I wanted to get this on here right away. This is, by far, the best article I've read listing anxiety and depression symptoms.
Best Article on PPD and Anxiety
I'm certain I had anxiety after Michael was born. I couldn't sleep when Michael slept in the room. I was constantly checking if he was breathing. I was worried all the time. Is he getting enough milk? Am I doing things right? What's wrong with his rash!? Then at 2 weeks we were diagnosed with a yeast infection. That made me feel like I was definitely a bad mother.
Jane's pregnancy had some anxiety, but it wasn't unbearable.
After Jane's birth, I felt like I'd done something wrong when pushing her out. That was just me being overcritical of what people around me said at the time of birth. Otherwise, I don't think I had horrible anxiety at first.
But then we got pregnant when Jane was 5 months old. Major guilt. Scared of weaning early. Breastfeeding weaning depression and guilt piled onto anxiety and huge shock. Jane's weaning was extremely sad. Borrowing milk from other mothers was a constant source of anxiety. How long will it last? How many days? I can't possibly give her formula or I'd be a horrible mother. (This is in no way saying that mothers who give their children formula are horrible, I just had intended to breastfeed and it was a sign of failure on my part-remember, anxiety was messing with my thoughts. If you gave your baby formula, I'm not saying you are a bad mother.)
I really felt disconnected from Jane. I didn't feel like she was my daughter. Even though I pushed her out in my BEDROOM and there was ZERO POSSIBILITY of her getting switched at birth or anything, I just didn't feel like she was really mine. After she weaned, it was really difficult. I would worry about her constantly but she didn't look like me and it felt really weird.
Then, we were planning another homebirth but found out that the placenta's placement would prevent that option and send me directly to a C-section. Major disappointment.
Two days later, I started bleeding and we went to the hospital. One day later, George was born via c-section as a premie baby. SO MANY THINGS out of my control!!! For someone who likes to be in control and doesn't do well with abrupt change, this made me feel completely unglued!
In the hospital I suffered anxiety. Recovering from the surgery was horrible. My baby was in the NICU where the nurses put Johnson's baby lotion on him. I wanted to tear their heads off over that one!!! I wanted my baby to smell like MY BABY, NOT like Johnson's. Why didn't they ask me first!!!! Oh, how I hated not having him with me. They tried to dictate visiting hours and nursing times and then ask me to pump when I got back to the room. Simply making the trip to the NICU and trying to nurse my teensy baby was stressful enough, then you want me to pump when I get back??? pump colostrum??? nigh impossible. Another feeling of failure.
My last night in the hospital, I let Tony sleep at the house. I had also pumped enough milk by this point that the nurses offered to feed George in the night and let me rest longer. This sounded like a good idea. I was alone. It was horrible. My mind was racing so bad, I couldn't sleep. My brain was on superspeed with racing horrible thoughts, I thought I was about to hallucinate. It was terrifying. By the time I realized I should have asked for some help to get to sleep, I thought it was too late because I'd have to be awake soon to feed the baby. As it turns out, I did get to sleep, only to be awakened 1-2 hours later to nurse the baby.
Things did not get much better. Particularly worry and disturbing thoughts. I really thought I was going crazy. I was scared to be alone with the baby. I was scared that I was about to turn into one of those crazy moms who hurts her kids. I thought that having disturbing thoughts was a sign of insanity. Let me tell you, it is not. It's a sign of needing help.
The most important thing my Dr. told me was, "if it scares you, you're not crazy."
I also had thoughts about flipping the car on the highway, or ramming into the car in front of us. I considered driving all the way to Houston at night just to get some sleep. Or getting myself arrested so I could sleep in jail. All these things are normal!!!!
I tried getting help via progesterone injections after George was about 2 months old. They temporarily helped. By temporary, I mean it would help for a day or two, maybe 4, then I would wait until the symptoms returned!!!!! I should have been getting shots quickly enough to not have symptoms return. It was a horrible 4 month process of feeling good, then sinking into a pit of despair, then feeling moderately better, then sinking deeper than before. I could never climb all the way out of the pit!
At George's 6 month appointment, I scheduled an appointment with myself with the Dr. I wanted help and I wanted to breastfeed. Whatever it took to make that happen. Prozac and a psychologist is what worked for me. I'm not saying it'll be the solution for everyone, but there are solutions out there.
Now, with baby Maggie, I am having a great time!!! I did start to experience some strange thoughts in the first few days after birth. I promptly told my Dr and got a stronger dose. Problem solved. I love this baby, I'm not scared of anything. Worry isn't keeping me awake. My brain isn't flashing freaky scary images at me. I. Can. Cope. It's awesome.
If you're worried or scared or angry or sad. There are solutions. Get help. No one's going to judge you.