The Panic: Postpartum PTSD


It was supposed to be a simple doctor’s visit for the hummingbird last week. She had pink eye, I know, ick, and I knew it would be an easy visit to her pediatrician who would most likely prescribe eye drops and send us on our way.

I usually try to have my husband come along to appointments for the hummingbird but this time it was just me and her.

Two hours before her appointment, the panic started. I tried to distract myself so the hummingbird and I started to play with her kitchen toys. Then the panic and anxiety got worse. I started to feel really nauseous  and my heart started racing.

An hour before her doctor’s appointment, I was a fucking mess. My heart felt like it was going to thump out of my chest and my thoughts become so irrational. I was worried that once we got to the doctor, they would find something really wrong with the hummingbird and I’d have to leave her there, just like after she was born and had to spend 3 weeks in the NICU for low blood sugar.

The panic and nausea became so bad that I threw up, twice. I was trying so hard to keep it together and took my anti-anxiety medication.  It never really kicked in and the panic grew stronger.

20 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the appointment, I was such a fucking mess. I was shaking, my thoughts were irrational, and it got to where I was about to call my husband to see if he could come home so he could take the hummingbird to the doctor.

He’s never really understood what I go through with postpartum ptsd and I decided not to call him after all.

Then the panic really hit its peak and I wanted so badly to call the doctor’s office and reschedule the appointment so my husband could take the hummingbird instead.

I felt like such a horrible mother. My child needed to see the doctor and here I was trying to get out of taking her.

I kept on telling myself to pull my shit together and rounded up the hummingbird. My hands were shaking so bad as I tried to zip up her jacket and I finally gave up.

We arrived at the doctor’s safe and sound but as I was unbuckling my daughter out of her car seat, I stopped for a minute. I desperately wanted to go back around to the driver’s side, hop in, and go back home.

It took all I had to force myself to get her out of the car and make the walk to the doctor’s office.

I completely blanked out from the time I got the hummingbird out of the car until we were about to open the door to the office. I honestly can’t remember anything about those few minutes.

All I know is when we walked into the office, I was carrying her and holding onto her for dear life. I didn’t want to set her down or let go of her but she found a toy in the waiting room that caught her eye.

Finally we were brought back to the exam room and I really thought about telling the medical assistant that I was in the middle of a panic attack and wanted to ask her if she could help talk me down from it.

Then I was worried that I would sound crazy because after all, it was just a simple visit to the doctor. The shaking started up again and I fumbled with the hummingbird’s jacket and shoes so the medical assistant could get her weight and height.

While waiting for the doctor, it felt like my face was on fire, my hands couldn’t stop shaking, and my mouth became so dry that when the doctor finally came into the exam room, it was hard for me to get much out.

My irrational thoughts started to invade my head again and I became so worried that the doctor would think that I was fucked up on drugs and call the police.

I know. It was completely irrational thinking and I even knew it at that time but with me in a panic and my mind racing, I was worried this doctor would somehow become a fucking mind reader and think I’m an unfit parent.

The doctor asked me a few more questions about when the pink eye started and I was barely able to make out the words and speak.

Finally, we were able to leave that fucking place and we safely went back home.

It took me several hours to calm down after the appointment. I even got to the point where I seriously thought I would give myself a heart attack because the panic and anxiety was so bad.

This is what I deal with whenever I take my daughter to the doctor. This is also why I try to get my husband to go with us since the intensity of the panic and anxiety I feel isn’t as extreme with him there.

This is Postpartum PTSD.

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4 Responses to The Panic: Postpartum PTSD

  1. LeeAnne Curtis March 3, 2013 at 16:03 #

    Been there, done that. My hubs doesn’t understand either….I can be telling him I know it’s not rational, but I can’t stop the feeling! Then, with him saying, “Calm down”, the only thing I want to do at that time is take a jack hammer to him!! Anxiety attacks with depression sucks big time. And I agree – sometimes the meds DON’T kick in as soon as you need them. They wait until you are past the attack, then they put you out for a few hours….
    LeeAnne Curtis recently posted..Seersucker Caterpillar Dress or Jonjonsizes 1-4 by LeeannesCreationsMy Profile

  2. monica March 3, 2013 at 17:37 #

    so sorry you have to go through that. 🙁 happy that is WAS only pink eye, though.
    monica recently posted..The Naked Truth. (And yes, I know you never wanted to see me naked.)My Profile

  3. Beadzoid March 4, 2013 at 02:10 #

    Bless you, it’s horrible isn’t it? I had birth trauma PTSD and all the panic attacks and feeling like I was going crazy that come with it. So I know exactly how you feel. I was lucky that my husband did understand and made it so much easier. Unfortunately the panic attacks would always arrive when he wasn’t with me.

    Are you getting or have you had any kind of treatment for the PTSD? I had to work through a similar incident of neglect which left me alone and terrified throughout the night thanks to a midwife who – even though I’d been admitted with an opening cervix at 26 weeks – had herself decided I wasn’t in ‘proper labour’. She was wrong, denied me access to a doctor, and it took a long time to get over the mental consequences of the damage she did that night. In fact, I don’t think you ever do get over it.

    However, with therapy and medication I just about got over that and the NICU stay – as much as you can. I learned strategies to bring myself back from the anxiety attacks and I can even read stories and see births on TV and not have PTSD symptoms.

    I hope you heal really soon xXx
    Beadzoid recently posted..Review: Garden Games Ltd – Giant Snakes & LaddersMy Profile


  1. The little hummingbird… being hospitalized. | This Is Mommyhood - March 5, 2013

    […] We are now at our last resort and I’m freaking the fuck out. She has a very good doctor at Stanford but having her go through this is triggering all sorts of panic and anxiety. Especially when still dealing with postpartum ptsd. […]

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