Everything You Need To Know About Postpartum Anxiety

The first thing so many moms research when figuring out what’s off after baby, is postpartum depression. Unfortunately that’s only part of the equation. 

Anxiety is often overlooked because medical practitioners really only think of postpartum depression because prenatal and postpartum anxiety is part of the symptom list for depression. It wasn’t until recently that it’s viewed as 2 separate things.

Anxiety in fact has a whole separate list of symptoms. But as a society, postpartum depression is often used as the umbrella term for all the maternal mental health disorders. 

What’s The Difference Between Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety?

Postpartum depression: Lack of motivation, sadness, inertia, can’t get moving.

Postpartum anxiety: Agitation, racing thoughts, constant worry, feeling like something bad is going to happen, sense of impending doom, disturbances of sleep and appetite, inability to sit still. You can also experience physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, nausea, vomiting. There are lots of different categories for anxiety and it manifests differently in each person. (Examples: social anxiety, perfectionist, panic attacks)

You can absolutely have both, and in many cases, people with anxiety can end up with depression when it goes untreated. In fact, a precursor for depression is anxiety.

A great analogy for anxiety is thinking of it as an outfit.  Sometimes it wears a business suit, sometimes fancy shoes, or hippy garb. It looks different for everyone. 

Become Friends With Your Anxiety

Worrying as a mom is completely normal and super common at the same time. What makes the difference is our maternal mental health disorders normal? No, because it’s not healthy.  10-15% of women have an anxiety disorder.  That isn’t normal. Anxiety is actually something, evolutionary, it’s a protective thing.  If you’re the anxious mom, it means your kid is going to live.  If you wake up and you’re alert, you’re feeding the baby, that is a good thing.  But when it’s too much, you’re fight or flight response is getting kicked on.  And when it’s kicked on all the time, that becomes unhealthy.  If anxiety is keeping you from enjoying life, it’s not normal. 

This quote from Elizabeth Gilbert is a great way to look at anxiety.

I recognize and respect that you are part of this family and so I will never exclude you from our activities. But still, your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.  You’re not allowed to touch the road map, you’re not allowed to suggest detours, or fiddle with the temperature. Dude! You’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear, old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Anxiety Management Techniques

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Self-care
  • Yoga
  • Medication management
  • Nutritional Management
  • Thyroid Healing
  • Extra Support (childcare, housekeeping, etc)
  • Making friend with anxiety
  • Therapy

Root Causes of Anxiety

  1. Heavy Metal and Toxins: Anxiety wears different outfits. This is because we all have different metals in our brain, different amounts of metals in our brain, and they’re in different parts of our brain which causes it to be very specific for each person. 
  2. Viral Infections
  3. Emotional Stuff: Stress and trauma can cause anxiety. This causes your adrenal to flood and does some damage to cause anxiety.

Healing Foods For Anxiety

Hydration is key! Adding lemon is highly hydrating.  Google infused water for some great ideas. Fruits and vegetables can also help with hydration.

Some great foods for anxiety are bananas, papaya, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and potatoes.

Here’s a great podcast episode by Medical Medium that goes deeper into healing foods for anxiety.

When bad things happen in your life, there’s essentially this heat that happens in your brain and destroys neurotransmitters. To rebuild these neurotransmitters, you can do this nutritionally. A lot of people have found improvement in taking magnesium. You can check out Avivva Romm’s post, Magnesium for Women – The Relaxation Mineral.

Giving up coffee can also be beneficial for those experiencing anxiety. It’s important to think about where you are getting your energy from. If it’s from the coffee, that burst of energy is coming from your own adrenals. Coffee simply makes your adrenals overwork to produce hormones and wake you up.  This will deplete them over time!

Glucose is essential in your healing of anxiety.  Often times, me included, we turn to packaged cookies and cakes to soothe us.  It’s nothing wrong with you, it’s actually a biological thing. Instead, try getting more fruits into your diet to help alleviate some of the anxiety.

No matter what, if you are struggling with anxiety, make sure to reach out and get the help you need.

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