Mom of Three Seeking Help: Managing Post Baby Blues & the Workplace

Working Mom of 3 seeking Help With Post baby blues and the workplace

What can we say about post-baby Blues? Well, you feel off, and you’re not quite sure why. Sometimes, you don’t even notice it until a while later.

“I had actually noticed some postpartum anxiety/depression symptoms a few months after I had my second baby but just attributed it to our recent move to a new house/area plus having two kids under two. I dismissed my intuition and gut feelings about it and kept saying it was something else…breastfeeding struggles or weaning the baby, issues at work, etc.”

– Katie, Cedar Rapids

Other times, you knew there was a chance due to a pre-existing condition or it possibly being hereditary.

“I had a preexisting relationship with a psychiatrist because I had a series of panic attacks that kind of showed up out of nowhere a month before I got pregnant with my son…my mom had postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety and didn’t seek treatment until I was in high school.”

– Elizabeth, Marion

Then sometimes, you honestly didn’t know you had it.

“It totally caught me off guard.  I didn’t have postpartum with my first so I assumed I’d be fine with my second….seeing as how she was our miracle baby.  Even as a mental health professional, I thought I knew all the warning signs of postpartum depression and anxiety.”

– Missy, Cedar Rapids

I wanted to share this post, because I, myself, was recently diagnosed with an adjustment disorder 8 months postpartum. I had a traumatic birth delivering our twins at 26 weeks. When I went in for my postpartum evaluation 3 weeks post birth, I was in no shape to focus on my own mental health. I was in survival mode. So, when 8 months later, I knew something was wrong, I called my OB to be re-evaluated.

There are different timelines when moms realize that they may need medical intervention, or when they feel comfortable to reach out for help.

“I have had clients come in 3 months postpartum, someone who was 9 months postpartum and someone who came in a few weeks after birth since her family member experienced it and she was trying to get precautionary help. I have a colleague who has someone 2 years postpartum. So, the timeline can vary greatly.” 

– Courtney Stenerson, LPC, PRYT (licensed professional counselor. Phoenix rising yoga therapist)

Since I didn’t catch mine until a solid few months, not only post baby but also after returning back to work, I felt stuck. Balancing life and this flood of emotions at home was one thing. Having to maneuver myself in a completely different setting was another. The girl who sat with confidence at her interview one week before giving birth was now missing. The woman who built her career felt like everything was slipping out of her fingers. I couldn’t focus. My mind raced constantly, trying to anticipate the next move, because that was what I was used to. With coordinating visits to the babies at the hospital, managing life at home, and coordinating office hours to accommodate all of this, I was always on the run. I couldn’t turn off survival mode, even when the dust finally settled.

So I leaned into my fellow mommas. But I worry. Will people think I’m less capable to perform? 

How do you tell your boss and co-workers you’re struggling with post baby blues, if you chose to?

“I think just realizing I’m worth putting myself first and treating myself as well as I do my kids (and everyone else) too. I was working part-time 4 afternoons a week, so I was able to balance it at work fine for the most part. Other co-workers of mine had discussed their same issues too so it was nice having supportive co-workers to lean on during a bad day/moment.”

–  Katie, Cedar Rapids

“I kind of had to…despite not having kids of her own she was really supportive.  She asked what I needed and helped me stay on track because my mind was absolute mush. I didn’t ask for nearly as much help as I needed because I felt ashamed that I couldn’t keep up like I used to.”

–  Missy, Cedar Rapids

To be completely honest, I didn’t think to reach out for help until my boss asked me if I was alright two days in a row. I am really fortunate my manager tries to understand. I say “tries” because she asks me questions as to how she could better support me. That’s an important thing.

“Creating dialogue comes down to building trusting, genuine, and nonjudgmental rapport with the clients. Simply by asking them what they are going through. At first, maybe for a few sessions simply holding space for someone to talk about it. Allowing them the time to really let it all out if they feel like that is beneficial or cathartic.”

–  Courtney Stenerson, LPC, PRYT (licensed professional counselor. Phoenix rising yoga therapist)

Adjusting and opening yourself to seek help is a learning process, and one that shouldn’t be rushed. Fellow moms, if any of the things shared here resonated with you post baby, or if you have anything to share, I encourage you to reach out and talk about it. If you feel very overwhelmed and cannot get in with a physician, please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

Your mental health is worth it, because you are worth it.

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