Postpartum Symptoms and How Postpartum Therapy Can Help
Let’s talk about how challenging it is to navigate new parenthood. Having a baby can be one of the most exciting experiences in life. It can also bring difficult postpartum symptoms, like depression, anxiety, and even psychosis. Experiencing any of these symptoms can make new parenthood feel unbearable at times.
Seeking support from a trained therapist who specializes in postpartum therapy is important. A therapist can help you to regain your life and provide support during this uniquely challenging time. The good news is that there are a variety of treatment options to care for your mental health as a new mother. Our therapists at Thought Partners are here to help.
What Are Postpartum Mood Disorders?
Postpartum mood disorders (PMD) are a group of conditions that involve changes in mood, irritability, and feelings of sadness. They are the most common complication of childbirth. PMD can affect up to 20% of new mothers after giving birth. Postpartum mood disorders can range from mild mood shifts such as “baby blues” to more serious conditions. Conditions such as postpartum depression, anxiety, or postpartum psychosis. Symptoms can appear anytime within the first year after childbirth and can vary in severity and duration. When treating PMDs, we often see postpartum depression and anxiety. More rarely we see postpartum psychosis.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that can affect your mental and emotional health as a new mom. It can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and irritability. As a result, you might withdraw from family and friends. Or you may find it difficult to manage your usual daily activities. Postpartum depression often develops in the first few weeks after childbirth. But it can also take up to a year for it to appear. You may experience feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and loss of interest in usual activities. Additionally, sleep deprivation from a newborn can add to the intensity of PPD.
Postpartum anxiety (PPA) is a condition that involves feelings of fear, worry, and panic. Feelings that can interfere with daily activities. It is one of the types of postpartum mood disorder and can often occur alongside depression. Symptoms may include trouble sleeping and concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, and having difficulty controlling your worry or fear.
Postpartum anxiety can be difficult to recognize since many of the symptoms are associated with other conditions such as postpartum depression, and the difficulty in distinguishing between them can make it hard to seek treatment. Also, having a new baby creates many new worries that can be difficult to manage. Even under the best of circumstances. When you add in sleep deprivation and rapidly shifting hormones, a perfect storm for PPA exists. In our practice, we find that many women reflect back on the newborn stages and realize that they experienced PPA, but did not seek help during the most challenging period.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious mental health disorder that affects a very small percentage of new mothers and requires immediate intervention. It often involves delusions, hallucinations, and severe disorientation. Symptoms may include severe confusion, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and paranoia. Postpartum psychosis usually begins within two weeks after childbirth. In some cases, it can take up to a year to appear. Seeking help for postpartum psychosis is critical to ensure you quickly receive appropriate care. Care will likely include medication, therapy, and possible in-patient support.
The Importance of Treatment for Postpartum Mood Disorders
Postpartum Mood Disorders are an important topic that must be discussed. A topic that must be understood by new moms, families, and friends. PMDs can have a detrimental impact on both a mother’s well-being and her baby’s. One in five women remains silent about her symptoms, meaning they go without much-needed support. For example, PPD can impede the mother’s capacity to nurture and bond with her infant. In rare cases disrupt the infant’s growth and safety.
Therapy Can Be Essential For Postpartum
Postpartum depression and anxiety can be devastating experiences for new mothers. Left untreated, the effects of these conditions can be long-lasting and may last for years. Thankfully, a range of therapies exists to help new mothers, like you, cope with postpartum depression and anxiety. They provide much-needed support and resources to manage your symptoms and make progress in managing your mental health. Through a combination of talk therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication, new mothers can gain access to the guidance and resources needed to ensure that their postpartum depression and anxiety are managed in a safe and effective manner.
Postpartum therapy is an essential part of postpartum care. It can be beneficial for many women. Therapy can help you manage stress, address feelings of depression and anxiety, and increase the chances of a successful transition into motherhood. It can also help to normalize the changes that occur after childbirth and provide needed emotional support. Postpartum therapy provides a safe space to explore any feelings or thoughts related to motherhood and create a plan of action to manage the different changes that come with it.
What About Those Without Mood Disorders?
Mothers who are adjusting to life with a newborn need support too, even if they are not experiencing PMDs. Sleep deprivation caused by having a new baby can also lead to further feelings of irritability and sadness. This can make it difficult to focus, and lose your appetite. Becoming a parent brings on a whole host of worries, including how will I parent my child. Will I parent the way I was parented or in a new way? Unpacking your own parenting baggage can be therapeutic. It can help you choose how you want to parent your child, which can foster feelings of empowerment and healing.
Get Support With Postpartum Therapy in San Francisco, CA
Recognizing the warning signs of PMDs is the first step to gaining support during this challenging time. Understandably, you may avoid seeking treatment because you feel guilty, unsure, shameful, or afraid to acknowledge what you are experiencing. However, you are not alone and help is available.
Our society places many pressures and expectations on new mothers and we know it takes courage to reach out for help. At Thought Partners, we are on a mission to normalize seeking support on your new parenting journey. We specialize in working with women and understanding the unique difficulties of the postpartum period. To get started follow these simple steps:
- Reach out for support
- Meet with one of our caring postpartum therapists
- Begin taking your journey to heal.
Other Mental Health Services Offered at Thought Partners
At Thought Partners, we know finding the right mental health support can be challenging, and we want to support you during these times. Maybe you aren’t just looking for therapy for postpartum difficulties, but are also interested in progressing in other areas of your life with a therapist. Along with postpartum therapy, our team offers individual therapy for adults and couples therapy. Our services also include grief therapy and EMDR/trauma therapy. Thought Partners also offers online therapy in the state of California. For more about us check out our blog and FAQs!
The Dark and Light of New Motherhood - Thought Partners
[…] first months with my baby, I can clinically assess myself as meeting the diagnostic criteria for postpartum depression and anxiety, but diagnosis is a blunt instrument that does nothing to color-in or add a depth of understanding […]