Prenatal and Post-partum Counselling
Get Relief from Perinatal Mental Health Issues
If you look through the racks of greeting cards for new mothers, you’re not likely to find one that reads, “Are you ok?” Although people focus on the wonder, love, and life-changing joy of becoming a parent, few of them talk about how difficult the transition can be.
But pregnancy and childbirth aren’t all beautiful Instagram moments. Like any huge change, having a baby can stir up unexpected feelings. The physical demands and hormonal changes of pregnancy can lead to painful mental health problems. Women are often surprised by the raw emotions they experience during this time, but they’re not alone. Perinatal mental health is a struggle for more women than you might expect.
You don’t have to go through this on your own. Prenatal counselling can help you deal with emotional issues and support you as you prepare for what’s to come. If you’ve already given birth, postpartum counselling can guide you as you recover and learn how you want to parent your child.
For many new mothers, this is their first experience with an important truth: you deserve to get all the support you need. Therapy will help you be the parent you want to be and enable you to enjoy this journey.
Why do some new mothers struggle with mental health?
Most women experience some mood changes during and after pregnancy. These are usually mild and resolve on their own. But as many as 20% of women have significant problems with depression and anxiety. Women from all walks of life experience these issues. They can occur regardless of how old the women are, their income levels, culture, or how much education they have. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, maternal mental health problems are generally not caused by a single factor, but by a combination of genetics and environment. Here are some of the problems that can contribute.
Life stress is a common issue in many new mothers’ lives. Relationship problems, work pressures, financial worries, and even a lack of sleep can all increase pressure on parents. Some women go through significant health issues with pregnancy, and they start out parenting in an emotionally depleted state.
Many people struggle with high expectations about the “right” way to parent, which sets them up to feel like they’re failing their child. On top of that, partners may have different assumptions about parenting roles. These can all impact mothers’ confidence and self-esteem.
You may find yourself grappling with problems you thought were in the past. Pregnancy and parenthood can bring up old struggles from childhood or body issues. Intense grief from previous pregnancy loss may return unexpectedly.
People with a history of depression or anxiety are at greater risk of prenatal or postpartum mental health issues. The hormonal changes during and after pregnancy can also impact mental health.
Some Perinatal Mental Health Symptoms to Watch For
This can take the form of feeling weepy or sad, but it can also present as irritability, anger, or trouble concentrating. Some women experience a lack of interest in their baby, hopelessness, or thoughts of harming themselves or their baby.
A common symptom of anxiety is excessive fear about your baby’s health and safety. Some moms have panic attacks or trouble sleeping because of worry. Logic and sensible information about these risks doesn’t reduce these fears.
People sometimes experience upsetting thoughts that they can’t control. These thoughts can cause them to perform repetitive actions or rituals to reduce the anxiety they create. Even though most women are able to resist acting on dangerous impulses, they can significantly impact their quality of life.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderTraumatic childbirth or difficult experiences in the past can trigger PTSD. Women may have flashbacks to the trauma and a state of heightened vigilance and anxiety.
Bipolar Mood Disorder
Women with BMD are often diagnosed with it during pregnancy or after birth. This condition may be triggered by hormonal changes and stress. It can cause severe depression or mania. A mental health professional can help patients with effective treatment.
Postpartum PsychosisAlthough it’s rare, women occasionally experience hallucinations after giving birth. They may be confused, paranoid, and have memory loss. This is a severe condition and requires immediate intervention.
Therapy Can Help
If you’re struggling with pregnancy or new motherhood, your problems don’t have to be severe to warrant therapy. A therapist can help you feel better now and even ward off problems in the future.
Simply talking through worries can help you prepare for the challenges ahead. Your therapist can help you come up with a plan to ensure you get the support you need, which can prevent unnecessary suffering and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Mental health problems don’t have to overshadow the joy of new motherhood. If you would like to explore prenatal or postpartum counselling, Trillium Counselling is here to support you.
Therapy can also help you navigate unreasonable expectations that cause stress, whether these expectations come from other people in your life or yourself. It can prepare you to set boundaries with friends and family, a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life as a parent and beyond.
A therapist that specializes in perinatal mental health can also screen you for depression and anxiety. Many difficult feelings during this time are dismissed and chalked up to pregnancy mood swings. However, when depression and anxiety go untreated, they raise the risk of preterm birth and difficulty interacting with your new baby