Do you find yourself frequently worrying about aspects of your newborn’s life during pregnancy or the postpartum period? If so, you may have a perinatal mood disorder known as postpartum anxiety. Today, we will be discussing postpartum anxiety symptoms, tips, and prognosis.
There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with postpartum anxiety, and it may look slightly different for each mom. It is a condition that is often missed because most new moms and their partners are focused on identifying postpartum depression (PPD) to ensure early intervention. Postpartum is less well known but probably affects as many, if not more, new moms than PPD. Some of the common symptoms of postpartum anxiety include loss of appetite, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. It is possible to experience muscle tension in the form of grinding your teeth, muscle pain (especially in the neck, back, and shoulders), muscle twitching. If you find yourself having difficulty concentrating and focusing or being unusually forgetful, you may want to talk with someone about the possibility of postpartum anxiety.
Tips for feeling better
While there are some things you can do to help you deal with postpartum anxiety, truly getting back to your old self may require some work and awareness. It is important to try to understand what is triggering your anxiety because, in general, our bodies exhibit fear or worry in response to certain stressors. Identifying what these stressors are and avoiding them can make a huge difference in helping you feel better. It’s also important to address your symptoms to the extent possible. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, eating a balanced and healthy diet, drinking enough water, and learning to breathe effectively to help deal with panic attacks. I would also like to point out that there is no shame in seeking professional help or utilizing medications in treating this condition.
How to get help
If you or a loved one may be suffering from postpartum anxiety, there are a variety of local and national resources available to get help. If you are living in the DC metro area, consider contacting Emily Griffin at Happy Parents, Happy Babies. Emily provides in-home support, therapy, and counseling to parents in distress. To find resources in your local area, Postpartum Support International has many great tools including a local resource locator. The Postpartum Health Alliance is also available to assist you in your time of need.