Are you concerned about the way you are feeling? Is your postpartum experience different than you were imagining? Have you noticed that you are not feeling like yourself? Are you having scary thoughts? Do the level of worry you are experiencing affect how you feel and your relationship with others? Do you think you might have postpartum depression?
Not feeling like yourself in the perinatal period?
It can be incredibly painful when pregnancy and the postpartum period are different than you hoped. Society tells us a romanticized version of parenthood that is often different than what people experience in real life. Some common symptoms of pregnancy and postpartum distress include:
feeling sad or depressed, irritable, excessively worried, feeling on edge, nervous, panicky or anxious, distressing and scary thoughts that you can't get out of your head, fear of being alone with the baby, and sometimes worry that you might harm yourself or your baby
For many individuals, the discrepancies between reality and fantasy begin during pregnancy as depression and anxiety increase, making it hard to move through life. For others, the traumatic birth leaves emotional scars that affect how you might think about yourself and the world. The reality is that perinatal mental health complications can arise at any point during pregnancy and up to two years after the baby is born. When you are not receiving the proper support, parenthood can be a lonely and distressing journey.
The transition is challenging for most humans
One in five individuals will experience a mental health complication such as postpartum depression after birth. Depending on the intersectional identities we carry, our risks might be higher. For example, some women of color experience risks as high as one in two.
Even when a significant complication is not present, the transition to parenting is rough. As you adjust to your child(ren) and your role as a parent, you may be wondering where your sense of being an individual went? In our society, it is still taboo to talk about the burdens of parenthood. When people find themselves resenting this new responsibility, not enjoying playing with the babies, or liking their bodies, it can lead to feelings of shame and guilt.
This might be the worst you've ever felt. The good news is that with the right help, you can be well.
Pregnancy and postpartum specific therapy can support your wellbeing
I offer specialized therapeutic services for pregnant and postpartum individuals and parents experiencing emotional distress. As a perinatal therapist, my approach involves using compassion to understand your journey. Every perinatal story is unique, and creating a space to process all aspects of your transition to parenthood is vital to developing a wellness plan.
In our sessions, we will address concerns, worries, and desires for the future. I like to begin with providing support with issues that might be affecting your daily life, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and scary thoughts. We will also explore your reproductive story to understand aspects that might have contributed to trauma, such as losses and traumatic birth experiences. My approach to counseling is based on an in-depth model that focuses on increasing awareness, reflection, and self-examination to understand unconscious patterns that affect your wellbeing. We do this through conversations that help you gain insight into your inner world and behaviors. Awareness allows you to make informed choices and practice strategies to contribute to your emotional and personal growth. Cognitive and mindful self-compassion techniques help you to recognize your inner critic and challenge unhelpful thinking patterns.
As an infant mental health therapist, we explore concerns you might be having related to bonding with your baby so that you can feel more connected. As complex beings, all aspects of your life are essential and interrelated.
You can receive support for:
Pregnancy & postpartum depression
Pregnancy & postpartum anxiety
Pregnancy & postpartum OCD
Traumatic birth experiences
Body image concerns
and for all the very normal identity and role changes that happen when individuals become parents.
Even if you feel disconnected from yourself right now, you can feel like yourself again with the help of a compassionate perinatal provider. You are not alone, you are not to blame and with help, you will get well.
You may still wonder if therapy is right for you
Does seeking a therapist mean I cannot do it on my own?
I face this question fairly often in my practice. I think the reality is that none of us were meant to do it alone. We have been sold a belief based on an oppressive system. The view is that we are supposed to fully carry multiple responsibilities with a cheerful face. The oppressive system says that to be a "good [fill in the blank]," you must give everything and always go above and beyond. Reaching for perinatal support is an act of rebellion and bravery.
What if my problems are not only related to pregnancy and postpartum?
As humans, we are complex beings. Very rarely do we face issues that are related to only one event. Through our work, we will explore the different aspects of your life that may have contributed to the way you are feeling now. In-depth counseling will help us look at the roots of your distress to alleviate symptoms and achieve personal growth.
What if I experienced a loss?
People who experience a loss are at an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety in the years following. As miscarriages are common within the medical field, the impact that they can have on a pregnant individual, and their partner’s mental health is overlooked. It is essential to know that individuals who’ve experienced miscarriage are at an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health complications.
For those parents who’ve experienced the loss of an infant, the pain of the moment is unbearable. It can seem as if nothing makes sense anymore. Over 24,000 children are stillborn each year in the U.S. If this tragedy has affected your life, you can obtain support here.
Perinatal wellness is possible
If you would like to explore a consultation to see if we are a good fit or want to learn more about my practice, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form on the contact page. I try to respond to all requests within 48-hours.
“I thought I was going to avoid [postpartum depression]. When I gave birth, the doctor told me about postpartum, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m doing good right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen.’ But out of nowhere, the world was heavy on my shoulders.”