We here at Real Mama Co. want you to know that you're not alone. Yes, you might be up all alone at night with the baby that just won't sleep, but we can guarantee there are lights on in houses just down the street, helping aluminate the night for another sleep deprived Mama. We see you; we hear you, and we're here to help support you.
If you're having a little more trouble than just feeling alone, we want you to know that we see you, too. There are a few links and stories below that might help you figure out the right way to talk to your doctor, should you need a little extra support.
I have been there. Everyone's story is different, but what everyone here has in common is that we're all Mamas, and we all agree that having a baby is HARD. Hard on your body, hard on your marriage, and hard on your mind. So much has changed in such a short time.
Did you know that up to 20% of all postpartum Mamas struggle with postpartum depression and/or anxiety? I had no idea that it was that common when I had my littles!
Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety:
- Excessive worry
- Sense of dread
- Panic Attacks
- Intrusive or persistent thoughts
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shakiness or trembling
Risk factors and potential causes of Postpartum Anxiety:
- High perceived stress
- Low support (social and/or partner)
- Low self-esteem
- Family history of anxiety or mood disorders
- History of pregnancy loss
I'm Meghan, the Owner of Real Mama Co., and here is my story.
For me, it was the anxiety. It started after my son was born in 2019, and although my Sister In-Law tried to warn me, I absolutely thought that I didn’t have it. Either that, or I was scared to admit it, I’m not sure which one is true.
A short time later, in 2020, along came my little girl. Pregnancy through a pandemic is something that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. I wouldn't let my family leave the house and wouldn’t let anyone come around, for fear of the unknown.
After she was born, we decided to completely remodel our home and move in with my In-Laws. I thought that my anxiety was coming from us being uprooted. That everything would go back to normal once we moved back home.
Moving home ended up meaning that I would become a stay-at-home mom. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but I couldn’t enjoy one second of it. I just didn’t know why.
Until the day I stumbled upon a Postpartum Anxiety Test that you can complete at home. Woah did I score high. Almost the highest. The test gave me the courage to talk to my doctor, since I felt like I finally had the words to describe what was going on. A few months (and about a dozen therapy appointments later) I finally feel like I don’t have to fight the battle so hard anymore. I found the J-O-Y in life again.
This is part of my journey that I didn’t know would be part of the story when I started the idea of Real Mama Co., but I’m so grateful that it is. If this test can help even one other Mama out there realize that they’re not alone and that it’s okay to ask for help, then I feel like I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
Here is the link to the test that helped me. It is important that I note that postpartum depression and anxiety are cut from the same cloth. They tend to have a lot of the same factors included in their symptoms, so the testing is relatively the same. Your doctor can take your test results and help you decipher what you might need to help.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
- A depressed mood
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling sad or down
- Thoughts about suicide
- Weight gain/weight loss (not dieting)
- Diminished interest or pleasure in activities
Causes of Postpartum Depression:
- Thyroid Issues
- Broken Sleep
- Hormonal Changes
One of the best parts about doing this whole Mama thing is having Mama friends to go through it with. One of my very favorite Mamas (let's call her Jessie) struggled pretty badly with postpartum depression, and she would like to share how she overcame it.
This is Jessie's story.
When I was first warned about postpartum depression, I was told that I might cry often, that I could possibly feel a detachment to my baby, or that I might even feel "on edge". That any little thing could make me fall apart.
For me? That wasn't the case at all. From the very first moment that I had my daughter, I was obsessed. The minute I laid eyes on her, I fell madly in love with her. I wanted nothing more than to protect her and keep her happy and healthy.
At night, I would wake up every time she made a little grunting noise to make sure that she was okay. Then I started getting these thoughts that maybe I wasn't good enough for her. I would watch my husband swaddle her and I would think to myself "he does a better job at that than I do." I started thinking that maybe it would be in the best interest for both of them if I just left.
I kept those thoughts to myself.
He noticed that I had changed. He kept asking me why I didn't want family to visit or why I didn't want to talk to my friends. I had a hard time admitting to him that I just wanted to be left alone with my baby... and my feelings.
He finally suggested that maybe I had postpartum depression. He said that I wasn't acting the same and that he was worried about me.
It wasn't until he went to bed one night that I googled postpartum depression and a self-help test popped up.
My results? "You are most likely suffering from postpartum depression."
I. Was. Shocked. Man, I hate when he's right.
The very next day I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. He was able to give me some homeopathic remedies to help with my depression. Within days I was feeling more confident, I had more energy, and I was sleeping better.
Being a mom is hard. Hormones can definitely get the best of you. There is no way to know how you're going to be feeling, whether it's your first pregnancy or your fourth. Don't be afraid to talk to someone or to ask for help. After all, we're all in this together.
Here is the link to the test that helped me.
Symptoms of Postpartum PTSD:
- Flashbacks to the traumatic event
- Nightmares and/or sleep disturbances
- Frequent panic attacks
- Avoiding any reminders of the traumatic event
- Wanting to withdraw from relationships
- Intrusive thoughts/images
- Startling easily
Causes of Postpartum PTSD:
- An unplanned or emergency C-section
- Premature birth
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Significant postpartum tearing
- Unexpected birth complications
- Premature birth
If you suffered from a traumatic birth experience, you might be struggling to find your way again. Please consider taking the test below.
Here is a stress test that could help you determine if you are suffering from Postpartum PTSD. If you think you are experiencing any symptoms associated, please reach out to your doctor immediately. You will be so happy you did.
Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis:
- Incoherent or rambling speech
- Intense shifts in mood
- Intensely disorganized or catatonic behavior
Causes of Postpartum Psychosis:
- Previous psychotic episode
- Being a first-time mother
- Extremes of reproductive age
- Sleep deprivation
- Withdrawal from mood stabilizing medication
- Postpartum complications to mother or baby
Here is a stress test that could help you determine if you are suffering from Postpartum Psychosis. If you think you are experiencing any symptoms associated, please reach out to your doctor immediately. It's really important that you don't wait. There is help out there for you, and you are not alone.
Over and over again, since I've had my own babies, I have received the same answer when I ask a new Mama how they're feeling after their own delivery. Almost every time, I get the same answer. That they wish they would have known how to be more prepared for recovery.
I myself had a hard struggle after my first little baby was born. He was perfect in every way. I was not. I felt terrible because I didn't feel that instant connection that "every" mom feels. I was in a sort of shock that didn't subside for quite some time. Trying to wrap my head around the recovery, not being prepared, not being sure of what to expect, these are all things that I was consumed with, when I should have just been consumed with my little man.
I vowed to myself that my next baby would be different.
Along the way, before my baby girl was born, I prepared myself to be more ready for her. I spoke with A LOT of other moms. The most amazing thing that I found out was that I wasn't alone. A very large majority of my friends felt somewhat similar to my first experience, and they each had a little bit of wisdom for my next journey.
She was born and everything was different. I knew what to expect. I knew that I was going to need a lot of products that I didn't have the first time. I knew that I was going to need to ask for help and be OK with letting others help me. I felt like I had won a marathon.
Now that I have the tools to make things a little bit easier, I want to share them with every new mom that I possibly can.
My name is Meghan, and I'm doing this for all of the other Mamas like me. The Mamas who need a little bit of reassurance and help to make it through such a transition. Becoming a Mama is hard, but so worth it.
I know you'll find them as beneficial as I did, and I can't wait to hear your stories.
~Have a story to share that you think might help another Mama through a struggle? We'd love to hear it! You can email your story and a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org, for a chance to have us feature your story on our website or social media page!