What is little known or discussed in our culture is that a sizable percentage of women, approximately 20%, experience significant emotional difficulties both during pregnancy and following childbirth in the postpartum window.
New parents are often surprised by the emotional challenges that come along with the adjustment to parenthood and don’t anticipate the emotional impact of the hormonal and chemical changes that occur in a woman’s body both before and after childbirth. These emotional challenges during the postpartum time period fall on a continuum and range from what are described as the “baby blues” to mental health concerns that are more severe and need professional treatment.
Am I experiencing a perinatal mood/anxiety disorder (PMAD)?
- Are you feeling sad or depressed?
- Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
- Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
- Do you feel anxious or panicky?
- Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
- Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
- Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
- Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
- Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?
If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, there is a reasonable chance you are struggling with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. While this may be a difficult or frightening time, be encouraged that identifying that is what is happening for you is a very positive first step.
When should I seek help?
If you are struggling with the transition to parenthood or with any of the difficulties listed above, there is no need to suffer alone. With the support from family and friends as well as a trained perinatal mental health therapist, you can find your way back to joy and confidence in your parenting journey. The sooner you reach out for support, the sooner you will be on your way to relief.
What about my partner?
Partners are critical and central to the transition to parenthood. Their support to the new mother is significant in the emotional well-being of mother and baby. Partners are also vulnerable to the emotional challenges that come with this huge adjustment and they need support as well. At Cherry Hill we work to include partners in the therapy process, to support the new mother and her partner, but to support the health of the relationship as well.
While perinatal mood disorders can be overwhelming and even frightening for both the pregnant/new moms involved and for their loved ones, the good news is that these concerns are highly treatable with very successful outcomes. Family and social support combined with mental health care and, sometimes, medication create a potent and holistic approach to healing that can yield fantastic results. What is most important is that women are activated to take that first step towards healing by asking for help. Give us a call!
Related Therapist Profiles
The following therapists specialize in Perinatal Mental Health
Michelle Schaefer, MA, LCPC, PMHC
Michelle Schaefer, LCPC, has experience working with adults, couples, teens, and families. Michelle has an advanced certification in Perinatal Mental Health and specialized training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for individuals, couples, and families. Michelle strives to create a secure client-therapist alliance in order to support people as they navigate life challenges and heal relationships.
Liz Lattof, MA, LCPC, CCATP
As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Cherry Hill Liz works with a wide variety of clients, children, adolescents, families, and adults. She has additional training in play therapy and groups. She enjoys helping people with anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues, and other challenges and transitions.
Jennifer Flanagan, MA, LPC
Jennifer has a masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University. She has a passion for helping people see their strengths and potential. She believes this is accomplished through authentic relationships and support for and collaboration with others.
Katy Robb, MSW, LCSW
Katy Robb is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received her master’s degree in social work from the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan. She has over a decade of training and experience treating individuals across the lifespan in community-based services, college counseling, and private practice. Katy has been recognized for her work building a community college mental health center.
Kimari Collier, MSW
Kimari earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Georgia. Through the beginning of her career she has worked in a variety of clinical settings, from supporting children in the foster care system, to providing treatment resources for military veterans. Kimari is thrilled to be on this new journey to treat more diverse populations in private practice.