Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Congratulations! You had a baby…and all you can do is worry about everything you’re doing, wondering if you’re doing it right. This is not what you thought it would be.
Are you feeling anxious about taking care of your new baby? Is your worry getting in the way of enjoying this exciting new chapter in your life?
You might have been researching postpartum depression, but sometimes, it’s not depression at all; it’s postpartum anxiety. You have trouble sleeping, you can’t ask for help because you’d just worry that they would do it wrong, and now you’re snapping. No one understands what you’re going through and you feel so alone. When you go online, you see all of these happy moms who seem to have it all together. You miss your old life and feel guilty even thinking about doing something for yourself. And on top of all of this, life has changed as a result of COVID-19, making adjusting to parenthood feel even harder.
You may be having intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby. These thoughts make you feel guilty and distrustful of yourself when the truth is that you don’t have control over these thoughts popping into your head and these thoughts don’t reflect any actual desire to act on them. You feel like you can’t tell anyone what’s happening or they’ll think you’re a bad mom. But keeping it to yourself only makes things harder to deal with, and you’re struggling to cope on your own.
Or you may truly be having symptoms of postpartum depression, like exhaustion, crying spells, and struggling to connect emotionally with your baby. As thankful as you are for your little miracle, you just can’t bring yourself to feel the excitement and joy that you envisioned during your pregnancy. You feel overwhelmed and drained of all your energy, and you’re not enjoying your time with your baby the way you hoped that you would.
If this sounds like you, you may be feeling disappointed with yourself, judging yourself for not experiencing early motherhood the “right” way. You may have a lot of expectations for how you should be feeling and behaving, and you’re worried that you’re falling short. And though you know logically how common these struggles are, you still feel like you’re the only one who can’t keep it all together.
Serenity Solutions can help.
You want to be happy, enjoy your baby, and feel connected to your partner again. We get it. Adjusting to motherhood and this new life is hard.
As knowledgeable, compassionate therapists with a range of experiences with parenthood and postpartum training, we provide a supportive environment to help you let go of feelings of shame and guilt. We help moms in Philadelphia and South Jersey learn how to slow down their anxious mind and be in the present moment so that they can take care of themselves and their families in ways that feel good to them.
Therapy can give you the space to release pent-up emotions, feel heard, learn helpful coping strategies, and find new, more empowering ways to frame your experiences. For example, you might think of yourself as not good enough, a common feeling for most humans, but particularly common for new parents. But your therapist can help you learn ways to let go of that unhelpful thought so that it doesn’t have to interfere with the choices that you make for yourself and your baby. Oftentimes, when we get caught up in negative self-talk, those thoughts make decisions for us that don’t fit with our values, leading to later regrets about what we’ve done. As you learn to notice but not get caught up in these intrusive thoughts, you open up space to make choices that feel good for you, which can then decrease those negative thoughts and increase more positive thoughts about yourself, making it easier to take on the daily challenges of caring for your baby. This is just one example of what it can look like to reframe your experiences, find empowerment, and learn to cope in new ways.
You may be thinking that treatment for postpartum depression and anxiety could help you, but you have some lingering questions…
Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY?
It is helpful for you and your therapist to understand the symptoms that you are experiencing during your pregnancy or postpartum period to help you learn ways to manage those symptoms. However, whether you have an actual diagnosis or not is not a necessary criteria for seeking counseling. If the worry, anxiety, sadness, lack of interest or energy, or other symptoms are interfering with living the life you want, then therapy can be helpful for you. Click here for some information about common symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety.
I AM PREGNANT BUT FEEL LIKE I HAVE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION OR POSTPARTUM ANXIETY? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
Great question! People can suffer from the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety during pregnancy, long before the baby arrives. The term “postpartum depression”, while commonly used, is not an accurate term.
I AM THE NON-BIRTHING PARENT. CAN I HAVE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION OR POSTPARTUM ANXIETY?
YES! While less common, partners of people who give birth, and parents who adopt can experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Adjusting to parenthood can be challenging for all involved.
DO YOU WORK WITH NON-BIRTHING PARENTS STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION?
Yes. Our therapists are trained to work with all adults with symptoms of anxiety and depression, including constant worry, poor sleep, low self-worth, lack of energy or motivation, and feeling like life does not feel meaningful. We use various treatments, personalized to meet your needs, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and others.
DO YOUR THERAPISTS HAVE EXPERIENCE AS PARENTS?
Sean and Alisa are both parents who have experienced the unique challenges of parenthood in their own lives. Jeanine and Alisa are highly trained in treating postpartum depression and anxiety, having completed Postpartum Therapy trainings through Postpartum Support International (PSI) and the Postpartum Stress Center. You can learn more on their bio pages, here, here, and here.
I’M STRUGGLING TRYING TO FIND TIME TO TAKE CARE OF MY BABY AND MYSELF. HOW COULD I FIND TIME FOR WEEKLY SESSION?
We know that attending weekly therapy sessions can feel like a big commitment. We recommend weekly sessions because we find that clients make progress faster that way, as they have the opportunity to build a relationship with their therapist and learn the tools and strategies they need to achieve their goals. We encourage you to carve out the time for weekly sessions, if it’s at all possible for you, and see what a difference just two months of therapy can make.
Additionally, while we want you to have the therapy hour be a time for yourself, you are always welcome to have the baby with you during your session. We understand that babies do not respect our schedules and may want to be held or fed during your appointment time.
Many clients find that having therapy via telehealth saves time because they don’t have to travel to the office and look for parking. If you find that extra time is helpful, we are open to continuing telehealth services even after COVID is over.
I ALREADY THINK I’M A BAD MOM. WHY SHOULD I PAY SOMEONE TO TELL ME I’M A BAD MOM?
Therapy is a confidential and non-judgemental space designed to support you as you work through the concerns in your life and learn new strategies to address them. Your therapist will never judge or belittle you for what you’re going through. Instead, they will offer encouragement, insight, and accountability as you work toward your goals. More importantly, they’ll teach you how to work through some of your own self-judgements, to help you recognize that you’re not a bad mom even on your worst day.
IF MY THERAPIST THINKS I’M A BAD MOM, WILL THEY TAKE MY CHILD AWAY?
Your therapist is here to support you in being the best parent to your child that you can be, whatever that looks like for you and your family. They will not make judgements about your quality as a mom, nor will they make judgements about your parenting style and decisions. The only time that a therapist will reach out to child protective services is when they think that your child’s health or safety are at risk. While many new parents don’t think they are doing a good job, we rarely find that they are making choices that are detrimental to their children.
As mandated reporters, therapists are obligated to report cases of abuse. However, there is no other reason that your therapist would report you, nor would they have the legal right to do so.
HOW WILL THERAPY HELP ME?
Therapy will provide you the space you need to release emotions, vent, and get things off your chest, as well as helping you to develop the self-awareness you need to achieve your goals. Your therapist will not only actively listen, but they’ll give you feedback and teach you coping strategies to help you learn the tools you need to make progress.
DO YOU OFFER TELEHEALTH?
Serenity Solutions offers telehealth therapy using a secure, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing program. Online therapy is available to Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents. Click here for more information.
HOW CAN I GET SCHEDULED FOR AN APPOINTMENT?
You can give us a call at 267-317-8817 or click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with our intake specialist. During your phone consultation, we will inform you about our services, assess your needs, and schedule you with the therapist who’s the best fit for you. We can typically fit in new clients within one week of their initial phone call.