Episode 67: Postpartum Anxiety: Paralyzing Fears



This week we continue our three-part postpartum series with a deeper look at postpartum anxiety. From irrational fears to the crushing weight of expectations, C+C art director Lottie Caiella walks us through her personal journey with postpartum anxiety after the birth of her daughter. In the second half of this conversation, we're joined by licensed counselor Dr. Emily Shupert who explains the difference between PPD and PPA, as well as how to differentiate normal new parent worry from anxiety that may need medical treatment. We’re grateful to have Bryn Huntpalmer from The Birth Hour with us again as a special guest host for this episode.

We want to encourage any listener who feels like she might be experiencing postpartum anxiety to contact her doctor or care provider immediately; today's episode is informational only and is not designed to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice and attention.

Show Notes

Thank you to our episode sponsors:

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Mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Bryn: Instagram // Website

Connect with Lottie: Instagram // Blog

Connect with Dr. Shupert: Website

Helpful online postpartum resources

Book recommendations on postpartum depression and anxiety

Postpartum depression and anxiety signs and symptoms

Postpartum Anxiety Checklist: You may have postpartum anxiety or postpartum OCD if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • Your thoughts are racing. You can’t quiet your mind. You can’t settle down. You can’t relax.

  • You feel like you have to be doing something at all times. Cleaning bottles. Cleaning baby clothes. Cleaning the house. Doing work. Entertaining the baby. Checking on the baby.

  • You are worried. Really worried. All. The. Time. Am I doing this right? Will my husband come home from his trip? Will the baby wake up? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with my baby that I’m missing? No matter what anyone says to reassure you, it doesn’t help.

  • You may be having disturbing thoughts. Thoughts that you’ve never had before. Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were. They fly into your head unwanted and you know they aren’t right, that this isn’t the real you, but they terrify you and they won’t go away. These thoughts may start with the words “What if …”

  • You are afraid to be alone with your baby because of scary thoughts or worries. You are also afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm, like kitchen knives or stairs, and you avoid them like the plague.

  • You may feel the need to check things constantly. Did I lock the door? Did I lock the car? Did I turn off the oven? Is the baby breathing?

  • You may be having physical symptoms like stomach cramps or headaches, shakiness or nausea. You might even have panic attacks.

  • You feel like a captive animal, pacing back and forth in a cage. Restless. On edge.

  • You can’t eat. You have no appetite.

  • You’re having trouble sleeping. You are so, so tired, but you can’t sleep.

  • You feel a sense of dread, like something terrible is going to happen.

  • You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy.”

  • You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.

  • You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.

Other podcast interviews with Dr. Shupert on Anxiety and Motherhood: 

One mom has made a music album about finding hope in the midst of PPD and PPA.

Related previous episodes:
Ep. 19: When Love Feels Heavy With N'tima Preusser
Ep. 62: Being The Village - How To Help A New Mom
Ep. 66: Postpartum Depression: Beyond “The Baby Blues”

Related essays:
When Love Feels Heavy
In The Midst Of Monsters
Motherhood And Anxiety

Show credits: 

Hosted by Indiana Adams with Bryn Huntpalmer, Lottie Caiella and Dr. Emily Shupert, produced by Katie Leipprandt, edited by Kyle Cummings, content managed by Jennifer Batchelor.


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