Maternal Mental Health: Pregnancy, Postpartum, New moms
New moms, women currently pregnant, or considering pregnancy are in an interesting stage of life transition.
There are many ideas and expectations about what motherhood is and how it should be. For many, it is a time of excitement and new beginnings. But what happens when it isn’t?
What if you feel anxious, sad or confused? What if you don’t have it all figured out just yet or feel that you need a bit more support?
Whether you are currently a mother or anticipating becoming a mother in the future, know that you are not alone.
Anxiety during pregnancy or after giving birth is incredibly common. It’s possible that you have been experiencing symptoms of poor sleep, frequent worrying, trouble relaxing, and irritability.
Many women that have anxiety believe that they feel this way due to motherhood being a new experience. And certainly, for new moms there is much to learn and much to do.
There is a longstanding belief that new moms have a secret “instinct”and know how to do it all. This is simply not true and creates a great amount of stress and anxiety.
New moms tend to worry most about the safety of their child and if they are doing things correctly. Is the baby eating enough? Sleeping enough? Learning enough? Reaching milestones on time?
The worrying, checking, and obsessing over your new bundle of joy may feel normal at first. But, it can start to take a toll on you.
Furthermore, these feelings also intensify when being watched by family or others that judge your every move.
Anxiety can become overwhelming and make everyday tasks seem too much to handle. You may find yourself feeling on edge and helpless. You may even feel frustrated if you are used to being on top of things, very organized and put together.
Likewise, if you did not have anxiety before pregnancy, it may be difficult to understand where it is stemming from. First, you need to know that postpartum anxiety is a real thing. You are not imaging it. You are not failing at motherhood. And most importantly, there are options to help you feel better.
Many women, including new moms, are often screened for postpartum depression at their doctor’s office during their first postpartum checkup. This is because the baby blues is one of the most frequently seen complications of childbirth.
Symptoms such as feelings of sadness, loss of interest, change of energy or appetite, and feelings of guilt are reviewed. If it is the baby blues, the symptoms will only last for up to two weeks after giving birth.
This is not always a concern because your mind and body are still adjusting to the birthing process. There are many hormone changes and other changes that your doctor will look for.
But, many women will have symptoms that continue after the two weeks. Also, many women will experience moderate to severe symptoms that need immediate attention and support. This is most likely when seeking counseling and talking to your doctor will help.
New moms that know the signs of anxiety and depression are more likely to get well sooner as they will know when to get help.
Signs of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression
- frequent worrying and difficulty with relaxation
- change in energy levels
- change in sleeping and eating patterns
- tiredness and irritability
- loss of interest in doing things you once enjoyed
- frequently overwhelmed by small tasks
- feelings of sadness and crying
- trouble concentrating
- not feeling bonded to your baby
- feelings of guilt and helplessness
These are just a few of the symptoms to look for and is not an all inclusive list. Should you have any of these concerns, consider reaching out for counseling.
Counseling or talk therapy is very effective in treating these symptoms. Sometimes the help of medication is needed. For medication, you will need to discuss options with your primary care provider.
Therapy for New Moms: There is Hope
Maternal mental health involves caring for your mental health needs during pregnancy and postpartum. Millions of women suffer in silence hoping to feel better on their own. Talking with a mental health counselor and reaching out to your primary care provider will help you feel less alone. You will also receive proper treatment and care to overcome the difficulties you are experiencing.
Some of the goals new moms are interest in working on include:
- creating organization and balance in their lives
- improving time management
- managing mood and improving energy
- reducing anxiety and worrying
- increasing confidence and self-assuredness
- improving attachment and bonding with their baby
- increasing self-care and their relationships with others
To get started with therapy for new moms and manage maternal mental health:
- Call 845-305-5322
- Schedule online using the online scheduler
Taking care of yourself is an important step toward feeling better and staying well. The Counseling Perch Mental Health Counseling, P.C. offers therapy for new moms. If you or someone you know is looking for support, don’t hesitate to contact us.