We were just a few short days away from having an extended family photo shoot. We gifted my in laws a family shoot for Christmas and we were getting ready to redeem that shoot with all the new family members. We hadn’t done photos since my Brother-in-law got married and all the grand babies had entered the family. Elyse was five months old and going long enough between feedings that it would be easy to leave her with daddy this time. Besides, we figured this mama could use the break. With Chad working a weekend job on top of church it was few and far between when I had some time to breathe without the kiddos. So I set off to the mall to look for the attire for our photo shoot.
I was shaky and a tad bit dizzy on the drive there. I couldn’t figure out why, but it was like I dreaded leaving the house. I tried to shake it off so I could enjoy the break that I knew would be good for me. I get to the mall and begin my search. Looking for clothes for photo shoots can be so stressful! Coordinating all those outfits is so much fun but definitely not an easy task. All that shopping and I started to work up an appetite, but I didn’t want to stop for food just yet. I hadn’t found everyone’s outfits and still had a few more stores to check before my final selection. I wanted to go across the street and enjoy Panera since I was alone and am the only one in the family who likes it. So I tried to finish the shopping trip but then I started shaking and felt extremely nauseous. I started to feel as if I was going to pass out. The dizziness kicked back in and I started to panic. I was alone. I was in a place full of strangers. What if I passed out right there? Would anyone help me? Maybe I just really needed food? I could finish shopping later. It will all be fine.
So I rushed through the mall and out the door and drove across the parking lot to grab some food. I walk in the door and the line is incredibly long. I stood in line and waited. I felt like I was going to pass out again and I started getting really antsy. I contemplated jumping the line and telling someone I felt extremely sick and needed food now. But I would look ridiculous if I did that so I just tried to take deep breaths. Finally I placed my order and got my food and sat down. I started eating right away just trying to have the food hit my body so I could feel better. It wasn’t working. What if I fall over right there while I’m eating my food? There were two older ladies sitting across the room from me, maybe I should tell them I think I am going to fall over? Maybe I should ask for help? That would be ridiculous. I am obviously just hungry.
I couldn’t take it anymore and I packed up my food and ran out the door to my car. I get in the car and call my husband and I just broke down. Why did I feel like I was going to pass out? Why did I leave the house in the first place? Why do I feel so dizzy? Why I am I freaking out? He talked to me until I calmed down enough to drive home. I just sat there on the phone breathing in the silence wishing it would all just stop. When I pulled myself together I ran into the mall, bought the outfit I was sure would work for everyone in less than fifteen minutes, and left. I drove straight home.
I talked to a friend that night and told her everything that happened. She sent me a few screenshots of something she read about postpartum anxiety and she really pushed me to see the signs. It was time that I realized I was not okay.
Everything that had been happening to me was not normal. The fear, the anxiety, the shaking every time I left my house was not normal. But dealing with that was easier than admitting I wasn’t okay. Admitting I wasn’t okay was like saying something was wrong with me. Admitting that I wasn’t okay was like saying I couldn’t handle this motherhood gig. As if what I was going through had anything to do with the kind of mother I was. But with good friends in my corner, I had to see it for what it was. I wasn’t okay and it might have been time to ask for a little bit of help. Asking for help wasn’t a bad thing, it was the right thing to do. And it was time.
Did you know that 1 in 10 women can suffer from Postpartum Anxiety within a year of giving birth? If you are visiting this page because you think that you might be struggling with Postpartum Anxiety, please visit this link for information. And if you think this is you, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone and ask for help. Sometimes we just need a little help to get through it.