My Experience with Postpartum Anxiety
After giving birth to her first child, this young mom felt tightness in her chest and non-stop palpitations. She realized that it was not an asthma attack, instead the first sign of postpartum anxiety.
I am a mother of two. I started having anxiety and panic attacks after giving birth to my first child. In fact I still do. The first few times that I had the episodes I thought they were asthma attacks. Then I learned what a panic attack is, the meaning of having anxiety, and that I never had asthma attacks – they were panic attacks.
Where It All Began
I remember it was a few days after I gave birth when I was in my confinement period. I felt tightness in my chest and non-stop palpitations. I went to a clinic and the doctor said that my lungs were fine, I was not having an asthma episode, and that the tightness I was feeling in my chest was because of the corset or ‘bengkung’ I was wearing. I went home and couldn’t sleep overthinking things – that the chest tightness and palpitations are signs that something was wrong with me internally and that I was going to die.
Postpartum anxiety is no joke. It makes you over think stuff which always leads to thinking about death, and you’re suddenly crying and sobbing. In worse cases you can become deliriously delusional.
If you feel this happening to you, or see someone having anxiety, please seek help. Talk to someone about what you’re going through and seek for comfort. It will only harm you and your newborn child if you don’t.
Postpartum anxiety doesn’t only happen to new mothers, it can happen to dads too. I know someone whom upon the arrival of his first child, had a series of panic attacks at night while he was sleeping. This happens when you’re unknowingly nervous when a big change in your life is about to happen and a wave of thoughts come crashing at you. In this case, the transition to parenthood. And men being men, always keep these thoughts and emotions to themselves and this results to anxiety.
Sharing from experience, whenever you feel palpitations, chest tightness or any other anxiety symptoms that you feel are coming, before it escalates to physically hurt you, stop your mind from over thinking.
Distract yourself and think about something else that is calming to you. Think about your baby’s face or the ocean, or the sky, or move your eyes to your left and right while counting to 30. And deep breaths.
New parents, know that anxiety is very normal. And that you are not alone. So talk to other new parents about this. We often find comfort when we know that there are other people going through the same thing that we are. InshaAllah all will be fine.