Body changes during pregnancy and postpartum! Yet another thing that doesn’t only touch women who’ve suffered from PPD+A, but only becomes more defeating if you are. It’s very easy to say how beautiful it is to know that you’re growing human life, to just be happy and accept your expanding body, until you’re watching it happen. I wasn't one of those women who felt sexy with my big growing belly. Your body feels foreign, you hit that weird in between place where you don’t really have a belly, but you still can’t wear your normal clothes, you’re constantly trying to find clothes that make you feel a little better while not spending hundreds of dollars on maternity wear, the list goes on. Then you have your baby at most likely the highest weight you’ve seen in your life. Now you’re deflated and saggy with probably the biggest breasts you’ve had (I’d take some of those babies back!) So now you’re supposed to start losing, right? Oh the pressure to get back to “normal”. Everyone starts to tell you you look great “for just having a baby”, but you don’t feel great. Well I didn’t. Due to breastfeeding, I’d began to gain a lot of weight I’d already lost immediately postpartum (that’s a thing I bet no one told you could happen), when you feel like everyone around you says they just slipped right back down to their pre-baby weight in no time. Then my PPD+A really hit and without trying, I lost my baby weight and then an additional 20lbs. It was the skinniest I’ve ever been. I felt awesome at the time, but sadly it wasn’t strictly from from making great health choices and working out, even though I was. I had to work out every day, I wasn’t resting. When I’d start to feel overwhelmed or anxious, I’d start moving to avoid panic attacks. This meant putting Malcolm in a stroller and packing stuff up for the day and not coming home until we had to. I would walk miles and miles to stay outside and distracted from worrying about irrational things. I mean, really irrational things, and the thing with anxiety is that even if you know they’re irrational, you can’t shut off the worry. The only thing that helped me silence it was just not sitting down to think. If I sat down for too long, panic attacks I’d never tell anyone about. Thankfully most happened during naptime, again because I had slowed down and allowed my brain to take over. No one knew any of this was a problem until I started to be more vocal about what I was going through. No one knows because of the shame and embarrassment about feeling crazy or sad or inadequate as a mom. Worrying that people would think I was ungrateful for my life because I had days I wanted a new one (not really, but kinda, but not at all). So, I kept moving all the time and ended up masking my mental state as best I could making everyone feel like I was doing it all so well. Have you checked on the new mom in your life? She might tell you she’s fine, and maybe she is, but reaching out to let her know you’re thinking about her could make a big difference in her day. She may or may not get back to you (notoriously known for sucking at that, big time), but she’ll get back to reciprocating when she can. Your little note of thoughtfulness could be the knock she needed to open up or just keep her spirts lifted.