Struggling with anxiety or a feeling of being different after having kids? Many of us struggle with things in silence such as postpartum anxiety and adrenal fatigue. Some things are unbeknown to us. Underline issues that go undiagnosed or untreated that can wreak havoc on our bodies which then affect our lives.
After the birth of my 3rd child. I felt depleted, different like something was off. We are now 23 months postpartum as I write this post and I still feel off but it has gotten better.
My 3rd pregnancy was the hardest for me. I was the biggest and sickest I had ever been in my first trimester. Not to mention my precious baby girl was the heaviest of all 3rd of my kids.
I was already a stay at home mom and loving it.
I still love being home with my littles. We get to go on adventures daily, we play, I get to see all their first. I love having conversations with them. Plus I can always be there when they are sick.
But something changed after our 3rd child.
My husband would ask me if I was still happy about being home.
I would respond yes in shock why he would ask that.
I was not sleeping well, insomnia was and is my friend, I was more hesitant to go out with the kids as I use too.
This is part one of my discoveries.
Suffering from postpartum anxiety
Now having a toddler and newborn, I felt panic-stricken. Leaving my home with a 3-year-old and newborn on my own scared me.
It was a new concept to me multiple kids under the age of 5. Being a mother not so much. That was “easy” I raised an ADD/ODD child and that was/is tough. I was a single mother for many years.
With the lack of sleep, trying to still entertain our 3-year-old and being a counselor to our teen. I felt overwhelmed. I had huge mom guilt. My normal routine was non-existent.
After my husband returned to work I was alone with the kids. Sure I took the depression test the OBGYN gives all new mothers. But I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t suicidal, I wasn’t feeling hopeless, I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t worried about my ability to care for my kids. I didn’t worry at all about that. I was confident. Shoot by 3 kids I was a pro.
But I was anxious and stressed out. That was what I could define. I was outnumbered. That was a reality.
This translated for me into postpartum anxiety. I could never let down. I always felt like my light switch was turned on. Part of it was inevitable when nursing as a mom your body becomes a clock. You start to leak when its time for feeding and the sensation of engorged breasts I don’t think let’s any mother sleep.
Feedings every 2 hours, pumping, then toddler, then baby, then teen, then toddler, then baby, then teen. The clock never stopped and there was no break in sight.
My body was a mess internally.
Symptoms of postpartum anxiety
- Never-ending or racing thoughts unable to shut your brain off
- Consistent worry
- Lack of concentration/memory – unable to stay focused on one task
- Restlessness- unable to relax or let down
- Insomnolence /wakefulness – the never feeling energized after sleeping, never reaching the full deep sleep
- Irritability – little things bother you but the outside world would probably never notice.
- Tenseness-your muscles ache, you feel tense in your body all the time
There are a few others but these are the ones that were prominent in my life.
When planning to venture out with the two little it would bring on some anxiety. I still went out with them but it was a lot harder. My confidence level was not there.
But there was a second layer to me that was happening.
After having a wellness check with my OBGYN I visited my natural path doctor. I expressed my concerns with my OBGYN she said things should die down and get back to normal you just have a lot on your plate. Some of what I was feeling was normal to postpartum adjustments and adding another child.
And while she wasn’t wrong. I still was feeling different than just the normal hormones after birth.
I had never felt this way. I knew it wasn’t in my head either. My husband would ask if I was ok, why can’t I sleep as I use too.
So I dug deeper and went to see my natural path doctor.
She asked how I was doing, how I was feeling. So I began to tell her some of the things I was experiencing.
As I rambled the words feeling tired all the time, needing naps, lack of energy, low libido, inability to sleep well, insomnia, forgetful, etc.
She says “It sounds like you may be struggling with possible adrenaline fatigue.”
Shocking I looked at her because I had never heard the term before and wondered why my OBGYN didn’t mention it.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a cause and effect when your adrenaline glands are overworking due to stressful situations.
The symptoms can vary for each person. According to Mayo clinic
- Body aches,
- Sleep disturbances
- Digestive problems
My husband can contest I am all over the board when it comes to my sleep patterns and now it makes so much more sense.
Through my research, I learned that are adrenaline glands have a tough job when it comes to pregnancy but they also are responsible for the flight or fight response.
Adrenal insufficiency is causaed by chronic stress. The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal.Mayclinic
I am not the type of person who freaks, cries, and goes into a panic under stress. For me my sleep is effected, my mind races and my heartbeat elevates.
But let me back up here during my 3rd pregnancy not only was it my hardest, but I also had a blowout with my ADD teen which resulted in her moving in with her biological father. After giving birth when our youngest was 4 months old my husband landed in the hospital.
I had to leave my kids and be with him in California where I was told his organs were shutting down. He was in bad shape and it took forever for doctors to figure out what needed to be done.
I sat there for days trying to understand medical terminology, asking questions as the doctor’s raced in and out of the room. Demanding answers when they took too long. It was a rough 11 days.
Now thinking about it all everything happened in a matter of a little bit of less than a year. But like a perfect storm. My life went from calm to crazy.
This perfect storm as a mom caused anxiety and adrenal issues.
The more research I did and the more I learned about these things it all makes more sense.
As moms, we deal with a lot. The stressors of trying to multitask. do everything and be everything that can take a toll on us. Which is why self-care can play a vital role. After childbirth the well known postpartum issues are real. The crazy influx of hormone changes can make you feel like you don’t even live in your own body.
Tips for coping with postpartum anxiety and adrenal fatigue
After seeing both doctor’s I began doing more research. I also took a hard look at my life. After all what other outside stressors could be playing a role in this.
So I began to do research and I found articles like these:
- The best herbs for new moms with adrenal fatigue
- 6 Ways to Support Your Adrenals After Baby
- Postpartum Adrenal Fatigue
- Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: The Working Mom’s Enemy
- 6 Ways to Save Your Adrenals Postpartum
1 – Sleep
Create a healthy sleep pattern.
The first thing I wanted and needed to tackle was sleep. It took my 3 rd child until she was 18 months to sleep through the night. For me, lack of sleep leads me to be irritable.
What works for me is going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every day. This pattern helps me sleep better and sets my internal body clock.
2 – Working out
Do at least 20 mins a day of physical activity. Fast walking could be so beneficial.
Working out with no sleep is hard so I needed to wait until I was getting better sleep to begin working out again. The result of me working out was happier feelings, fewer aches and pains, more mental clarity, better sleep quality, and feeling more focused.
3 – Vitamins
I take vitamin D, vitamin C, probiotics, a multivitamin to help me. Depending on what is going on will have to adjust but what a difference I feel when I take them.
Take vitamins to help rebalance you. Pregnancy can deplete you of certain vitamins. So ask your doctor to check your levels.
4 – Reduce stressors
There are things in our life that may add stress to you that may seem small but it adds to the pile of stress you already have. For me, I found that I had to take social media breaks, commit to fewer things, reduce hours of work, spend more time in prayer/daily reading, and reduce time with people who take too much energy from me.
5 – Do something that makes you happy
When I discovered blogging it came while sitting in the hospital next to my husband. I wanted something to be a creative outlet. I also wanted to connect more with other moms. It made me happy with the new community I discovered.
But it could be anything for you getting back to a hobby that is something you enjoy. Something that lets your mind be free from the world around you. Something that lets you create that happy hormone in your body.
6 – Use herbs and tea
Some days I couldn’t seem to get my self to settle in relax in bed. One of the things that helped me was drinking more herbal tea. Before bed, I would drink a cup of Nigh Night tea from traditional medicinals.
When I drank the tea I was able to crawl into bed and feel that calming feeling of letting down. But it was the letting down all night that leads to a full night’s rest.
6 – Spend more time with other moms
The feeling of anxiety for me was brought on with feeling outnumbered. I found that when I invited people over for playdates or spent more time with other moms. That feeling went away. The support system and having a second set of eyes was so helpful.
In addition, ridding the mom guilt of having to be the only one to play with my son. He got social time and played with his friends. It created a balance for us.
If you struggle to find a circle of mom friends check-out my post here
7 – Use essential oils
Oils for stress are extremely effective. They take immediate effect and are a natural way to deal/aid with all types of issues. Some of my favorite ones are:
- Lavender Oil – can help ease anxiety and stress
- Frankincense Oil – can get those happy emotions back. It helps boost the oxygen supply to your brain. As well as support the limbic system.
- Chamomile Oil – has a calming effect much like the tea and helps you when you’re feeling anxious
- Peppermint – one drop is enough to ease headaches, helps you focus and concentrate. (warning don’t use around young children)
- Stress Relief – This is an oil blend from Young Living oils. The name itself says it all.
If you are new to essential oils I would highly recommend you consider speaking to a natural path doctor and Herbs and Essential Oil Bundle from Ultimate bundles its a library of information perfect for beginners and intermediate oil users.
Getting back to normal
Things have begun to settle down. I am not stressed too much anymore with having to nurse an infant. I can take the kids out without anxiety. My little one is sleeping through the night.
Eliminating or limiting certain stressors and people has made a world of difference too.
There are controversial opinions and views on adrenaline fatigue as it is not recognized as a true condition. But I will tell you that I did experience postpartum anxiety & adrenal fatigue. The issue of feeling always on and is real.
If you research postpartum anxiety and adrenalin fatigue it is temporary and treatable. However, when you are experiencing it, it’s difficult.
I hope this post can help another mother. Healing your self after childbirth, taking care of your body mind and soul is important. As a mom and wife don’t let people tell you what you are feeling isn’t real because it doesn’t have a proven medical pin-point term.
Dig further, ask questions. It could be multiple things but getting help and finding solutions to what you are feeling is the most important.
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