It’s a question I asked many times. I heard it often in support groups. When you’re suffering from Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety, you want this answer more than anything. When will I even feel better? How am I ever going to feel “normal”?
My opinion? With time. It’s not an easy answer to accept. Yet, each time I write about my own experience, the feelings from my past are more distant than they were before. As the weeks passed, I didn’t worry about the same things. I felt less afraid and my triggers didn’t have as much power over me as I used to. Those feelings and the person I was is just a thing of the past. Getting to this point took time. It didn’t happen overnight. It never does.
However, time itself doesn’t always result in healing. For some it does. For me, it was a combination of many things.
A support system is crucial. It doesn’t always mean the obvious people. Sometimes it means new mothers like yourself. It can mean a support group. It can mean therapy. Yet, it also doesn’t mean talk therapy. Support also means having someone help you when you need it. It means knowing that you have somewhere to turn to when tough times arise. No one should go through PPD / PPA alone. The feelings of isolation and helplessness will eventually disappear once a support system takes hold.
Self care is everything. When you first become a parent, this is the last thing on your mind. You would give your life for your child. Your sacrifice for them. Yet, there is irony in that idea. Your child thrives with the care and love you give them. The lack of self-care will eventually compound and it will take its toll. In my case, I never ate nor slept. I became too weak to care for my son. I became anxious and eventually came to believe that I was incapable of caring for him. It wasn’t until I starting caring for myself that I began to enjoy my son and motherhood. Self care became the turning point.
Don’t be afraid of medication. For a long time, I was anti-medication. I thought that I could get better without it. It turns out I needed it. There’s nothing wrong with it at all! I am much happier because of it. I was able to think more clearly, which in turn helped me thrive in therapy. Medication doesn’t make one weak. It just helps bring us closer to recovery.
Recovery for me took a lot of effort. I worked at it, and I sought help where I could. I took initiative because I no longer wanted to feel the way I did. The changes were gradual, but they were happening. In less than a year’s time, I no longer suffered.
If I could answer the questions for others, I would say: In time and with effort, the pain will be over. This is all but a temporary moment in life. Eventually, that time will be nothing but a thing of the past.
13 thoughts on “When Does It Get Better?”
Does it ever fully go away? I never suffered from anxiety or depression before having my son. I started on an SSRI when he was 4 weeks old. He’s 5 months old now and my mood is much better, but the anxiety is still lingering. Some days are much better than others and even on a bad day, it’s not as bad as it was, but it’s still hard to go through. Especially since I’ve never dealt with these things before.
I’m doing the right things to get better. Self care. Meditation. Breaks. Seeing my psychologist weekly. Acupuncture. Massages. Eating well.
It’s just such a slow process and it makes me wonder if things will ever really go back to normal. I never experienced anxiety before my son, so to have it so bad now, I almost feel like I’m never going to be anxiety free.
Hi mama! Yes, it’s going to get better. Much much better because you are doing the what you can for yourself. I know it feels like recovery is far away. The timing is different for all of us. Instead of thinking of how you’re not anxiety free, focus on the ways just you’ve improved.
For example, maybe things that bothered or triggered you before aren’t as bad. Maybe you’re able to do more things that you couldn’t have done earlier. Are there times when you feel even a little less overwhelmed? That’s progress.
We all hate to admit it, but progress and recovery require time. It’s slow, but when you overcome the most difficult hurdles you will appreciate how far you’ve come.
I also want to tell you that as your child grows, there will be times where anxiety may arise. It’s ok. That’s normal and all parents go through it. The key here is to take what you’ve learned and to incorporate your coping strategies. Take hold of that anxiety before it takes hold of you. You will be just fine.
Thank you for being open and honest about your feelings. I know it’s not easy. Again, it does get better mama. I can tell you honestly that it does. I have my moments, but they are not as strong or long lasting as before. If you ever need to chat or vent further, you are always welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m here if you need me 😊
Oh, one more thing. Don’t be afraid to speak up if any of your strategies aren’t working. Meds don’t feel right ? Speak to your dr and see what they recommend. Don’t feel like therapy is helping? Find another mental health professional that seems more suited to you. I did both of these, and the changes made a huge difference. 💙
Yes, in time… I remember having post partum depression after I gave birth to my eldest child. Hubby was busy at work, mom lives outside the city and she’s initially not the doting grandma. I used to cry for no apparent reason. But that’s all over now. I have 3 kids now and hubby is a very hands on father to them. Grandparents live far from us but they’re loving to the kids.
I’m glad that you’re over your postpartum. You had difficult circumstances, but you pushed through !
This was such an honest and real piece, I appreciate your honesty and bravery in sharing your experiences. I hope you continue to share your feelings, I think it will help you and help others as well
Yes, in time but, it doesn’t help because how much time is uncertain. Self care and support can go hand and hand though. Maybe a walk around the block with a friend, lunch or a book while soaking in the tub.
I had some pretty big issues with Postpartum anxiety, I was so worried that I wouldn’t get to
“keep” my baby, and was constantly waiting for something tragic to happen. He was constantly with me, and I rarely slept. It took about a year for me to finally loosen up and start feeling like myself. Thank you for sharing your experience and it will get better, hand in there.
With time and on your own time. No doctor, no book, no one else’s experience will be the same as yours. Hang in there mama, my heart is with you!
Very nicely written mama, sending you lots of positive thoughts. Being aware of the condition, accepting it and finding ways to cope speaks to your strength and will.
I’m so glad someone is writing about this. I have horrible anxiety and it got so much worse after having my first born. Great post!
I’m glad you were able to find things that helped and make it out the other side. This is such a strong message for other women dealing with it.
My heart goes out to you Mama, having a baby is tough, I’m glad you’re in a better place now, beautifully written article, stay strong xx