Pregnancy and new parenthood are mentally and physically demanding. Mental health care should be an integral part of prenatal and postpartum care. Caring for your mental health is just as important as you and your baby’s physical health during that time. You might experience new or heightened worries, sadness, or anger that you’ve never experienced before. It can be difficult to know whether or not your experiences are out of the ordinary. It also can be hard to know when to seek additional supports. If you are unsure whether or not your experiences are typical please continue reading. I want to give you some information today about when and why you might want to consider counseling during pre-conception care, pregnancy or after the birth of a baby.
It is expected to experience some mood changes, difficulty sleeping due to physical discomfort or due to nighttime feedings; some concerns or nervousness related to physical changes and the demands of parenting, or around baby’s firsts like going out in public the first few times or sending your child to daycare. It is also quite usual to be concerned about returning to work after the birth of a child. It is also not uncommon to experience a period of change and adjustment in your relationships at this time. These usually change, resolve, or subside as time goes on.
Signs of more serious mental health concerns include experiencing new or heightened nervousness that prevents you from doing things you usually would have no difficulty doing, sadness that does not make sense, mood swings that are persistent and ongoing, heightened anger or rage, difficulty feeling motivated to do the things you normally would, thoughts that are intrusive or disturbing, and sleep problems beyond those that come with having a new baby at home. You might also find that coming to terms with your birth experience or childhood memories are making it difficult to engage in normal activities such as attending appointments or feeling safe in familiar, secure places. These experiences are not a typical part of pregnancy or new parenthood. They do not have to continue being a part of your parenting journey. If these things are happening to you, you are not alone or to blame. You are not a bad parent. There is help available to you and you can feel well again.
Counseling can help you clarify and better understand the experiences you are having. We will help you to navigate this challenging time by giving you space to express your feelings and concerns without judgement, develop plans to help you care for yourself and your family, and provide opportunities for you to be better acquainted with who you want to be as a parent and how you fit into that role. We counselors have no expectations about how you are adapting and adjusting to this new journey you are on and want to meet you where you are. Let us help make pregnancy and parenthood enjoyable and rewarding by giving us a call. We look forward to walking with you through this exciting time in your life.