Shadows Covering Joy

anxietyAs an expecting parent you may have heard about the baby blues, the emotional roller coaster that comes in the immediate postpartum days.  There has also been more talk lately about postpartum depression.  Today, I want to shed light on something else.  What if you aren’t feeling sad,  but instead you are constantly on high alert, constantly worried that something bad will happen?  Maybe your heart races, you feel dizzy or nauseous. Sleep disruption and loss of appetite.  You can’t sit still as your mind races.  You could be part of the 6% of pregnant parents  or 10% of postpartum parents who suffer from anxiety.  Some have anxiety alone and others have it paired with depression.   This can occur during pregnancy, or even months after the birth of your child.

If you are expecting a child and wondering if you are at risk, risk factors include a family history of anxiety, previous depression or anxiety, or a thyroid imbalance.   If you know you are at risk you can be proactive and join support groups early or have family or friends help out and keep watch for symptoms as they may notice before you do.

For some parents, in addition to generalized anxiety, they may have more specific forms such as Postpartum Panic Disorder.  This is a form of anxiety where you may feel very nervous and have reoccurring panic attacks.  When a panic attack is happening people may experience shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, claustrophobia, numbness and tingling of extremities.   The attacks can come and go in waves and feel very scary but they can not hurt you.  This is of course something to talk to your doctor about, and  I highly recommend seeking out therapy for coping techniques and reduction of panic attacks.

Another form of postpartum anxiety is Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  It is estimated that 3%-5% of new parents will experience this.  It includes repetitive and intrusive thoughts or visions that are very frightening and disturbing and come to mind randomly. Often parents don’t mention the thoughts that go along with this disorder because they fear judgement from others.   Research has shown that these thoughts are anxious, not delusional and have a very low chance of being acted out.

The good news is that things do not have to stay this way.  Your entire parenting experience doesn’t have to continue down a worried and anxious path.  It is time to take it seriously and reach out for help.  Locally, in Oregon we have WellMama. They offer support groups and a warm line where a trained professional will call you back.  Therapy can also be extreamly helpful but be sure to go to someone who works with postpartum anxiety. Ann Tepperman, is someone in Lane County who has experience.  To find groups in other areas of the US and Canada you can visit Postpartum Progress.  If you are feeling overwhelmed you can send me an email with your location and I will help you find resources.

Just remember that these fearful thoughts, and even scary visions do not make you a bad parent and you won’t feel this way forever.

 

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  • Heathir Brown- Doula Trainer
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    Carlette Y Davidson
    Carlette Y Davidson
    2018-11-12T01:05:56+0000
    Heathers delivery style was very calm , she is very knowledgeable and answered all our questions in a clear concise manner , her passion for her work and eagerness to train others was very obvious , I would recommend anyone who wants to become a Birth Doula to attend one of her training session .
    Kathy Halverson Kinard
    Kathy Halverson Kinard
    2018-09-29T01:58:42+0000
    She was an amazing trainer. What she taught was very easy to understand. She was very patient with all my questions. The knowledge i gained from her training has reslly help my confidence and i feel ready to do this.
    Desiree Joyce Southard
    Desiree Joyce Southard
    2018-02-26T03:21:44+0000
    Heathir was such a joy to work with! She is so full knowledge and made my class so fun! I can’t wait to jump in with what I’ve learned!
    Robin Saporito
    Robin Saporito
    2017-09-18T20:22:41+0000
    I took Heathir's Doula training this weekend. I learned more than I would have thought possible. I'm so excited about becoming a certified Doula.
    Lora Casco
    Lora Casco
    2017-03-21T18:07:41+0000
    Heathir is an excellent trainer! I just completed a training with her March 2017 on Maui. We had a great class full of lively discussion, hands on learning and I walked away with more skills in my bag of doula knowledge. I have been a doula for a while and wanted to train with Birth Arts because they are a great support to their trainees and I am not disappointed at all! I am so glad I chose BAI and I look forward to serving my community here on Maui.
    Marie Vila
    Marie Vila
    2017-03-20T19:33:14+0000
    Samantha Millbrook
    Samantha Millbrook
    2017-03-04T17:36:56+0000
    I traveled ALL the way to Eugene, Oregon from Nashville, Tennessee to take this course with Heathir and I am SO glad that I did. I have to admit, I was worried that I would travel all that way and be disappointed. Heathir made me feel so comfortable and welcome. She explained things in a way that made sense to me and always left the floor open for questions. If I am ever giving birth in the proximity that Heathir could help me I would call her in a heartbeat. Thank you Heathir for helping me start this journey as a Doula off on a great start. I can't wait to learn, grow, and practice this work with the support of the strong, educated, and wonderful BAI community.
    Mary Wright Johnson
    Mary Wright Johnson
    2017-02-24T06:14:29+0000
    Heathir is a wonderful teacher. My experience at her workshop was so incredibly inspiring. She is skilled, and knowledgeable, and she creates an atmosphere of comfort that is ideal for learning. Her support and encouragement really increased my excitement about entering into this fulfilling new career.
    Kelly Langhorn
    Kelly Langhorn
    2017-02-21T00:32:08+0000
    I loved Heathir! I feel so excited and prepared to help the families in the Rogue Valley!
    Teresa Ostrander
    Teresa Ostrander
    2017-02-20T21:38:11+0000
    Heathir is an amazing Instructor. She has a good flow of information, one topic flows smoothly into the next. Heathir is easy to speak with and easy to approach with questions. She made the workshop a pleasant atmosphere and a fun learning environment. It was a peer learning setting instead of a student teacher setting. 100% positive!
    Princess Taylor Maynie
    Princess Taylor Maynie
    2017-02-10T13:08:25+0000
    I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Heathir's BAI labor doula workshop. Heathir is a very knowledgeable and wise doula. She pours out every bit of knowledge that she has attained as doula to her students. Her experience in and compassion for pregnancy and birth shows through her teaching. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to sit under her tutelage. Thank you Heathir for a wonderful experience.
    Deborah Candelario
    Deborah Candelario
    2017-02-10T02:40:19+0000
    I took my Doula class with Heather and it was so much more than I expected! I learned so much. Heathir created a fun and safe environment for all of us to learn and share. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a doula to take Heathirs class!!!
    Gina Gerard
    Gina Gerard
    2017-02-09T23:13:51+0000
    If you ever have the opportunity to attend a workshop with Heathir Brown DO IT!!! After months of feeling "stuck" in my doula training, I decided to invest my time and money and let me tell you, it was worth it. Heathir's workshop was educational, inspiring, and therapeutic. She was patient as I asked every question I could possibly think of, and she answered them all! Heathir has years of experience and knowledge that she is happy to share with her students. After reading my student materials, many books, and attending a birth, I thought I knew a lot about being a doula, but I was WRONG! We covered TONS of information and when it she saw that I was struggling with the postpartum depression part of the training, she offered me a sincere hug and kind words. It's not everyday you find someone so genuinely kind and caring. It's evident that Heathir's work comes from the heart. You'll never make a better investment for yourself and your doula career than a training with Heathir Brown!!!
    April Fools
    April Fools
    2017-02-09T18:56:37+0000
    I attended a workshop with Heathir in October 2016. The information she gave was very in depth but not overwhelming. We did a bunch of hands-on activities to help us to retain the information we learned. We talked, we laughed, we opened up to one another. The workshop definitely exceeded my expectations. Did I mention? Heathir is sooooo sweet! Thank you so much Heathir for being you and for the time and love you dedicated to our class!