Perinatal mood disorders (PMAD’s) is the umbrella term that describes depression and mood disorders that women experience during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. PMAD’s are the #1 medical complications related to childbearing. 1 in 5 mothers will experience serious depression or anxiety within the first year of having a baby.
Here are some myths about postpartum depression or “the baby blues” that women in my practice have shared with me:
- “It will go away on its own.”
- “This must mean that I don’t love my baby.”
- “But, crying is natural after you’ve just given birth.”
- “Shouldn’t I be happy? I’ve wanted a baby ever since I can remember.”
Perhaps you have had these same thoughts. If you find yourself excessively crying, feeling incredibly overwhelmed, dealing with rage, or struggling with hopelessness, you may be experiencing a PMAD. Mothers struggling with a PMAD often tell me, “I just don’t feel like myself.”
I provide mothers-to-be and new mothers with a toolkit of strategies to help them feel like themselves again. Together, we work through the depression, anxiety, fears, shattered dreams, and heartbreak associated with PMAD’s until a “new normal” is established-and they feel hope.
Most people make the assumption that they will be able to get pregnant and have children. But, we know that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining pregnancy. That is 10-15 percent of couples in the United States alone. By the time people walk through my office door, I know that many of them are carrying a heavy load of pain, loss and heartache associated with their infertility struggles.
Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Many of my patients have experienced days, months and sometimes years of distress because they cannot build the family that they dreamed of building.
The inability to have a child or children touches something deep within us. The unpredictable series of hopes, followed by disappointments. The uncertainty and myriad of unanswered questions. The dilemma between dealing with endless medical appointments while still trying to maintain a job and a life. The complicated question, “When is enough, enough?” These are the kinds of infertility challenges that we address in our work together.
At the core of infertility is loss. The grief is often not seen and not heard. The loss of a much wanted pregnancy or of a failed treatment cycle often goes unacknowledged or minimized by others. The shroud of silence around this loss can leave people feeling alone and in pain.
Therapy helps to bring these losses out of the shadows.
Many of my patients have expressed the following feelings of loss:
- Loss of a problem-free pregnancy
- Loss of control over their bodies
- Loss of choice
- Loss of their imagined child
- Loss of the vision of their family
- Loss of feeling connected to who they are or to their partners
- Loss of connection to family and friends
- Loss of hope
In therapy, we allow the unspoken to be spoken. Through this process, you will heal from the traumas of infertility and move forward with a meaningful and hopeful life. This means re-connecting with who YOU are–your passions, your dreams and the things that bring your joy. For many, this also means finding the intimacy and “spark” in your marriage again. Wherever you are in this process, I look forward to supporting you through the challenges of infertility–and helping you move on with your life.