Mom confessions: "Sinabi ng nanay ko na kaartehan lang ang postpartum depression ko"
For those who need to hear it: postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression are REAL.
If you’ve experienced postpartum anxiety or depression, you’ll know that it’s real and not just a way for us to make “arte.” Read this mom’s story on how other people’s dismissal of her worries gave her panic attacks.
What can you read in this article?
- From a mom of one to a mom of two – how was the transition?
- “Nag-iinarte,” or postpartum anxiety?
Hey Moms! Keiki here. I am a mother of two living in the Summer Capital of the Philippines. My eldest was born in 2018 and my youngest in 2020 when the pandemic started. My husband and I moved away from our families when we started our own family; this way, we could practice our independence and freedom as parents.
As new parents back in 2018, we had the support we needed. Even though our families were far, we made sure that we would visit our relatives every so often. As a new mom, I also had help from a relative living with us at that time which made transitioning to motherhood a bit smoother.
However, when I had my youngest in 2020, and as the pandemic yielded lock-downs and restrictions, I had a much harder time transitioning from being a mother of one into a mother of two.
What really triggered my anxiety as a mom
Since it was just my husband helping me with the kids, it was harder to cope with. Especially because my husband had to go to work, leaving me alone with two babies. This led to me waking up one day in the emergency room because of stress and over-fatigue.
It was apparent that I needed more help. My husband and mother decided that I should move back in with my parents in La Union while my husband stay in Baguio City for work. With help from my mother and father, everything was okay … until it wasn’t.
I only anticipated staying with my parents for a few weeks, 2 months top, so that my body could recover. But for some reason, we kept on extending our stay for another week. And as our stay there got longer, I could feel my anxiety growing bigger and bigger.
Even before the pandemic, I had my own grounding habits to keep me sane and composed. These would include meal planning, money budgeting, following schedules and routines, and just being around my husband. But since I moved back in with my parents, I couldn’t do my grounding habits and my anxiety just kept building.
Along with this, I would receive snarky comments about my parenting technique from my teen cousin and my feelings would be dismissed by my mother – all these pushed me into postpartum depression.
As my feelings kept being bottled up and my anxiety kept growing, the inevitable happened, I got a panic attack. It was something so simple that triggered it, although I can’t remember what it was exactly. I felt like I just couldn’t breathe and that something bad was about to happen although we were all safe and okay.
I felt like I was going to lose consciousness and that every time I would try to breathe and gasp for more air, nothing was coming in. And, I started to cry as I tried breathing faster and faster. I wasn’t in any danger physically, but my mind kept thinking of things that could go wrong with every breathe that I took.
Postpartum anxiety is not “nag-iinarte”
To be honest, this wasn’t the first time this happened to me, but it was the first time I felt it as powerful as that time. My mom saw me during my panic attack and knew right away that I wasn’t faking it.
She calmed me down and started talking to me and acknowledging my feelings. It felt great to have her see me, really see me. Usually, before, if I were to tell her about negative feelings or that I was anxious about something, she would dismiss me and say that it was all in my head and that it was just “arte,” but now, it is different.
I think she too felt the fear that I was feeling in the moment when she saw me having my panic attack and knew, that as a mother, she had to protect her own child from her own mind.
I don’t blame her or anybody who has ever belittled my feelings or have thought that I was just being “maarte”. Most people tend to dismiss negative feelings because they do not know how to approach and handle them.
So, for the moms out there who haven’t found the right support system and have had their feelings dismissed and have been called “maarte” for feeling down and overwhelmed, I am here to say that your feelings are valid and that you do not need to feel ashamed for it. Although others out there do not understand what you are going through, there are many of us here who do.