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becoming a mother

Becoming a Mother: What These Psychiatrists Want You To Know

Whether you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant or are already holding your infant in your arms, becoming a mother can be a roller coaster ride. While being a new mom comes with its share of joy and excitement, it can be difficult to admit that many moments are frustrating and downright exhausting.

The important thing to remember is that every mother’s journey is unique. You may have been planning to join the motherhood club for months, or your pregnancy could have taken you completely by surprise at a less-than-ideal time. You’re allowed to feel stressed and have difficulties adjusting to this new stage of your life — and it’s okay to ask for help.

While it may seem like you never have a moment to yourself anymore, your mental health matters. From pregnancy to birth and beyond, there are many factors outside of your control that cause your mental health to dip. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and birth trauma are all real things, and it can be detrimental to your wellbeing (and your baby’s) to try and take them on alone.

Taking time to speak with a psychiatrist who can evaluate what’s going on, provide treatment, and simply lend a listening ear can make a huge difference in making this transition a positive one. Online counseling for women makes mental healthcare accessible and convenient, which is why Thriving Lane offers women’s teletherapy services you can access from the comfort of your own home.

Birth Does Not Always Go the Way You Expect

During the months leading up to birth, you’ll likely envision what the day of delivery will be like. The idea of delivering your new baby can make you feel both incredibly excited and utterly terrified. Before becoming a mother, you may not have realized you can feel two opposite emotions so intensely at the same time, but you’ll soon find (if you haven’t already) there’s no end to the range of emotions you feel at any given time. That’s why it’s so important to look after your mental health during this transition.

You may have been advised by friends and family, or even your doctor, to create a written birth plan. Once the contractions start, it can be difficult to make big decisions or express to your nurses and doctor what you want your delivery experience to be like.

This plan often includes general information, like your name and contact information. It also may cover details like who you want in the room, if you’d prefer no cameras in the room, whether you want any type of pain management, and if you’d like your baby to breastfeed as soon as he or she is delivered.

Online Counseling Can Help When Labor Doesn’t Go as Planned

While there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead, it’s important to keep in that mind that birth can be completely unpredictable. You may strongly desire to have an all-natural birth, but your labor may ultimately require a C-section. If your baby needs medical attention after being born, you may not have the chance to immediately hold and nurse your little one as you pictured. Maybe you envisioned you would be giving birth with an epidural only for labor to move much faster than you expected.

Whatever the circumstances, it’s common for women to feel guilty if their birth didn’t go as planned or experience a great deal of birth trauma if the labor was especially stressful or traumatic. If this sounds like you, an online counseling session can help you vent your feelings and process your experience.

Help Is Available for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

It is very common for new moms to feel more sad or anxious than normal in the first days or even couple of weeks after giving birth. According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 70 to 80% of women experience what is often called the “baby blues” and is likely caused by a combination of factors, like hormone changes and a severe lack of sleep.

While the “baby blues” period is often short-lived and goes away on its own, some women, around one in seven, can develop serious mental health conditions called postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety disorder. Without treatment, symptoms can last a long time and affect moms’ abilities to care for their babies. It’s more common than you might think, but the good news is that help is available.

Understanding the Symptoms and Causes

If you recently had a baby and aren’t feeling yourself, there are several signs to look out for that you may have postpartum depression:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Low sex drive
  • Long periods of sadness and crying
  • Periods of irritability or anger
  • Difficulties falling or staying asleep
  • Withdrawal from family members and the baby
  • Problems concentrating or remembering things
  • Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself or your baby

Women with postpartum anxiety may experience some of these same symptoms, such as appetite changes, irritability, and sleep difficulties. You may also experience:

  • A feeling of dread or worry that doesn’t go away
  • Constantly racing thoughts
  • Dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and hot flashes
  • Panic attacks

Like the “baby blues,” there is not one known cause of postpartum depression and anxiety. Hormone changes, such a drop in estrogen and progesterone, likely play a part. But things like sleep deprivation, difficulties adjusting to motherhood, self-esteem issues, and stressful life events can all contribute as well.

Women who have a history of depression or other mood disorders, have experienced postpartum depression in the past, or who have had an unplanned pregnancy are at an increased risk. Also, you can be more susceptible if your baby has any health problems, you don’t have a strong support system, or you are experiencing relationship issues, financial hardship, other major life difficulties. Finding Support for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Finding Support for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Many doctors now screen new mothers for symptoms of postpartum depression after giving birth. If you are struggling, your physician may suggest postpartum therapy. We understand that reaching out for help can be a scary first step, and you may feel like you don’t have the time or energy to spare. However, treating postpartum depression early can help you start to feel yourself again and be emotionally available to give your new baby the care and love they need to thrive.

Your psychiatrist can talk with you about options for treatment. While pharmaceutical treatments can help address some of the symptoms of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, Thriving Lane takes an integrative, women-led approach to psychiatry. Online counseling sessions, guided meditations, breathing techniques, a solid nutrition and exercise plan, and self-affirmations can help heal both your mind and body during this time.

You’re Not Alone

While you may feel like you’re the only new mom who doesn’t have it all together, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Motherhood is hardly a smooth, straight path. There are ups and downs in every stage, and you’ll often feel like you’re learning as you go. And for many new moms, the first few steps are some of the hardest.

At Thriving Lane, we understand that every woman’s journey to becoming a mother is unique, and it’s easy to feel lonely or overwhelmed. Our psychiatrists are ready to meet you where you are and provide evidence-based, comprehensive therapy and treatment to help you thrive in your new role.

Start your journey with a teletherapy session at Thriving Lane.

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