The perpetual state of worry- to be deluged with fear and uncertainty… The random sweating and feelings of someone standing on your chest-I’ve been there and sometimes I’m still there. Postpartum anxiety is something that very few people talk about. It’s often left out of the mommy group chats and the ‘what to expect’ reading material. That’s because postpartum anxiety is often grouped in with postpartum depression. While they are in the same family and can often be triggered by each other, they are two different mental disorders. Anxiety is the constant feeling of unease, fear and or worry. Everyone feels anxious sometimes but some of us have a hard time coping. I personally struggled with coping after my second pregnancy- postpartum with the twins was easier. The last pregnancy/postpartum was a mess but my mess and something I’m not ashamed of. There were many attacks and triggers but the one that sticks with me is a little pair of cute gray socks. Yep… socks. At that time, I was responsible for washing and keeping up with their clothes while my husband took care of our clothes. I remember being proud of myself for washing, folding and putting the clothes away. The twins were about 21 months and the baby were about 5 months – So completing tasks on my to-do list was a big deal for me then. In hindsight, I now know that those long to-do lists (had like 15 items for one day…NUTS) I lived by were often anxiety triggers, but I’ll save that post for another day. SO back to my socks story, I had them all on schedule and had a productive day. ‘Yay, go me!!!’… ‘Whew super woman in the flesh!!!’ were my exact thoughts that day. But little did I know, my mood would go from super woman to feeling as useless as the L in salmon.I was getting the baby’s night clothes ready for bed. There was this totally adorable pajama set but it didn’t have footsies, he needed socks but not just any pair of socks, mommy had the perfect socks- the cutest gray socks. I went to his sock drawer and one sock was missing. Every sock had a match except for that pair of socks. My world came crashing down. I begin to question my motherhood, I started to worry if I was fit. I started to fear that I was a horrible mother. I started crying and I remember yelling “this is too much”. I felt overwhelmed until I physically felt like someone was sitting on me. This feeling lasted for about 10 minutes. I had my first severe anxiety attack in didn’t realize it. Losing socks is a pain for anyone but I can imagine most folks look for a bit and or just move on to the next pair; Not me. I had a WHOLE episode. I ugly cried until I became nauseated. Once things weren’t just a few thoughts and started materializing into physical illness, I realized I should talk to someone. My initial thought was to talk to my husband. I did and he stepped up even more. But that wasn’t it. I’ve been blessed and privileged with a small but awesome village- My husband and parents. They were doing more than enough. But even with them pulling their weight, being a stay-at-home mom, I still bore the most weight. The weight sometimes wasn’t a lot, but it was enough for me to feel overwhelmed. That day the weight was as light as a pair of baby socks but felt as heavy as the washing machine.That moment led me to a moment of deep reflection and prayer. My answer came in the form of a social media app. I remember being on twitter and the topic was mental health and finding a therapist that fits. It encouraged me to search and I found my therapist. She was black, a mom and a believer-all the things I wanted in a therapist. She totally “got me’. We connected from the very first intake. After a couple of sessions, we discovered I had unchecked postpartum anxiety that basically stuck. And now that I know what it is, I can address it as it is. Through my few therapy sessions, I have learned so much about me during this journey. One of the most important lessons is, I must learn to pace myself. Even with help, being a mom isn’t easy. I’m not sure if balance is a thing as it relates to raising a family, but pace and prioritization is a pretty doable resemblance of balance. I am no longer obsessed with impractical goals and long list. My therapist suggested I list three things to accomplish each day, pace myself and do what I can. And what I can’t do, roll it over to the next day but never go over 3 things. But she insists, before doing, I should focus on being. She told me to wake up and BE what I loved about me then give gratitude for whatever it is. As moms we must know that we are more than our abilities to produce or be productive. We are human and need to nurture the human in us. The magic doesn’t need help, it’s great on its own…but the human?! she needs you more now than ever.I wrote this post to acknowledge the moms who suffer from anxiety. You are not alone. I see you and I’m here to help you push through. This is my story. This is my truth. Now ya’ll see why ‘socks’ is often the punchline of my corny mom jokes. Socks led me to therapy. Socks led me back to me. My hope for you is that your next trigger leads you to the resources to access help. Because every mom deserves a safe space to grow, heal and evolve on her own terms. I found that space in the form of creative writing, meditation and deep belly breathing. Your journey may require a different path. How you get there is your choice, I just want to see you get there. During the journey remember that imperfection is ok. Not getting all done is ok. You’re loved, guided and cared for still…
For more information about anxiety visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
The anxiety/depressive state, irritability, tender breasts, mood swings, food cravings, cognitive issues, fatigue and insomnia right before your period could be the signs of PMS or PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) – a more severe form of PMS. Many as 3 out of 4 menstruating people have experienced some form of premenstrual syndrome. PMS is a life-altering psychological vexation that begins during the luteal (beginning symptoms) of menstruation and stops at the menses (bleeding stage).PMS has a way of disrupting your life. It can cause a lapse in productivity, communication, concentration and judgment, leaving it almost impossible to adult. You can’t feel the #MomLife spirit and the thought of romance can feel like someone slapped you in the face with a soggy bologna sandwich. The ideation of someone touching you, or someone needing you to affirm them; even if they are the tiny humans you created… A Mess. Honestly, I often wonder how people with uteruses subsist…Like why?! But then I grab myself by my homely “I can start bleeding at any moment” panties and grab some dark chocolate and fight to live another day.Chocolate is such a cliché, but honestly dark chocolate is one of the best things you can eat during your cycle because it’s loaded with antioxidants and calcium. The nutrients you consume during the pms stage can also lead to a more tolerable period. So, let’s get into the 5 most important nutrients for a more sufferable cycle.
5 essential nutrients for pms’n
1. Magnesium supplements of 200mg per day, during the luteal phase have been shown to decrease swelling, breasts tenderness and bloating. Also adding magnesium-rich foods can be a great way to compliment your supplements. Try adding wild rice, nut milks, split peas and broccoli to your diet.
2. Calcium supplements of 1200mg per day can greatly reduce the psychological symptoms. Calcium is especially good for preventing mood swings and irritability. For calcium food sources think greens, ice cream, almonds, almond milk, orange juice and dark chocolate.
3. Vitamin D along with calcium can be a super duo to prevent severe pms symptoms altogether. Get out in enjoy the sun while eating a delicious salmon meal. Fish is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Take about 10-20mcg of vitamin daily.
4. Vitamin B6 is a serious PMS game-changer. It literally determines how our system process certain reproductive functions. Taking about 100mg of vitamin b6 daily can change how your nervous system handles pain-This can relieve the aches and tenderness tremendously. Some of my favorite vitamin b6 sources are eggs, salmon, cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower and chicken.
5. Potassium has a great reputation for decreasing and preventing cramps. But did you know potassium is essential for relieving bloat? Potassium is responsible for helping our kidneys get rid of excess salt that causes bloating. Sweet potatoes are on the top of my list of potassium food sources, but there are many other great sources like bananas, beans, oranges, plantains, peaches (which are currently in peak season), beet greens and avocado.
Remember to track your cycle because to benefit from these nutrients, you should take them preemptively. Also drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine. Cut back on dairy while pms’n-Ice cream and yogurt can be beneficial but keep it to 1 serving and be mindful of the sugar content. Get your rest and reclaim your personal space. Moms: It’s ok to isolate. This is the perfect time to have a schedule planned for your family. The more active they can be without you, the more time you can have to yourself. There is no shame in setting the parental controls and letting electronic devices aid in raring your children while you take a moment to cope. Take time to nurture yourself. Your body works best when you yield.To learn more about PMS and PMDD visithttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780How do you Cope with PMS?