Postpartum Anxiety & The Happiest Place On Earth

postpartum-anxiety-disneylandI had another post scheduled for today but I must write about this incident while it’s still fresh. I’m trying to log all my postpartum emotions and experiences so I don’t forget them with hope that it can help another mama out there. As you know, I’m a huge advocate of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety awareness. I believe that sharing our stories can help other mothers feel less isolated, which in turn can help them cope and move beyond those tough emotions and triggers. Motherhood is a lot of work and there’s no reason for us to act like it’s not.

We’re not perfect, neither is motherhood. And that’s totally okay and normal. 

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So yesterday I went to Disneyland with my family because our annual passes are expiring soon. Everything was normal. My 6-months old son was doing great and the girls were excited about being there. I had a slight headache but nothing unusual. It was a perfectly normal day for our family of five.

Disneyland-feb (14 of 1)My husband suggested I ride the first ride with the kids because he wanted me to have fun. I’ve been spending a lot of time at home with the baby so he knew I can use a little breather and excitement. I reluctantly agreed. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m not really feeling adventurous these days. I used to love fast rides and roller coasters before, but having babies definitely changed me in this aspect.

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So I got on the ride with my daughters. Space Mountain to be exact. There were only three of us (hubby had to stay back and watch the baby) and we can only sit in two’s so I chose to sit behind them.

Then out of nowhere, my heart began pounding and mind began racing with fear. Suddenly I felt scared.

As I sat behind the girls and pulled the guard rail close to me, I wondered if the girls’ guard rails were tight enough. I reached over and double checked to make sure they were secure. The attendant began walking toward us asking us to gently tug on the rail to make sure it’s not loose. I watched her like a hawk to make sure she checked my daughters’.

The ride began. It was pitch dark and all you can hear is the loud clicking of the wheels and sounds of some futuristic music and voice over. I couldn’t hear a thing and all I can feel is my heart palpitating and my mind going blank. What in the world was going on?

Then the ride began to pick up speed. Fast turns, sudden drops, the ride tossing us left and right. Suddenly this irrational fear gripped me HARD. I wondered if the ride was really safe, are my daughters going to fall off the ride? Are they going to be okay? It was the scariest feeling, and this is definitely not normal for me. I’m typically laid back and don’t worry about things that are beyond my control.

For the remainder of the ride, I shut my eyes tightly when it’s dark to try to push out these negative thoughts and opened them to make sure my daughters were still there when we are in the light. I did this countless times and I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t even process what I was doing, everything just moved so fast.

I was a mama bear in full protective mode, except I was protecting them from an imagined, irrational fear.

At one point I reached over and yelled “hold my hand, hold my hand!” My second daughter held my hand, my first daughter couldn’t hear me. I just continued to reach over to hold onto her, her shoulders, her hand, just anything….I had to make sure my daughters weren’t going to fall off the ride.

The ride came to an end and I realized I had just experienced an episode of postpartum anxiety. It came without warning and there was no way I could’ve prepared myself for what I experienced.

I got off the ride, recomposed myself and told my husband what had just happened. I told him it’s probably best if I take it easy and just walk around with the baby. My husband is now more aware of such emotional, hormonal or chemical changes during my postpartum period and tries his best to be supportive. I took deep breaths, told myself it must be the hormones and spent the rest of the time waiting for my husband and older daughters to ride rides while I hang out with the baby.

By dinner time I felt better.

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I share this story because I think this is how postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety hits us sometimes– out of left field, without warning, without a clear starting point. But since I’m now much more aware of what’s going on, I don’t fall into the rabbit hole of questioning my sanity or feeling shame or guilt. I now realize my body is going through a lot of changes- both hormonal and chemical- and I must treat it as such.

I share this story because I think this is how postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety hits us sometimes– out of left field, without warning, without a clear starting point. But since I’m now much more aware of what’s going on, I don’t fall into the rabbit hole of questioning my sanity or feeling shame or guilt. I now realize my body is going through a lot of changes- both hormonal and chemical- and I must treat it as such. I’ll continue to be kind and gentle to myself.

I think I’ll avoid rides or anything stimulating for awhile since it’s triggering anxiety. One day I know these feelings will go away.

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Today I’m feeling a lot better and back to myself again. Motherhood is a constant rollercoaster of emotions, especially after a new baby. I plan to be more careful and monitor myself better especially as I begin to wean. Many mothers have reported that weaning can induce postpartum depression/anxiety and I know I should be watchful and really take care of my mind and body during this sensitive time.

Have you ever experienced postpartum depression or anxiety? If so, what did it feel like? Please feel free to share your experience if you feel safe to do so. As always, please pin the photo below if you found this post helpful. It helps to raise awareness and helps new mothers. 

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Angela
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2 thoughts on “Postpartum Anxiety & The Happiest Place On Earth

  1. Audrey

    Hugs Angela ! Hope u feel better .. I am diagnosed with post natal anxiety this time after birth of my second baby. For my first it was PPD and according to my psycharist the spectrum is rather wide and I was clearly on the high side for the first child and now on lower end for the second and more on anxiety than depression. I totally understand how u feel cos anxiety can hit us when we least expected it. I remembered how I once lay in bed waiting for baby to cry and heart was pounding like mad and brain in active worry mode over something that is to happen next week. My doc gave me anxiety pills which I keep close to me but didn’t eat cos it will pass to baby (I am bf). I tried the breathing tactics and it does help with constant chanting of it will be ok and pray loads. We will get thru this I know and I am glad we share so more will know

    Reply
    1. Angela | Mommy Diary Post author

      Thanks Audrey for sharing your story and sorry you’re going through that. It’s funny that PPD/PPA happens together, sometimes one then next another. I was diagnosed with PPD and never PPA but I’m certain many of the feelings were anxiety not depression. I worried a lot all the time and the first time I drove alone with the baby was really scary. I had to really push these thoughts out of my head and consciously tell myself everything will be okay, I’m being overly sensitive and worried. We will be okay one day, I think its the hormones. :/

      Reply

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