Being a mom was never any question for me, as was breastfeeding. I had told my husband early on in our pregnancy all the horror stories I read about and that no matter what, I didn't want to give up on nursing. My Everlee Jo was born, and placed on my chest and immediately I knew I would do anything for this little human. Evie didn't have any problem with latching on and even the lactation consultant was impressed with my very hungry baby.
Two days later we went home...and the postpartum anxiety hit. This anxiety was like no other. It took over every aspect of my life. I couldn't eat or perform every day activities nevertheless function as a new mom. I cried all day; the anxiety was literally crippling. Within that first month I felt gypped; I couldn't appreciate or enjoy my newborn and I was so angry at my body for doing this to me, I felt like I couldn't do anything right as a mom. As many times that I let my anxiety take over and I wanted to give up nursing, my husband would remind me how bad I wanted to do it. Thank goodness, because as I would nurse, it was as if it was the one thing that felt right.
After two weeks of feeling helpless and horrible, I ended up calling my primary doctor. I have a history of anxiety and depression and I would always try to write it off as if I was having a bad or off day and not seek help. But I wanted to enjoy this experience of being a first time mom, and I felt as if no matter what I tried to do, I couldn't. I was willing to do anything it took.
My doctor was the first one to tell me that it was "normal" which infuriated me because I felt far from normal. I wish I would have known that going to my OBGYN for my postpartum anxiety was acceptable because I had such a better relationship with them. When I finally went to my 6 week postpartum visit, my OB explained different holistic ways to also help the postpartum depression (PPD). Without the support from my doctors, husband and family checking in on me every day, I'm not sure I would have been able to combat my postpartum anxiety on my own.
As the anxiety has been controlled with medication, Evie Jo and I continue to nurse and I love every moment of it. It is such a special bond, to be everything another human could possibly need. Who knew she was everything I ever needed to feel whole and complete?
The one thing that drove me insane was everyone telling me "oh what you're feeling is normal" because normal was the last thing I felt. I felt like my body didn't belong to me and it was punishing me for something. Ever since PPD and postpartum anxiety happened to me, I open up to anyone that will listen. As moms we need to talk about it more.
First Picture in series above by Emily Parish Photography
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