Anxiety In Pregnancy & With New Mums

Anxiety in Pregnancy

At first it creeps up on you- the twirling of hormones and raging emotions- trying to deal with constant changes in your body, the sickness, tiredness and moodiness of being pregnant, mild stress and anxiety is normal, its a massive change on every level internally when you are pregnant but just when do you realise that you have an anxiety disorder?

​There are many contributing factors that go hand in hand with having raised stress levels (see what is all this stress about) and anxiety in pregnancy. It is true that if you were highly stressed or suffered with anxiety before you became pregnant that it would escalate during pregnancy and more so after the baby has arrived.

I refer to this as you 'emotional box' being full - within each of us there is an emotional box that we cram and push all of our emotions down and suppress them. If this dealt with- we eventually end up feeling over stressed, angry, anxious etc. See 10 anxiety facts for better understanding

This coupled on top of pregnancy is a recipe for disaster. If this anxiety goes on for too long, it can have detrimental effects for both the mother and baby. There is much support for pregnant and new mums, if you know how to reach out grab it. But after my own experiences of having 4 children and severe pre and post natal depression and psychosis- medication is great, very short term just to 'peg' you up, but it does not get to the root cause and eliminate or empty that emotional box....this is where we step in, quick, effective and safe. See Natural Ways To Beat Anxiety For Optimal Health

More than 1 in 10 women suffer with anxiety in pregnancy ​

It's Not Your Fault- Top Reasons Why It Happens:

  • Fertility Issues
  • Previous pregnancy loss
  • Complicated pregnancy
  • Stress from life
  • Relationship issues
  • Negative self beliefs and patterns
  • Fear

I know you want to bottle it all up, put on a brave face and hide it from the world. I know your strong, I know you are doing an amazing job carrying this baby, dealing with the pregnancy- but its good to seek help, I was lucky that my GP, health visitor and midwife were so supportive in my last two pregnancies, but the first two pregnancies were clouded in secret, I thought it was normal to feel the way I did. With my last child I was under psychiatric care for a breakdown- it was the saving of me, I had severe psychosis a few months after his birth.

New Mums

This is the stage where you are told that you "May experience the baby blues"​. No one tells you exactly what to expect those first few days and weeks after having your baby and how hideous you may feel- no where did I ever read that!! Yet, More than 15% of all new mothers (according to the experience clinical depression, anxiety, OCD and psychosis.

Just What Can I Expect??

Ok, so from the moment you give birth you are going to feel tired- if your anything like me, the adrenaline was pumping and spent all the rest of that night/day ​just staring at my baby. If you suffered with anxiety during pregnancy, it will be there afterwards. For many mums i speak to today, its been having their children that has given them anxiety.

Your baby will want to feed every 1-2 hours once they arrive, and guess what- contrary to what you may be told- it is ok to combine breast and bottle. I am a certified Le Leche breast feeding support worker and it was always made out that if was hideously wrong to combine- no its not. I breast fed all my babies, they all had 1 bottle for their last feed at night, it lines their wee little bellies longer than breast milk and enables you both to get some shut eye- as well as enabling your own milk to become nice and creamy again.

You may feel completely empty after your baby has arrived- its ok, you just carried this little being around for 9 months and now you feel like a deflated balloon- even if you find you have a hard time adjusting to 'this being your baby' at first, its ok. The hormones and brain chemistry go haywire when you go through labour- it will all calm down.​

You may feel weepy and have a good cry around day 2 or 3- remember you have just had a surge of adrenaline pumping from your baby arriving, or from having a c section- the drugs, it is normal to feel this way, this too shall pass.

The first few weeks you may have friends, family, partner around to help, but after this initial time passes and you settle into the role of having this tiny demanding being- lack of sleep and the pressure you put upon yourself- it can become too over whelming.

Trying to juggle what was normal life with a baby is hard work- cut yourself some slack. Make some time for you- have a bath, go for a walk, get your hair cut, do some stretches, eat well, hydrate, meditate.

Rest when you can- I know its too tempting to rush around, but believe me, it will all come together eventually- you have a mini person to look after now who needs you to be the best you you can be- rested!​

You may feel bad about yourself- 9 months on- 9 months off. be mindful to what you eat- nutrition and hydration are vital when looking after a baby especially when nursing. Keep healthy snacks on hand and bad snacks out of t​he house as they can be far too tempting when tired.

Get out of the house as much as you can- fresh air and day light is vital. Invest in going to some local baby groups- being with other mums is nourishing.​

Sign to look out for:

  • Crying 
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Constant Worry
  • Irritability
  • Inability To Concentrate
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor Sleep
  • Disorientated
  • Lack Of Enthusiasm
  • Not Eating/Comfort Eating
  • Headaches
  • Muslce Aches
  • Upset Stomach That Lasts For Days
  • IBS
  • Negativity Towards Everything
  • Self Hate
  • Harmful Thoughts
  • Panic Attacks

​If you are experiencing more than a few of these, its ok, its not your fault- its normal and its common and treatable. Speak to your GP, your midwife, health visitor- even get in touch with me just know you are not alone- this is easily fixed.

About the Author Jeani Howard

Jeani is an award winning therapist, healer, author and speaker. Jeani has on her own journey of healing overcome PTSD, clinical depression and agonising anxiety. A mother of 4 who suffered with birth trauma and pre and post natal depression, now prides herself on having worked with 1000's of adults, adolescents and women through pregnancy, labour and their transition into motherhood.

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