If you don’t know me, I’m Kim. And I have struggled with obsessive worrying since I was a kid. Even panic attacks, though I didn’t know that at the time. When I was 17 and my mom died, my anxiety got worse. It took me years of counseling and hard work to improve it, but it flared back up again when I was pregnant with Caleb. Then after when he was born with a blood disorder that kept us in and out of doctors, with 2 blood transfusions before he was 9 weeks old. Beginning my personal walk with Jesus  8 months after he was born is when everything changed. Slowly, over time, as I learned about him, read his word, and grew closer to him I was able to break free of the racing thoughts and my instantaneous reactions that all but controlled me. Although I still struggled with worrying, Anxiety became nothing but a memory. BUT when I got pregnant with Josh, it happened again. The anxiety started to flare up. When I should’ve been so happy, I felt anxious about how I would handle two kids, how I would still manage my business, keep up my house, and of course fear that the baby would have the blood disorder too. After Josh was born, the anxiety stuck. By 6 weeks postpartum, I mentioned it to my midwife at my appointment. She recommended some supplements but I didn’t get them at the time because I couldn’t find them and gave up too easily. I didn’t try them until well after I needed them. 

Josh has been a very challenging baby. He’s so happy but he doesn’t sleep. At all. Literally. Caleb was a bad sleeper so I know normal mom exhaustion but this has been a whole different ball game. The little sleep he did give me overnight stopped when Caleb was hospitalized for a week, leaving me stretched even more thin. Pure adrenaline was what I was living on, but that can only last for so long….

I do the nights alone and thought I could keep that up while also juggling two kiddos all day, one of whom was sick a lot and the other who never sleeps, a business, making meals, a house, etc., but I was wrong. For about 3 months my body did okay but after that came the crash. My brain essentially stopped working as it should from so little sleep for so long and everything started to break down. There isn’t an area of my life that hasn’t been effected. I started to have insomnia when the baby actually would sleep, I heard calling Caleb calling for me when he wasn’t, I felt panicked that I was getting sick and couldn’t care for my kids when I wasn’t, I felt like I was going crazy watching my husband sleep when I wanted to so bad but couldn’t. I didn’t know why I couldn’t. I finally got online and read about postpartum anxiety, and I had every symptom. I decided I needed to reach out for help, to be seen by a doctor, but that wasn’t as easy as I thought. Things for worse before they got better and finally yesterday I saw a psychiatrist and got answers. All of this is happening from a severe lack of sleep that has been ongoing for months. The anxiety from my childhood is flaring up again because my brain literally isn’t functioning as it should. At this point, anxiety medication is needed to help me get to a place that I can feel normal again and sleep when I need to. I felt terrible that I might need medication but that’s ridiculous. I tried the holistic approach first and it wasn’t enough. Sometimes it isn’t. And that’s why we have medicine. I felt like I should be able to “man up,” to simply stay strong in the Lord and fight my anxiety with truth from his word but it wasn’t working that way. I tend to view life as black and white but it isn’t. And as a dear friend from my church said, “Telling someone with anxiety that they shouldn’t worry or fear because the Bible says so is like telling a diabetic or someone morbidly overweight just to stop eating sugar and bad stuff.” Obviously I know I shouldn’t worry, and I don’t want to, and I DO trust God, BUT right now my mind isn’t working the way it should so I’m not able to. Until we can figure out why Josh isn’t sleep and get to a better place, I need something to help control the anxiety. And I’m very proud to say that I’m not ashamed of that anymore. 

Recent studies have found that anxiety is actually more common in pregnant moms than depression, and just as common after birth as postpartum depression! Sadly, only about 1/3 of women who suffer from anxiety have been diagnosed and are receiving the help they need. I can honestly say, from personal experience, that I understand why. It’s crazy how hard it was for me to be seen by a doctor, how many times I reached out for help without getting it, and how many times I had to share my struggle without anyone realizing how serious it was (which would be way harder for introverts and people who aren’t as open to sharing as me)!! 

So over the next few weeks and months, I will be sharing my journey through postpartum anxiety, my course of treatment, tips and techniques I’m learning to combat anxiety, and how all of this is playing into my faith. If you struggle with anxiety or know someone who does, I hope you’ll follow along and that it helps you in some way. And for all you mommas in the trenches with me every day loving your babies so much but feeling oh so overwhelmed by all of the challenges that come with it, I totally get it! But I want you to know what I have needed to hear every day this time around: struggling and feeling overwhelmed does NOT make you a bad mom! The last thing you need is guilt over how you’re feeling and the things you’re doing, or not doing, to get by. Whether you breastfeed or use formula, paper or cloth diaper, work or stay home, use medicines or oils, vaccinate or don’t, let your kids cry or don’t, YOU are doing the best you can at the hardest work in the world and that is all that matters! Take the pressure off, let the guilt go, put your feet up, take a deep breath, and know that you WILL get through this, your kids will be fine, and it will all be so so worth it!  But for right now, you need to take better care of you. I know it seems impossible, but I promise it can be done and I’m going to do my best to show you how! ❤