The Backstory

I joined a mom group in my area about three years ago because I knew I would need something to do to fill my days with my twin girls while on maternity leave. I had decided to never go back to my 9 to 5 life; I had left my job when I was about three months pregnant. I could not do that anymore. I wanted to pay more attention to raising my children and helping my husband grow a company we had already built on paper. I had a small business venture I had started as well that I thought I could do, but that did not work out for me, and I had to take time off.

The Juggling Act

I had underestimated what it was like being a mom of twins, a mom of 4 altogether, and trying to run a business. I was exhausted 99% of the time, but I was trying to wade through the pressure that I could do it all. I can be a mom, wife, businesswoman, girl power, yadda yadda. I decided to get some help with the girls and continue working on my business; that did not work out well either, they were just three months old, and it was two of them; they needed their mom. 

Shiloh & Zarah. This was the first mom class we had attended. They were so little!

Mommy Connections Durham

So anyway, back to joining a mom group. I did a google search, and one stuck out in my area (@mommyconnectionsdurham). As faith would have it, I met some lovely ladies in my mom group through interaction on the group’s page, participation in the classes that the organizer hosted, and attending socials. I have always been skeptical of mom groups for all the uninformed reasons one can imagine, but hey, I needed to be around other moms, and I decided to give it a shot.  

The organizer of the group and I became close friends, and I even ran a few of her classes for her. We would visit each other’s homes; our girls would play with one another; we would cook, play music, dance, and have fun. I am an extroverted introvert (if this is a thing), and I needed to get out of my comfort zone, so the group worked well to help me with that process.

It's always been a juggling act with these two!

What An Anxiety Attack Felt Like 

So here I am, at home with the girls, I have my social group, and things are progressing nicely, but something strange started to happen. I began to have feelings that I could not explain. My heart was racing; I wanted to scream for help but was afraid to let a sound out; I felt trapped. I would have to stay in my room and lay still until this feeling passed. Then I would think about what would happen to my children if I died, and then this weird panic would take over. It was so frightening and crippling, and I had no control over it, or so it felt. I remembered one day trying to articulate those feelings because I was sure I had mini heart attacks; I spoke with one of the moms in the group; her name is Sarah.

Postpartum Anxiety Is Common 

I am not sure if she can remember the conversation, but she listened very intently, and then she asked me a very important question; she asked me, “what are your triggers?” I was so happy that she asked that critical question because that was when I was able to pinpoint that I may have been experiencing postpartum anxiety; it is prevalent after having multiples. It may have been a mild case; I never got it diagnosed because I think I had this strange denial that it could not be happening to me. I did extensive research on what I was feeling; I read stories from moms who experienced the same feelings and some of their coping mechanisms exercised, and so on.

My Anxiety Triggers

After speaking with Sarah and realizing I wasn’t dying, I was relieved, and then I started focusing on those triggers; what was it that made me get to this state of my heart pounding in my chest? Some of what seemed like the most superficial things threw me off, for example, if I felt I was not going to make an appointment on time or the kids were crying for a prolonged period. Or I didn’t get to make the beds that day, the house was a mess, or my kids didn’t get an A on the presentation that we practiced tirelessly for all weekend. 

postpartum stress

What Can I Control

Having recognized what my triggers possibly were, my next step was to address them. My husband, Brent, is a one-liner, and he too asked an important question, what can you control? I thought about it for a second; it was such a lightbulb moment. What can I control? That was the serenity prayer coming full circle for me, and that is what I decided to do. I decided to focus on what I could control and let go of the worries associated with things I could not. I recognized when I was trying to take on too much, and I lessened my load.

I Changed Things Up

I learned the art of saying no without explaining; if something did not fit my schedule, I worked around it or just let it go. I decided to start accepting help from my husband; I am not sure why I thought I could do it all by myself. I assigned chores to my children. I exercised, I prayed, I read, I….BREATHED….DEEPLY.

A long walk helps me every time!

Where Is My Anxiety Now?

Even though I have come a far way, I still have anxious moments, and when I see that beast coming at me, I face it head-on, I fight. I call my parents and have a conversation. I watch a movie; believe it or not, Kung Fu Panda will set me straight. I have my family, especially my husband, and I know it must be hard for him when I get to a quiet place, but it is just me trying to figure things out. I have my circle of moms who have had similar experiences, which can help me navigate. I have a healthy respect for women, men, children, people who may struggle with anxiety and may not be able to put those feelings into words or have someone like Sarah ask a simple question like what are your triggers? So, tell me, what are your triggers?

Postpartum: triggers
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21 Replies to “A Short Account Of My Brush With Postpartum Anxiety!”

    1. It’s not the most addressed topic but more moms are becoming comfortable enough to share their stories. We can only get help when we speak up. How are you doing now? Were you able to get help?

  1. I’m glad she asked you the right question about triggers, to get you moving on positively with the changes. Congrats on the cute babies

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your complex experience. Unfortunately, it is not talked about enough, and it is so, so, so necessary to openly have this conversation. You are not alone, mama! You are strong. You are amazing! And you are courageous. I am so glad you reached out for help. I am sending you love!

  3. Anxiety can hit you out of nowhere. I was suffering badly a couple of years ago, small things would trigger it, like worrying about being late for something, or worrying about paying bills on time, stressing about the children and whether I was a good mum. I think once I realised that I wasn’t alone and spoke to people about it, I can now handle feelings much better.

    1. It is not a pleasant experience; it is so consuming and debilitating. I am happy you could handle your feelings, and you are feeling better.

  4. There are so many things women deal with postpartum! So glad you are telling your story of postpartum anxiety and that you have help, support, and the tools to manage it! As a new mom myself, I can relate to the overwhelm that comes with having a baby or in your case babies. Your family is blessed to have you! I am sure you are doing great as a mom!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I am happy that you could relate, and yes, so many moms are experiencing this. The key is to talk about it and get some help. It goes a long way. We have so much to deal with as moms, and adding anxiety to the mix can really weigh us down.

  5. This was me 100% after my firstborn came into the world. Every little thing triggered me. Worrying that I would run out of formula, that my daughter would have a colicky cry that day, that I’d miss out on sleep. Everything caused a panic attack. It took a lot of reframing and deep breathing exercises to work my way through it.

    1. Reframing and deep breathing go a long way. I am happy you were able to use those techniques to help you through it.

  6. Wow. Thank you for sharing that very powerful story. I think a lot of times as mothers, we just put way too much pressure on ourselves. Thank you for that powerful message.

    1. Indeed we do, Sarah. Motherhood is painted as having it all together, and it is far from that. It’s messy; we just have to learn to maneuver.

  7. I experienced a bit of postpartum depression after having my first child, so I can imagine what you must have been going through. Glad you sought out help and had your husband and circle of moms to support you! This motherhood thing is too much for us to try to handle by ourselves. That’s a lesson that took me a while to learn.

    1. Yes, I used to think it was a one-person show where raising the kids was concerned, but it takes a village to raise a child saying is the whole truth. We need help, and we have to know when to speak up about needing that help.

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