Are you struggling with your emotions after giving birth?
Does it feel like you've lost control of your feelings and your life altogether after giving birth?
The Postpartum Period
The time after your baby arrives is supposed to be all about happiness and snuggles, right? A time of bonding and “falling even more in love every day” with your baby? Well, not always. In fact, those images we and others have created can even be hurtful. Especially, when things are more difficult to navigate than anticipated during postpartum time.
Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life, right? You’re supposed to soak up all the baby snuggles, sleep when baby sleeps, and bond with your baby and your partner. But, the reality is, bringing home a baby is hard. No matter how hard you try to prepare for your little one’s arrival, having a newborn is overwhelming and exhausting.
Perhaps, you’re simply so sleep deprived from the night wakings and feedings that you can’t see or think straight. Maybe, you’re constantly worried about your baby’s wellbeing; wondering if they’re eating enough, sleeping enough, and growing as they’re supposed to. Or, maybe, you miss the freedom you used to have and the ability to do things on your schedule.
And on top of it all, you may find yourself resenting your partner, even though you really don’t mean to. These tough emotions may cause your mental health to suffer and fill you with self-doubt about your abilities as a parent.
Postpartum Concerns Are Normal
You may be wondering if you’re just having a tough time adjusting to motherhood, or if you’re experiencing postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression. Maybe the medical team at the hospital warned you about the post-baby blues that many women experience when they bring home a newborn, and you’re wondering, is this what I am experiencing?
Perinatal Mood Disorders
Most new moms go through a period of post-baby blues right after delivering their babies. This is a time when your hormones are raging and going through extreme changes. When this happens, you may experience mood swings, crying spells (often for no reason), anxiety, and trouble sleeping even when you’re very tired.
However, these symptoms typically resolve themselves, and your moods stabilize around 2-3 weeks postpartum. If you notice they haven’t and you’re still struggling with extreme emotional responses, then you may have a postpartum mood and anxiety disorder. Postpartum mood disorders like postpartum anxiety, depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) last much longer. Furthermore, they can develop anytime in the first two years after giving birth. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of postpartum anxiety, depression, and OCD below.
Symptoms of Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMADS)
Symptoms of postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
- Obsessions or intrusive and unwanted thoughts
- Distressing repetitive thoughts or mental images related to your baby (usually something terrible happening to your child). Most moms know these thoughts and images are unlikely to ever happen because they would never act upon them.
- Compulsions or doing something over and over again to reduce fears and obsessions (cleaning, checking on baby, etc.)
- Horror or embarrassment over distressing thoughts
- Fear of being left alone with your baby
- Hypervigilance about the health and safety of your baby
Symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD):
- Changes in appetite
- Irritability and intense mood swings
- Fear or rage
- Unexplained crying or tearfulness
- Lack of concentration
- Difficulty bonding with baby
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Symptoms of postpartum anxiety:
- Constant worry (frequently about your baby’s health and wellbeing)
- Feelings of dread
- Racing or uncontrollable thoughts
- Scary or unwanted thoughts
- Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Changes in appetite
- Physical symptoms including nausea, hot flashes, sweating, racing heart, chest pain, rapid breathing
Postpartum Therapy Can Help Parents
First, know you’re not alone. Many, if not most, women experience mental health struggles after bringing home a baby. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or your ability to bond with your newborn. Raising a newborn is one of the most challenging times of your life.
You may be worried that you’re a bad mom for experiencing these struggles or having these thoughts. Maybe you wonder if this means that you don’t love your baby enough, but that’s simply not true. In fact, research shows that postpartum mood disorders are very common. According to Postpartum Support International 15-20% of women experience a postpartum mood disorder.
Furthermore, women are not alone in experiencing these mental health struggles. Men can get postpartum anxiety and depression too. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 2-20% of men experience depression after the birth of a child. This number increases to around 60% if the mother experiences a postpartum mood disorder.
Our Approach to Postpartum Therapy
The good news is that help is available. Seeing a therapist and getting postpartum support is critical to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. Our Los Angeles and New York City-based counseling clinic has therapists who are trained to provide mothers (and fathers) with postpartum support. Please see Angela, Catherine, Jennifer Gold, Chao, and Joanna, who are available and ready to support you.
We understand how challenging this time can be for many adults. So, we want to help you thrive as you transition into your new role as a parent. Further, we believe that working with a therapist is the best thing you can do for both you and your baby. Postpartum therapy will give you the tools to cope with the symptoms you’re experiencing so you can be the best parent for your child.
Our approach to providing you postpartum support and counseling varies. We will work to understand your unique needs and concerns, then come up with a treatment plan that’s tailored to meet your unique needs. Then, we will work with you to help you reach your goals for counseling, motherhood, and life in general.
Begin Postpartum Therapy in Los Angeles, CA or New York City, NY
The period of time after birth is incredibly challenging. And, our therapists know that and want to help at our Los Angeles and New York City-based counseling center. If you’re ready to take the first steps toward getting the support you deserve, follow the steps below.
- Use the prompt below or our contact form to request an appointment.
- Start counseling sessions with a postpartum therapist.
- Feel more connected to yourself, your partner, and your child.
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