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Maternal Mental Health & Postpartum
Therapy

Our new baby brings such joy. But why am I so sad? Why do I feel so alone? Why am I so worried?

Perinatal Period

New babies bring so much joy, but so often this period can also bring on anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, feelings of isolation, feelings of overwhelm and other foreign feelings. New babies are wonderful, but there is so much that comes up in the perinatal period, and so much of it is unpredictable. Maybe you envisioned a smooth fourth trimester, which is the first three months of baby's life, maybe you envisioned an easy transition into motherhood, maybe this isn't your first baby and now having multiples feels impossible to manage. There are so many factors that contribute to this time being extremely challenging and in many cases an important life stage to seek help. Perinatal mental health matters. 

You are not the only one.

Postpartum Mood Disorders are more common than you think. 

There are many risk factors contributing to perinatal mood disorders including postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. These include history of sensitivity to birth control, perinatal depression or anxiety, family and personal history of anxiety and depression, a traumatic birth experience, and lack of support. Additionally, your body alone is experiencing an abrupt changing in hormones after birth with a drop of estrogen and progesterone, which is considered a key factor of in the developement of postpartum depression. 

 

The normal adjustment period after birth is two to three weeks; beyond that time "baby blues" aren't necessarily just "blues" they are challenges that need  support.

 

Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior, Bipolar Mood Disorders, and Postpartum Psychosis can all affect new parents. No age, race, economic status or culture that can escape the potential impacts of a new baby and the stress and demands it causes for new caregivers and families.

 

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are symptoms that begin during pregnancy or any time up to 12 months after childbirth. Maternal mental health matters. Postpartum therapy can make a difference for you. 

There is hope.

Therapy is a place for healing. Therapy can help normalize your challenges, help you heal, and allow you to learn new tools to assist with the perinatal period and beyond. Therapy will help you heal from old wounds, that may be new again in this perinatal period, or help you heal from new wounds, such as a traumatic birth experience. Therapy will help you recognize your behaviors, and help you feel and see progress. Perinatal therapy, postpartum depression therapy, postpartum anxiety therapy, and postpartum treatment can help support your healing journey. Postpartum counseling can support you. 

But I don't know how to prioritize this.

It's one more thing to juggle in the day. Schedules are a consideration, but Shaina is available during nap times in order to help you focus on your own self-care, and attend therapy. You are important too, not just the wellbeing of your baby. There is no way to pour from an empty cup. 

Specialty Training

Psychotherapy 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a model that uses eye movements or right-left stimulation to activate the brain's information processing system to assist in reprocessing trauma and heal from distressing life experiences along with PTSD symptoms. EMDR is extensively researched and a proven effective method psychotherapy. For additional information about EMDR Therapy, please visit EMDRIA.org or EMDR.com.

Perinatal Mood Disorders & Mental Health
bilateral stimulation

For additional information about perinatal mood disorders, please visit Postpartum Support International at postpartum.net. Along with Shaina's Directory Listing for Postpartum Support International 

Postpartum therapy can help. Maternal Mental Health matters. Find a Perinatal Mental Health Therapist to support your healing journey today.

Postpartum Mood Disorders

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression accounts for approximately 15% of new parents after childbirth. Symptoms, include but are not limited to:

  • anger and irritability; moodiness and restlessness

  • sadness and crying; feelings of hopeless and overwhelm

  • sleep and appetite disturbance

  • feelings of guilt and shame

  • lack of interest in baby

  • loss of joy; feelings of double about your ability to care for your baby

  • thoughts of harming yourself and/or the baby

Postpartum depression therapy can support you in these symptoms.​ 

Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum Anxiety accounts for approximately 6-10% of new parents after childbirth. Symptoms, include but are not limited to:

  • constant worrying and restlessness

  • brain fog

  • feelings something is going to go wrong; feeling on edge

  • sleep and appetite disturbance; weight loss

  • racing thoughts 

  • dizziness, nausea, hot flashes; increased hear rate

  • lack of ability to sit still

  • instrusive and unwanted thoughts

Postpartum anxiety therapy can support you in these symptoms.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

9% of new parents experience Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms, include but are not limited to:

  • intrusive or re-experiencing a past-traumatic event or the recent childbirth

  • increased arousal 

  • flashbacks and nightmares

  • anxiety and panic attacks

​Postpartum trauma therapy can support you in these symptoms.

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

3-5% of new parents experience Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Symptoms, include but are not limited to:

  • intrusive thoughts (obsessions), potentially related to the baby

  • compulsions - or the need to repeat behaviors over and over again

  • horror around the obsessions

  • fear or hypervigilance being around baby

Postpartum obsessive-compulsive therapy can support you in these symptoms.

There are other risk factors that lead to challenges for maternal mental health

Do you have a history of anxiety prior to pregnancy or during pregnancy?

Do you have a family history of anxiety?

Are you sensitive to hormonal changes?

Do you suffer from endocrine dysfunction, resulting in a thyroid imbalance?

Have you previously suffered a pregnancy or infant loss?

Did you experience a traumatic birth/delivery?

Does your newborn have a difficult temperament or suffer form colic?

Did you have a difficult or high risk pregnancy?

Are you experiencing financial strain?

Are you lacking family and friends support?

If any of these are true, a postpartum therapist can make a big difference for you.

Evidence shows that individuals that have experienced trauma in their lifetime are at greater risk of mental health challenges during the perinatal period, including anxiety, depression, and substance usage. 

Motherhood may bring on challenges that result in difficulties in the regulation of emotion. Additionally, once exposed to trauma you are more likely to be re-traumatized and the preparation for parenthood alone can complicate and worsen anxiety along with post-traumatic stress symptoms.

 

Pregnancy can also bring unexpected medical interventions  and complications, which compound the mother's perceived experience. The birth itself can end up with complications, along with surprise visits to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Poor social support throughout pregnancy and labor can also contribute to mental health challenges.

Intergenerational trauma can also impact mental health during this period. There are many factors you may not be aware of, but there is a path to healing. Postpartum therapy can help. Maternal mental health matters.

Can medication help?

Yes, medication can help with symptoms of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and more. Postpartum counseling has proven to be effective​ in supporting women in the perinatal and postpartum period. However, if symptoms are not decreasing at the rate you are hoping them to, I encourage you to meet with a physician experienced in perinatal mental health, whether that be your OBGYN, primary care physician, or a psychiatrist to manage medication during this transitional period. 

 

I will happily collaborate with new or existing providers with your consent.

Shame and guilt take over, and keep you from advancing, seeking help and looking at yourself in the mirror. 

Don't let the power of shame take over you. Instead, take the shame out of being the perfect mom and caregiver. You are likely doing your best. Social media may portray perfection or encourage you to strive for perfectionism while you view a beautiful caregiver holding her sweet new baby. You are just as sweet. You are just as worthy. Don't let the shame prevent you from seeking help. You are worthy of postpartum counseling. You don't have to feel alone. 

“Shame - I am bad. The focus is on self, not behavior. The result is feeling flawed and unworthy of love, belonging, and connection. Shame is not a driver of positive change.
 
You get back a quiz and your grade is F. Your self-talk is I'm so stupid."

Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart

Researcher

Why can I not admit that I need help?

I get it. You're in it. You're doing your best. And you absolutely are. But Postpartum Anxiety and Postpartum Depression aren't "normal" adjustments to motherhood. They are medical conditions - not us just failing. Although "falling apart", is still a reason to seek therapy. 

 

You aren't just complaining. You shouldn't be able to do it all. It's impossible. And you didn't do anything to cause this. There are a variety of biological, social, and psychological factors that play into these challenges. 

It's also impossible to self-diagnose as some mothers have insomnia in these situations, others sleep all the time, some bond with their babies while others feel distant, some are sad, others are irritable. And note, if these feelings last two-three weeks past baby's arrival, it's not just "baby blues" - and you aren't just adjusting. There is a reason for postpartum depression therapy and postpartum anxiety therapy.

 

If you feel symptoms of postpartum mood disorders, please reach out. The sooner you get help, the sooner you and baby will be feeling the positive impact. A postpartum therapist can assist with the interventions you need. You don't have to be in this alone. Postpartum depression therapy and postpartum anxiety therapy are just two aspects to perinatal therapy and maternal mental health. Help is available. A postpartum counselor can make a positive impact on your healing. 

Will this feeling pass on its own?

Maybe, but postpartum therapy will get you there faster and will not just help you out of this challenging stage but will support you healing from it along the way. You will acquire new skills in session that will not only help you in the challenging perinatal period but will help you beyond that period as well for future challenges. 

Shaina knows the importance of mental health during this life transition

Shaina is a mom of 2; she knows what it is like to be immersed in this life stage. She knows it's not easy. She is a perinatal mental health therapist. She cares about maternal mental health. She is here to help.

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