Many women approach motherhood with very high expectations of themselves, and of what being a mom should look and feel like. The focus is on the joys and excitement of having a baby, and women often believe that they should feel happy and know exactly what to do when the new baby arrives. But it’s impossible to predict how having a baby will change your life, your relationships, and how you feel about yourself.

If you find yourself struggling or overwhelmed by worry and emotional pain in the early months and years of this important new stage of your life, it can be very difficult to let anyone know how you really feel.

New parents are often surprised to learn that postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are considered the most common complication of giving birth, and can involve problems with the following:

  • Anxiety, panic or constant worry
  • Anger
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Fear of being alone with your baby
  • Fears that make it difficult to leave the house
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Persistent sadness
  • Intrusive, upsetting thoughts about the baby
  • Feelings of regret, guilt, inadequacy
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty feeling connected to your baby
  • Isolating from family, friends, partner

These are just some of the things that expectant and new moms who are coping with depression and anxiety commonly experience, and everyone’s experience is unique. No new mom causes these conditions which are believed to be tied to social, emotional and biological factors (including hormonal and physical changes, lack of social support, history of mental health concerns , past trauma/abuse, birth trauma, and history of miscarriage/pregnancy loss, distressed relationships).

Getting Help for Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety

It’s important to know that you are not alone in what you’re going through, and that these issues are very treatable. Psychotherapy can help you find your way back to feeling more like yourself, able to meet the challenges and enjoy the pleasures of being a mom.

So many things can affect your transition to becoming a mom. Issues that are commonly addressed include:

  • Assessment and treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD,  and Panic)
  • Assessment and treatment of trauma/PTSD (postpartum PTSD)
  • Developing a preventive self care plan for pregnancy and postpartum
  • Processing your birth story
  • Traumatic birth experiences
  • Returning to work
  • Changes in how you feel about yourself and your identity
  • Early childhood experiences, including issues related to any history of trauma or abuse
  • Relationships with your own parents
  • Strengthening your relationship with your spouse/partner
  • Skill building to manage moods and reduce symptoms

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are treatable. Opening up a conversation about how you're feeling can be difficult, but remaining silent or trying keep up the appearance that everything is okay usually just prolongs the problem. The sooner you get help, the more quickly you'll find relief and get back to feeling more like yourself. If you'd like to learn more about how I can help, please contact me for a free phone consultation at (626) 808-5463 or hollyaevansmft@gmail.com