Treating Maternal Anxiety

I struggled for many months with whether I should write about this part of my life or not. When Katherine from Half Kindled reached out to me about her blog hop, I knew it was time to tell this story. Besides, everyone already knows I’m open about my anxiety. Why not keep sharing? AND, bonus, May has been named Maternal Mental Health Month by several organizations. So, I’d say it’s perfect timing.

While many women are worrying about a post part belly (don’t!), many women are suffering greatly through post and ante natal depression and anxiety. If it’s anxiety remedies or depression recovery you’re looking for, read some encouraging words from moms who have been in the trenches and want to offer you love. Pregnancy related disorders are hard enough; don’t suffer alone. | inspirational quotes | love quotes | love sayings | pregnant quotes

My Anxiety Story

Throughout my life, I’ve always dealt with some sort of anxiety disorder. In my early adult years, my anxiety started manifesting itself as panic attacks. With each pregnancy, the panic attacks would get worse, and with this third one, the episodes were starting to happen daily – sometimes every few hours. Because of the relentlessness of the attacks, I started to feel hopeless and depressed. Dark thoughts entered my mind, and I could not control them. I began to worry I was a danger to myself and my children.

One morning after a particularly hard night, I woke up with the expectation that a night’s sleep would have shaken off my anxiety. But, I found myself in worse shape than before. I laid in bed unable to move, but still managed to start calling around for help. I Googled help lines, called local programs, spoke with professionals, and finally decided I needed immediate help. I couldn’t live another day in that fearful state. I wasn’t eating, I could only sleep fitfully, I was scared of harming myself, I was hopeless and I was pregnant. A terrible combination.

I was hopeless and I was pregnant. A terrible combination.

I Asked for Help

I decided to check myself into the hospital where I would stay four days under the care of many specialists and volunteers. I was assigned a psychologist and a therapist, had my meds evaluated, and was taught various coping mechanisms to help in the short-term. After work, Mike would stay by my side until I fell asleep, and my parents watched my kids during the day. It still turns my stomach to think about a time in my life where I was unable to care for my own children. But I sought and received help.

After leaving hospital, I met frequently with my doctors and therapist. I took a refresher course in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I still have my team on stand by in case I ever have severe attacks again. And even though I was getting the help I needed and seeing results, I was still worried.

My Fears

I worried that if people found out that I checked myself into a hospital, they would think I was truly crazy and unable to control my own mind or actions. I thought people would treat me like I was sick. I thought it would mean that I wasn’t in control of my life and I had failed.

But what would I think if a woman told me she sought help for a mental affliction? I would think she was brave and strong. I would think it was an incredibly bold and necessary move. I would be proud that she looked past the stigma and took charge of her mental health. And I am deciding to extend those same praises to myself. I am going to love myself and the decision I made.

I am deciding to extend those same praises to myself. I am going to love myself and the decision I made.

How I Am Today

Now, after having our third baby, I still have an anxiety disorder. In fact, I may have it for the rest of my life; it’s my cross. And, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still worried that the darkness will come back. It’s hard to forget an experience that shakes your confidence with such intensity. But, when I do start to feel the anxiety come on, I know I have the skill set I need to combat it, and I’ve used it with success. I also am comforted by the fact that I have a team standing by to help if things ever get bad again. If I hadn’t taken such a drastic step, I would never have been set up with such powerful tools.

Find Help

You may be fearful that you’re a failure if you ask for help. You may have told yourself that you’re not the kind of person who needs a big intervention. You may have been told that you can pray away your suffering. You may think you’re a failure if you can’t. I’m telling you that your prayers may not result in a miracle cure. More than likely God will give you enough strength and courage to ask for help. Listen to Him and get the help you deserve. Maternal anxiety can happen during and after pregnancy. Visit Postpartum Progress for information on all maternal mental disorders. Contact your local hospital or visit adaa.org to find a help center.

You’re loved and I’m praying for you. xo

For more encouragement and help, head over to Half Kindled to read Katherine’s story. And, many other women have joined us today. Find hope in their posts as well: A Knotted Life, This Felicitous Life, Mama Needs Coffee, Check Out that Sunset.

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  1. says

    I think you’re brave, both for sharing this and for getting help :-) I’m sure you’ve blessed several women who have had the same fears as you just by sharing that they’re not alone. I’ve only had a couple of anxiety attacks in my life and they’re horrible, so I can only imagine what it would be like to have them constantly. Sending you lots of love and prayers! You’re a great Mom :-)

  2. says

    Jenna, so brave of you to share this difficult struggle. I’m sure you’ll always be proud of the decision to get help, you really did the best thing for yourself and your children.

  3. says

    Jenna, I’m always grateful for your openness about your struggles with anxiety. I hope to be able to be such an inspiration to others someday when I get my own problems under control. You are in my prayers <3

  4. says

    It is so incredibly brave of you to share your story like this. Its amazing to me that while the details differ from person to person, there are so many threads that remain constant. I really resonated with the part about loving yourself and extending yourself the same consideration you would show others in the same situation. I know I came to a point when I realized that I was talking to myself in a derogatory way that I wouldn’t have used even for an enemy. Its amazing what unfair double standards we place on ourselves, I am so glad you were able to overcome yours!

  5. says

    I don’t normally comment, I guess these days I’m more of a lurker, but I just have to tell you how much it means to me that you posted this. Your bravery has already blessed someone: me! Dealing with anxiety, depression, and any kind of mental health issues can make almost everyone quiet and in denial. Sometimes, it’s enough to know that you aren’t the only one going through it and that others have had the same kinds of problems. That somebody else has thought the same thoughts, walked the same walk, and talked the same talk. I wish these issues were not so “taboo” to talk about, and I wish we encouraged people to speak out about mental health. Everyone deals with it to some degree, but it’s like we admit failure if we every talk about it in the open.
    I admitted to a friend some serious depression I was dealing with a few years ago and mentioned that I had sought help for it, and I will never forget the look on her face; One of utter lack of understanding and judgement. Anyway, thank you for posting this. You are so brave and courageous, and I think you’re kind of a supermom for the way you dealt with this in the midst of childbearing. Thank you so much for your honesty!

  6. says

    Sharing this is wow-wow-wow-brave. It’s true when they say that the strongest cages we sit in are the ones we put ourselves in. Writing this for all the world to read opens the door. Good job, there, lady. Thanks. xoxo, Maia

  7. says

    You’re amazing, this post is filled with all the brave and beauty of goodness, and I heart you. Thank you for sharing your strength, for sharing hope, and encouragement. <3

  8. says

    I love you for this!!!!

    For me, it was driving around in my car last Christmas Eve, eight months pregnant, wondering planning how I would go into the hospital, how I would explain it, and how it would pan out. When I got home, things were better, and as it happened, I didn’t need to go to the hospital–THIS time.

    What do you say to people who think sharing about your mental health will prevent you from getting jobs or anywhere in life in the future?

  9. says

    Oh, Jenna. Thank you for sharing! One of my good friends recently started having anxiety issues, including one time where I had to rescue her on the side of the road because she had a panic attack while driving. I can still hear the panic in her voice on the phone! So scary and definitely not something to mess with. I’m so proud of you for getting help and that you’re now helping others!

  10. tas says

    thank you so much for speaking out about this issue. every day i work with people who have lost loved ones to suicide. the pain they bear on a daily basis is staggering. no one would expect to deal with diabetes or cancer by ‘trying harder’. depression is just as real and can be just as deadly if you don’t get treatment. program the national suicide hotline phone number into your phone. 1-800-273-8255. if you never need it… that’s great! if you do need it… you have it. make yourself a plan… check out the MY3 App at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp/my3-app.aspx

  11. says

    You are so brave for writing openly about this topic. I suffer from clinical depression, but it’s not something I like to talk about even with my close friends. But it’s SO important to talk about! That’s how we get rid of the stigma, right? So thank you. You’re awesome. I’m glad you’re getting the help you need.

  12. says

    You are strong and inspirational. Thank you for sharing your story because it helps so many others!!!! Anxiety is so often underplayed or overlooked by others and I’m really glad to be more aware. Thank you!! Xxooxxoo

  13. says

    Tears reading this. Thank you. I struggled with depression during pregnancy with our second baby, and it shook me to the core. I have never looked at mental health or maternal health the same way since. I’m so grateful for your honesty and courage in sharing your story.

  14. Catherine says

    Pregnancy is the most exciting and anticipating that a woman could experience in her life, because you birth another life out of your womb. It is truly astounding feeling and I am so proud of you sharing you’re experience despite of what you have been through. Many women suffer physiological and psychological distress during both ovulation and menstruation; typical symptoms include bloating, cramping, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, anxiety and depression and it is important to deal it, especially, during pregnancy. Anyway, I have read from a research, has found that ashwagandha tincture improves resistance to stress, possibly decreasing cortisol production. I hope that everyone will find it useful. We should save an angel – a blessing from above. Thus taking care ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally is the best thing to save.

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