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Jade on postpartum depression and anxiety while dealing with her baby’s sleep issues

mom holding a toddler boy - essay on baby’s sleep issues

Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.

The first few weeks after giving birth were a blur. Running on very little sleep, but very much in our little love bubble.

Gradually, that loved-up feeling started to fade as sleep deprivation began to consume me. My mind was plagued with anxiety, especially surrounding his sleep. I felt like the biggest failure because I could not get him to sleep on his own through the night.

I now know how unrealistic those expectations were, but at the time that’s what seemed like the most important thing. As soon as the sun went down I would start to panic. I was sick to my stomach at the thought of another night full of wake ups and very little sleep.

Related: Sleep like a baby: Your expert guide to 12 months of rest

Our struggles with sleep went on for months and months. My constant anxiety was soon accompanied by a dark and heavy depression. The isolation of living in lockdown for most of the year definitely made it worse. I felt like I was drowning and no one knew how to save me

Eventually, I reached out for help and started seeing a psychologist and taking medication. Both of these things have helped me immensely.

There is no “quick fix” when it comes to mental illness. Recovery can be a long and arduous journey. I am two years postpartum now and I am not completely free from my depression and anxiety. I still have ups and downs, good days and bad days.

Related: Dear mama: There is no shame in asking for help

However, I am much more in tune with myself. I have built up a support network and I am learning how to live with and make the most of life with mental illness.

Often as mothers, we feel the need to just soldier on, that asking for help means we are less capable or not good enough. The truth is that we were never meant to do this alone. It is important to ask for help and to be able to take breaks. It is no wonder so many of us experience postnatal depression and anxiety when our needs are just not being met.

If you are reading this and feel you need help, please reach out. You are not alone ♥️

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