Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I recently attended physical therapy in an attempt to put my parts back together after having my second child. My physical therapist was also a young mom so we began talking about the various stages our children have passed through. At one point, she asked me if I had experienced any postpartum depression or anxiety. Without hesitation, I said no and then quickly backtracked and said, “Well, some difficult thoughts so yeah, I guess that would be postpartum anxiety.” After fumbling through my explanation, I immediately felt slightly ashamed for dismissing the notion so quickly and also a sudden urge to defend my ability to be a mother. 

My automatic dismissal stemmed from my earlier belief that because my anxiety doesn’t consume my whole day that it somehow doesn’t count and shouldn’t be labeled as such.

RELATED: I Wish Someone Had Noticed My Postpartum Anxiety

I also admittedly succumbed to the somewhat subconscious stereotype that those who experience postpartum depression or anxiety are ill-equipped to be mothers. I know of course that’s not true but the automatic guilt that comes from these experiences is almost inherent. The truth is that all postpartum struggles are worth being acknowledged. 

Postpartum depression and anxiety show up in various shapes, sizes, and levels of intensity.

For me, despite feeling quite secure in being a new mom and very much enjoying the ride, my mindoftentimes at nightjolts to worst-case scenarios. I have gut-wrenching thoughts of impossible situations that bring up terrifying, even visceral feelings. My thoughts are not so much about what I could do to my children but more about not being able to protect them. Fires, abductions, serial killersyou name it, and I’ve played it out in detail in my head. I can hear my kids’ cries and them begging for help. I can see the chaos in my head. I feel the angst in the pit of my stomach until I almost literally have to shake myself back into the present. 

With the abundance of love I have for my children, I still wonder how this can happen. How could I possibly imagine things happening to my children that I can barely say out loud? It’s completely involuntary. For me, the thoughts creep in for a few seconds or minutes and then disappear with some conscious effort. 

As uncomfortable as these intrusive thoughts are, I know they are just that: thoughts.

They won’t magically come to life because they’ve entered my consciousness. The reality is that in these moments, my children are safely tucked into their beds or rocking in my arms. They will sleep undisturbed and wake up in the morning for another normal day. I remind myself of this and that helps pull me out of my mind and back into the rocking chair where I rock my baby back to sleep.

RELATED: A New Mom Can Feel Blessed and Thankful and Still Battle Postpartum Anxiety

I wish the postpartum journey didn’t include these thoughts for me, but it does, and I no longer consider myself lucky. Minimizing the experience because of guilt or comparison is a barrier to progress, and I hope other women believe that too. 

Motherhood is such a powerful experience. It changes us on every level. The magnitude of the love we feel for our children is equally matched by a fear of losing them and experiencing unfathomable pain. In some ways, it makes sense.

So moms: talk about it, think positively, take the medication, hug your kids tighterdo whatever it is that helps you get through the tough moments, hours, or days . . . and know that you will make it through. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Katie Vicari

I'm a 30-something wife and mother of a 2-year-old son and two dogs. I have a Master's degree in Human Services and work full time. I believe that a little humor and self-reflection can go a long way. 

Postpartum Anxiety Steals Precious Time

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn

One chilly fall afternoon, my parents came down for a visit. Our firstborn was about 4 months old, and things were still hectic. Like all new parents, we had very little time to ourselves. Date nights included our new baby, and we were still sleeping in shifts. My parents had offered to stay home with our son while we went and had an actual sit-down meal and ran some errands. I felt good about it, I mean, I was exclusively pumping at the time so we couldn’t be gone for more than a couple of hours anyway. I had gone...

Keep Reading

Good Moms Get Scared, Too

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, selfie, color photo

Postpartum anxiety: a different spin on what I thought I was dealing with (postpartum depression). After the birth of my son, I had the baby blues for a little bit, but I spun into a clinical textbook definition of someone with postpartum anxiety right away. Let’s be honest though, I’ve lived with anxiety all my life. I just kicked it up a notch or 10 when my son was born. I was overcome by this irrational fear that my son would die as soon as we were released from the hospital. DIE. Not just have an undiagnosed incurable illness, but...

Keep Reading

“I Know How Hard She Fought.” Postpartum Depression Claimed Her Life—But Not Her Legacy

In: Baby, Grief, Motherhood
Alexis Joy D'Achille Center For Perinatal Health www.herviewfromhome.com

Editor’s note: The following contains references to suicide. “It was without a doubt love at first sight.” It’s one of the first things Steven D’Achille said when asked about his wife, Alexis. At a mutual friend’s party at a private residence in South Beach, in what he described as a “swanky” scene, Alexis showed up around midnight. According to Steven, everyone was already dressed up and mingling, but Alexis simply threw her bag in a room and joined the party without putting on extra makeup, or changing into a dress to match the rest of the party’s attire. “She was...

Keep Reading