by Kazue Koyanagi
You might be a professional worrywart who's always worried, even about worrying.
Maybe you're the type of person who always lets things roll off your back. Perhaps you used to worry more than your friends or family do, but now it feels more intense.
If severe, you could feel like you don't recognize yourself at all.
"One of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression is anxiety. Not every woman with PPD feels it, but most do," says Dr. Shoshone Bennett, founder and director of Postpartum Assistance for Mothers.
Dr. Bennett says that, "Some women mainly have postpartum anxiety and don't feel much depression."
If you do have anxiety, these suggestions can help you understand it and keep it under control.
"We tried for a baby six long years. We were so excited when I got pregnant, throughout the pregnancy and at the approaching birth. But when beautiful, little Jasmine entered our lives, something else did, too. Worry. I was afraid I'd drop her, fretting that I hadn't remembered to pack a diaper, concerned she would quit breathing while I slept, afraid I'd lose the car keys and we couldn't drive home... I never used to be like this." ~Tara, Pregnancy.org member
Tara is not alone. Many women experience some level of postpartum depression and anxiety. The key is learning what you can do to help keep it under control or at bay.
Anxiety is caused by three key factors: Physical, psychological and environmental:
Serotonin, an important brain chemical, is found to be lower in women with postpartum depression. One way to reduce your anxiety is to increase your serotonin levels.
Increasing your intake of specific nutrients fights anxiety by raising levels of brain-friendly serotonin and dopamine. Some examples of these nutrients can be complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, and omega-3 fats.
Medications are available that can help increase the amount of serotonin that can be used in the brain. These are available through your healthcare provider. They can work with you to figure out what will work best.
Motherhood myths can cause anxiety because they make you think you can never measure up. Another cause of anxiety stems from how you were raised. If a parent showed you that life had to be handled by worrying all the time or that "worry equals love," this way of thinking might be ingrained. You can be reverse that line of thinking and embrace new mantras.
Stressors and major changes in your life or routine, such as moving, money problems, not getting enough sleep, and relationship issues are some of the biggest triggers. They can even be the cause of some families breaking apart.
Life is going to keep being what it is and we recognize that we don't always have control over everything going on. Learning how to take control and embracing methods to stay on top of things helps to reduce anxiety.
When you're anxious, we dread hearing people tell us that, "Everything's okay." We don't appreciate hearing, "Just relax." If we could have willed ourselves out of worry, we would have done it long ago. None of us choose to feel this way. Many women feel ashamed that they aren't "happy go lucky" or all smiles all the time. There is no reason to feel this shame. You're not alone.
When you're down in the dumps, even simple suggestions seem trite. We're asking you to give these a try and help get on the road to wellness.
Simplify your life as much as possible. This sounds harder than it is. Make a pact with yourself. As of today, don't sign up for extracurricular activities that take a lot of time and attention unless you're able to handle them.