Maternal Mental Health
- Has pregnancy left you physically and emotionally exhausted?
- Are you overwhelmed with sadness, anger or stuck in a cycle of worry and relentless scary thoughts instead of enjoying this new phase in your life?
- Do you feel as if you’ve lost yourself and worry that this is what motherhood is going to be like from now on?
- Have you experienced the loss of a pregnancy or baby?
- Are you in the midst of a fertility journey and overwhelmed by feelings of hope, sadness, shame and blame?
- Do you feel disconnected from your partner and struggle to communicate around the challenges and life changes you are experiencing?
Whatever you are experiencing, you are not alone. Pregnancy and postpartum periods can be particularly vulnerable times for your mental health. Inner Courage Counseling supports women and couples from preconception, during pregnancy, throughout the postpartum period and the ongoing parenting journey.
PERINATAL MOOD AND ANXIETY DISORDERS
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are common, treatable and temporary. PMADs can cover a range of pregnancy and postpartum related conditions. Postpartum depression is the #1 most common complication of child birth and impact 1 in 5 women. Here are some examples of symptoms which can range from mild to severe:
- Depression—sadness, guilt, poor appetite, persistent gloom, isolation, loss of pleasure, anger and hopelessness.
- Anxiety—agitation, constant worry, racing thoughts, sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, and excessive concern over the baby.
- Bipolar Disorder—lack of need for sleep, racing thoughts, pressured speech, excessive energy, irritability and mood swings.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder —intrusive and repetitive thoughts, shame, guilt, hypervigilance, and fear of harm to the baby.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a traumatic birth experience or NICU stay —re-experiencing distressing events, recurrent nightmares, isolation and avoidance of triggers, feeling disappointed and resentful, and distorted sense of blame around the events.
- Postpartum Psychosis—hearing and seeing things others can’t and periods of confusion, memory loss and mania. Please seek immediate medical attention if any of these symptoms if any of these symptoms are present.
MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH AND INFANT LOSS
The loss of a child at any age can be absolutely devastating. Miscarriages are one of the most common experiences, yet are often the least talked about. It is common to feel overwhelming sadness, inappropriate guilt, anger, disbelief and numbness. You might also notice that your partner/spouse has a different approach to grief leaving you feeling alone, resentful and struggling to cope with additional conflict in the relationship.
You are not alone in your pain. We understand this unique loss and will create a safe, non-judgmental space where you can process your feelings, reconnect with your partner and heal in your own timeframe.
While the decision to have a baby can often be an easy one, the physical journey to conceive and carry a baby to term is not always the same. The emotional pain that women experience when facing fertility issues can be severe and traumatic due to the difficult cycle of hope, despair and shame.
Seeking support during this time can be helpful if you are feeling disconnected from your spouse, find your fertility journey is taking over your life, or if you are unclear which options to expand your family are best for you.
TRANSITION TO MOTHERHOOD
Having a baby is the most wonderful and challenging time in a mother’s life. Though it may appear to be a natural transition, no one is born knowing how to be a mother. Your body has undergone changes with lasting physical and emotional effects. It’s a lot to adjust to, and it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. When you are sleep deprived, haven’t had time to shower, or haven’t had any quiet time to yourself, you naturally won’t feel your best. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little extra help.
Therapy support can help you cope with your new physical changes, redefine yourself within the context of the added motherhood role, maintain connection with your spouse/partner, find a balance between your career and personal life, and develop a strong and healthy attachment with your baby. Learning how to be a mom is a process, and you are the best mom for your child.
SUPPORT FOR DADS/PARTNERS
Although seldom talked about, 1 in 10 men/partners experiences paternal postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of a child. It can be difficult to support the mother of your child and process your own feelings about this journey at the same time. Sleep deprivation, feeling burdened with financial responsibilities, loneliness, and missing the sexual intimacy and relationship with your spouse are frequent issues that arise.
Support is available to help you process these experiences and develop healthy ways to connect with your spouse/partner, bond with your baby and redefine your new roles and life expectations.
A plan for support will be tailored to fit your personal needs and directed to help you:
- Restore your sense of self
- Reduce any shame and guilt for your experiences
- Improve your ability to process your feelings, define your needs and ask for help
- Feel empowered to make decisions that feel best for you and your family
- Learn coping strategies around anxious thought patterns
- Give yourself permission to engage in self-care
- Build healthy attachments with your baby and spouse/partner
- Feel supported and understood in your complex emotions
- Feel hopeful about the future