Anxiety can occur during pregnancy and after birth for mamas. Many women who experience anxiety at these times have also had periods of anxiety before and may have seen a counselor or taken medications in the past.
However, most women do not associate the “happy time of pregnancy, birth and postpartum” with new or returned feelings of anxiety, and in fact they often report feeling blindsided or betrayed by these emotions showing up “now”.
It is thought that a combination of hormones and stress create an environment where anxiety can be activated.
There are multiple types of anxiety disorders that fall under the broader “anxiety” category. I will give some of the more common symptoms that women see me about, but I want to stress this is not a diagnosis tool. It is the beginning of a conversation that you should have with a supportive professional. Symptoms of perinatal and postpartum anxiety can include:
- Particular fear and avoidance of specific things: blood, needles, vomit. Or situations (social gatherings, small spaces)
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Always feeling very tense.
- Always feeling “on edge” or being “on guard”
- Worry about the future.
- Worry about something happening to baby.
- Wanting to control situations or environments.
- Pounding heart, feeling out of breath, sweating.
- Thoughts that pop into your head that you don’t want. And possibly things you do to help lower the anxiety these thoughts bring.
If you are experiencing symptoms like the ones above, and they are getting in the way of you living your life- I encourage you to reach out and ask for professional help. Anxiety disorders are treatable, and you and your baby deserve support leading to a more calm and enjoyable life together!
Warmly, Jenny Schermerhorn, Licensed Professional Therapist
This article is not meant to take the place of a relationship with a trained mental health therapist, or a medical professional. It is not meant to provide diagnosis of a mental health disorder. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency, please dial 9-1-1.