Postpartum Anxiety and Depression Can Hit Well After the Fourth Trimester
Erin Burt1 comment
Deception is a powerful tool in breaking relationships, keeping one’s self apart from the truth until what you excuse away no longer resembles reality at all. Mine, turns out, was mild but all-around depression and anxiety that lasted until one day, around 8 months post-partum the fog cleared.
In the midst of writing weekly about my pregnancy and early post-partum months, I spoke about what I thought was typical post-partum blues until I later spoke again to a professional about my symptoms. I write this to encourage you to confront the deception you feel.
Because I could say, “Well, I don’t often cry for no reason at all,” I somehow stepped around the way my blood would boil at small infractions. Sure, I didn’t burst out with yelling and screaming all the time, but I did start yelling from time to time toward my children when I had gone four years without ever doing so.
Because I’m an introvert, sleep-deprived from being up most of the night with a newborn, I excused the way my body recoiled when my toddler and preschooler would wake and come close for cuddles.
Because overall, life was what I wanted, I overlooked all the effort it took to be OK with feeling stagnant, but by any other name helpless. Struggling to see how I could make it through some days might otherwise be hopeless…if I didn’t pass it off as me just being too tired to think.
Because I felt the need to teach my oldest about 911 not because he’s at the age that he should know important things like his address, phone number, and emergency care, but because I laid awake some nights afraid I might not wake up. I didn’t want to leave him with that to deal with in the morning until daddy got home in the evening.
Because I am carrying a little extra weight and am not exercising as much as I used to, it seemed reasonable to lay awake with fear that the pain in my calf was a blood clot related to the c-section or the pain in my left shoulder wasn’t the way I held the baby but rather my heart…my family does have less than stellar heart history.
Because I thought myself just a little silly when hubby took longer than anticipated at the store or to get home from work and my mind drifted to dread the possibility that he might have been in a bad wreck.
Because my “what if” scenarios always were a fear of being hurt instead of inflicting the hurt I figured I was just a little careful…a little paranoid if you wanted to be dramatic.
Because I did just fine with my first two kiddos, this must just mean I need to rise to the challenges of having three children aged 4 and under. I hear it’s tough.
Because I didn’t tell anyone and didn’t want to. I could handle this. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone who thought I could.
Because I was too desperate for the day to be done by 9 AM and again by 2 PM. I just needed to get through many endless days so I could cherish them later. I got this.
Because I didn’t have anyone to share with, at least not that I was willing to connect to…because all these feelings are just part of being a mom, right? And I didn’t want to take up other people’s time with being a Debbie Downer. Be the positive you wish to see in the world…or something like that.
Because I’ll try again harder tomorrow. Clearly I’m not trying hard enough. Suck it up. Break the grumpy cycle.
Because wanting to just get out of the house and away for a while is just wanting to have a break, even though the focus was always almost all on the going away part with little effort put into the thought of reentry.
Because I’m better than this but maybe I’m just not as good at this as I thought.
Because once I started sharing the brokenness I found healing—and you can too.
Annie is a mom of three beautiful babes. Six months ago she thought she was going crazy and three months later she knew she was going to be alright. Now she’s busy cherishing life but in a realistic sort of way.