Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Hello moms!! I just want to take the time to say thank you for all your comments on my last blog about postpartum preeclampsia. In this blog, I want to continue to talk about my postpartum experience. Particularly, the emotional side of it.
After my first child, Bailey was born, I only had 4 weeks at home with her. I had just started my job when I was 4 months pregnant with her, so I did not accrue enough vacation time to get maternity leave. I was fortunate to even receive the 4 weeks I was granted. So, after my postpartum preeclampsia experience, I only had a couple of weeks to get over that and adjust to having a new child. Looking back on it, I would say that was probably not the best thing for me to do. I was frazzled by the whole experience of being a mother and trying to figure this out. All the while trying to get my health back on track. I was on blood pressure medication and having to watch my stress level. Oh yeah, my newborn would not stop crying.
My doctor told me that she thought I was having anxiety attacks. That was the first time I had ever heard that before. But it made sense. I had not been right since giving birth.
My second week back at work I started to find it difficult to breathe. I thought that the fluid that was previously on my lungs after birth had returned. I frantically called my husband, and we went to my primary physician. They did an EKG and listened to my heart and lungs. My doctor came back and said they could not find anything wrong with my body. My blood pressure was fine. My doctor told me that she thought I was having anxiety attacks. That was the first time I had ever heard that before. But it made so much sense. I had not been right since giving birth. Every time my child cried, I was anxious, and I could not handle it. I had to hold her immediately to get the crying to stop. Any time I was behind the wheel I was struggling to breathe. The medication was suggested but I did not want to float around like a zombie. I wanted to be emotionally available, but my emotions were jacked up.
For me, anxiety got better but never disappeared. In my 2 pregnancies after my first, I just learned to deal with it. But then…HELLO 2020! After I had my last child in January all I could think about was postpartum preeclampsia. I had prayed all the way up to his birth that I would not get it. But as soon as I got home, I was afraid. The doctors kept me an extra couple of days to watch me. I was fine when I left. My blood pressure was great, but my mind was not great. I was just sitting there waiting for things to happen. Well, things did happen. I ended up back in the hospital several times. One night a nurse came in and told me that the postpartum preeclampsia signs that are normally there were not there for me. She could not understand why my blood pressure was not coming down. It was anxiety! Anxiety caused me to continue to think that I was not ok. I fully believe that my stress caused my body to react badly.
As the year went on, I found that my anxiety had manifested itself in different ways. Overeating, sensitivity, irritability, etc. I knew it needed to be dealt with. Seeing other moms talk about their anxiety issues motivated me and helped me to see that this was a real thing. It needed to be addressed. And to me, I was blindsided by it. When I was pregnant, I only heard of postpartum depression, not anxiety. So, thank you to all the moms who have spoken out on this. It is ok to say you are not ok. I thought that if I said it out loud someone would think I was crazy. At this point, I don’t care about judgment. Perfection is just a façade and it helps no one.
The truth is my journey through dealing with anxiety is an ongoing struggle. But awareness and open conversation has helped me more than anything. Also, prayer. God has been good to me and His love calms my fears.