Parenting is one of the most challenging experiences we face in our lives. It can be a source of both our deepest joy and most painful suffering. The process of becoming a new parent is permanently life-altering and can challenge us in ways we never predicted. Whether you're experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety or more mild growing pains associated with becoming a parent, help is available.
There are many reasons we experience stress during the transition to parenthood. For moms, a primary cause of unnecessary stress is believing in the illusion of the "Super-Mom". This deep rooted cultural myth sets moms up for failure as they try to meet unrealistic, nearly impossible to achieve expectations. The incongruity between the reality of motherhood and our expectations about it can often cause moms to feel inadequate or to wonder if there’s something wrong with them. Moms are expected to be nothing less then perfect; to maintain their pre-childbearing bodies, to be perfectly loving, perfectly caring, perfect housekeepers, perfect cooks, juggle career and child-rearing perfectly, be perfect disciplinarians etc. These unreasonable expectations create a heavy emotional burden, often causing moms to experience feelings of chronic guilt, low self-worth, anxiety or depression.
Becoming a mama or papa is one of the biggest transitions in a person's life, one which reverberates inside us, impacting our roles, identity, relationships, and career. It can be extremely helpful to have an experienced professional to provide support and guidance during this tumultuous time. Counseling for pre- and postpartum moms and dads is dependent on the specific needs of each person and can include a focus on:
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as anger, irritability, sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, sleep disturbances, or worthlessness you may be experiencing Postpartum Depression. Postpartum Depression is a Perinatal Mood Disorder that impacts up to 20% of postpartum women. Other Perinatal Mood Disorders such as Postpartum Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are also very common.
Between 10-20% of dads experience a Perinatal Mood Disorder such as depression during the first year postpartum. In fact, up to 50% of men whose partners experience postpartum depression will also develop it. Although my site is geared mostly towards moms I also work with men. If you're a dad experiencing postpartum stress or depression please don't hesitate to contact me.
Many things are still unknown about the exact causes of perinatal mood disorders but experts agree it’s usually a combination of many factors including genetic and psychological predisposition, lack of adequate support, change in primary life role, hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition and increased stress.
If you've experienced some of the issues on this list, you may be more likely to develop a Perinatal Mood Disorder such as Depression or Anxiety.
Compass Perinatal Peer Support Group in Salem Oregon (971) 301-2678
Postpartum Support International Free phone support 1-800-944-4773
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255