Even if you had a relatively complication-free pregnancy and delivery, it’s natural for every new parent to worry about their baby’s health and well-being. However, if your feelings of impending dread have become all-consuming and are starting to interfere with your sleep or other daily activities, you may have postpartum anxiety. Learn more about this condition and how it can affect your relationship with your newborn child.
While having a baby can be joyous and exciting, many new moms experience the “baby blues” caused by a sudden drop in hormone levels. While your doctor likely prepared you for this, you might not expect symptoms such as insomnia and irritability to become debilitating, increase in severity or last more than a few weeks.
Postpartum anxiety shares many similarities with a better-known mental health issue called postpartum depression. It’s possible to be simultaneously anxious and depressed, which could make it trickier for you to receive the correct diagnosis. However, seeking help for your unique mental health needs is crucial. Feeling too overwhelmed to look after yourself will make it much more challenging to bond with your baby.
You may be more prone to postpartum anxiety if mental health issues run in your family, you had a previous miscarriage or stillbirth or if you ever dealt with an anxiety disorder before getting pregnant. Your anxiety may also stem from the stress of new parenting, unexpected household expenses or a changing relationship dynamic with your partner.
Types of Postpartum Anxiety
Some cases of postpartum anxiety include postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder or panic disorder. Their symptoms align with those of their non-postpartum counterparts, though they may relate more specifically to your role as a new parent.
With postpartum OCD, you may have intrusive, recurring thoughts about something harming your baby, accompanied by irrational beliefs that you must repeat specific actions to prevent this from happening. Postpartum panic disorder brings about sudden panic attacks during which you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation and a fear of death.
How to Get Treatment for PPA
You do not have to struggle with postpartum anxiety alone. Treatments are available to help you stabilize your mood and forge a healthy relationship with your new baby. Talk to your doctor or therapist about what symptoms you are experiencing and how they have affected your daily life.
Evidence-based practices such as dialectical behavioral therapy can provide you with emotional regulation skills, while complementary approaches like yoga and meditation might improve your outlook by encouraging you to live more mindfully. It may take some trial and error to find an approach that benefits you, so don’t be afraid to keep advocating for yourself if you don’t feel an improvement after trying a recommended strategy.
Specialized Women’s Mental Health Programming in California
Gender-specific treatment can help women who need additional support and compassion in an environment that allows them to fully focus on their recovery goals. At Rising Roads Recovery, you will experience a women-helping-women approach that allows you to discover a personalized path to healing. We recognize that every client comes to us with different needs, which is why we will walk you through a journey to lifelong recovery. To speak to someone about overcoming your mental health challenges, please reach out to us today.