Post Partum Depression and Anxiety can follow pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a parent. These are times of tremendous transition. Overwhelming physical and hormonal changes are coupled with sleep deprivation and new expectations and responsibilities. While we expect this to be a time of great joy, many woman are unaware of the range of emotional reactions they are likely to experience. Prenatal stress reactions are experienced by many women during pregnancy or following a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy. In addition, most women experience some emotional stress after the birth of a child. For many, these responses are brief and resolve themselves on their own. Others experience stronger reactions and require a supportive plan to address and alleviate their concerns.
Most women who experience difficult prenatal or postpartum reactions are aware that something is wrong, but are reluctant to seek help. Many women experience guilt and are afraid that they will be judged. While women often find it difficult to seek the help they need while experiencing prenatal or postpartum emotional distress, my experience is that psychotherapy provides tremendous relief and support during this crucial time of transition. Studies clearly indicate that the sooner a woman receives treatment, the better the prognosis for the entire family.
It is time to seek help when:
- You believe that things are getting worse, not better
- You feel isolated and the support of family and friends is not enough
- Your symptoms interfere with your relationship with your baby and/or your family
Symptoms to pay attention to can be:
- Feelings of depression or hopelessness
- Intense anxiety or fear
- Poor concentration, confusion
- Intrusive, repetitive thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping even when the baby is asleep
- Feelings of guilt, inadequacy or worthlessness
- Uncontrollable crying and irritability
- Fear of harming the baby or yourself