Feeling confused, sad, lonely or apprehensive?
A sense of sadness that you just cannot seem to shake?
Having trouble concentrating on tasks that usually are easy for you?
Not sleeping well at night or feel like you need to take a nap in the morning?
Do you not get the same sense of enjoyment from activities that you used to really like?
Feel anxious, on edge or irritable more than you usually do?
Or get upset with your partner for what seems to be “small things"?
Have you noticed a significant change in your appetite?
Do you feel a sense of guilt for feeling this way?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone but you may be experiencing depression, which is more common than you think and can even occur when you are pregnant.
MANY PREGNANT WOMEN FEEL THIS WAY. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You probably feel very alone at this point in your pregnancy and maybe even guilty. After all, this is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. Pregnancy is idealized by society and you probably had expectations about what you would feel like or how you would experience pregnancy only to find your reality is much different.
For many, just getting pregnant was more of a challenge than anticipated and now that you are pregnant, you are faced with many challenging decisions to make in a short period of time. You may have yearned for a baby for some time only to be shocked to find you are feeling anxious, sad or tearful during this time. The reality of welcoming a baby into your family can suddenly feel very overwhelming once you are pregnant.
Commonly, we think the hard part starts when the baby arrives, but truthfully, for many, it gets hard early with morning sickness, feelings of fatigue and worry about how you will manage when the baby actually arrives. You many also find yourself arguing with your partner over what seems small or trivial and wondering how you will raise a child together if you cannot agree now.
Depression in women is quite common, we just don’t go around talking about it. We put on a happy face and do what we feel is expected of us. But statistics tell us that nearly 25% of women experience symptoms of depression at some point in their life and for nearly 20% of women, that time in their life is when they are pregnant.
Anxiety is depression’s close cousin and likes to tag along as well. Feelings of fear, worry or doom are common as is trouble shutting down your mind to fall asleep or concentrating on specific tasks. Up to 33% of pregnant women experience either anxiety or depression while pregnant.
PRENATAL THERAPY CAN HELP YOU FEEL MORE LIKE YOURSELF AGAIN.
Even though depression and anxiety are common during pregnancy, the good news is that psychotherapy is the safest and most effective way to treat depression and anxiety while pregnant. Therapy can help relieve stress and provides a safe and confidential outlet for expecting moms to voice any worries or concerns they may have. Becoming a parent is a major life transition, similar to getting married, moving to a new city/state, or changing jobs or careers. People often seek counseling when they embark on major life changes such as these but often overlook the need for help while pregnant because it is “supposed to be such a happy time”.
In our work together, we will explore your history, your past relationships and your present relationships and work together to see how the two are interconnected. We will also take a deep look at how our thoughts and feelings impact our behaviors and how we can relieve some symptoms of depression and anxiety by working to unravel the thoughts that feed into our emotional state of being. We will also look at what is worrying you the most during your pregnancy and work towards evaluating why it is causing your distress and what you can do to free yourself from it. This is formally referred to as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
My hope is that you will become more self-aware of what is impacting you daily in your social interactions, be it with your partner, your co-workers, your family or friends and we will examine what is keeping you from moving forward with less worry or doubt. Can I say you will have no more down days, never argue with your partner again or never feel worried? I wish I could, but that is not realistic. But my hope is that you will find that therapy helps you feel more in control of your emotions rather than feeling like your emotions control you.
You will gain tools to help you cope with upsetting emotions and help seeing situations from a different perspective. This is your time however and what you make of it will determine your results. We spend an hour a week together so what you take away and apply in daily situations will ultimately determine the effectiveness of therapy.
As a licensed professional who is also a mother, you will find that I bring my real self and experiences into therapy. I understand what it is to go through this time in your life. I was very thankful that I had my training from graduate school to rely on when I was pregnant and now as I raise my family. I realize however that many people despite being very successful in all other areas of their life struggle when becoming a parent. I decided to specialize in maternal mental health so I could share the tools I have with you and help you apply them to your pregnancy and parenting in general.
Having worked in mental health for over a decade, I have seen time and again the healing power of therapy. There is something truly healing about being heard, listened to and validated that is invaluable when it comes to your mental health. And it can be very freeing to simply have a safe space to speak your fears, worries and doubts.
With a little bit of help and guidance, it is possible to not just survive, but to fully thrive. You too can succeed as a parent, just as you’ve been successful thus far in other areas of your life.
I’M STILL NOT SURE IF THERAPY WILL HELP ME.
I HAVE SO LITTLE FREE TIME. AND WHAT ABOUT THE COST?
Time constraints and finances are the two biggest barriers that prevent many people from getting help. But if you are feeling this way when you are pregnant, there is no better time than now to get relief. Women who are depressed during pregnancy but seek help are more likely to develop healthy coping skills and are more likely to get consistent prenatal care and eat a healthy diet – all of which have positive outcomes for your baby. Untreated depression during pregnancy can also contribute to premature birth, low birth weight and developmental problems.
COULD THIS JUST BE HORMONES AND WON’T IT JUST GO AWAY ON ITS OWN?
While it is true that hormones are changing and even “raging” during pregnancy, there is no single cause for prenatal depression. It is more so a combination of biological, environmental, and hormonal factors. You however did not cause this to happen to you, rather a combination of the factors just mentioned has occurred to cause it to develop. What we know about depression however, is that for most it does not resolve on its own. Rather, it tends to linger beneath the surface and pop up at unexpected, inopportune times. Now is the best time to get help so you can feel more like yourself when your little one joins this world.
I AM A VERY PRIVATE PERSON AND FIND IT HARD TO OPEN UP.
So am I. I get that it can be incredibly difficult to talk to a stranger about things you find hard to tell even your closest friend or partner. We will go at your pace and only talk about what is top of mind for you. This is your counseling after all and it will focus on helping you achieve your goals. You may even find that it is easier to open up once we have met in person. Many people tell me that I am fairly easy to talk to.