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Mom Anxiety: Super fun, right?

Can we talk about anxiety for a moment? Not just anxiety but mom anxiety in particular. I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I remember my mom trying bach flower essence to help me get through my school days. I also remember having to pop antacid tabs (prescribed by a Dr.) all the time when I was younger because I was too young to describe that gut-churning feeling in my stomach. So I'm saying anxiety is not a "new" thing for me. After having my son, my form of anxiety changed. It was no longer about myself. It changed to be afraid. I'm afraid of getting in the car with my son, getting out of the house, going anywhere, and then the terrible intrusive thoughts. It is freaking exhausting.

My problem is I have my "doctor" brain and my normal "Ariel" brain. They are usually in a bit of turmoil. My rational self is always trying to calm down that irrational side. Again, exhausting. Even with all of the resources and tools I utilize daily, I can't always stop the thoughts from coming. I love my therapist. I use life-changing medications for myself, exercise, and try to eat well all while being a mom, wife, and business owner. I understand you. I get you.

Sometimes you may need to pull over and take a breather. That's okay! Find a safe place to stop and collect and connect with yourself. Check on your kids in the back. Maybe talk to them. If they are screaming bloody murder while you are driving, take a beat. How are you doing? Are you about to lose your shit? Are you close enough to home to talk yourself through it? Or would this be a good time to also pull over and breathe? Sometimes you may feel like going anywhere is going to send you over the edge. Thats okay! What feels best to you at this moment? Want to know something? As I am writing this I am sitting in my car at a park. I don't want to even get out and walk around the park. My time right now is feeling like I need to write, so I am doing it. The park will always be there and I can walk another time. This is working for me at this moment.

The problem with all things postpartum, from my own experience, is I feel will all be linked back to "well you are short on sleep, you do wear too many hats, you are overstimulated, you just need a little break, you need to go for a walk or fresh air." Yes, these are all true, but as women, we are super intuitive and we know when our "crazy" feelings get to be too much. Usually, this is the time we start looking for answers.

Here's what we need to understand more about. Are your symptoms "just" generalized anxiety or coming from another possible diagnosis? I feel as women and as moms, we sometimes just get tagged with that easy diagnosis. What you need to remember is there is so much more that may be going on.

Here are some of the more common ones. If you don't fit any of these, that's okay! Do your research!

Postpartum Thyroiditis-super common postpartum. It is diagnosed through blood work and is when your Thyroid gland is inflamed. On

e patient was so grateful she had figured out she had Hashimoto's after her first pregnancy that she was able to have her medications adjusted after her second. After her first pregnancy, she told me she "felt legit crazy." You can first have an overactive thyroid and then with time, it will become underactive. Overactive= Hyperthyroidism with symptoms like being super anxious, muscle weakness, and rapid heart rate. Underactive= Hypothyroidism with symptoms like feeling very tired, weight gain, and depression. A combo of both= Hashimoto's. This is when it starts as hyperthyroidism and over time turns to hypothyroidism

Side note: while I was doing more research I found a predisposition list of Thyroid conditions and it said, "Just being a woman" Cool. cool.

PMDD - premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a super fun disorder where you feel like you may or may not want to stick your head in an oven for 2 weeks out of every month. This may be an exaggeration, but this is my "crazy" category. I can feel like I am on an emotional rollercoaster and as soon as my period starts, it's like a light switch. I "finally" feel more normal. This will last for a couple of weeks and then BAM! Head in the oven again. I have increased anxiety (more than usual), increased fear of all things related to life, depression (more than normal, like I can't get the energy to do anything), and intrusive thoughts (I am going to get hurt, my son is going to get hurt, etc.) I want to make a quick point to say, my intrusive thoughts are not about hurting myself, my son, or others. These intrusive thoughts are going to fall into the post-partum depression category. This has a different diagnosis, medication list, and lifestyle help. this can also increase in women as we get older due to the change in progesterone levels.

Adrenal fatigue- You are stressed but like, always stressed. It doesn't matter how much coffee you drink, you are still so tired. Exhaustion and stress are an icky combination. You may be trying to fill your mornings with caffeine and have a nice mix of anxiety and heart palpitations along with still being tired. Your evenings with wine, sleeping supplements, or any other way to calm down your brain. Usually, adrenal fatigue is a secondary issue to something else. It's important to dive into this and see what else you may be experiencing that can help with a diagnosis

Postpartum depression-You may have trouble feeling connected to your baby, withdrawal from those who care about you, sleeping too much or not enough when able, mood swings, anxiety, feeling super overwhelmed, lack of concentration ("zoning out"), intrusive thought of harm to you or baby. Remember, any intrusive thoughts you are having are not YOU but with these thoughts getting help ASAP is vital to your health and safety as well as your family. You may feel scared to admit these thoughts, but finding a provider that will support you and you trust will be important. Research support groups, ask for help, search for a psychiatrist, and talk to your safe person (trusted friend, family, partner).

So if you feel like you are "doing all the things" and you keep feeling like you are put into a generalized box, do your research. One way is to sit with how you feel. What kind of thoughts you are having? Are they intrusive? Harmful for you or someone else? Do you feel like you wake up and go to bed with heartburn or an uneasy stomach? You always have those butterflies in your stomach, even while resting.

Now for the "Ariel" brain. I feel like even when I try all the things I know, I don't always feel better. I breathe, I meditate, I have a mantra I say.. sometimes 1 million times a day. I think what is important to remember is we are all a work in progress. Even with all I do I still don't always feel "good." Maybe the idea is moving into acceptance. I am accepting that this is a part of me, I utilize the tools I have, and when I can't handle it I talk to my Therapist, see a psychiatrist, or ask for extra help from my partner. I also think something for women to remember is that symptoms don't have to start immediately after having your baby. My PMDD sprung up hard at 10 months postpartum and I am still working on it at 13 months.

I love you, momma, and so do a lot of others. Keep doing your very best! Please make sure to take care of yourself as well. Remember, don't wait to ask for help. We need you here with us. We need your magic. We love you. Please share your stories! They will help more women just like you!


Dr. Ariel Blackburn

Chiropractic physician, momma bear, wife, women's health advocate, and business owner


Jul 16, 2023

not a mama, but so much to relate to here! Thank you for sharing 💕

Jul 16, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much for Commenting!! You're the best 🥰


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