The postpartum period, also known as the fourth trimester, is a critical time for new mothers, marked by significant bodily changes. Following childbirth, women experience a sharp decline in hormone levels, which can trigger various symptoms including hair loss, night sweats, migraines, and possibly anxiety or depression. This crucial transition is often under-discussed, leaving many first-time mothers unprepared.
Postpartum anxiety is excessive worrying that occurs after the birth or adoption of a child. You may feel consumed with worry or panic. It can look like other general anxiety, but may also have frequent worries about the baby’s general wellbeing or health.
Overlooked Symptoms: Many postpartum mothers report crying often, insomnia, loss of appetite, mood swings, intrusive thoughts and an overwhelming tiredness or loss of energy. For so long, our society deemed these symptoms as the “norm” for postpartum, which caused many women to overlook and dismiss what they were experiencing. These symptoms are often not seen as mental health symptoms, but rather the expected “hormonal shift” that occurs in a woman’s body after giving birth. Without proper mental health treatment, many mothers are left feeling afraid to leave their homes, withdrawing from family and friends, and having difficulty bonding with their baby.
What is Lacking in Postnatal Care: In the standard postnatal care timeline, women typically wait until six weeks postpartum for a medical follow-up, or two weeks for a cesarean section incision check. This delay can be confusing for new mothers dealing with swift changes in their physical, mental, and emotional states. After a quick check at the six-week visit, mothers are often discharged with little support, contributing to the silent struggle of many with postpartum anxiety (PPA) or depression (PPD).
How Therapy Can Help Navigate Postpartum: Postpartum therapy offers a secure and non-judgmental environment for clients to discuss their experiences. My role as a therapist is to assist in processing these experiences and crafting a supportive, personalized treatment plan. The primary goal is to help clients rediscover their sense of self, while normalizing the diverse emotions and feelings inherent in motherhood, ensuring they understand they are not isolated in their experiences. This type of therapy can be done in many different ways such as, talk therapy, exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and EMDR.
If you think you may need help with postpartum depression or anxiety, we can help.
Written by Kelsey Allison