It’s only been 3 weeks since Lillian was born but, I can already feel like something is not right. Some of the Postpartum Anxiety and Postpartum Depression symptoms that I’ve been experiencing are:
Crying Spells: I think I’ve cried more in the last few weeks than I did my entire pregnancy. It’s been a mix of happy tears and anxious ones, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to be this emotional.When we were at the hospital, I cried mostly because my husband was doing such an incredible job taking care of me and Lilly. We were in a little love bubble and I couldn’t believe how amazing he was. I was just so proud, I’m still so proud, of how much he was and is just crushing this dad thing. The second day in the hospital, he left to get food and I cried after texting him “I love you”. Super sappy, I know.
Anxiety/Fear of being a bad mother: Once we brought Lilly home, my tears became anxious ones. I just didn’t (and still don’t) feel confident. I want so much to be a great mom and I’m scared I’ll just be a lousy one. This feeling is made worse when Lilly starts screaming in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and there’s nothing I can do to soothe her. The other night, I broke down in tears after feeding her and just kept apologizing to her through her screams.
Guilt/Shame/Feelings of Worthlessness: “If I can’t even soothe my baby, what good am I?” I feel so guilty when Lilly cries, like I’m just not doing my job. I’ve caught myself thinking that she deserves better than me, and would be better off with a different mom.
Irritability/Anger:. I think this might be due mostly to the sleep deprivation but, it’s certainly unsettling. I’m supposed to be happy, aren’t I? I mean, I have a new, beautiful baby; what could I possibly have to be upset about? I’ll get mad at my husband for no reason at all and even at Lilly for crying so much. This anger toward my baby is followed immediately by unbelievable guilt which only adds to the anxiety. This irritability and anger makes it harder to bond with Lilly; I feel almost completely separated from her.
This irritability also seems to be present with family that is just here to help. There are times when literally everything bothers me and I can’t even be grateful for the help I receive.
Hopelessness: This is a big one for Postpartum Depression because hopelessness is a depression symptom. There are times where I feel like things will never improve, like there’s no point in even trying. My baby is just going to cry and cry forever and I’m never going to be able to calm her down.
Heightened emotions are normal for the first few weeks after childbirth but, it’s important to keep track of what you’re feeling and talk to your doctor if these feelings get worse over time. If what I’ve been experiencing continues past Lilly’s first month, I will definitely talk to my OB and see if I need medication. I hate the idea of needing medication to feel like myself and happy (I mean, having a new baby should have me feeling ecstatic all the time, shouldn’t it?) but, I will do everything I can to get back to “normal”. I need to feel better so that I can better bond with my baby and enjoy every moment.
Some other symptoms of depression to look out for, even if you don’t feel particularly emotional, are:
- Overeating or not eating enough
- Insomnia or sleeping too much (sleep is already going to be difficult with a new baby in the house)
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly
It was important to me to share my experience with Postpartum Anxiety/Depression because, it isn’t something that gets talked about often enough. Postpartum Anxiety and Postpartum Depression are almost taboo, even though they are both all too common, and it’s time we ended the stigma. Everyone wants to seem like the perfect mom with all her shit together but, the reality is that, we all struggle.
Please reach out to someone if you need help. Even if it’s just to vent, we all need help sometimes. I promise you are not a burden on anyone and you are definitely not alone.