Pregnant woman and newborn baby - birthing

The Signs Were There

I was three weeks postpartum- about 10 days post-first-panic-attack- and didn’t know I had postpartum anxiety. My son was sick (a baby sniffle, but for an anxiety/OCD mama, that was paralyzing) and I called my husband overwhelmed and unsure.

“I can’t put him down. All I can do is hold him,” I told him through uncontrollable tears. “I can’t do this.”

He called his parents because my husband was at work. Without paid parental leave he couldn’t be home even in those early days. My mom was arriving later in the day, but I needed support right away.

Our living room has a window looking out to the door, so I met my in-laws at the door, puffy-eyed.

“I’m so happy to see you,” I cried, with the baby halfway out of my arms, into my mother-in-law’s.

Having someone I trusted to hold him hit the pause button on a weeks-long spiral into my perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. I needed a break. Everything overwhelmed me. Anything we attempted gave me incredible amounts of anxiety. Of course, I couldn’t get more than two hours of sleep as a new breastfeeding mom. And so, placing my son in his grandmother’s arms and taking a three-hour nap provided a much-needed break from the racing thoughts and anxious buzz that ran through my body all day, every day.

You Are Not Alone

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) drain your energy. They tell you you can’t. They make it difficult to handle basic needs like getting out of bed, showering and eating. Depending on the disorder you’re experiencing, you may have racing thoughts or physical symptoms like chest-tightness, stomach upset or uncontrollable crying.

Do I have a PMAD?- Learn about PMADs

If you’re a pregnant or postpartum mom struggling, it’s important to know you’re not alone. It may feel like you are or like you can’t tell anyone how you feel. It may feel like you’re just a mess. You are not just a mess. Find someone you trust to talk to, or reach out to Moms Mental Health Initiative for help. 1 in 5 moms experience a PMAD, so feeling this way is common, but it’s not normal. Therapy, medication, peer support and other evidence-based treatments work- with the right help, you will feel better.

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*Disclaimer: Any content provided by is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for personalized medical advice by your doctor, midwife, or other healthcare professional. Click return to homepage.

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