I'm pleased to share that I will now be offering a postpartum support group for mothers via egg donation! I will be co-facilitating the group with my colleague, Jackie Biello, LPC, at my Chatham office. Please contact me for more info about joining the group.
Photo by Tim Gouw
If you are someone who has always been committed to exercising regularly, then pregnancy probably hasn't slowed you down much. You know how vital exercise is to your well-being. So I’m sure that during your pregnancy you were already planning your postpartum return to exercise. Like many parts of motherhood, returning to exercise after having a baby can throw you some curveballs. It will take some planning and adjusting of your expectations.
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Talking to your kids about mental health struggles is not something that comes naturally for most parents. You may wonder how much information should you share? What is the right age to talk about this? What can young children even understand about depression or anxiety?
When you're struggling with infertility, there are so many things that you don't want to face - pregnancy announcements, congratulating people on their pregnancy, baby showers, basically anything that relates to still not being pregnant. And there are often occasions where people don't realize that their innocent questions or well- meaning comments are actually painful to bear.
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Does self-care sound like a really amazing idea but you never seem to be able to get to it? You’re way too busy doing what you need to do for work, getting those annoying but necessary things done like laundry and making dinner, and then trying to squeeze some time in for the important people in your life.
You’re constantly doing things All. Day. Long. Where is self-care possibly supposed to fit in anyway?
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You’re probably familiar with postpartum depression and know a little about it. Maybe you even know someone who’s battled postpartum depression. But what about postpartum anxiety?
I was talking to a friend recently about her infertility struggles and the idea of counseling came up. She responded, "I didn't know counseling for infertility was a thing. I’m sure that would've helped me a lot."
I think my friend's sentiments are probably true for a lot of people going through infertility. There is so much that you are concerned with while you're going through fertility treatments - focusing on getting pregnant, managing shots, making your appointments - just to name a few. And you're juggling all of this on top of your typical daily schedule.
There are so many misconceptions when it comes to postpartum depression. And one of the things that is rarely talked about is that anger is a symptom of postpartum depression.
Many women describe it as intense anger or rage. This can be anger like you’ve never experienced before. Oftentimes, mothers feel scared by it because it feels so out of character for them.
Unless you’ve been through it yourself, it’s tough to understand what someone you care about is going through when it comes to infertility treatments. For starters, there’s the overhwhelming medical aspect of the process - a whole new dictionary of medical terms to be learned, as well as understanding treatments and what you have to do. There will be a lot of decisions to consider, sometimes very difficult choices that you would never have to consider otherwise. Then there’s the lack of privacy that comes with family or friends wanting to know how things are going, but you’re just not ready to talk about it. Or you simply may not care to reveal the intimate details of your and your partner’s sex organs.
If there's one thing all parents can agree on, it would have to be the degree of tired you never knew existed until you had a baby. For any parent of a newborn, sleep is something we're incredibly aware of and always chasing.
Laura Winters, LCSW is a therapist specializing in infertility and prenatal/postpartum stress. Laura's practice is located in Chatham and Mountain Lakes, NJ.