Being a parent is like taking a leap of faith into the deep end of the pool - it's going to be a splash of worries and anxieties. But how do you know when it's just a little splash and when it's a full-blown panic attack? Do you find yourself constantly worrying about whether your concerns are taking over your life? Do you find yourself stuck in an endless cycle of researching the "right" way to do things? The truth is, anxiety can manifest in many different ways. The key is to be aware of when something isn't right and seeking help when it's disrupting your ability to enjoy the little moments with your child. But how do you know if you're just a worried mom or if you have postpartum anxiety? It can be a tricky situation, especially since postpartum anxiety is often misunderstood and understudied. But remember, as first-time moms, we all want everything to be perfect, but seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength!
So let’s understand the difference and the red flags where we need to reach out for help!!!
FEAR VS. ANXIETY
“I’ve never met a mom who doesn’t worry, It can be hard to tell the difference between normal worry and postpartum anxiety. To begin with, Fear is a response or reaction triggered by a clearly defined threat. It is a reaction to something specific in the moment. Whereas, anxiety is struggling to determine if something is a threat.
WHAT POSTPARTUM ANXIETY
Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) is like having a little voice in your head that just won't shut up after having a baby. It's normal to have some level of worry as a new mother, but when it becomes a constant companion and never-ending, it's time to take a closer look. PPA can be caused by a specific incident from your past or be a general sense of danger without a clear cause. And just like how babies come with a lot of new responsibilities, PPA comes with a lot of new worries. It's important to note that PPA can occur alongside postpartum depression, but the two conditions are different despite sharing similar symptoms. If your fears are preventing you from enjoying your motherhood and making it difficult to cope, it may be PPA. So, don't hesitate to reach out to a doctor or therapist for help and don't let PPA take away the joy of motherhood.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE POSTPARTUM ANXIETY
Anxiety is like having a personal alarm system, always on the lookout for potential dangers. As a new mother, it's natural to worry about your child's well-being, but when it becomes overwhelming and starts affecting your daily life, it's time to take a closer look. But how do you know if you're crossing the line from normal worrying to postpartum anxiety?
Symptoms can be physical, emotional, or behavioral. Let's break it down:
- Emotional Symptoms - Difficulty focusing, excessive guilt or blame, irritability, inability to relax, feelings of dread, and restlessness.
- Physical Symptoms - Disrupted sleep, increased heart rate, nausea, trouble breathing, loss of appetite, trouble sitting still, and muscle tension.
- Behavioral Symptoms - Avoiding certain activities, people, or places, being overly cautious, checking things repeatedly, and being controlling.
If these symptoms sound familiar and are preventing you from enjoying motherhood, it's important to reach out to a doctor or therapist for help. Don't let anxiety take away the joy of being a new mom.
WHAT CAUSES THIS POSTPARTUM ANXIETY?
While there’s no one cause of postpartum anxiety, there are a number of factors that can increase the chances of developing the condition:
- Change in hormones: The sudden drop in hormones after giving birth can lead to changes in mood and an increased sensitivity to stress.
- Sleep deprivation: Lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and make it more difficult to cope with the demands of new motherhood.
- Pressure of perfection: The expectation to be the perfect mother and handle everything perfectly can add stress and contribute to feelings of anxiety.
- Personal or family history of anxiety or mood disorders: If you have a history of anxiety or mood disorders, you may be more likely to develop postpartum anxiety.
- Previous miscarriage or stillbirth, or having a premature baby or a baby with health issues: These experiences can contribute to feelings of anxiety and fear, making it more likely to develop postpartum anxiety.
HOW CAN I COPE WITH POSTPARTUM ANXIETY?
First of all you are doing good & it’s really IMPORTANT to take care of yourself mama. And you are not alone in this. Taking care of the new baby is HARDWORK. Your feelings are valid, and there is nothing you did to cause postpartum anxiety. But a s said it’s important to take care of you so one should seek help or discuss with your husband or family and even your doctor & remember its ok to ask help if you feel tried. Other than this finding /joining Mommies group ie a platform of mothers to understand & share experiences. Finally, try to set aside time for activities that bring you happiness. Sometimes parents forget about themselves. Taking a few minutes to enjoy a hobby can help take your mind off your worries.
It's also important to remember that postpartum anxiety is treatable, and there are a number of different options available.
WHEN TO REACH OUT TO A DOC
There is no right or correct time to reach out a doctor . As one should reach out for help the moment one feels that one doesn’t feel good about himself. However when you see symptoms of anxiety or strong felling like Not able to bond with the baby, worrying all day long or finding a reason to be worried, overwhelmed with day-to-day life and your nervousness is growing & disrupting your day to day life.
Don’t worry mama it’s just a. Phase and it will pass through. But remember with the child you need to take care of yourself & your mental health to have a healthy and happy baby. Because as it goes, YOU CAN NEVER POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP!!