What is Postpartum Depression and Anxiety?
Most moms experience the “Baby Blues” after giving birth. Bringing home a baby a life changing event that disrupts everything you and your partner had going on in your life. The “Baby Blues” usually resolve after about two weeks (although they can pop up here and there) and do not get worse over time. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety intensify over time and leave you feeling wiped out, like a “bad mom,” and that things might be better if you weren’t around. The depression and anxiety may look like persistent, unwanted thoughts (“What if I drop the baby down the stairs?”), irritability, an inability to sleep, or sleeping too much. You might also feel extreme guilt for not feeling happy at a supposedly happy time in your life.
There is a significant amount of misinformation around pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum health that women are often left wondering “Am I normal? Something must be wrong with me.” This increases feelings of shame which lead to anxiety and depression when in fact, what women are told isn’t normal, is usually completely normal.
You can take the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression survey here to see if you might be experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression.
How does therapy help treat Postpartum Anxiety and Depression?
A lot of moms feel like they should just feel happy after a baby is born and that they should be ashamed for feeling bad. Those feelings of shame create a cycle where you are constantly beating yourself up and feel worse and worse. Therapy is a great place to identify and break that cycle. Therapy is also a way to normalize the things you experience to reduce the shame.
Our feelings of shame build when we don’t confront them. Therapy can be a safe way to begin to confront those feelings and take their power away. Therapy is also a great place to learn skills to help manage the physical symptoms of anxiety and depression. This might include mindfulness skills, challenging thoughts, and identifying personalized coping skills that work for you.
For more information on what therapy with me would look like, click here. Also check out group offerings if you would like the support of a therapeutic group.
Check out my resources page for books, podcasts, and apps that can be helpful.