We all have this vision of what being a mom looks like. This perfect person who can do it all with no issues, hesitations or complaints. She is perfect in every way.
Her pregnancy is super smooth. She delivers a healthy baby her way. Breastfeeding is a breeze. She manages a newborn, family and work like nothing can stop her.
She has all the answers and none of the problems.
Everyone admires her for the work she does. She is appreciated and adored.
We all want to be her.
We work hard to live up to her shadow.
But let’s face it... this woman does not exist.
She is a figment of society’s idea of what a mom should be. If you are any less than 100% than her, you feel like you have failed as a mom, because that is what we are taught.
But you keep this “failure” to yourself. You can’t let anyone believe that you are not a good mom.
It’s ok if you tell yourself that you are a bad mom, but to everyone else...well they need to see that you have it all together.
You know that if you slip up once you have many eyes and mouths ready to tell you what you are doing wrong.
So you pretend.
You pretend that being a mom is awesome. That you aren’t tired, confused, stressed, overwhelmed, and sad.
Sad because things weren’t supposed to be like this.
You were supposed to have it all figured out. It was going to be perfect.
Of course kids don’t come with manuals but things were supposed to still work out. You did everything right, so why does everything feel so wrong.
There are happy times, but there are times when things just suck. Those times where you question if you can do this or if maybe it’s you and only you.
Here is a fact, you aren’t alone in this struggle. Being a mom is hard no matter where you come from, how much money you have or how much research you did.
It is a struggle, but a struggle you don’t have to face alone.
It is a struggle, but a struggle you don’t have to face alone.
I am here to help. I have seen how being a mom can take a toll on our confidence. I am here to help remind you that you are the BEST mom that you can be. I provide a safe space that is free of the mom guilt or mom shaming, because that too is something you don’t need.
You need someone who has walked the walk. Someone who has already helped other moms gain back that swag they had before their baby. Someone who has also helped countless moms regain their sense of independence while styling a double stroller.
It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant, in the newborn stage or on kid number five, we all need a space to feel free and heard. A space where we are given the time to focus on us and no one else.
That’s not selfish. If anything is it the HEALTHIEST thing you can do for your baby.
Don’t wait any longer to do what’s right for you and your baby.
THE THERAPY PROCESS
It is hard to really visualize what therapy is going to look like and how it works. To make it easy, I want to let you know what to expect.
The first few sessions are really for me to get to know you better. So understand that it is a process before we really start to work.
The first session is a lot of word vomit because I am trying to get a sense of everything that is going on and really go through some of the “standard” questions. These questions are for me to gauge where you are and where you want to go.
For the second session, I do like to get a bit of history. To start unpacking your baggage, I need to know what I am working with.
The third session is where we start building tools to help you in your vision.
Now, there may be hurdles. There may be times where you feel uncomfortable talking about things. That is ok. It is expected. I am mindful that this process can be emotionally exhausting, but remember it is necessary.
Once you start to see changes, I will reduce your sessions so that you can start to put those tools to use. The more open, honest, and vulnerable you are in the process, the more results you will start to see. Eventually, we will come to a point where therapy has done its job and it is time for you spread your wings and FLY (LOL)!
TOPICS WE DISCUSS
Infant Development – It is important to have someone to help you learn more about infant development as you move through parenthood. Often, I find that most moms worry about whether their child is on track, so having someone to talk about proper milestones and managing expectations is essential. As you child grows older, we can also talk about different tools and techniques to help them develop the necessary skills like sleep schedules, reward systems, family rules, etc.
Baby Blues – Baby blues is very common for moms after giving birth. These moms experience intense sadness, mood swings, crying spells, etc. Baby blues can last 2 to 4 weeks. If your baby blues become too intense and last longer, it is possible that you have postpartum depression. Early intervention is highly recommended.
Postpartum Depression (PPD): Signs & Symptoms - Postpartum depression is a feeling of intense sadness, exhaustion and guilt. Postpartum depression can happen during pregnancy and up to three years after giving birth.
Here are a few signs that you may be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD):
Your “baby blues” don’t get better 2 – 4 weeks after giving birth, especially if they feel extremely intense.
Your sleeping patterns have significantly changed (beyond the normal sleep loss of having a newborn) – It is important to monitor how you are sleeping. Whether you are sleeping too little or sleeping too much.
You stop taking care of yourself - We often place priority with our newborn, however, if you find that you stop doing anything for yourself, it is possible that you are experience postpartum depression. Even simple things, like eating or talking to your support system.
Your sadness and guilt feel never-ending - We often feel a loss after giving birth, it is something that most people don’t talk about, but it can happen. However, if you find yourself crying more and more, it is possible that you may be developing PPD.
You are TOO hard on yourself - We all worry about being a good parent and taking care of our children, but if you have constant doubts about your abilities, even when all is good, it could be a sign that your worry may be teetering towards postpartum depression.
Your life (other than your baby) has changed – Having major life changes at a time of a big transition can create bigger impacts for you emotionally. Especially if you have had changes within your support system.
You have intrusive thoughts and even think about hurting yourself – Thoughts of suicide and hurting yourself are signs that you need help and you are suffering from postpartum depression. Keep in mind, that postpartum depression (potential thoughts of hurting yourself) and postpartum psychosis (potential thoughts of hurting your baby, which is very rare) are treatable. If you are having these thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255.
Postpartum Anxiety (PPA): Signs, Symptoms & Treatment - Postpartum anxiety (PPA) often gets confused with postpartum depression (PPD). Postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression do have similar symptoms such as exhaustion (beyond the normal newborn tired phase), lack of concentration, sleep pattern changes and appetite changes as well. Postpartum anxiety can also develop during pregnancy and up to three years after birth.
Postpartum Depression vs. Postpartum Anxiety - The differences between postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression is that those with PPA experience extreme worry and anxiety in relation to their baby. To the point where those racing thoughts don’t leave their mind. Postpartum depression moms may feel disconnected with their experience through motherhood and sometimes with their babies. Postpartum anxiety moms worry about their connection with their baby, that they overextend themselves. It is common for moms to experience both postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression.
Treatment for Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) - When treating maternal mental health issues as a PSI mental health certified counselor, I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and solution-focused therapy to help understand your symptoms. However, the first step in treatment, is to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Meaning getting enough sleep, eating and exercise. I understand that these may not be easy for everyone, so we will talk about how we can achieve those goals. We do discuss the option of medication if your symptoms do not subside after a period of time and/or if there are safety concerns. Just note that there are medications that are safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. It is highly recommended to talk to your medical doctor for recommendations.
Guilt and Shame – This is a big topic that I discuss with moms. Guilt and shame can often be narratives that we have built over time either from our childhood or from what we thought motherhood would look like. When we break it all down, including our expectations. We can find room for change, to allow ourselves to feel like a normal human being, while also taking care of our baby.
Self-Care and Boundaries – This is a MUST for all moms. To take care of our children, we first need to take care of ourselves. One of the major obstacles in our way of self-care is not maintaining boundaries with other people. With therapy, we can discuss what is needed to take care of yourself and establishing boundaries that allow you to be healthy and happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
I CAN BARELY FIND TIME TO TAKE A SHOWER, HOW CAN I SET ASIDE TIME TO SEE A THERAPIST?
I get it! Believe me, I have been there. I offer moms the ability to schedule online sessions so that a.) no shower necessary b.) it can be scheduled during nap time so no babysitter needed c.) you get the time for you without worrying about point a or point b.
Plus it is important to start creating a space for you to be...well you. Moms often get so wrapped up in everyone else that over time we tend to lose ourselves. Therapy is a good way to learn tools and tips so that you can continue to be you AND the best mom you can be.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A THERAPIST WHO SPECIALIZES IN WORKING WITH MOMS AND DADS?
Finding a therapist is a lot like online dating. You want to find someone who is a right fit for you and who knows about the issues you are facing. Now, when working with new parents (or experienced parents) and all the struggles and feelings that come with parenting, it is important to find someone who has specialized training in maternal mental health issues. Postpartum Support International is a great resource to find clinicians who work and are trained in working with individuals suffering from a perinatal mental health issue, like myself.
IF I NEED A THERAPIST, WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME AS A MOM?
Well...it says that you are doing everything in your power to make sure you are happy and healthy so that your baby can also be happy and healthy.
And I know what you are thinking “well... ?”
Honestly, I get your concerns because I know what the “public opinion” thinks about therapy, but who cares? What’s most important is what YOU think.
If you are ready to take a step back and take care of yourself then that’s all you need to worry about. You are the foundation of your home. So it’s important to do whatever it takes to make you strong and whole again.
Don’t let the mom shame or the haters get in your way of what you want for you and your baby.
They don’t live your life, so don’t let them control your thoughts and feeling about how you are as a mom. You are AWESOME, so let’s work together to keep it up!
WHAT ABOUT THERAPY FOR DADS?
Come on in! I welcome moms and dads! Basically any makeup of a family is welcome to come, because babies are stressful!
Like they say (whoever “they” are) it takes a village to raise a child,” let me be a part of yours.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I BELIEVE MY PARTNER IS SUFFERING FROM POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
It is very important to address this topic with sensitivity and love. If you believe your partner is suffering from postpartum depression it is important to be as supportive and helpful as you can.
Often times moms AND dads can feel overwhelmed by the transition of new baby and feeling like nothing they do is going to make things better.
It is important to understand that they are allowed to feel the way they feel, so don’t try to minimize or assume that this will magically resolve itself. The best thing to do is to write down your concerns and find the best ways to provide support plus find additional resources for them.
Resources can be anything from having additional help around the house (or maybe limiting those around the house), consulting with a medical doctor, seeking therapy, or finding local support groups.
Whatever the choice you decide, make sure that your partner feels validated, supported, loved and heard.