Over the past six weeks, I have been dealing with a lot of issues from the emergency c-section I had, not to mention the ridiculous amount of hormones that are trying to get back to normal in my body after having the twins. The two month postpartum update for myself and for the twins will be up in a few weeks, but I thought I would take the time to talk about something we diagnosed at my six-week check-up, and that is living with postpartum. It is something I think a number of women deal with after having a baby but unfortunately, much like postpartum depression, it is something that isn’t talked about openly.
To me, dealing with this issues these few weeks has absolutely been pretty “hush hush” and almost somewhat embarrassing. I am the type of person that doesn’t really share too much about what is going on with me in person. Thankfully, I have found this blog and writing to be somewhat therapeutic and helpful in sharing the things that are going on, good and bad. It’s amazing the amount of support that I have received and that I have been able to bring to other women going through similar things.
Anyways… on to the details.
Living With Postpartum Anxiety
Never in my life did I deal with issues of really intense anxiety. Nervousness and worry, yes. But never anxiety, especially not in this capacity.
I started feeling the effects of this a few weeks before I gave birth. I was worried that I would not get to have the natural birth that I so intensely wanted. More so, I was petrified that I might have to have a c-section. This is where my whole battle began I think. You can read more here about my anxiety during pregnancy.
After the twins were born, I had my mom in town and then more family came. While they were here, I was still dealing with the symptoms of everything, but to a much lesser degree. We were constantly busy and there was always someone around for a hug or for a chat, so my mind wasn’t wandering. There wasn’t many gaps where I was by myself and felt the overwhelming loneliness combined with all of the new-found craziness of having four children under four years old.
After they left, I was really on my own for the first time with the kids with my husband back at work. This was about two weeks before my six-week appointment. The extensive list of symptoms I had going on, thanks to the anxiety, hormones, and my thyroid, was really tough to try to deal with. Thanks to WebMD, I terrified myself even more into thinking I was going to die any second (Check out yesterday’s post on the reality of WebMD).
Hand tremors, loss of sensation, lightheartedness, vision issues, fast heart beat, dizziness, constant anxiety, breathlessness, heaviness in chest… all of these were things that I was and have been experiencing on a daily basis.
Aside from trying to diagnose myself, I knew that I was having panic attacks and dealing with a tremendous amount of anxiety.
My doctor let me know that all of the above was true when I went in for my appointment. He also said I really need to get more sleep, which is 150% true, but nearly impossible.
Apart from medication, there isn’t much you can do about anxiety except talk to a counselor. As some of you know, I am about to have my Master’s degree in professional therapy. I have heard that counseling a counselor (or in my case, a psychology student) is the hardest thing to do… I can understand why.
I left that appointment with the realization that postpartum issues are something that cannot be taken lightly. I recovered completely in days after my older girls were born. The hormones stuck around, but they didn’t cause anything like this.
These attacks that I have had were coming 3-4 times a day. I was in instant tears, afraid that I was going to die. Even when the attacks themselves weren’t there, I could never catch my breath or think with a clear mind. I was scared I wouldn’t be around for my kids anymore. I couldn’t go to sleep at night because I was terrified that I was not going to wake up. It seriously felt like I was losing my mind. It was debilitating.
Feeling like you are so out of control of what is happening with you physically as well as mentally is probably the worst feeling in the world. I have never struggled with anything like this before in my life, not to this extent at least.
I just want to be able to enjoy my kids again, to stop living in fear everyday of what’s going to happen with me or what’s to come. It has completely changed the way that I live my everyday life.
Trying to get back into a somewhat routine, trying to take care of two newborns and two toddlers, trying to become myself again when that woman seems so lost… all of these things are what I am fighting through this anxiety and panic to do. Ultimately, I just need to let someone much more powerful than myself take all of the worry and the anxiety.
I am not sharing this to feel sorry for myself or what I am going through. I share this because it helps to bring me a little bit of peace and sanity, and also to give a virtual hug to those struggling with similar issues. If you have gone through or are going through anything like this after having a baby or during pregnancy, you aren’t crazy and you are not alone.
I wish I could say I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I don’t just yet. I know it will come eventually. I know that I will be able to get through this and be myself again. I know there will be a day when I wake up and am just happy, nothing else. Today is just not that day. Maybe tomorrow:)
Remember, you never really know what someone else is going through just at first glance.
*Here’s to all of those fighting personal battles*