Is She Breathing? {Committing to Heal From PPA}

Is She BreathingIs she breathing?

Many, many times a day since my last child (fourth and final) was born, I ask myself and those around me if my daughter is breathing. I ask if she has anything in front of her face. I ask if her chest is moving (no, really, did you see it? Can you check again?). I feel her skin to make sure it’s warm, somehow expecting that it won’t be this time. I wake up in the middle of the night and lay my hand on her chest to feel her breathe. I have even pulled over on the Causeway bridge when I poked her and she didn’t startle.

Logic doesn’t always prevail

I know that she’ll be just fine. I’m aware that she’s probably not just going to stop breathing for no reason. I follow the advice and the guidelines and safety recommendations. Yet for some reason, I get incredibly anxious over making sure she’s breathing, I make myself nauseous. I don’t sleep because I wake so often fearing the worst, and I don’t want to let her go.

The strange thing about anxiety is that even when you know what is likely, logical or probable, you still believe the opposite to be true. Every fiber of me is saying she’s going to be dead and still, I’m not at all surprised when I find her breathing and even grinning in her sleep.


I don’t talk about it because it doesn’t make sense. I tell myself it’s not too severe and that it will go away as she gets older. In my search for peace, I went back today and re-read a post that I didn’t previously understand, written by Andie in 2013. In this post, she talks about her struggle with Postpartum Anxiety and how she began her journey to healing – exactly what I needed to read.

This is just the beginning for me. I know there will be countless sleepless nights and fear-provoking car rides in my future, but I’m hoping there will be fewer and fewer as time progresses. My baby girl is six-months old now, and she deserves to have a healthy, happy momma who doesn’t wake her in a panic when she’s not breathing heavy enough to be visible. I am committing to talk about it and try to understand. I am committing to heal.


  1. Tara,
    Thank you so much for your post. I feel like I have written this! There has been many times where I’ve pulled over on the road to make sure she’s breathing, wake up every hour to make sure she’s breathing and call her daycare at least once a day to see how she’s doing. It wasn’t until I passed out due to exhaustion and not supplying my body that a nurse practitioner diagnosed me. It’s more common to hear the term post partum depression but not so much anxiety. I’m still taking it day by day and luckily I have a supportive work environment because that was an emotional roller coaster, leaving my baby for the first time, it felt so unnatural because for the first three months she was with me everyday all day and to leave her with people that I didn’t really know, then trying to go back to work for time plus take on the normal duties of the household! I really appreciate you sharing your story and it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone.

    Thank you,

    • Tawni,
      Just checking in on you to see how you have been? For me, every day has been a bit better. How has your little one adjusted to daycare?
      Hope all is well.

  2. Thank You! It’s so nice to know I am not alone in this department. My son will be 11 in October, after he was born I literally didn’t sleep if he was sleeping. I would sleep when when my husband came home from work or when my sister came over on her off days. I was living off of coffee and anxiety. It got better as time passed but we co-sleep, then I moved him to his playpen in my room and that lasted until hos 1st birthday.


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