Most people have heard of postpartum depression. With good reason. It affects 1 in 7 new mothers. But what about postpartum anxiety? Most studies document that this “other postpartum” mental health concern is even more common than PPD, with as many as 1 in 5 new moms struggling with postpartum anxiety. 1 in 5!
When suddenly a parent for the first time, there is much to worry about. I remember watching my first baby as a newborn sleep at night, worrying she would stop breathing in the middle of the night. And then there is breastfeeding… is baby getting enough milk? Is she gaining enough weight? Does he have a tongue-tie??
Does this inner monologue sound familiar? It is so common. In the postpartum stage, some anxiety is normal, expected and healthy.
“A certain amount of anxiety can motivate and energize us into action. Too much anxiety can get in the way.”
Too much anxiety can make it difficult to bond with a new baby and zap all the joy out of this time. Postpartum anxiety can make it harder to sleep. And we need all the sleep we can get!
Question: If postpartum anxiety is so common, does this mean it is normal?
“Just because postpartum anxiety is normal, we can still make things better.”
But how do you recognize when postpartum anxiety is too much?
- Do you feel anxious more often than not?
- Do you have trouble relaxing?
- Are you unable to stop or control worrying?
- Would you like to feel better than you currently do?
Brief, short-term therapy can be tremendously helpful in overcoming postpartum anxiety. In my practice in San Diego, I help my clients develop a unique, tailored plan, drawing on their existing strengths and resources. I am well-connected in the community and help facilitate referrals, whether giving a free pass to mom and baby yoga, suggesting a recommended sleep trainer or acupuncturist, or helping make the decision of when to go for an evaluation with a psychiatrist.
Here are more articles on postpartum anxiety: