Pregnancy and the post-partum phases of life are not fun and joyous for everyone. In fact, most women struggle with periods of sadness during pregnancy or in the post-partum period. We often hear women say, “I have this wonderful baby. I should be happy!” This is followed by feelings of shame or that something is wrong with her for not feeling the bliss we see in the pampers commercials.
The truth is that becoming a mother or adding to your family is hard work! No one is getting sufficient sleep, your body is different and hormones are fluctuating, and it can be difficult to find time to do the things you used to enjoy doing. Many of us begin to compare ourselves with other moms we see or feel we must endure one more story about how so-and-so did something differently with her baby. This is real motherhood, not commercial motherhood. It can be exhausting, scary, and wonderful all at the same time!
Post-partum depression, anxiety, and OCD are experienced by many, many women today. Some symptoms include:
– Difficulty bonding with your baby
– Hypervigilance or excessively checking on your baby
– Inability to sleep or lack of appetite
– Pacing or feeling “keyed-up” or restless
– Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
– Having disturbing thought or images pop into your head
– Excessive crying for no apparent reason
– Fears that interefere with functioning (ie Not holding baby because you might drop him, not bathing baby because he will drown, or fear you should not be left alone with the baby)
Having these symptoms can be scary and leave you feeling afraid to talk about them. But you are not alone. Many, many women have had post-partum anxiety and depression and it is very treatable! Attending our Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Group, in addition to therapy and/or medication, can be an important step in your healing. If you find yourself struggling with your mood or anxiety during pregnancy or the two years following your baby’s birth, contact us to see how we can partner with you in healing. You CAN feel happy and connected again! We are here for you!