I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. From fear of being hungry as a child, to doing calculations at 2 AM at 21 to see how I’d make it to the end of the month. Internal and external causes of anxiety have been a big part of my life.
Things came to a head in my 30’s when my girl was born. She was a dream baby, and actually slept better than I did. I would welcome the sound of her cries in the middle of the night as it was a distraction from my own intrusive thoughts. I would wake up in the mornings, throwing up from panic attacks, and spend as much of the day as I could in bed. I barely ate, which significantly impacted my breast milk supply, something my girl depended on.
My aunt came to spend a weekend with me, and accompanied me to the doctor as I was put on antidepressants, something that probably should have happened years ago. Things got better. Medication levelled out my emotions and thoughts, and because I could eat properly again, my milk supply increased back up to where it should have been. Instead of dreading days alone with a baby, I thrived on spending so much time with my girl. And even though my post-partum anxiety started 2 years ago, I still take my medication because it helps me be the best mother I can be for my girl.
You can breastfeed and take medication safely. If medication means helping you be the best version of yourself for you and your family, it is an option worth discussing with your doctor.
PPA/PPD doesn’t have to be a sentence, and it absolutely does not make you a bad mother. It means you’re human.