Postnatal anxiety can look many different ways, such as:
̴ Uncontrollable worry, and difficulty winding down or sitting still. Life becomes about doing all the jobs and keeping busy, so that you don’t get much time to enjoy motherhood and your baby as much as you would like to. And if you’re not running yourself ragged, then you’re stuck in the future worrying about the worst case scenarios. What if…? What if….?
̴ Running your baby’s routine to the clock. And on those days when baby takes longer to settle, or when something holds up the schedule even by just 10 minutes: you feel the stress rising as you catastrophise the rest of the day and night (and sometimes the next day too), until everything is ruined in your mind.
̴ Struggling to sleep, even when you’ve gotten baby to sleep. What’s the point in even trying, when they’ll be awake in a few hours again, right? It seems like you may as well just scroll on your phone overnight, but then feel exhausted most of the day.
̴ Monitoring your baby’s sleep and breathing overnight to make sure they’re ok. This is a tricky one, as whilst using alarms and monitors can seem like a safety net, they keep you hyper-focused on baby’s sleep and breathing, which maintains the anxiety. On top of this, they interfere with your own sleep, which actually makes anxiety worse, so you become more attached to monitoring your baby’s wellbeing overnight. It becomes a vicious cycle that’s really challenging to get out of on your own.
Of course, postnatal anxiety can present in other ways too, such as: irritability and anger; panic attacks; cleaning rituals; having rules around how things need to get done; feeling scared to leave the house; and more. The above are just some common examples.