If you’ve just had a baby, you might feel like you’ve been on high alert for danger ever since. You can’t help but envision your baby getting hurt by something outside your control. Sometimes, you worry that something bad will happen to you and you’ll be unable to care for your baby. These intrusive thoughts bother you at all hours of the day. Even if you’re having a relatively straightforward recovery and your baby is healthy, you cannot shake these concerns. Yet you haven’t asked for help because you assume these feelings are just a natural, hormonal aspect of the postpartum period.
Yes, hormonal changes can cause significant shifts in your mood after giving birth. But there is a difference between the influence of your changing hormones and postpartum anxiety, which is far more serious and detrimental to your mental health. Here’s how to tell the difference between hormonal shifts and postpartum anxiety. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to ask for help.
Anxiety About New Motherhood Is Normal
First, it’s important to acknowledge that every new mother experiences some anxiety about her baby. You might find yourself thinking about your baby’s health, their progress towards their developmental milestones, and other issues that are important to all new parents. However, while you experience moments of anxiety, you can also relax and enjoy the bright spots of motherhood. You feel comfortable turning towards your support system when you’re feeling stressed.
What if you never seem to find any relief from your anxiety? No matter how much your partner tries to reassure you that everything will be okay, your fears persist. It’s typical for new parents to struggle with sleep deprivation, but despite how exhausted you are, your fears keep you up at all hours. Even when you do manage to catch a few minutes of sleep, you have nightmares about your many anxieties. Your symptoms are so severe that you may feel physically ill at times.
When caring for your baby, it’s completely understandable that you’ll worry about their health, physical comfort, growth, and other issues relating to their wellbeing. But you might catch yourself dwelling on irrational fears, too. You know that some of the problems you envision have effectively no chance of happening. Yet knowing the slim odds don’t calm you down.
Unable To Spend Time Away From Your Baby
Right now, your baby needs you for practically everything, especially if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. But you might be anxious about simply letting your partner or a trusted family member watch your baby for a few minutes while you take a shower. The thought of ever going out for a date night while leaving your baby with someone else terrifies you. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy your support system is. You can’t bring yourself to let your baby out of your sight, even if it means neglecting your own needs.
Being Overly Cautious
You may be afraid to even leave your house out of fear that something will happen to your baby. Perhaps you were excited about going on outings with your baby once they were old enough. Now, you’re so worried about your baby’s safety that you don’t even want to head outside to run errands. For example, you might order groceries delivered to your house even if you have enough time to go to the store simply because you’re scared to drive with your baby. Being so cautious that it holds you back from living life can signify postpartum anxiety.
Do you suspect that you’re struggling with symptoms of postpartum anxiety? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session fo anxiety therapy or postpartum counseling.