Becoming a new mother can be one of the most joyful and rewarding experiences a woman can have. But, motherhood can also come with a lot of challenges. I don’t want to sugarcoat it for you: it’s hard. Everything can be overwhelming, and all of the sudden you’re responsible for a newborn. Wow.
Pregnancy itself creates a lot of changes. The emotional and physical changes that happen to your mind and body can take a toll on your mental health. That is why therapy can be such an important resource for new mothers. Therapy, or counseling, offers a safe, supportive space to work through these challenges and changes that you are facing as a new mom. It also helps to build your resistance, give you tools to manage the hard days, and realize that you are not alone, so you can be the best mother you can.
Postpartum Depression? Not by Choice
One of the biggest challenges that new mothers can face is postpartum depression. It’s scary to think that this may happen to you, but in reality, postpartum depression happens to 1 in 5 moms (about 20%) so it is incredibly common. And it doesn’t discriminate based on race, socioeconomic status, or location.
Postpartum depression can show up as feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, and/or irritability. It can impact how you relate and connect with others including your intimate partner, and may even impact your ability to bond with your baby. It can also affect feeding and caring for your baby, as well as caring for yourself and your recovery after childbirth.
Therapy for Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a serious, yet very treatable, condition. And that’s the good news! Yes, it’s treatable. You do NOT have to feel overwhelmed, having too little energy to take care of yourself and/or your baby - all you need to do is reach out for help. It is important
that if you think you may have some symptoms of postpartum depression, to tell your doctor or seek treatment from a trained perinatal therapist.
Therapy can be a valuable resource for new moms who are struggling with postpartum depression. A trained maternal mental health counselor can help you work through your feelings, identify any underlying factors that may be contributing to your depression, and develop coping strategies to manage your symptoms.
Counseling for new moms can also help you feel heard and understood and offers a safe and confidential place to discuss your thoughts and feelings. And there are a LOT of thoughts and feelings that you may be having now that you’re a mom!
The Stress of Motherhood Responsibilities
Another common challenge that new mothers like you face is the stress and anxiety that come with the new responsibilities of motherhood. New moms often feel like they are on their own, with no one to turn to for support and guidance. Does that sound familiar? If you’re thinking this way, you may be feeling isolated or lonely, and that can lead to more symptoms of postpartum depression.
Some of the things that new mothers worry about are the well-being of your baby, changes in your relationship with your partner, and even financial or career challenges that come with taking maternity leave and the decision of whether or not to return to work afterward. Wow. It’s a lot to think about, for sure.
Postpartum counseling can help new moms manage your stress and anxiety around all of these issues. Because it’s a change, a HUGE change, to have a baby. And with any change comes some anxiety and stress. And some of you (ahem, like me) are more prone to increased anxiety with change. Especially change that we feel unprepared to tackle or if there are factors in the change that are unknown.
Therapy for Childbirth Experience
Therapy can also help new mothers process your birth experience. For many women, childbirth can be a traumatic experience that leaves you feeling scarred, and at its worst, unable to bond with your baby. For others, childbirth may be an experience that doesn’t quite meet your expectations and leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated.
Whatever the case may be with your own experience, counseling can help new moms work through your feelings and reprocess any trauma that occurred during childbirth. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a particular type of therapy that is evidence-based for traumatic experiences. EMDR Therapy for childbirth trauma is effective and safe, and is indicated if you experienced an emotionally traumatizing childbirth.
Relationship Changes After Childbirth
Becoming a new mother can put a strain on even the strongest relationships, and therapy can be an important resource for new mothers dealing with relationship challenges. It can be difficult to navigate the changes that come with parenthood not only for yourself but within your relationship.
Each new parent is adjusting to new roles, lack of sleep, and not enough alone time, among other things. If one partner is usually the supportive one, but that partner hasn’t had a full night’s sleep in 10 days, then their ability to support the other partner will be compromised. Therapy can help new mothers and their partners work through differences and challenges to build a stronger, more supportive relationship.
A New Sense of Self
When I have new moms come into counseling sessions, inevitably we always end up discussing how their identity and sense of self have changed. The demands of motherhood can be intense, leaving new moms feeling like they have lost their identity and even sense of purpose. Sometimes people will say “I don’t know who I am anymore” or “I am a woman, but I don’t know how to be a mom”.
All of this internal confusion, and uncertainty, are very normal. But it’s hard to go about your day happily when you’re questioning who you are and everything you’ve known. Counseling can help new moms find a balance between their new role as a mother, and their own needs and desires.
Overall, therapy can have a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of new mothers. It offers a safe, supportive space for new moms to work through the challenges they are facing. Counseling can help build resilience, develop tools, and find a compassionate and understanding ear for what is going on with you.
If you are a new mother who is struggling with any of the challenges discussed above, reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional to start the process of healing and growth. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you deserve to feel supported and empowered during this exciting and challenging time of your life.
How We Can Help:
Interested in working with trained perinatal therapists for your postpartum concerns?
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Follow these simple steps if you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you:
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Begin your journey towards a calmer, more balanced life
Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, approved clinical supervisor with Firelight Supervision, guest blogger, and the owner of a group psychotherapy practice in the Denver area. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.