Postpartum Counseling

Has That Little Bundle Of Joy Become a Big Bundle Of Worries?

Are you a new mother (or a second/third-time mom) who has given birth within the last year? Have you been struggling to manage life’s demands on top of caring for a new baby? Has the transition into motherhood been more stressful and overwhelming than you anticipated?

You may have a difficult time emotionally and mentally as you navigate life with an infant. It’s likely that you’re exhausted due to lack of sleep, causing you to feel as though you are losing your sense of self and capacity for resilience. As a result, you may feel isolated from those around you—including your partner—as you try to manage this life-altering transition. 

It could be that you’re experiencing distressing symptoms, such as panic and intrusive thoughts about your baby. Maybe you feel the need to obsessively check on your child to ensure that they are safe and healthy. Or you may have developed symptoms of clinical postpartum depression that may include feeling burdened by everything or experiencing chronic sadness and guilt.

Perhaps you are feeling more anxious than sad and have developed symptoms of clinical postpartum anxiety, which include feeling constant and extreme worry along with frequent distress that feels urgent. And while these conditions are incredibly common in postpartum women, you may feel ashamed to seek help and discuss your experience. 

Perhaps you’re finding that motherhood is much more difficult and emotionally strenuous than you initially thought. You may be concerned that you’re not doing things the “right” way and if you could just get more sleep or more time to yourself, this would all feel so much more manageable. Yet, motherhood does not afford you the time for self-care and relaxation needed to help you to reset. 

And while you may not be able to put a pause on your baby’s needs, it is possible to find healing and perspective throughout this process. Individual postpartum counseling provides you with the emotional support of a therapist and postpartum support groups give you the chance to make connections with other mothers who are experiencing the same worries and fears. 

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Motherhood Is A 24/7 Commitment

No one ever said parenting is easy. Between the demands of a new baby, work, domestic

responsibilities, and keeping up with our relationships, the transition into motherhood is incredibly

difficult. 

 

In fact, according to the organization Postpartum Support International, one in five women experience

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), and 90 percent of new parents report having

intrusivethoughts about their baby being harmed.[1] The latter occurrence makes sense on a

biological level because new parents’ protective responses are heightened after the birth of a baby.

Nevertheless, this phenomenon and other perinatal mental health conditions are often stigmatized,

despite being extremely common. 

Moreover, external factors shape our responses to parenthood as new mothers. Once a baby is born, reinforced gender roles and dynamics pigeonhole us into the role of motherhood without allowing much room for self-exploration. In addition, social media often conveys the highlights and elations of having a baby without presenting the full story of the emotional and mental toll it takes on us to adjust to life with an infant who is entirely dependent on us for every aspect of their well-being. 

The truth is that during the prenatal and postpartum periods, women undergo the most dramatic hormonal and chemical shift that will ever take place in their lives. Managing these changes, along with caring for an infant, subjects them to a higher likelihood of symptoms related to depression and anxiety. And when sleep is hindered, the ability to optimally function and effectively cope can feel entirely out of reach.

Therapists offering postpartum support, however, have a wealth of knowledge and resources. Individual counseling provides mothers with infants a chance to carve out time that belongs to them each week while offering practical tips and solutions for managing stress and the wide range of emotions that accompany the postpartum period. 

 

[1]  https://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/pregnancy-postpartum-mental-health/

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Individual Postpartum Counseling Or Postpartum Support Groups Can Make You Feel Less Alone And More Capable In Your Journey

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Women tend to wear a “mask of motherhood” that obscures their true feelings of frustration and fear. I provide a judgment-free space that gives clients an opportunity to become vulnerable in opening up about the genuine hardships and anxieties they’re experiencing as mothers. I believe postpartum counseling can help pave the way for clarity and relief. 

I treat each client as an individual with their own story. By tailoring treatment to meet the needs of each mother, I can give you the tools to adapt to your life’s unique circumstances. Not only that, but we will work together in identifying your strengths, both as a mother and an individual, so that you can feel confident in facing a future of child-rearing and juggling responsibilities. 

After a brief consultation and intake, we will begin the process of individual postpartum counseling by identifying your symptoms, fears, and goals for therapy. From there, I will provide you with psychoeducation about the physical and emotional experiences you are having during this life-altering transition. I find that educating mothers about such conditions as PMADs, postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, and normative emotions and feelings helps them to feel less alienated by their experiences. 

When participating in individual counseling, we will also explore the possible barriers keeping you from developing effective coping mechanisms. By digging deep and peeling back the layers of your emotions, we will be able to determine where you developed beneficial coping strategies and where your strategies may have become maladaptive along the way. While we will primarily focus on your current worries and experiences, understanding how you were parented can shed valuable insight into the areas where you’re experiencing obstacles as a mother.  

Throughout the course of counseling, you will better understand and feel validated in your experience of the postpartum timeline while also fostering a toolbox for effective stress management strategies. I will empower you to find areas of your life where you might be able to alleviate distress and take advantage of a meaningful opportunity to communicate your needs so that your relationships can feel strong and supportive. In maintaining a thorough understanding of the relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you will once and for all know how to quiet those anxieties and intrusive thoughts that are keeping you from having the parenting experience you seek. 

What you’re experiencing is normal! You are not alone and virtually every mother has undergone this challenging transition despite how composed she may have appeared on the surface. Individual postpartum counseling can provide you with a safe and supportive space to sort out the adjustment to motherhood and help you feel validated, healed, and better equipped to handle the ups and downs of motherhood. 

In addition to individual postpartum counseling, I offer ongoing support groups for mothers with infants who share similar challenges. Over the span of eight weekly sessions, we will cover some of the common misconceptions and themes of new motherhood to help you feel less isolated and more supported in your transition. Postpartum counseling in a group setting brings about a feeling of comradery that can be hugely beneficial to mothers with infants. 

Maybe you’re considering postpartum counseling, but you have some concerns…

I have a lot of great things in my life—
especially my new baby. I feel guilty for having a hard time.
 

What you’re feeling matters. And whatever you’re feeling—both good and bad—is important to explore. Motherhood is a huge transition and brings about dueling emotions, spanning from overwhelming joy to overwhelming exhaustion. You may feel a sense of peace while being terribly concerned that something will happen to your baby. It can be disorienting but admitting that you’re struggling does not mean you’re ungrateful; it means you need a little extra support. We can explore your emotions together and get a sense of what is interfering with your healing. 

I am so overwhelmed; I can’t imagine making time in my schedule for postpartum therapy. 

Of course, it is extremely difficult to find the time to make a commitment to therapy, and it may even feel unnatural as a new mother to find time for yourself at all. However, I am here to remind you that postpartum counseling is one of the greatest investments of your time; it will not only provide you with relief but also help your new baby and family. I will do my best to accommodate your schedule in order to fit a session in, and it is my hope that having the option to meet virtually will remove some of the logistical barriers (i.e., driving and making childcare arrangements) that often come with therapy. 

Reach Out Today So You Can Embrace Motherhood With Confidence and Joy

Whether you are a first time mom or you just had your third child, if you’re a mother of an infant and in need of emotional support during your transition, postpartum therapy can help. To schedule a free, 15-minute consultation or to find out more, email me today. 

Mother and Baby on Floor doing tummy time looking at each other
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Lindsay Harris, LCSW

Lindsaykeycounseling@gmail.com