The baby is here and everyone is so excited. Except that you can’t seem to find the joy you thought you would have. You know you should be enjoying your new baby but instead you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and depressed. You are wondering what could be wrong with you. Nothing about being a mother seems as it should. You know you should be enjoying your baby but you can’t seem to engage. You can’t seem to snap out of it, there simply isn’t the energy.
If you are experiencing post-partum depression you may:
- have difficulty sleeping or want to sleep too much
- feel like crying and be sad much of the time
- be irritable and moody
- have difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- lack of energy and feel exhausted
- feel disconnected from your baby
- feel guilty or inadequate as a mother
- have trouble bonding with and relating to your baby
Or, if you are like some mothers, you may experience a lot of anxiety. You may be constantly afraid that something terrible will happen to your baby.
You may feel you can’t relax even when your baby is fine or you are tormented with some of the following:
- excessively worrying that your baby will get sick
- constantly checking to see if your baby is safe
- thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby that you can’t seem to stop
You may also feel guilty for having some of these and fear that you are a bad mother. You know that what you imagine are things you would never do, and yet, you still have trouble controlling the thoughts.
If you have these kinds of thoughts, you may feel alone with them. You may fear telling anyone because you are terrified of what they may think or do. You feel ashamed.
This leaves you feeling very alone as if there is no one you can talk to.
The big secret that no one talks about: Feelings of both anxiety and depression are common after childbirth.
Most mothers (up to 80%) experience some emotional sensitivity (also known as the “baby blues.”) in the 1st week after childbirth. These feelings usually go away on their own within 24 to 72 hours in the majority of new mothers.
However, if you experience depression or any of the above symptoms for longer than 2 weeks within the 1st year of childbirth, you may be experiencing some form of postpartum depression or anxiety. If this sounds like you, the important thing to know is that counseling or therapy can help you resolve post-partum depression. Research shows that early identification and treatment is vital for you and your baby.
Studies show that babies whose mothers have untreated maternal depression and anxiety that last longer than six months may:
- tend to be irritable and are difficult to console
- smile less and are less engaged socially
- are at risk for not bonding as strongly with their mothers
- have cognitive delays and later learning difficulties
- have delays in language development
- exhibit behavioral problems from preschool to high school
The good news is that with counseling or therapy more than 80% percent of women with postpartum depression and anxiety recover completely within one year.
Counseling can successfully reduce depression and anxiety during pregnancy and afterwards. It is often a treatment of choice because of concerns of antidepressant medication while breastfeeding.
BENEFITS of counseling for post-partum depression and anxiety:
- bring a sense joy to the time you spend with your baby
- boost your confidence as a mother
- feel good about yourself and your life again
- gain control over the negative emotions and replace them with positive ones
- prevent cognitive, emotional and social problems of your child
- improve your relationship with your baby
As a psychotherapist working with post-partum and pregnancy related issues, it is my passion to provide support for the entire family. I have witnessed many women who were initially depressed and anxious feel better about themselves as a mother. I have helped post-partum women overcome shame and guilt and feel competent and happy as mothers. I can also work with you and your baby to help you become aware of your baby’s cues, so that you can build your confidence in interacting with him or her.I may also invite you to bring your partner who may be feeling helpless or guilty for not been able to help you.
Your whole family may benefit from counseling if you are suffering from post-partum depression and anxiety.
Although medication for postpartum depression and anxiety is helpful, many women look for an alternative to drug therapy, which in many cases causes them to have to quit breastfeeding. Therapy is the safest treatment that you can receive while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It also helps you resolve the root cause of your depression in a safe and healthy way.
Please see my website www.carolyntuckertherapist.com or call me at 770-789-0847 for a free consultation! I offer therapy via SKYPE as well as in person for your convenience!