Pregnancy and Postpartum

Mental health issues during pregnancy can include depression, mood, or anxiety disorders, especially because some women discontinue medications during pregnancy. Those that are most at risk are women with histories of major depression. Pregnancy and postpartum is a risky time due to dramatic changes in hormones as well as lack of sleep and being overwhelmed with new responsibilities. 

Postpartum depression is often characterized by severe mood swings, excessive crying, difficulty bonding with the baby, severe anxiety, withdrawal from family and friends, insomnia (or sleeping too much), overwhelming fatigue, intense anger, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of ability to think clearly. These symptoms of postpartum depression typically start within the first few weeks after birth, but can begin up to six months later, and lasts longer than two weeks. Untreated, it can last many months and more. 

A counselor can help with pregnancy or postpartum issues by helping you find better ways to cope, solve problems, and respond more effectively to stressful situations. It is often also helpful to pair this with family or relationship therapy. With professional treatment, pregnancy and postpartum issues are typically resolved within six months.

Meet the specialists

Beauty and the Beast Jekkyll & Hyde just a few examples of the perinatal period. The divineness of motherhood with love and joy and admiration of a new life PLUS the hormone mood shifts, worry of being a "good enough" caregiver, and unexplainable fears. Not to mention the pregnancy "nesting" period madness... the birth experience with the retriggering of past trauma... then the breaking of intergenerational traumas, abuse and neglect. Let me help... http://www.lizwalkertherapy.com/parentingourchildrenandourself

— Liz Walker, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

I have personal and professional experience around pregnancy and postpartum challenges. I experienced postpartum anxiety and depression during both of my pregnancies and early parenting days, but never received any recognition or treatment. This is part of the reason I pursued post graduate training in this area, and now enjoy working with individuals and couples around these issues.

— Jennifer Schermerhorn, Counselor in Black Mountain, NC
 

Postpartum depression and anxiety do not discriminate - estimates show that at least 20% of women who give birth are affected. For too long there has been stigma about postpartum depression/anxiety. I endeavor to validate the experiences of individuals who have adverse experiences related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

— Sarah Bower Ho, MA, Counselor in Portland, OR

Anticipating or new mama's experience so many pressures in our society to be a "superwoman." I am passionate about helping mama's to work through shame and feelings of not being good enough as a mama, wife, or even as a woman following their pregnancy and delivery. Mamas need self-care and therapy can often be a crucial part of one's self-care and healing journey, particularly for mama's experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, or other maternal mental health concerns. In addition, because of my experiences in the field of trauma, I am sensitive to assessing and helping women and mama's work through birth trauma. Birth trauma can include feelings of not being heard throughout the delivery process, lack of informed consent throughout delivery, complications experienced throughout delivery, and stillborn birth. When appropriate, couple's therapy may also be provided for couples whom have experienced birth trauma.

— Jaja Chen, Social Worker in Waco, TX
 

Trying to conceive, being pregnant, and bringing a baby home are each unique developmental stages that often get clumped together when we think of having a baby. But in reality, each stage requires different skills and tasks from a parent, or both parents. I want to help you at every or any stage of the process of having your baby: preconception, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and getting adjusted to your new family. And especially when you bring your baby home, we want to tend to not just the baby, and not just mom, but dads and co-parents, too. Individual therapy and couples therapy options are offered for each stage, so we got you covered whether you are coming in alone or with a co-parent/partner. Online therapy is also available to make mental health treatment accessible and sustainable, especially when you have a little one at home.

— Ayelet Krieger, Clinical Psychologist in Berkeley, CA

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest changes you can go through. From fluctuating hormones, to body changes, to having another human completely depend upon you. While many expect this time to be joyous, the pregnancy and postpartum time period can also bring about mixed up feelings. It's okay to not feel okay during this time. I help new parents navigate all that comes with the pregnancy and postpartum time period. I was trained by the Seleni Institute in Maternal Mental Health in order to best serve new parents--especially those who may be dealing with a perinatal mood disorder, infertility, or pregnancy loss. I want to honor your story of parenthood--however it looks to you--and help you to find joy within it. Despite all the hardships of being a new parent, there IS joy to be found.

— Ilyse Kennedy, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX
 

I am passionate about providing support for new parents as they transition into parenthood. After the birth of my first child, I was surprised to find that this overwhelming life change left me feeling alone and unsure. I started to talk about just how hard everything was - sleeping, feeding, going places, doing anything that made me feel like me - with other moms, and was shocked to learn that all of them felt the exact same way! Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be this difficult? This experience spurred me to use my clinical and therapeutic experience and expertise to support parents during this challenging time. I have specialized training in Maternal Mental Health through Postpartum Support International (PSI) and 2020 Mom, and also am a trained Postpartum Doula.

— Kristi Hall, Counselor in Saint Paul, MN

Beauty and the Beast Jekkyll & Hyde Good Breast Bad Breast... just a few examples of the perinatal period. The divineness of motherhood with love and joy and admiration of a new life PLUS the hormone mood shifts, worry of being a "good enough" caregiver, and unexplainable fears. Not to mention the pregnancy "nesting" period madness... the birth experience with the retriggering of past trauma... then the breaking of intergenerational traumas, abuse and neglect. Let me help... http://www.lizwalkertherapy.com/parentingourchildrenandourself

— Liz Walker, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

Motherhood is transformative, but not necessarily in that "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" sort of way. If you do feel like the big beautiful butterfly at the back of the book, you probably don't need to be reading this profile. Here's the thing: having help with this transition is essential. I have been working with expectant and new mothers for the last four years in my practice and I am a big fan of Karen Kleiman's work. I am also called to serve women who have experienced reproductive trauma and loss through miscarriage, infertility, birth trauma, and genetic diagnosis and conditions that affect whether and how she is able to have children. https://labyrinthhealing.com/counseling-new-moms-austin

— Ann Stoneson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

I have attended trainings in person and online to add to my knowledge in perinatal mental health. I work with all Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD’s) but specialize in postpartum PTSD. I am part of a local perinatal consultation group and will serve on the board for The Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance beginning August 2018. I also will attend the Postpartum Support International conference in July, 2018 to continue adding to my knowledge around perinatal mental health.

— Lacey Fisher, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX
 

Please see my website for additional details. https://www.balancedmindpsych.com/women-and-maternal-health

— Audrey Atkinson, Clinical Psychologist in Davidson, NC

I have several certifications and trainings in perinatal and postpartum mood issues, including the certificate training from Postpartum Support International. I have also trained with Karen Kleiman of the Postpartum Stress Center. My practice is also closely connected to Boston OBGYN, a leading group of physicians for women affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

— Jessica Foley, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Waltham, MA
 

Making the transition into motherhood can be difficult. In addition to the all the physical changes one must endure, there are often changes in one's mood and thinking. We're often told that pregnancy and early motherhood are supposed to be "magical" times, but for many, those times are anything but magical. Even though it might not feel like it, I assure you those feelings are common and you're not a bad mother for experiencing them. Those feelings can become persistent and overwhelming, though, and it would be beneficial to talk to someone.

— Allyson Adams, Counselor in St Paul, MN

Ever since I have become a mother myself, I strive to help parents in their lifelong journey of parenthood. In our society there are a lot of pressures that make this journey more taxing on women’s mental health. Postpartum depression is the most widespread complication of pregnancy. The timely intervention will help resolve the issue faster and will leave you more time to enjoy the motherhood.

— Azhar Sultanova, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Portland, OR
 

Beauty and the Beast Jekkyll & Hyde just a few examples of the perinatal period. The divineness of motherhood with love and joy and admiration of a new life PLUS the hormone mood shifts, worry of being a "good enough" caregiver, and unexplainable fears. Not to mention the pregnancy "nesting" period madness... the birth experience with the retriggering of past trauma... then the breaking of intergenerational traumas, abuse and neglect. Let me help... http://www.lizwalkertherapy.com/parentingourchildrenandourself

— Liz Walker, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I have specialized training in treating women with perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Additionally I am a trained Bringing Baby Home facilitator, a program that helps couples navigate the transition from being a couple to being a family. In my private practice I work with parents at all stages of parenting; from new born to adult children. I have found that each stage of parenting presents its own unique challenges and I have a soft place in my heart for parents and the struggles they go through as they guide their children through life.

— Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Motherhood, the toughest job to apply for and never retire from. It can test your limits while expanding them with mixed feelings of hope, fear, loss, and gain. From miscarriages, to births, to parenting, I'm here to say, "I get it" and "keep going" when you don't feel good enough or when you have hit your capacity. I also offer "Nap Sessions" which are video sessions you can do from home when your little one is down or napping on you!

— Jennifer Hershey, Counselor in Monrovia, CA

Making the transition into motherhood can be difficult. In addition to the all the physical changes one must endure, there are often changes in one's mood and thinking. We're often told that pregnancy and early motherhood are supposed to be "magical" times, but for many, those times are anything but magical. Even though it might not feel like it, I assure you those feelings are common and you're not a bad mother for experiencing them. Those feelings can become persistent and overwhelming, though, and it would be beneficial to talk to someone.

— Allyson Adams, Counselor in St Paul, MN
 

I completed an 8-session certificate course in Maternal Mental Health facilitated by Postpartum Support International. The course covered perinatal mood disorders, common therapeutic and pharmacological treatments, support for partners and caregivers, crisis management, and more.

— Kimberly Mathis, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN

I am currently on staff in the reproductive psychiatry clinic at the Pavilion for Women at Texas Children's Hospital where I have treated hundreds of women with reproductive concerns including infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. In addition to understanding the physical aspects of these experiences, I also assist women in the shifting experience of one's body, identity, and lifestyle related to them.

— Lisa Valentine, Psychiatrist in Bellaire, TX
 

Many women experience shifts in mood during and after pregnancy. Our work together will focus on normalizing what is happening, and support you in developing practical skills for taking care of yourself during this important season.

— Brittany Boney, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

Pregnancy and motherhood is the most profound change a woman goes through. We all know how beautiful it CAN be… how fulfilling and transcendent. Yet what if it doesn’t feel that way? What if you have had a traumatic experience because of pregnancy loss or complications? Or what if it feels entirely overwhelming, or you are feeling sad, angry, even empty? Is there a place for you to authentically express these feelings, without judgement? I know how all-consuming motherhood can be and that it can trigger all sorts of self-doubt, old traumas/memories and most often, GUILT. You are not alone… I understand these experiences on a very personal, and professional level. I have studied and trained on early attachment as well as issues around PPMD. I can guide you through the intricacies of pregnancy and motherhood with compassion and skill so that we can work towards finding you peace, healing and confidence. Transformation is possible.

— Erin Robbins, Counselor in Montclair, NJ