are built upon generations of normal, long, full lives. The thoughts become less scenarios and more just thoughts. And speaking them aloud always helped me, especially when my husband could just say, oh hun, not gonna happen.

Also, guardian angels. This one time, a whole bookshelf anchored to a wall came tumbling down upon my sleeping baby daughter. I screamed my head off like a mad woman when I first saw after hearing the crash. She was perfectly positioned so she earned not even a scratch. She even giggled as the huge text books were removed from her bed around her. Yes. Guardian angels.

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

I'm going to disagree with your previous posters and say it might not be something you should live with. You may be right about it having a lot to do with it being your brother's death anniversary as well as postpartum + period (though it may just be more postpartum bleeding?) hormones. Heaven knows those are triggers! There will always be a little fear (how could there not be?) but if you find it overwhelming, you may want to seek an alternative. After I had my miscarriage I went on anti-anxiety medication for a short time to normalize. The hormones had really altered the way I was handling the world. I have been so, so lucky to not feel that anxiety very much about Mira, though I was sure I would, largely due to my brother's death, before she was born. Anyway, only you know what's right for you, but if it feels like it's overwhelming you and it keeps going on, it may be good to seek out a professional for advice.

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAS

Oh, I hate that all these bad thoughts are plaguing you. My husband has problems with anxiety, so I immediately thought of him when I read your post. I think if they don't start to subside in a week or two, then you should talk to a doctor or therapist about it. I am so sorry about your brother - having experienced such sudden loss must make you fearful of losing someone precious to you again.

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTurtleMama

I'm sorry that you are suffering from anxiety. I don't believe that you should suffer in silence. I recommend you speak to your doctor and see if there are some temporary anti-anxiety meds to help you!

I'll be thinking of you this weekend and I hope that you can celebrate your brother's life this weekend and share some fun memories of him with your two babies!

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMommy ToBe

My baby is 4 weeks old and I can totally relate to everything you wrote, I think it is "normal" to have a certain amount of anxiety, the love you feel for your beautiful babies is overwhelming.
Can you talk to your midwife? sometimes you just need reassurance that everything is OK, my mantra is, one day at a time, maybe you could write that on a peice of paper and put that on your fridge, it may help you control those dark thoughts.
Please do not feel you are alone in this, I can totally relate! sending you a big hug xx

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershelley

After my daughter was born I also felt very anxious all the time. ALL the time. It was awful. It's definitely normal, but your particular levels may be a little more extreme than the average, because you've had a lot of psychological trauma? I think Nature intends us to be anxious for our new babies and their welfare, although not sure Nature is all that informed about the relative safety of the modern world (no baboons lurking in the bushes to steal babies these days!)
Anyway, I hope that one way or another it gets easier soon. You are doing GREAT!!!! Being a mama to these little ones.

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

After my daughter was born, I went through the exact same thing...for months. I am not sure if it's normal or not. I still have horrible thoughts from time to time but they are not nearly as frequent as they once were. I think when you have so much invested (I am "infertile"), this might be the norm (not that other parents feel any differently, per se). I just know that if something were ever to happen to my beloved little, I could not go on. Period.
The world is a *relatively* safe place I believe.
You are doing a great job and I do hope (and believe) that with time, you will become much less anxious and just enjoy the babes.

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClaudine

This all sounds very normal to me given your hormone changes and the anniversary of your dear brother's death. I had what ranged from "baby blues" to PP anxiety. Majority of women experience PP anxiety and not PP depression. If it continues, please get some help? I have benefited from taking an SSRI and seeing a therapist who specializes in postpartum issues. xoxo

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I have always felt that way after I had a baby. They are so helpless and you are the only one keeping them alive, and so I think it is normal to over think bad scenarios. I won't even repeat some of the scenarios that have went on in my head either, but they are quite similar to yours. And, I am not normally a person with anxieties and I did not get my postpartum period early, so I think it is just normal. Hang in there--and so sorry about getting that dang period already!

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterccc

I saw your blog from Mo's and had to comment. Are you having terrible physical symptoms like cold sweats, nausea, etc? I had PP anxiety after my triplets were born. This wasn't "worrying", this was clinical anxiety that was debilitating and wasn't controllable with positive thinking! I was pretty much paralyzed with fear for months after my babies were born. Thankfully I starting taking the right medicine and was ok. I have a history of anxiety/depression and know how hard it is. Maybe contact your OB or a mental health practitioner? I'm sorry you are going through this.

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

I keep joking that when I finally get a take home baby I won't let them ever leave the house.

But please do be vigilant about this. PP depression/anxiety are very real, and there's no shame in asking for help.

If this doesn't pass after your brother's anniversary, please get yourself checked out, ok?

much love

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMo

I had this too. Anxiety is the flip side of PPD that they don't talk about. I started having dreams where I left one of the babies on the roof of the car and drove away, or that one of the babies was in the bed and I would wake up in a panic because I thought I would roll over on him. It got to the point where I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, and I couldn't make even the most simple decisions. You should talk to your doctor right away. I went on Zoloft for a short time and it really helped. Getting out both with and without the babies helped, as well as getting more sleep. I thought I could work it out on my own, so I suffered a lot more than I should have.

April 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchckenpig

Not sure what you think ppd is, but I had it and it sounds like you might too. I suggest talking to your OB. There is this standard questionnaire they give that helps diagnose it. Don't wait--I suffered several months before getting help. It's sad that apparently there is still enough stigma that we automatically think "well of course I don't have THAT". It's not your fault, and meds/therapy can help.

April 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I can't help but relate to your situation; my husband finished his degree on the GI Bill once we got out of the Army, we had a new baby, and I was dealing with postpartum depression. You have a lot to manage, and it's wonderful that you're reaching out. I had my son on 4/13/12, and postpartum anxiety hit me HARD. Know that you're not alone:

http://www.blogher.com/baby-blue

May 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

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