The following is a true story of one person’s experience with postpartum anxiety. Postpartum anxiety, like anything else, can look differently for different people. For some it is more mild and for others it is more extreme.
For more information on postpartum anxiety you can visit or for a list of symptoms and resources. If you believe you have postpartum anxiety, please seek the advice of your doctor or midwife to talk about your symptoms and steps to take towards healing.

It’s not just “Oh man. I’m worried about dinner. What should I make?” It’s so much more than that.
Over this past summer, before I really realized what was happening, my anxiety was out of control. I was experiencing heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, headaches. I couldn’t stand up without feeling like I was going to pass out. I was certain I had a heart arrhythmia or blockage. I had done all the research.
Then, once I got my heart checked out and I passed with flying colors {shocking}, my symptoms *must* have been from a thyroid issue. Some thyroid problems expose themselves after birth, and I aligned with many of the symptoms. I didn’t have a significant amount of hair loss, but I had just about everything else. I was certain I had hyperthyroidism. I had done all the research.
Then, once I got my blood work back and my numbers were beyond normal, I started using some essential oil blend on my wrists, neck, and heart. It really did take the edge off, at least for a while. It was a liquid xanax of sorts, and smelled pretty good. So, I could cover up the fact that I hadn’t showered with something that helped me not feel like I was going to die from a serious disease or a stroke. I was avoiding medication {which is a high priority for me} and feeling better. I was gaining control of my anxiety. I was not deathly ill and I would live to see my babies grow up. Everything was going to be okay.
Then, I got a plugged duct. Y’all, I had so many nursing issues with Bug {which will be a story for another day} that this was not my first. More like my 50th. But it was my first with Hulk, and I was certain I had breast cancer.
That is not something that hasn’t plagued my life from time to time. Multiple family members and friends – I have walked with people in various forms through their journeys battling breast cancer, so it is not something I’m unfamiliar with. And it’s something that scares me. A lot. My fear had grown so large that I was crying in complete fear multiple times a day. I couldn’t eat. I could barely continue on with my day. Finally, my mom and the engineer called my lactation consultant and asked for help. She stopped by one morning after a plea from my family – she surprised me with a “don’t be mad; your mom called me”. I was so happy to see her, and could have burst into tears when she walked through the door. She reassured me that it was not cancer, but a simple plugged duct that had become quite annoying. I trust her so much, so hearing her say that took a huge weight off my shoulders. Then, she encouraged me to get medication. I had the script for it already – my midwife had prescribed it months before. But, I thought I was dealing with things well, so I never got it filled.
I filled it that evening. The anxiety was taking over my life. I was constantly just staring at my kids wondering “what if I never get to see them grow up”, and that was causing me to not live. I was so worried about what the future may hold and what I may not get to experience that I was afraid to live the day to day. My anxiety had truly faded towards the end of the summer, but had resurfaced with intensity as our pick-up trip for Jet got closer. Having 3 kids under 3, with one special needs and a background of trauma, caused me even more fear than I realized.
Yes, I have anxiety. And it was truly crippling at times. But, it doesn’t own me. And it doesn’t own you. Postpartum anxiety is not normal, but it is common. Once I realized that a fear of dying for postpartum moms was one of the most common fears among those struggling with anxiety, I felt peace. It seemed to prove even more that something wasn’t wrong with me. Our days are never guaranteed, but the medication has helped curb the overwhelming fear of leaving my kids. Those initial thoughts still pop into my head, but my days are no longer spent on google, running down an infinite amount of WebMD-type sites. I am not less of a person because I need medicine to help keep me on track. I am a happy, functioning mama of 3 that has gotten her thoughts and actions back. I am so grateful that my family didn’t wait for me to make a call to my doctor – I was convinced that going to the doctor meant that I thought I had a reason to go to the doctor. So, if I didn’t go, that meant nothing was wrong. They cared for me in a way that I wasn’t able to care for myself – by making the call. A support group, some meds, and some stinkin cute kids have helped me kick my anxiety. I’m not out of the woods, and I plan to continue my medication for a while, but I am glad that I have found something that works for me.
Find what works for you. If you are struggling, don’t be ashamed. There are so many other moms out there feeling exactly how you do {raises hand here}. Self-care as a mom, new or otherwise, is so so important. You have to take care of yourself if you want to take care of those littles who depend on you. If you feel like maybe you should talk to someone, please go see your doctor. That visit could mean the difference between surviving and thriving. You are beautiful and you are doing a great job as a mom. Admitting you need help does not mean you can’t pull yourself together, nor does it mean that you aren’t caring for your kids. If anything, visiting a doctor to seek help shows that you care for them so much that you are willing to face challenges and fears head on, on their behalf.
You can do this. If you do not have an active support group you can lean on, please reach out to me. I would love to get to know you and walk along side of you as you find your place again.
As my best friend put it, “Welcome to crazy town!” I wish I wasn’t here, but I’m thankful that I am. I’ve met some pretty amazing people who also struggle with various forms of anxiety and depression, postpartum or otherwise, and I now have a much better understanding of where they are coming from. I can respond, listen, and encourage in much more meaningful ways. So, for that, I am grateful for this journey.
Kristi is a Mama of 3 (soon to be 4) and wife to her high school sweetheart. She survives off of sweet tea and sarcasm and loves to share all the feels of life with some honesty, a little bit of humor, and a whole lot of Jesus. You can find her blog here where this post originally appeared.