My Struggle With Postpartum Health Anxiety

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As the new year begins, I reflect over the past year with fondness, nostalgia and regret. Last year was one of the most rewarding yet challenging years of my life. It was the best year yet the most fearful. Becoming a mother has filled my heart with love that I never knew I was capable of and at the same time a fear that seemed to consume me.

I didn’t understand what was happening at the start and it started gradually. I was happy, completely happy with our new family and besotted with this gorgeous bundle we had made. I loved being a mum, it was tiring and demanding but I loved every minute of it. I wanted time to slow down so I could really cherish every single moment I had with my baby, who I knew would grow up too fast. So when our health visitor breached the subject of postpartum depression I shot it down straight away. I wasn’t depressed, I was over the moon!

It started with little intruding thoughts here and there, “What if I fell down the stairs with the baby while my fiancé is offshore” and “What if another car hit me while I was driving with the baby in the car”, but I managed to shrug them off until about three months postpartum, when I started getting joint pain. I first had a little pain in one knee, then my fingers started clicking, until one morning I woke to find my thumb and forefingers were all bent and stiff. After a trip to the doctor, I was referred to a rheumalogist and that is when it all began. I became a Google doctor, Googling my symptoms every moment I could, to the point my fiancé had to take my phone and computer away from me. By the time I actually saw the Rheumatologist I had convinced my self I had an auto-immune disease and was going to die or be crippled. Fortunately the Rheumatologist confirmed that I have nothing of the sort and that it is common for women to experience joint pains after pregnancy.

My relief was only short lived as I couldn’t accept that was the answer, what if I had something horrible and they were missing it? My constant Googling and paranoia…

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