I first mentioned that I had anxiety when I wrote about pregnancy with anxiety and depression. It’s been over two and a half years since I wrote that and I figured it was time for an updated postpartum Q&A. These questions were gathered from Instagram Stories and e-mails I’ve gotten over the past two months. I hope you find my experience relatable and helpful, and as a disclaimer, I am not a doctor. I am just sharing my own personal experience and answering questions with postpartum anxiety.
When does postpartum anxiety end
Truth is I don’t have a straight forward answer for you.
I have been on anti-depressants since I was 20 weeks pregnant and it’s completely changed the way my brain processes anxiety. For me, my anxiety hasn’t ended I’ve just learned to manage it.
It’s also good to note that I was diagnosed with anxiety prior to getting pregnant. But pregnancy brought on a whole new and stronger feeling of anxiety that eventually led to depression. You can read more about that here.
Can postpartum anxiety come later?
Since mine started when I was pregnant I think it was a bit different than others. I had prepartum anxiety and was prescribed Zoloft to manage it. But it defiantly came back at full force around 6 months postpartum, which was strange because the first few months I was in newborn bliss.
Right after I gave birth I remember feeling so happy, I was excited to wake up every morning to see our new baby. It was like Christmas every day which I know isn’t what most women feel after they give birth. To me, the early days of motherhood was filled with happiness and I don’t remember having anxiety at all.
Can postpartum anxiety last for years
Yes. It’s been over 2 years since I gave birth to my daughter and my anxiety is worse than ever. I recently contacted my doctor again to talk about changing my medications. I’ve been having panic attacks and I haven’t been feeling like myself which I’ll talk more about in a future Q&A.
What helps postpartum anxiety
I have tried so many tips and tricks over the years and these are the only things that helped with my postpartum anxiety.
- Exercising daily (including a quick home workout, walk, or run)
- Limiting caffeine
- Drinking lots of water
- Eating nutritious foods and limiting sugar/processed foods
- Reading books for a little distraction
- Finding a hobby to keep my mind busy
- Lastly, medication. I’m currently on Sertraline (a form of Zoloft)
What does postpartum anxiety feel like
This is a great question, and I’m glad you asked because when I first felt anxiety I thought I was crazy. I had a horrible feeling of impending doom, almost like I did something wrong or something bad was about to happen. It’s progressed over the years to feeling my whole body shake, I would have cold sweats, and my stomach would feel like it was doing loops.
I do want to note that when I’m taking my medications regularly, my anxiety feels so different. It’s like my body knows I’m having anxiety but there’s a missing connection and my mind doesn’t care.
Why is postpartum anxiety worse at night
I recently talked to my doctor about this because I seem to be getting panic attacks more often at night. She said it could be a wide array of things that are happening. Including daily stressors, not eating right, not exercising, and a lack of sleep. Usually for me its a mix or not exercising, eating right, and going to bed too late. So I’ve been trying to be better with those three things and so far it’s been helping a lot and my panic attacks are less often.
Can postpartum anxiety ever go away, or can postpartum anxiety come and go?
I believe that people who have anxiety will always have it, but I think there are seasons in our lives that will be worse than others.
It’s good to note that there is medication if you feel like your postpartum anxiety is really bad, and I always recommend talking with your doctor.
Like I said earlier my anxiety got so bad that it turned into depression, My only wish would be that I had talked to my doctor sooner and started on medications earlier.
To answer your first question, does postpartum anxiety ever end? Not if you’ve had anxiety in the past. You just have to find a way to manage those symptoms and train your mind to cope with those anxious feelings. I also believe there is a difference between postpartum anxiety and regular anxiety. To me, postpartum anxiety came on a lot stronger and lasted longer than regular anxiety. It also didn’t go away because I still get anxiety from time to time, but I want you to know that medication does help.
Stay tuned for the next Q&A which will be on general anxiety, how to function as a person with anxiety and depression, and what taking medications feels like now.