At Sage House we believe it is important for all mothers to know that postpartum mood disorders are more common than society would like us to believe. New mothers and their partners are challenged with the responsibility of keeping another being alive, the weight of this responsibility can result in a full range of emotions. Parenthood may feel both joyous and overwhelming. The first few months of motherhood can be especially trying- sleep deprivation, hormonal changes and the physical recovery from birth are just a few of the most common challenges. Shifts within the relationship with intimate partners and/or other significant supports also take place. All of this change is not easy to handle. We now know that one in eight new mothers suffer from symptoms of anxiety, depression, OCD and psychosis. These symptoms can feel disorienting, scary and confusing. As individuals, we like to think we have all the tools we need to cope. We may feel there is nothing too challenging for us to handle or we can do it on our own. Parenthood is one of the times in life that not trying to do it all on your own is more important than ever. Having a trusted and available “village” is key to promoting your health as well as your baby’s.
You Are Not Alone
A common refrain to expectant parents is, “life will never be the same”. It is hard to really understand what this change will be like until the baby arrives and by then there is no turning back! Mothers who experience mood disorders postpartum often feel too ashamed to seek treatment or believe what they are feeling is “just part of parenthood”. Parents also underestimate how long the perinatal period lasts. We now believe postpartum can last up to two years after the birth of the child. Even after adjusting to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and a completely new routine, the changing family dynamics and financial responsibilities continue for years after a child joins the family. All of these things can add up and take a toll. We work with you to build a comprehensive plan that specifically addresses your needs. Our goal is to partner with you to help life feel more manageable and enjoyable again.
To view a list of the signs and symptoms of postpartum mood disorders click here.
How Postpartum Therapy Can Help You Heal
Today’s society places a large emphasis on physical wellness during and following the birth of a child. For births in a hospital setting, women are monitored throughout the birthing process to make sure both baby and mom have healthy vitals and are physically doing well. When the baby arrives, doctors and nurses look for strong vital signs and responsiveness and conduct similar checks on mom, limiting evaluation and treatment to physical symptoms. The six-week check-up for most new mothers is when the OB signs off on going back to “life as usual”. Yet we know that even though the physical body may be healed, the emotional adjustment to becoming a new mom (or a mom to a second or third child) can feel anything but a return to normal life.
It may feel like life will never go back to the way it used to be. Some mothers feel like they have lost a part of themselves that they may never again regain. Many new mothers struggle with how long to take maternity leave and if and when to make the transition back to work. Others ask what it means to be a working mother and are challenged with finding a new kind of work-life balance. Parenthood ushers in a novel set of questions about identity as a new parent, while also honoring the pre-baby identity. Many women report struggling to find time for their partners or lack the interest to reengage the intimacy in their relationships. The timeline for bringing intimacy back into a relationship can also be complicated by a traumatic birth experience in which the physical body needs more time than expected to heal or the delivery process has resulted in more long- term physical changes.
We created Sage House Counseling & Art Therapy to be a place to heal in community. A place where women and their partners can talk about their experiences without judgment or expectation. All feelings, worries and fears are accepted here along with the joy and wonderment that comes with parenthood.
We care deeply about the needs of our community and strive to advocate for those needs through our services, resources, and partnerships.
We’re not perfect. And neither are you. And that’s okay. We celebrate what your version of wellbeing looks like instead of fitting you into a predetermined box.
Therapy doesn’t always have to be heavy and serious. It can be light and playful and funny, and we take pride in cultivating an atmosphere of joy amidst transformative healing.