I’m going to write a series of blog posts about some of the different symptoms that I experienced after giving birth that caused me great distress. I, like many of you, went on frenzied searches on the internet trying to justify or make sense of what was happening to me. I hope that by sharing my story, it will help you to see how normal these experiences are and how safe they are as well.
One of my early experiences that felt very frightening at the time was having heart palpitations. I had some health concerns during my birth, and for whatever reason, my mind started doing a lot of thinking about my heart. I would have small heart twinges that I had had off and on my entire life, and my mind would start telling all kinds of stories about how I was having heart trouble. I didn’t actually go get my heart checked, but I still did a lot of thinking about my heart and a lot of judgmental thinking of how stupid I was for thinking about my heart. The two often go hand in hand.
Before I knew it, I was waking at my normal morning time with a racing heart. My thinking increased, and I started monitoring my pulse all the time. I bought one of those little blood pressure/pulse monitors, and started using it at intervals throughout the day. Any time I was doing any activity, I would find myself sneakily sliding my fingers to my neck in order to count the beats. Then I started waking at night with heart palpitations. One time I even took my blood pressure in the middle of the night, and it was some outrageously high number. I started calling the ER in the middle of the night wondering if I needed to go in. It was horrible.
You’ve probably guessed by now that there was nothing wrong with my heart. The heart palpitations eventually went away. I don’t really know what the whole thing was about. The one thing I do know is that there was a whole lot of unhelpful thinking and behavior involved. Deep down, even back then, there was a very faint sense that everything was ok. In spite of the presence of this quiet wisdom, I felt so strongly that I had to take my thoughts seriously, and they were telling a completely different story.
Listen to that voice inside of you. It might not even use words, but it’s always there. It knows, and therefore you do too.