Anxiety is common among pregnant women and new moms, but often dismissed as part of parenthood. How to know when to get help.
One expert describes motherhood as “the perfect storm” for mood disorders such as postpartum anxiety and depression.
Allison McGill’s first six weeks with her new baby, Jack, were as smooth as they come. Jack was healthy and happy, and McGill enjoyed being a new mom.
“I didn’t have anxiety, I didn’t have lot of the things that would eventually take over my life,” says McGill, a 40-year-old District of Columbia resident and president of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Lazarus Ministries. “I was actually pretty calm.”
But that didn’t last.
While taking a walk with Jack along the Anacostia River last August, McGill had a vision of him falling in. From then on, she made sure to stay at least 15 feet away from the water’s edge. Later, McGill feared that Jack would fall out of her seventh-floor apartment window. After that, she insisted that Jack stay at least five feet away.
Next, compulsions set in. McGill often checked on Jack four times a night – even when he wasn’t crying. “I started to get worried that he would stop breathing,” despite the fact that the baby monitor indicated he was, she says.
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