My Untold Story of Acute Postpartum Anxiety


Last month I went to hear Angela Garbes, author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science & Culture of Pregnancy, speak in Seattle. At her talk, the Filipino American writer shared her experiences and addressed the ways society does not support mothers after their babies are born. It was amazing to watch a Brown Womxn stand before a packed room and speak openly about her body, life, and research. It made me consider how important our stories of pregnancy and childbirth are as Womxn of Color. Childbirth was a long time ago for me. My son is eight years old about to enter third grade. Yet watching and listening to Garbes lead me to realize … I’ve still never told my story. Especially the part about how I suffered acute postpartum anxiety after giving birth and for a full miserable year following.

In 2009, my son’s labor and birth went fast, spanning only six hours from start to finish. Having spent many nervous months anticipating the arrival of our first and only child—and worrying about everything that could go wrong—my husband and I counted ourselves lucky. We had not endured complications, a 36-hour labor, or cesarean section, like we had feared. There had not even been enough time to administer pain medication. Marveling at how “easy” it had all been, I remember taking a shower, emerging from the hospital bathroom, and proclaiming I felt great.

That would soon change …


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