Acceptance: Postpartum Anxiety and Me

This is normal…

I told myself.

All mothers worry…

I convinced myself.

I’ll get through this…

I thought.

I’m totally fine…

I hoped.

Nearly 2 weeks ago, after many months of anxiety and irritability, peaking with a full-on anxiety attack at the end of October, I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety.

I have so much to share with you all about how I got here, what the symptoms were, how I’m coping, what my plan is, but I’m not sure I can get through all of that right now.

I’ll just start with this:

I never knew how on edge I was until I wasn’t.

I started meds nearly 2 weeks ago. While I’m obviously still working through all of this, for the first time in a really long time I finally feel like ME again.

I didn’t even realize *I* was gone until I came back.

I met Katherine Stone at Blogher this year. I’d known of her and the work she does through Postpartum Progress for a while now, but I never paid much attention to the resources on her website because I didn’t think they applied to me. 

I wasn’t depressed.

I never cried. I’m actually quite happy with my life right now… when I’m not completely stressed out, overwhelmed, worried and angry.

At the beginning of October, Katherine reached out to me to help spread the word about Strong Start Day. I was happy to help her out, and, for the first time, I spent a good amount of time on her website in an effort to make myself more familiar with her cause.

As I read through The Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in plain mama English) I started shaking my head.

No way. No. This wasn’t me. No. Was it??

Racing thoughts- check
Constantly worried- check
Disturbing thoughts- check
Can’t eat- check
Sense of dread- check
Can’t sleep- no freaking idea since I never have the opportunity to try for more than 3-4 hours at a time
Irritated and angry- CHECK (at EVERYTHING and EVERYONE all. the. time.)
Afraid of things that could potentially harm my baby- CHECK

(I can not go up or down a flight of stairs with my baby without my heart racing. I can’t dream of buying a house with any sort of loft because I’m terrified my children will somehow fall over the railing and die. I can’t even look at a picture of a house with a loft without visualizing this happening.)

Still, knowing all of this fit and that all of this seemed to make my life make a little more sense, I ignored it.

There was nothing really wrong with me. I was just stressed out, I thought.

I quit freelancing projects, backed out of social obligations, and tried to cut myself some more slack.

It didn’t help. Things got worse, and within a few weeks of writing that post about Strong Start Day, I was in a doctor’s office, explaining what lead to an anxiety attack that I thought was a stroke.

When I left the hospital after both of my kids were born with those pamphlets on postpartum depression, I don’t remember seeing anything about anxiety. At my 6 week appointment, my midwife asked if I was suicidal, if I cried a lot, if I felt depressed. I didn’t. I still don’t.

It never occurred to me that what I’m experiencing was anything other than me really sucking at motherhood.

That’s honestly what I thought was wrong- that I’m just a terrible mother.

I’m not.

Sometimes it’s more than just a funk. Sometimes they’re more than just “mommy visions.” Sometimes that worry you can’t shake, the what-ifs and the fears are more than normal motherhood stress. Sometimes not being able to get through the day without yelling at anyone doesn’t just mean you need to work on your temper.

If this is what you’re feeling, know that you’re not a terrible mother, either. Please, make an appointment with your doctor.

You’re not failing at motherhood.

You might actually be sick.

You can get help. You can get better.

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  1. Been there, done that, took the meds, got the t-shirt. You’ll get through this, hon. I couldn’t sleep, I woke up panicking, running down the hall looking for my son. We went on a date to a scenic overlook, and I backed up, heart racing, thinking “ohmigod, what if my baby fell over the edge of this?”

    But, I promise, it will get better, and you will get through this. Let me know if you want to know what helped us, because everyone is different.

  2. I can’t find the right words to tell you how amazing I think it is that you’re getting help, and sharing with us. I love reading your blog, the good and the bad of parenthood–not being a Mom yet I know I’ll treasure your words even more in the future. Thank you and many many MANY hugs to you! <3

  3. You already know how totally proud of you I am for all of this. Admitting and getting help are very difficult things. VERY VERY difficult things. I am so proud to have gotten to know you and it constantly amazes me how amazing you are! You are going to kick PPA’s ass!!

  4. I swear it is like you took the words straight out of my mind. This is exactly what I have been going through the past 8 months since Jeffrey was born. I just thought it was the three year old driving me nuts. I never really cried but I had days where I had absolutely no motivation to get off the couch. I was always on edge and my husband was scared to say the wrong thing to me at any given moment. Now that I have realized there really is something going on, I feel horrible at how I have been treating my family. I try so hard every day to make it up to them. Okay, sorry this got longer than expected. Hope you know you are not alone in this and I’m here of you ever want to chat or vent. 🙂

  5. It’s so funny you should post this…not too long ago, I ended up at my doctors office for exactly the same thing. The only thing that was different was that I ate like a crazy person. They thought it was my thyroid. I was lucky – I managed to get past it on my own without meds. But after thinking about how long I struggled and felt stressed I wish someone could have diagnosed me. I didn’t know this existed, either. I’m so glad you’re feeling more like yourself now.

  6. Oh lady. Breaks my heart that you’ve been going through that. I have many of the same anxiety symptoms myself (not postpartum, but still shitty)- if you EVER want to talk, you know how to reach me. You are amazing… just try to keep that in mind as much as you can. You.are.awesome.

  7. I went months of some of those symptoms. Most of mine was my temper. It got to the point where coworkers I had only known for a few months suggested I needed help. Once I got the help, I too realized that I wasn’t the person who I once was.
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. With the right help it will get better.

  8. I have no idea how to feel about this. I’m glad you are getting help. Wonder if I need it, too? I swore that last time there was nothing wrong with me, but reading the plain English version of PPD? I so freaking had it. Got no help. I don’t think I got better until my kid had turned 2, and by then? I was pregnant again. I thought maybe then my kid was just pissing me off or it was just hormones, but I just don’t know.

    I’ve always had the ‘what if this happened, what would I do’? scenarios going through my head. What if the car went off the bridge, which kid would I save first? Could I convince my 3 year old to unbuckle so I could save the baby? Even now it scares the crap out of me. However I have these all the time about everyone. What if one of my parents died. What if someone asked me to give the eulogy, could I do it? How would I feel? I have to literally shake my head and banish these thoughts from my mind. It’s like my brain is trying to prepare itself for the inevitable, but it could be 20 years from now, so why do I have these feelings crushing my soul right now? I don’t ever remember not having these weird flashes.

    I’m panicked about heights, so I do walk carefully down the stairs, but I don’t avoid them, and I’m not afraid of knives or anything like that. Wait, that’s a total lie, if I have a choice, I leave the baby in the living room or have my husband walk her down the stairs. That’s messed up how easily my brain edits real life. I function normally, sleep and eat fine, etc. I guess I just have the mommy visions. Mostly my 3 year old just pisses me off and I’m scared of SIDS. For a week after a tv show where SIDS was featured I was up every couple of hours making sure she was breathing. My husband thought I was paranoid. I thought I was paranoid but couldn’t help it. I still have heart racing moments every now and then, I have to go in and make sure she’s still breathing. I have no idea if that’s the right level of ‘paranoia’ or going too far.

    • I’ll say this, if you are unsure if you have PPA, if you are unsure enough to wonder, I think it’s worth asking a doctor about. Go in for a physical, or tell your family you’re going in for a sore throat if you don’t want to let anyone know, and ask your doctor. So much of what you just described sounds so similar to what I was struggling with. I hope you feel better soon!

  9. So sorry you have been fighting this battle…but good for you for getting help. they really need to change those pamphlets! I was the same way…I was completely looking for the depression symptoms, but that’s not what it was!

    Good for you for putting this out there…you have no idea how many you will help! ((hugs))

  10. Yes! This exact thing happened to me. A LOT of my anxiety was triggered by financial problems (being out of work for 6 mos, having to borrow $ from my parents, not paying bills because we simply didn’t have the money – talk about feeling like a horrible parent!). Funnily enough, the anxiety attack didn’t come until AFTER I got a job (that paid a ton more than my old job) and finally started taking a look at our financial situation. And I was totally relaxed (or so I thought) when it came on – it just happened out of nowhere and I swore I was going to die. I couldn’t breathe, I thought I was going to pass out & throw up, couldn’t feel my hands or legs… I always thought that people who said they felt like they were going to die when they had/have a panic attack were just being dramatic – now I know better. I went to the doctor the very next day (it happened on a Sunday) because every moment after the attack, I was on the edge of another attack because I was afraid of having another attack – it’s such a vicious cycle. I could not ignore it any longer. I got some low-dose seratonin-releasing medicine and have not had an attack since. After about a week of not being able to eat, I started feeling like myself again – my OLD self, before I started feeling this way, this way I didn’t even realize I felt until my body kicked me in the as$ and said “wake the f*ck up!”

    I’m so glad I had that attack now. I am so stubborn and HATE asking for help, that I NEVER would have done anything about it. I hope that things continue to improve@for you, like they did for me. And cut yourself some slack – that was THE hardest thing for me to do, but it’s what will keep me from going over the edge again. Mommas need to talk about this more openly, and you are starting a great dialogue. Good luck! I’ll check back for updates 🙂


    • Oh man! That sounds rough. I was the same way with the attack. I think that’s exactly what I needed to happen so that I finally shook myself out of things and got help. Toward the peak of the anxiety, just thinking about being anxious made me anxious. I totally get what you’re saying.

  11. wow, jill. I’m really happy that you’re finding help and peace. and I commend you, yet again, for putting your situation out there so others can recognize the problem and also seek a solution. you are such a strong woman and mother. best of luck to you in this journey.

  12. Thank you for giving voice and words to the experience of post-partum anxiety. I find myself joking about my anxiety on my blog, not fully letting anyone (outside of my immediate family) in on how debilitating it has been.

    You’re so right. I didn’t know how stressed I was until I wasn’t. I spent too long fighting it on my own before deciding I wasn’t going to get a gold star for suffering. Thank goodness for medicine–it has given me the space I need to work on things. I hope you find the same thing to be true for you!

    • I have a tendency to laugh things off, too. I think that’s why it was so hard for me to initially get help. I’m glad you’ve been able to work through things. Thanks for the support.

  13. Glad to hear you are feeling better! I am glad you posted this on your blog as so many women go through this and never ever recognize it.

    I too had some PP anxiety after my first was born. I attributed it to his reflux and hatred of the car, etc. but it was just me scared out of my mind to leave the house with him. It went away once I went back to work at 6 months and things got easier. After my 2nd son was born I experienced some anxiety but mostly PPD. He had some minor medical issues and all the rushing around to different doctors and testing just destroyed me. On top of that I had little support from family which hurt. I yelled at my 3 year old more than I care to admit and did not leave the house. Once I admitted it to my husband I actually felt so much better. I just needed to say it. I have dealt with anxiety and depression in the past, so once I admitted it I was able to focus on fixing it. I feel much better now and am finally happy again. Thank god.

  14. Thank you so much for writing this Jill. I have been dealing with PPA since my second was born in April but I was in total denial about the extent of my anxiety and what it was doing to me and my family. I was so resistant to treatment (and pre-babies I was a counselor-how ridiculous is that?!) but now that I have been on meds for a few weeks and have felt what an amazing difference it has made I just wish that I had done it sooner. Good for you for putting this information out there-hopefully it reaches women who need it so that they can realize how common it is and seek help too.

  15. Thank you for sharing this and putting a voice behind the thoughts of many moms. I was fully prepared (well, as much as one could be) to deal with some mental issues after baby, but by the grace of God I was okay. However, I know someone who seems to have MANY of those symptoms. They were not symptoms of depression, but I know she needs help. I’ve tried to talk with her, but she insists that nothing is wrong, although she’s constantly in a state of panic and the thought of leaving her child, is always fearing the worst and can never fully relax. Do you have any tips on how to help a friend?

  16. Jill, I had no idea. But I guess I wouldn’t because you didn’t vomit all over your blog like I do 😉

    It’s so awful, isn’t it? I am in the thick fog of severe anxiety and paranoia right now. It’s not PP anxiety. I have always been and anxious person and have experienced panic attacks for most of my adult life. But having absolutely no control over your thoughts. Being powerless to STOP them and function like a normal human being. It physically hurts when I think about all that anxiety takes away from the life I could be living.

    The intrusive thoughts are the worst of it, I think. That thing you said about the banister? We have a very long open banister in our new house and that is one of the worst visions I have. Most of my fears and anxieties come out at night and I can’t sleep because I’m too terrified. My depression is gone but I still don’t see an end in sight to this anxiety. Had another med change yesterday so we’ll see!

    I’m SO glad you’re getting help. That is the hardest step and you got through it! When I met you, I could tell you were a strong person. You’re a WONDERFUL mama, Jill. Depression and anxiety are good liars. They make us believe things that just aren’t true.


    • I didn’t have an idea this was going on inside of me, either! So I certainly don’t fault friends and family for not knowing. It is quite awful, and I can’t imagine dealing with this day in and day out. That takes a great deal of strength, I imagine, to constantly be pressing through this. You are so sweet, Molly. Thank you.

  17. Thank you so much for posting this. I truly feel like a different person sometimes. When did I become so pissy and grouchy? I hate it. After having Allie, I thought for a bit that I was having “something”. One day I damn near had a panic attack in Academy and nearly flipped out on the idiot Sonic girl while waiting for the ice cream I got so I could be a good mom. I talked to my doctor. He wasn’t sure it was depression. He gave me the option. I opted out of meds, he was probably right. I felt better after coming to work. But I still feel off. I don’t feel me. Maybe that’s what happens when you have a male doctor. Maybe I need to have a good long chat with my female PCP.

    • I think it’s worth at least a chat. I think if you’re still feeling “off” enough to question it, you should bring it up. I’m going to write a post tomorrow about my specific symptoms. Maybe that will help? Hope you feel better soon.

  18. Wow, good for you for seeking help. I started therapy about 6 months ago. Not PPA, but probably more garden variety anxiety for sure. My anger and stress levels were through the roof and my marriage was bearing the brunt of it. I learned so much in a few months of therapy – I cannot describe or even believe how helpful it was. I’m an intelligent, rational person but simply could not see that I was making my life so much harder than it had to be. I really hope you find relief soon! It takes a strong person to ask for help.

  19. I had very, very bad PPD and anxiety after having my second child. It has been one of the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I am so glad you are getting the help you need, I did too, and is the best decision I have ever made.

  20. Thank you so much for writing about this. Your blog is only the second place I’ve ever seen PPA mentioned. It needs to be discussed as often as PPD. I had some of those anxious thoughts – all the worst case scenarios running through my mind. I thought it was just part of the transition to parenthood, suddenly being so responsible for someone else’s life. I never had a full blown anxiety attack, but there were some stressful moments for sure. I was prepared and on the lookout for PPD symptoms, but knew nothing of PPA.
    Im glad you sought treatment and you’re feeling better. Thank you for sharing your journey with your readers.

    • It’s out there, but certainly not as widely discussed. I think a lot has to do with PPA symptoms being associated with PPD a lot of times, and the word “depression” just really throwing a lot of us off. Thank you for your support.

  21. This was me in 2008 and I had no clue. I continued to have no clue until I just read your blog post. I too thought it was normal to have those thoughts. the sleeplessness, the worry, the constant vigilance at every moment because disaster could strike. I was sick and had no idea.

    I got lucky with my second child and wasn’t nearly as debilitated. You would think someone who requires medication to get through a dentist appointment due to anxiety, had a heart arrhythmia issue exacerbated by anxiety, lost control and feeling in her hands during labor from being overly anxious, would realize that she has an anxiety problem. Not this someone. Not until just now.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! It takes courage to do that. Hopefully it will help other mothers who are in similar shoes. I wish you the best.

  23. Thank you for sharing. I wish you and your family all the best and I know you’ll get through this. You are very courageous to get help and share your story. You are an amazing woman and a wonderful mommy!

  24. I think you’re my savior. After reading this, I realize that I’ve probably had this since JD was born, and it got worse when O came so quickly after. It doesn’t excuse everything that is going on in my life, but I am seeing things in a slightly different light right now. Thank you for sharing, and I’m so happy that you feel back to yourself. I always thought you were a super mom- I can’t imagine what you are capable now!

  25. I am so glad that you are feeling more like yourself. Getting treatment and figuring out what is really going on with yourself helps make things a lot clearer. I have suffered with anxiety probably my entire life but was not diagnosed until 2003 (pre-kids). I struggle each day in some form or another but it is getting a lot better now that I am being more social. And I totally understand the disturbing thoughts/visions. I get them all of the time. For instance, I took my toddler with me to someone’s condo with a balcony while away on a trip. I had visions that my toddler was going to fall out of my arms and go over the balcony railing. The visions freak me out so much. But I have to keep telling myself they aren’t real. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

    • What is it with those balcony railings! So many moms have shared with me that that’s their worst “vision.” Thank YOU for sharing your story, too.

  26. Thank you.
    I just had my daughter 6 months ago. I thought I was just having issues adjusting to having 2 girls only 21 months apart.
    “It never occurred to me that what I’m experiencing was anything other than me really sucking at motherhood.
    That’s honestly what I thought was wrong- that I’m just a terrible mother.”
    This is how I feel every day. I called and made an appointment with my midwife right after I read your post. Thank you for helping me realize that this is not me.

    • Oh, Katy, I am so sorry to hear you’re feeling this way, but so happy to hear you’re reaching out for help. Please feel free to email me if you ever need to talk.

  27. :’) Thank you. This is how I felt and until last year (when hubs and I decided to stop after having more kiddos–we have three) I didn’t know that what I was going through was postpartum anxiety. I thought I was a bad mom too. I remember needing to feed the kids some hotdogs (simple, right?) and I felt like I was being asked to go rock climbing! I felt constantly on edge but due the stress my husband would go through with each newborn, I had to stifle it and force myself to try to get over it. It was a quiet, but debilitating battle for me as I endured this anxiety during AND after pregnancy. Once my child was six months old, the anxiety would subside. But I went through this three times. And the fear of that anxiety returning (as well as the damage my body goes through with each pregnancy–I have extremely painful physical problems to add to it all) is enough for me to say DONE.

    I. suffered. in. silence. And I didn’t know that I could have received help because I never knew what postpartum ANXIETY was. No one mentioned a word of that…just about postpartum depression.

    Thanks again. May life bless you to the fullest.

  28. “I never knew how on edge I was until I wasn’t.” Oh my goodness – I know this EXACTLY! I kind of knew I had depression, but it wasn’t until I started having panic attacks where I couldn’t breathe, thought I was dying…and “wanted” to die…that I realized something was really, really wrong. It wasn’t me – I didn’t know who “me” was anymore. And, just like you said, I didn’t know how bad I was until I wasn’t. Now I look back and it scares me how close to the edge I was. And every time those thoughts resurface the thought of going back to “that” place frightens me. But I know I’m not there anymore and I NEVER have to go back. You took the best step – asking for help. Know that it really does get better and you really can heal.

  29. Uh, did I write this post? Seriously, I can’t believe how similar your story is to mine. I finally got help this summer when my canceling get-togethers and when quitting freelancing was no longer something my friends could ignore. They pointed this out to me. I wasn’t depressed, though, either. I was diagnosed with PP Anxiety as well. You can read my post on this here: I’m so glad you’re getting help. The meds will kick in soon. I’ve been on Zoloft for about 6 months. I plan on upping my doses and possibly adding another med once I’m done BFing. My baby just turned 1, so I’m weaning slowly. I wish I’d known sooner, like you, that how I felt wasn’t normal. Now, I just want to share the message.

  30. Know that you are not alone. I had so much anxiety and panic attacks it led to depression and after 2 years of meds and talk therapy I am now 4 months med free. It does get better. It does get easier. I now have a 2 1/2 year old little boy who I enjoy and adore and can go thru the day and not ‘see’ all the bad things that could happen.
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Good job! 🙂

  31. Oh, Jill. I am so sorry. I went through a very similar situation with Sawyer. I either had NO feelings, or was total anxious all the time. Finding the best treatment plan for you is SO important, and it looks like you are well on your way. If you ever need anything, or need to talk to someone who has been there, you know how to find me. 🙂

  32. Thanks for sharing this! I feel like I could have written most of this myself… I went to talk to someone ~3 weeks ago about all of this after a few horrible panic/anxiety attacks and started meds myself. It took a lot for me to go and admit that I need help. I am feeling a little better on the meds….

  33. Interesting post Jill,

    My wife is due in a couple months with our second daughter, and this is what stresses me out the most.

    With our first daughter she bounced back remarkably well, fingers are crossed that she can kick ass again!

  34. Oh, man. I went through this undiagnosed for a little over a year. I was scared of EVERYTHING, but since I wasn’t depressed, I thought maybe all parents must feel that way. For some reason I focused on earthquakes. I could picture my house exploding/toppling down piece by peice. I was scared to go downstairs to put the laundry in for fear that there would be an earthquake and the stairs would collapse and I wouldn’t be able to get back to my family…crazy, huh? I’m glad you are getting help. Just know that you are not alone, and there is a way out of all the scary thoughts.

  35. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story. PPD & PPA are just not talked about enough and it really need to be. I had such a hard time with PPD & PPA after both of my pregnancies and finally go help a year ago – 4 months after having my second. I just wish there was more support for me at the time when I was going through all those emotions and feelings, I felt so alone.

    • I am so sorry you went through all of that alone. I’ve found there’s a tremendous support system online. If you are on Twitter, try searching the #PPDchat hashtag. So many lovely ladies who are supporting can be found that way. I’m glad you got the help you needed. Thanks for sharing.

      • Thanks Jill. You said it perfectly, I never realized how on edge I was until I wasn’t. Looking back, I think I was in denial, embarrassed about how I was feeling, hoping to “snap out of it” and basically just kept thinking maybe it was me, I just sucked at motherhood. 🙁 When I finally called my doctor and got help, it felt like such a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A low dose of zoloft and some talk therapy really helped me. Looking back, I wish I had gotten the help I needed sooner. I feel like I lost so much time with both my girls. Thanks so much for the Twitter support info. If we go for baby #3 someday, it will be nice to have more information and ladies to talk to on the topic, and again, thanks so much for sharing your story. It always amazes me how supportive an online community can be. 🙂

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  37. I have had it for each of my 4 pregnacies. It is difficult, but you will get through this. The meds take awhile to work and dont feel guilty about taking them. You have to do what is best for you and your baby.

  38. I too suffered from Postpartum Anxiety after my second son was born. I remember sitting in my car crying my eyes out because I was so scared of getting hit by a car and leaving my children motherless. I would sit at home and start thinking of the fact that one day my children would die, and I would have a panic attack. I would be cooking dinner and worry that the meat wouldn’t be cooked through enough and they would get sick and die. I never felt so…alien until I started on some meds and took a Xanax when needed. Now, I see just how panicked and scared I was.

    Thank you for posting this. It’s so nice to know that there are other women out there who know what it feels like. It helps you not feel so alone! I’m praying you find peace soon. It took me a few months before I could get off the medication and my panic attacks stopped.

  39. Jill, thank you, thank you, for posting this today. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles with post-partum anxiety. My son is 2 and I am half-heartedly wondering if I still qualify for having post-partum anxiety (I know that it maxes out at 12 months… but does it?), because many of those symptoms are my daily life. When my son was a newborn, I couldn’t even cook for months because I was so, so scared I was going to accidently drop him in the oven… even if he was safely strapped into his swing ten yards away. The visions are not limited to my precious baby boy, though… they include every news article, every radio story, every blog post about children. I get flashes of terribly, terribly graphic scenes whenever I hear about a child being hurt, being sick, being mistreated. It makes me physically ill. I’ve always had difficulty separating the tragedies and the sadness of the world from myself, and since becoming a mother, the task seems nearly insurmountable. I fight it every day and mostly I am able to be a happy, functional mommy… but it does sometimes seem like my brain is being hijacked with those scenes. It is both saddening and comforting to hear that these mommy-visions are “normal”, or at least fairly common.

    • I think, no matter how old your son is, it’s worth asking your doctor about. I don’t know how normal they are, but they do seem to be common, especially among moms with PPA and PPD.

      • Jill, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to personally respond to me and all the other ladies out there. It is amazing that even with what you are going through, even with two tiny kiddos, even with ALL your writing projects, that you sat down and wrote out all these responses. It is proof that your heart is bigger than your problems. Thank you for being so brave, thank you for having so much love. Your children are incredibly blessed to have such an amazing example of a mother and a woman. Much love to you and yours.

  40. I just found your site looking for a crib guard…and stumbled upon this…I had my baby in February of 2011, and considering she was my third, I had never experienced worry and anxiety like this. It hit really hard around 4 months, and got really bad around 6 months…it has slowly been getting better. I chose not to go on meds, but have been doing a lot of natural supplements to try and help. I too was asked if I felt sad, or weepy…and the answer was always no. Not at all. I had never heard of PPA in all of my pregnancies…I still have bad nights/times…etc. When my heart races for no reason, or the visions occur, I try really hard to focus on something good and sane at that moment. I sing songs or I repeat Bible verses….whatever I have to do to shake it. Sometimes, I just pick up and call my friend/sister just to give me a sane voice at that time. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with emotionally, and I am so glad you put a voice to it. Not enough people know about this, or understand it.

  41. So proud of you for writing this — it took courage. It’s amazing how many women suffer without realizing what’s going on. So glad you took notice and are getting the help you need. And the silver lining, in a small way? You’re now among the ranks of us warrior moms. I’d be totally lost without this community. Hugs.

  42. I am so proud of you for getting help.
    So so proud.
    That is the first ugly step in all of this.
    I too had the exact opposite symptoms of what I thought a mom with postpartum depression was like. I had all the symptoms you described. Not once was I depressed.
    The road will get better and better.
    Wishing you much luck and love 😉

  43. Thank God for you, Jill, paving the road and educating women like me, who would have no clue about any of this when we finally have kids. Thanks for sharing your story.

  44. Thank you for sharing that. That’s very similar to how I’ve been feeling. I feel like the people in my life might think I’m over reacting or reading too much into things if I confess to these types of feelings and thoughts. Could I talk to my obgyn about this or should I see a therapist or general family doctor? What kind of medication was prescribed to you? I feel kind of ashamed and embarrassed about this all…it’s nice to hear others going through the same thing.

    • Jillian, I’m on a low dose of Zoloft, and I got it from my family doctor. I actually scheduled a physical for some other reasons (I’ll try to write more about that this week) and I wound up breaking down about my anxiety. He immediately recognized the symptoms in me and encouraged me to start meds. Please, please don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. As you can see by reading through these comments, we are so not alone! Hang in there. Make an appointment. Soon. You don’t even have to tell anyone why you’re going. Just say you have a sore throat or you’re due for a physical. Then bring it up with your family doctor. I hope all that helps. Take care and feel free to email me if you ever want to talk.

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  46. I stumbled on this post while looking for PPA support and I’ve read through it a couple of times now. I was diagnosed 5 months ago and have been on meds for the last 3 months. I feel so much better now that I’m shocked at how bad I felt before I started treatment. Now it’s almost like I am a different person (the old me!), but I still have days that are difficult/hard. There is a ton of PPD support, but I’m not finding as much on PPA. Sometimes I just want to hear from someone that has had the same experience, who doesn’t offer 100 solutions, but just understands that some days are great and some days aren’t, but that it doesn’t make me a bad mom. Thanks for being a good resource – you’ve inspired me to tell more of my friends what I’ve been going through.

  47. I could have written this post! I spent 3 years with post partum anxiety and thought I was just a bad mom. You are so right about not realizing anything is wrong until it’s right again. I finally got diagnosed and on meds and am feeling like me again. Where is post partum anxiety in that postpartum depression handout??

  48. Really struggling with this now.. just started meds this week.
    I agree that everything was geared towards depression.. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as PPA…. but here I am.

    Hoping to see the other side soon..

    • My little on is 5 months old. I started out feeling very unhappy. Sad for reasons I could not make sense of. I have a very happy and loving family. One day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I started feeling very nervous and shaky. I felt like I had no control over my thoughts. My heart would race, I felt tingling feelings in my back. Breathing felt difficult, but only when I focused on my breathing. I also felt like I had was chocking or something in my throat. Its an awful feeling. I actually went to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. I was sweating and kept imaging myself dying and not being around to see my son grow up. I finally made an appointment to see my OBGYN and explained my symptoms. I was so scared he would think I was crazy. He asked if I had suffered from anxiety in the past? and I thought…ANXIETY? No! I was I had never heard of PPA. I’ve been on Paxil for almost a week and a half and I’m starting to feel like myself again. Please don’t be afraid to get help. I have some days, where I feel kinda down, but more good than bad now. It helps to talk about it. Or find forums of women who are going through the same thing. Reading post helps me not feel alone. If anyone would like to talk about it. Feel free to message me. Currently working through PPA and am here for anyone who needs to talk.

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  50. im a mental health therapist :) on

    Me too. Everything was so focused on ppd, ppa seriously didn’t occur to me. After sleep walking and picking up my baby multiple times at night I was a mess. Finally saw my Dr and got some services. Too much is expected of women right after! Take all the support you can get! Thanks for sharing!

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  52. This is the first post I read on this site. Not sure what it is ALL about yet. I believe I am experiencing postpartum anxiety. I am constantly worried, and cannot control my thoughts. Could even be OCD. I keep getting dizzy, but only when I think about it and I cannot stop thinking about it. I want my thoughts to be my own again. I am seeing a counselor, but not often enough in my opinion. It has helped somewhat however. I just want to be me again… I tried Celexa but it made my anxiety MUCH worse. (I think it was a panic attack and it scared me away from taking the med again.) I am glad this site exists and will look into it more!!

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  56. I wentto my doctor about a year ago after breaking down with a similar story. She said I was suffering from post partum and I didn’t believe it because well, I wasnt depressed. Never realized that there was PPA and it makes total sense. I freak out and visualize horrible situations from moments that should just be normal, not me picturing the bridge I’m driving over collapsing. I stopped going out, made excuses for why I couldn’t make social outings. I was irritable and sometimes just angry. I was given Zoloft and haven’t been taking it, reading this actually made me rethink that decision.

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  61. Lookingforsupportofothermomsgoingthroughthis on

    I am also going through PA right now as a mom with an 8 month old. I was fine for a long time with just the regular anxieties of motherhood of little sleep, staying at home for the first time (Ive had a busy schedule and job for years), and moving across the country right before giving birth (bad idea!). But then I heard this scary story on the news two months back in the neighborhood where I grew up and BAM, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I now have there terrible thoughts that come into my head sometimes even though I love my baby more than anything in the world and I felt so trapped and isolated by it. I also am affected so much more than I ever was by anything sad/depressing/fearful that is on the news or tv, it overwhelms me. I decided I finally need to get help, so I am starting Zoloft and going to a doctor next week. I know it will get better and its been so helpful to read everyone else has been going through this as well….it just seems like a long journey ahead. If there are any support groups out there for this kind of thing I would love to know. Thanks for posting this Jill and know that you are not alone! God bless!

  62. Holy crap this is me. I “failed” the screening after my first child was born. Asked for help when my second child was 3 months, was scolded on the phone, asked “where is the baby, is he safe” treated like an idiot because I waited 3 mos etc. etc. FINALLY when my THIRD child was a baby I asked for help and FINALLY got zoloft. It isn’t really fixing things but it is better than nothing. 🙁

  63. My mind has been in knots trying to think of my response to this post when I saw it on FB today.
    I feel it is so important to seek the help we need as women and mothers. However I am completely terrified of the idea that the medical profession will put mothers on drugs that affect brain chemistry with out a brain chemistry test of some sort. I have counseled so many women and families through postpartum difficulties. I counseled a family member of a new mother who after starting anti-depressants threw herself in front a train. That family was destroyed. Two young babies (twins) left without their mother. She was not suicidal before starting the anti-depressant.

    How can the medical doctor know that what women are suffering from is caused by something in our brains if they are not testing our brains to see if that is what is wrong?

    I feel it is important as women to insist that the field of post-partum health continue to be researched and solutions that are based on actual tests of that particular women are found.

    I am glad that you worked through the anxiety. I am grateful and happy for that. So please do not take my comment as an attack of you because it is not.

    I know from my brief period of following your blog you are still dealing with issues around this topic.

    I just think we need to keep searching for other answers and that post-partum anxiety is not an illness like an infection that can be treated with medicine.

  64. Prior to reading your post, I didn’t know PPA was actually a thing. I’d only heard of PPD (who hasn’t?) and wasn’t sure that was exactly the thing I was experiencing. Now I know PPA was/is likely the culprit. Having a name for it makes it feel less bad. Thanks for sharing.

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    • I’m so glad I fond this. I feel so out of control at times. The part I hate the most us that I feel I have 0 tolerance for my 2 and 5 year old boys.

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  69. Just reading this, after reading your post about being a stay at home mom, I’ve literally have all all those problems, every day, for two years, and never knew PPA was a thing, I just got an appt to be seen, thank you so much for posting this, I’ve gone too long thinking I was just crazy.

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  77. Please please do dates in north east of england, we are 3hours drive from all the venues already shown/showing. Had hoped to go to Edinburgh but not going to make it, would be wonderful to have a show closer to home.

  78. 28 oktober 2012Ja Sharon met mijn zoon gaat het goed vwb de angststoornis hij slikt Venlafaxine 225 mg. Maar dat zegt verder niets over jouw toestand..wees niet bang, écht naar de dokter gaan!!  

  79. Desearía diferir en libertad.Entre las formas y el fondo de los mensajes, me quedaré siempre con el fondo. “Cansadico” me encuentro de ojear tomos realizados por sesudos y sofisticados escritores que al encontrarme en las cincuenta primeras páginas, se me desliza por las manos de aburrimiento…Entiendo que mejor sería conjugar ambas realidades, pero prefiero la autenticidad a la vacía pedantería.Qué le voy a hacer si yo…

  80. Cameron! I love this idea and want to do it myself. I've seen this before, but not from such a young age. This is the best I've seen.If I do it, I'll give you a shout out for the idea 🙂

  81. Ditto that. Bear witness to the commenter’s values supporting the release of a convicted spy over national US security. Maybe they’re israeli. What a great ally Zionist brethren are to the US!

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