Has Incessant Worry Caused You To Lose Confidence In Your Parenting Abilities?
- Are you pregnant or postpartum and experiencing intense anxiety?
- Do you feel like it’s impossible to relax and enjoy motherhood?
- Is it difficult for you to manage your emotions or control intrusive thoughts about the safety and wellbeing of your baby?
As much as you want to be present during this exciting transition into parenthood, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by fear and worry. Perhaps you struggle with disturbing, racing, or obsessive thoughts. You may feel alarmed by scary thoughts about your baby being harmed, then struggle with the guilt that follows having these thoughts. While these symptoms are upsetting, it’s important to remember that they are common for someone struggling with pregnancy or postpartum anxiety.
It’s also typical for pregnant or recently postpartum women to develop physical and emotional symptoms that create further discomfort. Maybe you cry often but don’t know why, are easily irritated, or have noticed changes in your appetite. You may find it difficult to sleep, lying awake at night thinking about your responsibilities and wrestling with intrusive thoughts. In some cases of postpartum anxiety, panic attacks occur. These can include difficulty breathing, sweating, shaking, muscle tension, chest tightness, feeling faint, and feeling like you are going crazy.
You may be familiar with postpartum depression or “the baby blues,” but this feels different. Though you may experience sadness and despair, the main issue is that you feel the need to take on all of the stress. Preoccupied with concerns about your baby’s safety, you might refuse help, feel a constant need to control every aspect of your environment, or worry that you’ll be perceived as a bad mother if you don’t parent “perfectly.” This has probably resulted in disconnection from your partner, intense feelings of loneliness, and exhaustion.
Even If You Aren’t The Birthing Parent, The Transition Into Parenthood Can Present Obstacles
Perhaps you are the partner of someone struggling with postpartum anxiety. You want to share the responsibility of caring for your newborn, but your partner’s concerns about the baby’s wellbeing cause them to get snappy or take over whenever you try to help. It’s also possible that you are the one struggling with intense anxiety about your child’s safety or your ability to parent well.
On the other hand, if you’ve recently adopted a child, you may be having a hard time navigating the stress of motherhood or struggling with some unknowns. Perhaps this is not your first child, but you’ve noticed your symptoms become increasingly worse with each new addition. When you don’t address anxiety symptoms during the postpartum period, it can set the stage for ongoing mental health issues down the line.
Whatever your experience as a new parent, it’s important to get support and build your stress management toolbox. In counseling for postpartum anxiety, you can develop essential coping skills as you learn to enjoy this meaningful time with your child.
As Parents, The Stress Of A New Baby Can Feel Like Too Much
Whether we’re new or established parents, life with a new baby is challenging. On top of added responsibilities and sleep deprivation, we have less time for ourselves. And our lives look so different than they did before the arrival of a new baby. When we think about and long for the parts of our lives that have changed since the birth of a child, we may struggle with feelings of guilt and wonder if we deserve to be parents.
We must also consider how much cultural norms have shifted when it comes to parenting. Nowadays, living away from family and other supports is more common, leaving you without a “village” to help you raise your children. Add this reality to social media’s comparison culture that perpetuates ideas about what the ideal parent looks like, the journey from pregnancy into parenthood can be an isolating one.
According to Postpartum Support International, approximately 10 percent of women develop postpartum anxiety. Similarly, 6 percent of women develop anxiety during pregnancy. These conditions fall under the umbrella of perinatal anxiety, which is defined as anxiety experienced during pregnancy and/or for up to one year following the birth. Other perinatal mood disorders include perinatal (postpartum) depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Oftentimes, symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety—such as tearfulness, disturbing thoughts, and difficulty connecting—can occur together, making it hard to understand what’s going on.
At Serenity Solutions, we can help you understand the signs of pregnancy and postpartum conditions as you develop the skills and perspective you need to overcome your symptoms.
Therapy Can Help With Pregnancy And Postpartum Anxiety
If you’re in the later stages of pregnancy or have recently had a baby, you probably feel like there is not enough time in the day to get your needs met, have your questions answered, engage in meaningful self-care, and take care of your baby. But counseling provides you with a safe, calm atmosphere where you can explore and share your experiences as a parent. Working with an experienced therapist, you can feel less alone in your pregnancy-related struggles.
Our clinicians understand that this can be a very stressful, scary time, and we want to offer you a cathartic opportunity to process your emotions. We are not here to judge your parenting style or choices, but rather to support you through this transition.
Though our therapists have experience working with a range of maternal mental health issues, we specialize in postpartum anxiety. Our clinicians have advanced training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Collaborating together, we will establish a treatment plan that targets your specific postpartum symptoms and honors your goals for therapy. Using a combination of evidence-based counseling approaches and tips to improve self-care, you can learn to cope with the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are creating obstacles during your pregnancy and postpartum periods. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy—otherwise known as ACT—allows you to clarify your parenting motivations so that you can be driven more by your values than your fears. And Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you challenge the unhelpful thinking patterns keeping you trapped in a cycle of worry, shame, and self-doubt.
In counseling, you can develop essential skills for stress management, mindfulness, acceptance, and asserting your needs. With the insights and strategies you gain, you’ll likely notice improvements in your coping, better sleep, and increased connection in your relationships. The difficult aspects of pregnancy and parenting can and will feel more manageable.
You deserve a life that feels meaningful, honors your values, and balances your individual needs with your goals as a parent. In therapy for postpartum anxiety, you can learn how to enjoy this exciting time of your life.
Maybe You’re Experiencing Symptoms Of Pregnancy Or Postpartum Anxiety, But You Don’t Know If Therapy Is Right For You…
It’s already a struggle to care for my baby and myself—how do I find the time for weekly counseling sessions?
We understand that committing to weekly sessions can feel like a big ask, but we know that the more frequently you attend therapy, the faster you will make progress and feel better. If at all possible, we encourage you to commit to weekly sessions for at least two months so that you can see what a difference counseling can make.
If you are still concerned about making time for counseling, we want to assure you that we will do everything we can to make ongoing sessions possible. If that means bringing your baby to therapy or meeting via telehealth, we will accommodate your needs.
I already think I’m a bad parent—why should I pay someone to tell me as much?
Therapy is a confidential, nonjudgmental space that is designed to support you as you address pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting concerns. Our counselors are here to provide encouragement, insight, and accountability—not to criticize you. More importantly, we can offer you strategies for working through some of your negative self-beliefs so that you can see that you are not a bad parent even on your worst days.
What’s the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety?
There is an overlap in symptoms of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, but they are not the same thing. While it is not necessary to know which category your symptoms fall under to benefit from therapy, having a better understanding of what you are struggling with may be helpful in your journey to wellness.
Postpartum depression is typically characterized by feelings of sadness, crying spells, and low energy and motivation. Whereas, excessive worry, an inability to relax, and constantly checking to make sure everyone is safe are the primary symptoms of postpartum anxiety. Sleep and appetite disturbances and irritability can often show up with both.
Fortunately, therapy is an effective way to target and overcome physical, mental, and emotional symptoms related to your pregnancy.
Embrace Your Strengths To Become A More Present Parent
It’s possible to achieve a healthy balance as a new parent. To learn more about therapy for pregnancy and postpartum issues, schedule a free consultation here, contact us via our site, or call (267) 317 – 8817.
Contact Serenity Solutions
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