"Duck Dynasty" star Sadie Roberston opened up about her postpartum struggles with anxiety following the birth of her first child.
On a new episode of her podcast, "WHOA That's Good," Robertson said that she was "kind of nervous" for the episode, but wanted to speak openly about her postpartum journey to support fans and followers who struggled after giving birth to their own children.
Her largest struggle, she said, has been around postpartum anxiety.
"I have struggled with anxiety for years, and even wrote a book called 'Live Fearless' because of my journey with anxiety ... I'm constantly trying to fight fear in my life, but when I had her and I was going through that postpartum, it was like so many emotions happening that I couldn't really fight the fear like I normally do," Robertson said.
The 24-year-old reality TV star said that she was in such a "state of anxiety" that she "didn't even realize that it was creeping up as much as it was." Roberston said much of her worries revolved around her labor with her daughter: When Honey James was born in May, she "got stuck," leading to a "lot of crazy things" happening."
"Because Honey and I had the labor that we experienced, my mind kept going into the 'What ifs?' Like what would have happened, what if it did last one more minute and she didn't make it, what if she didn't actually end up coming out ... What if I lost too much blood?'" Robertson said. "It led me into 'Is she really OK, did she really make it through that, did I really make it through that? Is there something wrong with me (or) her, what if all the things. And you know, that is such a toxic brain spiral."
Robertson said that she felt "jittery" throughout the day and often had feelings of anxiety that made her "chest feel super tight," like she "couldn't breathe," but she didn't feel comfortable bringing up the way she was feeling.
"I was so joyful, I was so blown away by the miracles and I didn't understand how I could be so happy and so joyful but also experience so much fear," Robertson said.
Robertson said that one night, that anxiety culminated in her crying in a closet because she didn't want her mother, husband Christian Huff or in-laws to see how upset that she was.
"I just told them 'I have to go to the bathroom,' and I went and I just started crying in my closet, and Christian came in and he was like 'What are you doing?'" Robertson recalled. "I just said 'I'm so scared.' And he said 'Why?' And I said 'I'm just so scared something's going to happen to her ... I'm so scared she's really not OK. ... I'm scared that something happened to me and I'm not going to get to be the mom that I want to be to her,' and all of these things."
That incident motivated her to seek help. Robertson said that she contacted a doctor who she had worked with before for her anxiety and said that he gave her advice that was among the "best advice" she'd heard.
"(He said) to stop with the what-ifs, to stop with the what could have and what should have happened, and to just say 'That didn't happen,' and ... to override that fear with gratitude, because as a mom or in life you're going to have things that make you afraid," Robertson said. "There are going to be things that make you have a fearful thought or start to feel anxious but it's important that you don't just let that thought run rampant, that you actually exchanged that with a different thought of gratitude."
Robertson said she also realized that she should open up about her anxieties and fears when her husband said that he was having a similar struggle.
"I didn't even know he was experiencing fear, and he opened up to me ... We both needed to open up about it and we just didn't because we didn't want to seem like we were ungrateful but actually, it wasn't that at all, it was that we were so grateful but didn't know what do with these huge emotions," Robertson said.
The "Duck Dynasty" star said that she would encourage her listeners to also share their struggles with their loved ones.
"No matter what you're experiencing, talk it out with somebody," she said. "Those thoughts are not meant to just live with you and you alone. When you walk it out, when you talk it out, you can actually get, as (my doctor) told me, through the pain. Not just sitting in the pain, you get to get through it."
Robertson also realized that she didn't have to "just choose one" feeling.
"You don't have to choose fear and trade out all the joy; you don't have to just choose joy and trade out all the fear. They actually kind of go hand-in-hand," Robertson said. "The reason why I was so fearful is because I loved her so much. The reason that I cared if something happened is because I loved her so much and I was so happy to get to be her mom."