Prenatal & Postpartum Counseling
Becoming a mother is truly a life-changing experience. From the moment you learn of your pregnancy, you start to think about life differently. You imagine the birth, who your child will be, what kind of mother you will be - the list is endless.
Despite reading all the latest baby books, sometimes reality is nothing like the joyful story you were counting on. The fantasy of cuddling with a sleepy newborn has been replaced with pacing the hallway with a screaming baby at 3 am. You are completely overwhelmed and wondering if you are cut out for this motherhood gig. You may even believe that you are not a good mother and have made a terrible mistake.
If you are feeling a significant amount of stress or are unsure if what you are experiencing is typical of pregnancy or motherhood, read below and see if any of the signs of prenatal or postpartum depression/anxiety apply to you.
What is Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Prenatal Depression?
Postpartum Depression is a term that is often used to encompass depression and/or anxiety which occur up to a year after childbirth. 1 in 7 mothers experience Postpartum Depression. PPD is temporary and treatable with professional help. It can happen to any woman, even mothers who have other children and did not experience PPD previously. You will feel better again with proper treatment. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will be feeling better, and the easier recovery will be.
Prenatal Depression occurs during pregnancy, and the symptoms are the same as postpartum depression. About 50% of postpartum depression starts during pregnancy, which highlights the need for early intervention.
Signs of PPD can include:
- Frequent crying
- Mood swings, irritability, anger
- Feeling exhausted
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety, panic
- Appetite change, weight loss/gain
- Feeling inadequate, shame, or guilt
- Feeling hopeless
- Fear of being alone
- Scary thoughts about the baby or yourself
What About Prenatal or Postpartum Anxiety?
Some wome experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, while others experience mostly anxiety. Prenatal or postpartum anxiety can present in different ways, such as:
- Constant worry
- Panic attacks
- Fear of leaving your home with the baby
- Fear of leaving the baby in someone else's care
- Scary, repetitive thoughts about harm coming to the baby or yourself
- Physical symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, increased heart rate
- Feeling like you can't turn your mind off
- Trouble sleeping
Why does PPD occur?
There is no single cause for PPD. It is a combination of hormonal, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It is not fully understood why some women experience PPD and others do not.
What is true is that you did not cause it, and it did not happen because you are not a good mother.
What You Can Do
If you do not like how you have been feeling, ask for help. As mothers, we tend to put our own needs aside and minimize the extent of our feelings. But ignoring the problem will not make it go away. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you will be feeling better.
Call us today to schedule an appointment or phone consultation.
You are not alone in what you are experiencing and it is not your fault.
It takes a village to raise a child. I love the meaning behind this saying. And in our busy lives, I firmly believe that moms need a village too. With support, your needs can be taken care of, rather than being moved to the bottom of the list.
I'm happy to be part of a village of support professionals who will help you feel more confident and less stressed. Postpartum Place is located in Chatham, offering breastfeeding support, moms' groups, and classes. Whole Mother Village is a network of various local support professionals assisting you through pregnancy and postpartum. Visit their sites and start building your village today!
We are here to help
Ready to make an appointment? Have questions? Give us a call or click below to schedule an appointment in either our Chatham or Mountain Lakes offices