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The birth of a baby can trigger a spectrum of emotions, from excitement and happiness to fear and anxiety. In addition, it can result in something one might not expect—depression and anxiety; “baby blues” which commonly include mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability, crying, decreased concentration, and trouble sleeping. The symptoms often fade quickly and last no longer than two weeks.
However, some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression and anxiety known as postpartum depression. Postpartum depression and anxiety are not just bad days. Listed below are some symptoms these women may experience, daily, for a period of at least two weeks or longer, and these symptoms make it difficult to get through the average day. At New Transitions Counseling Center, we believe postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it’s a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and enjoy your baby. Please speak with your OB/GYNE or give us a call for more information.
Common Postpartum Depression Symptoms:
• Feeling overwhelmed.
• Feeling a sense of guilt that you should be handling motherhood better.
• Not feeling bonded to one’s baby.
• Feeling irritated, angry, impatient, sometimes even rage.
• Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby.
• Withdrawing from family and friends.
Common Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms:
• Racing thoughts.
• Feeling constantly/chronically worried (sometimes about nothing).
• Having disturbing thoughts; the “what if…” thoughts.
• Being afraid to be alone with your baby because of scary thoughts or worries.
• Not being able to relax and enjoy motherhood because of chronic fears.
• Having disturbances of sleep and appetite.
• Have physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea.
New Transitions Counseling Center’s Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is the understanding that the way we think impacts the way that we feel. Treatment is to help mothers’ have control over their thoughts so they are able to change them. At New Transitions Counseling Center, a therapist will work with a mom to identify and acknowledge her thoughts, evaluate them, and become aware of their lack of usefulness. The goal in CBT is to explore and change underlying beliefs, differentiate between real and false threats, and develop new, helpful perspectives. CBT helps a mom to develop healthy coping strategies to deal with daily life and its stresses.
New Transitions Counseling Center Postpartum Depression Support Group combines psycho-education (teaching about postpartum, causes, treatment choices, life strategies for wellness, new mom stresses, etc.) and validation/encouragement from others. The aims of New Transitions PPD support group include the following: fostering a community of new mothers, giving new mothers a place to talk about the difficulties of motherhood, providing a non-judgmental community of others who understand, and sharing ideas regarding stress management/coping and the early stages of mothering.
Couples and marriage counseling at New Transitions Counseling Center focuses on strengthening the relationship while addressing patterns that cause conflict. Our therapists help to create a safe environment for couples to discuss, learn, and apply healthy interpersonal skills. We have found couples therapy with postpartum depression to be beneficial for the following reasons: it changes relationship dynamics, it explores intimacy challenges, and it addresses individual needs essential in maintaining the health of a couple’s relationship.