The amazing Rachel Bollis and Finn (22 months).
Rachel's first pregnancy went well but she found herself incredibly anxious throughout. She'd never dealt with any mental health concerns and tried to rationalize that her fears were pregnancy related but struggled with feeling like she was somehow a bad person. Her anxiety manifested itself in feeling like she had to google everything that could possibly go wrong on a daily basis. Thankfully, her pregnancy remained healthy.
Having an unmedicated and intervention free birth was very important to Rachel. She spent much of her life not being healthy with her body and felt that this was a way to honor her body and strength. She was able to achieve her birthing goal and Finn was born healthy but had jaundice when he first came home. Nurses came to their house daily to check Finn and his weight gain, and as a new mom learning to breastfeed, this added to her anxiety quite a bit. Rachel wasn't producing a ton of milk and struggled until 7 months when she decided to stop. After weaning, Rachel's intrusive thoughts increased and she found herself in denial for the following six months.
Rachel's husband tried to show her that perhaps she was dealing with postpartum anxiety or OCD but she continued to just feel like she was a bad person, that there just wasn't a way this was related to her pregnancy or postpartum. Rachel went down a dark path and after her son's first birthday had a breakdown and found herself in the hospital overnight. Her midwife reassured her that these were postpartum struggles that had simply carried on too long. Since then, she's been able to accept and work through things and says those thoughts are getting quieter.
Meditation has helped Rachel and she's hopeful that after her current pregnancy they stay quiet. She's very aware that postpartum could spark things but is in a position to be more proactive. Rachel's baby has a two vessel cord and a cyst on their brain but they are simply watching and waiting. She's going to try hypnobirthing as a means of reducing stress on the baby during labor and delivery.
Even though Rachel read about other people having postpartum depression and anxiety, she didn't think it could happen to her. It's been a journey and she hopes that in sharing her truth, other women know that they are not alone.