Postpartum Anxiety: Why do I keep having these thoughts? Anxiety and the Postpartum Period.
Do you experience recurring thoughts of your little baby rolling down the stairs or getting hit by a car or worse? What are these violent images sneaking into the corners of your mind and why? These thoughts and images amongst new mothers are common, but should not be minimized or normalized. What you are experiencing, might be Postpartum Anxiety and it is important to get treatment, a good therapist and maybe some medicine and before you know it things will come back into focus and you will no longer be suffering. Many new mothers suffer this anxiety alone, ashamed of these thoughts and embarrassed as they reach over the crib one more time to ensure their baby is breathing.
Why do I have these thoughts?
So what is happening? A person’s hormonal health will affect their mental health. After giving birth, a mother is usually hit with what I refer to as a hormonal wave. This wave can crash onto a person, causing a temporary imbalance. The beauty of this is that it can be cured. You need to go to your Dr. and have blood work done to test whether this is a thyroid issue and then also sit with the idea of taking medicine, talk about this option with your doctor. Medication does not mean you will take medicine for life, it is usually for a temporary period of time.
What to do when experiencing these thoughts
First of all, how does one tolerate these thoughts and invasive images? Do not try to push the images and thoughts away, because then it will come back even stronger. Allow the image or thought to pass by you, and watch it like clouds passing thru the sky. It is a thought, it is a feeling, but it is not who you. You want to both hold the thought and then let it go. Consider these thoughts like waves in the ocean, sometimes there are high tides and the waves are stronger and at times they are low tides and the waves are less frequent or non existent and very small, an ebb of a thought or image so to speak.
Furthermore, every thought moves, thoughts are not who you are. Do not blame yourself for these thoughts. Share with your spouse or family member or close friend that you are having these thoughts and images. Lookup therapists in your area that treat obsessive thoughts, most do. If you can not afford therapy, look for a clinic or support group. You are not alone. You are not crazy.
Your thoughts and feelings are not who you are, they are what you are experiencing.
Finally, take care of yourself as much as you possibly can, because exhaustions makes the thoughts worse. And of course you are exhausted. You may feel hesitant to leave your child with a sitter or your spouse. Play with going down the street to a cafe and having your spouse watch your child for 20 minutes and taking a rest. Because resting while your baby sleeps is not rest, she or he can wake up at anytime. But resting down the street, while your partner plays with the baby is healthy for two reasons. 1. It gives you down time. 2. It provides an opportunity for your baby to bond with his or her other parent. 3. I know this advice is counter intuitive, but once you rest a bit, then you will feel less overwhelmed and you will heal quicker this way.
“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.”