Light at the end of the tunnel

I was once diagnosed with post natal anxiety. I thought it was the end – no exaggeration. But I am here now to tell my story and how indeed things turned around

Now that I've gotten the hard part out of my system, I'm now looking forward to the future and trying to be as prepared as possible before the birth of our second. I've previously posted all the help I'm currently seeking in preparation for the big day. One of them, which is one of the most important, is having a reliable lactation consultant since that was one of the worst experiences for me the first time, and I ended up giving it up completely before my baby even turned 1 month.

In hopes that I somehow figure it out this time, I decided to visit a lactation consultant recommended to me by my therapist before even giving birth. And so, I did. And wow. I felt so robbed and lied to in my first and so grateful to have found her and met with her before my second.

The amount of incorrect information I had received with my daughter is unfathomable. It made life so hard for me then, and even though I wish I had known this new information back then, and thinking what if it had changed everything for me, I don't want to go down that road because it is useless. Instead I want to focus on making my second experience better.

So below I will list the information that I received that changed my perspective on how breastfeeding is in fact not impossible. Don't get me wrong, it is still hard, and I know I will have a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of crying (from both sides) but now I know what to expect, the signs to look out for to indicate hunger, and someone to go to for help.

Post Birth Advice

It starts as soon as I give birth. Now that was news to me, but there are a lot of things I can do after birth that should help in my breastfeeding journey afterwards.

  1. Skin to skin: As I mentioned earlier, I haven't had that in my first as I was completely sedated and was actually the last to hold my baby. But the amount of pros to having skin to skin with your baby as soon as he is born is immeasurable. They call that time the golden hour, where you just hold your baby on your bare skin until the placenta is out and the cord is clamped. During that time, baby calms down, you calm down, so mentally it does wonders. It's the first time the baby is out of your womb, and he is feeling a lot of feelings! He's scared, confused and the only person/smell he recognizes is yours! It also stabilizes baby’s body temperature, heartbeat, breathing and blood oxygen levels, and helps with his digestion. When it comes to breastfeeding, it allows the baby to recognize your smell and find his way to your breast and start breastfeeding, and helps you produce a stronger milk supply. Can you believe it! Just by holding your baby after birth you gain all of that.

  2. Not bathing the baby for 24 hours: The baby is born with this thick white substance over their body called vernix that smells like mother breasts/milk as far as I understand which helps baby identify milk faster and help with breastfeeding.

  3. Rooming in: In Egypt, babies are usually placed in a nursery with all other babies. They are brought in to the room only to breastfeed. This reduces the amount of time you bond with baby. Babies recognize their parent’s voice, smell, and heartbeat. Having your baby within your presence helps your baby relax, and helps you prepare for going home with your new baby and offers more opportunities to learn about your baby’s behaviors and what they mean. It also increases skin to skin and improves your breastfeeding experience.

  4. No artificial teats until 4-6 weeks: If there's a need, feed baby with syringe or spoon. Baby is born with a stomach the size of a cherry. He only needs a few drops of milk the first day or two. Don't let anyone talk you into giving him a bottle until your milk is properly established, his demand is what will increase your supply.

  5. Feed on demand not following a schedule: Baby is hungry, baby eats.

Misleading Information

Another misleading piece of information I was given last time when my baby was crying inconsolably was that she needed to start formula asap as this meant she was extremely hungry.

There are signs to follow to recognize hunger, and crying isn't one of them.

  1. Baby weight: Baby weight decreases after birth and then should be back to birth weight 2 weeks after birth. If that's the case then you're doing well. There is a chart of baby weight per week to follow to make sure all is well

  2. Urine: Baby usually has 1 wet diaper on the day he's born and it's reddish-orange. That increases everyday until by day 5 is should be light yellow and be 6-8 wet diapers. This is also a sign breastfeeding is going well

  3. Stool: Starts as black and gradually changes to be the yellow we are used to for breastfed babies. If that's the case you are also doing well.

So these are the signs you monitor, not the crying.

Crying usually happens every growth spurt and during the first 2 months, they happen a lot! Baby grows a lot the first few months and with that he gets hungrier and his demand increases, which makes your supply increase too! So as long as the signs are good, this is completely normal

Another incorrect instruction I was given was to feed the baby every 2 hours only. Total crap. Feed on demand, that's how your supply increases even if it's every 10 minutes. If your baby is hungry, feed him, that's it.


Pumping got the best of me last time. It was one of the loneliest and depressing things I had to do, being in a room alone pumping for God knows how long only to get a few ounces at best. So, I'm not sure if I'll be doing that, but there is one benefit, or one reason for me to do so. Sleep. Sleep is my biggest anxiety trigger at the moment, and when I don't sleep well for a few days in a row, it gets really bad.

So I was advised in that case to aim to just pump 1 bottle per day. Just 1. After every feed pump a little until you get one extra bottle, which would allow you to sleep a little more at night while someone else feeds the baby. So I will see how things go, but I might need to do that. I was told however not to pump until at least 5 days after birth because that's when you're establishing your milk.

I was also advised not to use pacifiers or bottles until 4 weeks after birth to avoid nipple confusion. So in case I do pump, I can feed the baby by spoon or syringe.


If baby is not latched properly that also affects the amount of milk he gets! It is breastfeeding not just nipple feeding, the baby's mouth should be around the whole areola area, first it won't hurt as much, and this allows him to trigger milk production. I'm not entirely sure of all the correct terms, but the idea is mouth should not just be latched on nipple as this does not trigger milk production. It also hurts as hell. Rule is, baby nose not touching breast, mouth of baby shaped like a fish, and chin pressed against the breast.

I guess this post might be a little too technical but I guess I'm documenting it for myself more than anything. I felt there was a lot of info that was new and helpful to me and might be helpful to others. I haven't yet tried any of it obviously, but it's a start. I will write another post after giving all this a try but for now, that's all I can do. I'm just happy I did this before giving birth as I had no clue that the few hours/days after the baby was born were that crucial to setup his breastfeeding journey.

#ppd #postnatalanxiety #recovery


This is probably the hardest post to write. The one I keep pushing hoping I don't have to. However, I feel before birth, I need to get it out of my system.

This is the story of my first baby. My first birth experience and how it all went down.

Everything was going great until maybe week 39 when my doctor told me that we had to have a C Section because the baby's head was too big. Now I know that this was not a valid reason for a C Section but at the time, I didn't know much. So I agreed, and we scheduled it a week later I believe.

Something to note, was that 70% of my pregnancy and 1.5 years post birth were all during Covid. I remember not seeing anyone or going out from my second trimester until my daughter turned 1. This obviously also contributed to the extreme anxiety we were all in at the time. My first trimester was pretty horrible too since I get terrible nausea and vomit, and as soon as I started feeling better, Covid hit.

On the day of the scheduled C Section, since again it was Covid times, I was only allowed one or two people with me, and one who can stay over. My mum stayed over, and my husband came and went. We checked in the night before to settle in and get certain tests done. Early morning I was taken into the operation room, alone.

Now I also know that there is something called a gentle c section which should have been the default option, to have my husband with me, to be awake, to hold my baby and have skin to skin as soon as he's out. My doctor never mentioned any of this. For my first birth I was fully sedated, I was asleep during the whole process, they got my daughter out, I wasn't the first to hold her. Actually my whole family got to see her and hold her while I was still asleep. I woke up in complete panic, asking about my daughter. She wasn't there, she wasn't inside of me anymore, and she wasn't with me even. I was in total panic. With the effects of the anesthesia slowly leaving my body I had no idea what happened. I was told this was the spark to my anxiety. This was how it started.

Needless to say the C Section pain was intolerable the first 10 days or so, Took me a couple of days just to get out of bed. We only spent a night or two at the hospital because of covid as well, so we went home to my parents' house, with a newborn, my first, still learning how to put a diaper on, with so much pain from the operation, still no milk supply and just general anxiety from covid as well.

Everything was still new to me then. We tried our best with no outside help. Little sleep here and there, lots of breastfeeding trials, she had horrible colic most of the time, screaming a lot most of the time. We cried a lot too. It was tough. But we survived the first two weeks, we did all we could. Slept when we could, ate when we could. So far it feels like a normal new baby in the house story. But starting 2 weeks, it started getting really bad.

My milk wasn't enough, no matter how much I pumped or drank or whatever, she was always hungry. She was always crying. It was too much sometimes. I later discovered it was hunger, and we had to start formula after consulting different doctors. From the stress and lack of sleep, my milk was not keeping up. I felt so defeated. I was so set on breastfeeding. But I had to start supplementing with formula. I started pumping more and more, which meant being attached to pumps most of the day which was so annoying and lonely and depressing. As days passed I found myself getting more and more anxious, and with the increase of anxiety I started not sleeping, at all. For days. Which made things even worse. I then started not eating. No one knew what was wrong with me. I went to the ER one day when I felt my heart wouldn't stop beating so fast. They told me I was perfectly fine and my heart was perfectly fine.

I couldn't hear my daughter cry, I wanted her to be asleep, I would panic when she woke up. I couldn't stay home alone with her, I was too scared. of what? I have no idea. I was just scared, I had my parents' and my husband's support but I was scared. I was terrified. I reached a point where I was like a walking zombie. I couldn't function anymore. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, I wasn't living. I was just awake all the time. Crying all the time.

Was it all in my head? I was advised to see a psychologist. I went. I discovered I had Postpartum anxiety which I had no idea existed. I had only heard of Postpartum depression, and I knew I didn't have that. I had never heard of postpartum anxiety. Had I known, maybe I had seen someone earlier and tried to control it sooner. In any case. Now I had a diagnosis, I knew what was wrong with me. I was prescribed anxiety meds. I had to stop breastfeeding for good. I was devastated, but I needed to be better, I needed to be alive again and take care of my daughter.

Things started getting better. Until one day it stopped. It started getting worse. I started getting panic attacks, things I've never felt before. I couldn't control and couldn't stop. They told me to breathe, they told me to relax, they told me you need to be strong and think positive. I couldn't. I was too weak. I couldn't break the cycle.

I remember I reached a point where my eyes would involuntarily shut because of the extreme fatigue, but then I would wake up gasping for air. Like I was drowning. My body needed to sleep, but my heart and my anxiety would not let it. There was something majorly wrong.

I couldn't wait a whole week for the next psychologist appointment. It was too much. It was not working for me. I remember praying, praying that it would all stop, it would all go away. How I just want to feel nothing. My rock bottom was when I found myself hoping for an end. It's so hard to say, but I wanted God to take care of it, to relieve me from the pain. I didn't want to commit suicide but It was more of a death wish. I felt horrible for feeling that way and pray to God he forgives me for such horrible wishes, but I felt I was slowly dying, being tortured to death everyday and night. And oh the nights were long. I felt alone in the journey even though I was surrounded by people.

I remember thinking how I never knew what mental illnesses were until that point. I had friends that suffered from depression but I never truly got it. It was the hardest thing I had ever experienced. Unlike a physical illness which could have a cure or a medicine. Mental illnesses don't go away with meds. Meds just give you a slight push. But you have to be strong enough to push on your own. Meds will not cure you, you are the only one capable of doing that. How I wished I could just be given a medication that would make everything better instantly as I was too weak to push on my own.

God sent me an angel when I was given the contact number of a therapist who advised me to get checked into a mental hospital. I was checked in that day. I stayed 2 weeks there. It saved my life. First week they tried to get me to sleep, second week they started giving me anxiety pills until I was stable enough to leave and continue on my own with regular followups.

That was the start of my recovery, but it was a very long journey full of ups and downs.

First of all, it was far from the experience I wanted to have with my newborn. That first year was a complete haze, I don't even have pictures to remember that year by. I couldn't bond with her at all. Didn't breastfeed, didn't laugh with her, didn't treasure those special moments with her, couldn't sleep with her in the same room until she turned 2. It needed 2 years of hard work to start feeling like myself again.

To recap, starting with the birth experience right until she turned 2, I was continuously struggling. I was constantly pushing myself mentally and physically. It was not an easy ride. Days would come when I felt it was getting worse again. Then I'd have a good few days. Then downhill again. I was basically trying to just get by those first 2 years. Doing what I could to just survive. After stopping the meds – 1 year post birth, it got very difficult again. But I decided to do it on my own and not go back to the meds again. I needed to be strong for my daughter. So I pushed and pushed, did therapy and exercised and everything I could possibly think of to get better. I got better. But it took time. Two precious newborn years.

Now she is 3. I am much better as I've mentioned in earlier posts, however, the anxiety is still there. It comes and goes. Some days are harder than others. some days I can't sleep. So it is still a bit scary thinking of the possibility of going through all of this again with my second. All I can do now is pray and seek all the help I can find.

It was difficult reliving all of this with you, but it needed to come out. Maybe this helps someone else.. maybe it is just a reminder for me that I've been through a lot but came out of it stronger.

This is the end of the hard part for now, now it's time to look forward and be positive and hope for the best!

#ppd #postnatalanxiety #recovery


I have been away for a while. I guess with summer and traveling I get pretty busy, and by the time the day ends and my daughter sleeps, I have zero energy left to write or do anything for that matter.

I am 33 weeks pregnant today. I'm feeling all the feelings. Excitement for sure. Anxiety as well of course. Also extreme fatigue as this time around I can't just stay in bed until due date and rest, but I have a girl to tend to everyday. Which is a good thing I guess, one form of exercise!

Husband is traveling a lot until due date, so a lot on my plate, physically and mentally.

As due date approaches, I'm trying to be as ready as possible to make this birth and post birth as smooth as I possibly can. As I've mentioned in my previous posts, I have severe anxiety especially post natal, so I'm trying to setup as much support as possible this time to minimize any potential issues later. I know I can't control everything, but at least the things I can, I'm trying to take care of now. So in this post, I'll be sharing all the steps I'm currently taking to hopefully help later on.

  • Breastfeeding: This was one major breakdown moment for me last time. My milk came in pretty late because of the C-Section, and with all the stress and anxiety I just couldn't get my supply up, which led me to break down quickly. This time, I am looking for a lactation consultant from now, so that right after birth I'm not all over the place and I know who I can contact straight away to get help!

  • New Gynecologist: I later discovered that the one from my previous birth was actually a pro c section doctor, and doesn't really believe in the power of skin to skin or any of the things I actually want for my birth experience. He was a family doctor so I trusted him, but now after being more educated about what I want, I realized we do not match. I found a new one that is more compatible with my idea of a natural birth and we agree on how the birth experience should be.

  • Doula: Found myself a doula to help me during birth. I never realized how important and helpful one would be. Doctors are usually pretty busy, so having a doula with you throughout labour would be incredibly helpful and to ensure you have the experience you want, offer advice and guide you through the whole birth process, breathing, best positions and all that.

  • Therapist: I already started seeing a therapist who is specialized in post natal anxiety, to help me control my anxiety before and after birth.

  • Homeopathic doctor: Started homeopathy meds to keep my anxiety at bay since as due date approaches I can feel my body getting into that state of anxiety that I really need to control. They are all natural remedies that are safe to use while pregnant and breastfeeding.

  • Somatic stress relief: I am yet to try that, but already booked an appointment. So I'll tell you more once I've started, but basically your body kind of remembers your past traumas and the stress and anxiety are somehow trapped inside, and with certain movements you can let them out.

  • Birth course: I am starting a course on birth positions and exercises that would aid a natural birth when you enter labour. Since my first was a C Section, I was advised to start one of these to get my body ready for a natural birth, I hope.

  • CPR and First Aid: So I was incredibly anxious last time that anything would happen to my daughter and I wasn't fully equipped, so this time I will be taking a course at the hospital after birth so I feel like I have things under control.

  • Baby Massage: Also another course I will take at the hospital. My daughter had horrible colic, and I later learned that with certain massages colic can get much better!

  • Baby nurse: This time I'm heading home from the hospital, not to my parents' house, and with my husband constantly traveling or busy, I will be alone with the baby and my first child. Given my post natal anxiety situation, I needed reassurance that there is someone there to help. So I will be getting 24 hour nurse help from the hospital that will stay with me at least the first month, when my anxiety is at its worse.

This is everything I've worked on so far. I know it's a huge list. But again, knowing what I know about myself now, I needed to be prepared this time. I needed to feel like I've done everything I could possibly do to be best prepared for the birth of our baby. I pray with all my heart that the experience this time is different for all of us. And that it gives me the closure I need to move on.. finally.

#ppd #postnatalanxiety #recovery


Even though it might seem that way at the time.

Before diving into the hard part, I wanted first to share where I am now in life, and how things have turned around.

After the birth of my baby, I had a good week or so, incredibly tired, but I was mentally coping. Until everything went south. I'll get into that part in another post though.

At the time, I thought it could never get better. I felt I lost so many things in the process that it was impossible to live a normal happy life after that. I could not bond with my child, heck, I was afraid to get close to her. I remember how I would panic every time I was alone with her, or when I'd see her wake up from her nap. I wanted to spend as little time with her as possible, trying to find any excuse to escape. I could not sleep if she was sleeping in the same room as me, I would stay up all night listening to her every move. The scariest part. I didn't feel attached to her at all. Like she could be anyone else's daughter. Didn't feel connected. Felt a whole lot of responsibility, with very little affection. It really pains me to say that. But it's true. I was blinded by anxiety I couldn't see anything good at the time. Just the burden and the extreme fear of.. well everything really. It was definitely a dark time, but I will get into it more later.

Fast forward 3 years. My daughter turns 3 end of Summer. She is one happy child. She makes me laugh every single day. I can't go a day without seeing her and playing with her. I couldn't have imagined a better connection or bond than the one I have with her now. I take care of her on my own completely almost all the time. We travel alone, get on planes alone, sleep in the same room alone. I am a normal 100% capable mother and care taker and I am learning everyday how to do things better. Again I am a mother and I make mistakes just like other mothers, I just mean I'm not freaking out about it. I make mistakes, I do not panic, I make amends. Basically, I can call myself a mother now. Which is something I could not feel at all 3 years ago. I'm taking courses and reading parenting books! I'm genuinely interested in her and how to make her the happiest baby, or well, toddler, in the world.

I know what I'm saying seems like a given. But to me, this is a blessing. A blessing I truly could not picture back then. I could have never imagined the love I have for my daughter right now. I love everything about her! Her laughs, her jokes, her cheeky comments. So much so that we actually decided to have another baby, and guess what, I'm 5 months pregnant now and couldn't be more excited!

Don't get me wrong, once you've been diagnosed with Postnatal Anxiety, you tend to get it again with every birth, so it was a big decision. A decision I would have probably said no to 3 years ago without thinking twice.

But now, after seeing how far I've come, and how we've both turned out. I can safely say I'm ready to go through all of it again. Why? Because it was not the end of the world. God it was difficult. The most difficult challenge I've ever had to face in my life. But I know more now. I know it passes. I know it gets better. And I have my daughter as proof. Every time I doubt myself, I look at her. Yes there will be difficult times ahead. And yes I have to prepare myself for all possible scenarios. Which I am and I'll get more into that in another post. But there will be beautiful moments in the future that will make all of this worthwhile.

I have hope, I have faith and I will do everything I can to be better prepared for the upcoming period given the knowledge I have now. By knowledge, I don't just mean about babies and toddlers, but mostly about myself. I understand myself and my triggers and my anxiety a lot more now, that even when I might find it difficult to control, I know that it will indeed pass, like it has before.


I always find the first post the most challenging. I have a lot to say and no idea where or how to start.

So please bear with me while I try to dig deep into my memory and start releasing what I've been hiding for the past 3 years.

I guess I'll begin with who I am. I have chosen to keep this blog anonymous because I'm not entirely sure how comfortable I am sharing these memories and thoughts about the most difficult part of my life with everyone. I have been keeping them to myself for a while. Too long if I may say. It's beginning to feel like a burden I'm carrying, or a secret compartment inside of me that no one else knows about and it's been weighing me down immensely. Somehow I feel like people don't want to hear about my story, or that it is somehow shameful and not something to share with the world. So eventually, I find myself withdrawing from everyone around me, unable to have any meaningful conversations, always feeling disconnected and just not me. Like I'm pretending to be someone I'm not. This person I was 3 years ago, totally ignoring that major change that has struck me and changed who I am from the core. All because I feel it's too scary for people to hear or maybe comprehend.

Until this day, I believe if you have not lived it, you can not understand it, Which is why I can't blame anyone for not understanding. It's not something you read about and just get. It's something you feel deep down and it changes you, forever.

Not necessarily in a bad way. But you just become different. You've felt too much, you've discovered parts of you and emotions and feelings you never knew existed inside of you. And now that you've been there, you can never go back.

This is why I'm here. I've been struggling keeping all of this to myself. Feeling uncomfortable sharing these deep emotions that you just don't share with people you know. So you end up going out and engaging in small talk and going home feeling disconnected and alone.

Such a horrible feeling. Even with family. It's like what's happened is now locked in a vault and can never be opened again. I truly feel the discomfort in people's eyes when the mere subject is brought up. So I end up refraining from the topic all together.

I'm here today, and hopefully staying for a while, to share all these things I felt I wasn't supposed to or wasn't welcomed to these past few years. I am here because I don't want to feel alone in my journey anymore. I'm also here because I always believe if I have been through this. I can't possibly be the only one. Maybe I can support anyone who is currently going through it, or maybe I find the support I couldn't find before.

Finally, I'm here to put all of this behind me and start looking forward to a brighter future.

So I guess you could say I'm here for closure.

#ppd #postnatalanxiety #recovery


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