I have had this feeling probably since week 2 after giving birth. It really started to surface when I had my postpartum check up. Any time I have an appointment for myself and have to go to the doctor office, where I was told at 26 weeks I was fully dialated and rushed to the hospital, I have anxiety and get really shakey. Any time we have an appointment at the hospital where we were in the NICU for 89 I get the same feeling. And the worst of all is when I look at pictures of LO from the first month and a half or so. I just want to cry every time and I get anxiety. It makes me feel horrible because I should be able to look at pictures of LO and feel joy that we made it through everything that was thrown at us but instead I feel like puking. (sigh)... Any suggestions on how to deal with this? It has gotten to the point where I have nightmares on days approaching appointments.  


  • PTSD is really common for preemie moms, especially if you had a very early preemie. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this though, its impossibly hard. You know you should just celebrate how far your baby has come but you are still dealing with the trauma of birth and NICU days. Its great that you are able to identify your feelings.

    How to deal with this? Find a good counselor who specailizes in PTSD. Don't see someone who focuses on post-partum, this is very different. And try a few until you click with the right person. I was in therapy for 9 months and took anti-anxiety pills for part of that time (safe for bfing). It made a world of difference for me and other preemie moms I know. 

    Links to some resources:

  • PS--I'm happy to talk about this more with you if you want to pm me
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  • Like pp said, find counseling with someone you click with. DD has been home for almost 5 mos and I'm in the process of finding someone I'm comfortable with. I know there are a few moms who have posted about it helping. DD was a 32 wker but we had some serious breathing issues, I wake up in a panic every night and have to check her. I knew it was time to get help when I woke her up checking her breathing too much. Kudos for recognizing the signs and reaching out.
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  • I agree with PPs. I know it is so hard to take the time away but finding a good counselor really helps. I'm so thankful I did it and feel like I can be a better mom because of it. I felt a lot of guilt about their early birth and emotionally I felt like I wasn't there for them the way I should have been. Counseling helped me process everything and I'm actually able to enjoy my boys and not focus so much on the past. Looking at early pictures still makes me cry and I think that's okay.
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  • I am so sorry you are dealing with this, but like PP said it is very common and you are not alone. I had a HUGE panic attack a few months ago when I went to OB for my yearly. I am talking blood pressure through the roof, heart rate off the charts, almost passed out and was crying hystrically. I was soooo embarrassed because it came out of nowhere! The second they called my name it took me back to when I was pregnant and all the scary appointments I had there. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in HS. So having a preemie didn't help. I go to a counsler for check ups when I am feeling high anxiety, I do not like to take meds if I can help it. Needless to say I went back to talk to someone and I went on a low dose of zoloft to help me while I work through our NICU experience. I am a different person, it really helps! Good luck and I hope you are feeling better soon!
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  • Thanks everyone! I am working with the hospital we were in to find a counselor. I'm just glad I'm not alone.
  • Another PTSD preemie mom here to lend support. I could have written your post. What endedup working for me was counseling and zoloft. It is so hard; i feel for you. You can get through this and help is available. Sending lots of good vibes your way.
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