Now, I mostly obsess over how I’m doing and am constantly evaluating myself.
I have had a few setbacks that, at the time, were devastating, but each time it was easier to get back up than the time before.
My single mom appreciated me having a friend whose family welcomed me into their home after school and during the summers.
I started to notice a difference about a month later, and it got me over the hump. Yoga and meditation practice have also been helpful in my recovery. I am still having productive therapy sessions and the intrusive thoughts are much less frequent and bothersome.
It’s the memory of my postpartum anxiety experience that is the most vivid in my mind.
It is important to know you are not alone, and you can get help.]Katherine Stone is the founder of Postpartum Progress.
She has been named a Web MD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. Postpartum Progress exists to provide peer-to-peer support.
When I was a teenager, my mother married someone that I didn’t get along with and I went to live with this family. I was never abused myself and the abuse was not happening while I lived there, but it had happened. I was so afraid that something like this could happen to her somehow. I was not at risk to be an abuser myself, but none of that mattered.
Shortly after I moved in, one of the girls told me that her father had sexually abused her. Knowing what had happened and not being able to talk about it, and on some level accepting it by keeping the secret, created a lot of fear and anger in my heart, but I couldn’t deal with it then. All that mattered to me was that I had had these terrible, unthinkable thoughts and that was enough damnation in my mind.
The more I worried about the thought, the more unsettled and anxious I got.
The thoughts got worse and came at me more frequently.
Emotionally I was already teetering, and then I had my first intrusive thought three months after my daughter was born. I was changing her diaper and a horrible thought of molesting my daughter flashed through my mind.
I spent the next few days trying to understand why I would think such a thing.
My grandmother was very ill and had been hospitalized, information I didn’t learn until after my daughter was born because my mother didn’t want to upset me. The other thing that made me more anxious was my husband’s new job required him to work more hours than we had originally planned, leaving me to do more by myself.