Mental Health and Motherhood
Aimee Wood, licensed therapist specializing in maternal mental health, from Better Being Main Line discusses the importance of maternal mental health and the benefits of therapy.
Mood and anxiety disorders are the number one complication of pregnancy. Despite this, the first aftercare appointment a new mother will likely have that is specifically for her and her medical care is the six week OB/GYN check-up. There will be many pediatrician visits, appointments with a lactation specialist, and more when it comes to the care and needs of the little one. The current system is designed to fail when it comes to a mother’s mental health. This can plant the idea or expectation that most postpartum moms will mentally and emotionally
bounce back automatically without help or support. Spoiler alert: This is not necessarily the case.
Motherhood/parenthood is the biggest transition in a new mom’s life. This adjustment is not something everyone can do on their own. That is where therapy comes in. Therapy that focuses on maternal mental health isn’t just for moms with postpartum depression. There are many other symptoms and moods that can impact a perinatal or postpartum mom. Maternal mental health therapy is for all moms, and it is a great support for a mother’s adjustment to the many challenges and changes that come with their role as a mother. A postpartum therapist can help validate her experience, navigate this new role, and help her put effective strategies into place where they are needed.
Being Better Main Line is a private, boutique psychotherapy practice on the Main Line providing therapy to individuals and couples. They believe in utilizing evidence-based practices and collaborative care to provide the most effective and customized treatment. Their specialties include anxiety and depression, healing from trauma, life transitions, women’s emotional and sexual wellness, maternal mental health, infidelity, couples conflict, intimacy issues within the relationship.
A mom who is struggling comes in many different forms. Sometimes a mom who is suffering is disguised as a mom who appears to have it all together. But under the surface she is questioning whether she is really cut out for this, and is struggling to get through each day. While postpartum mood disorders are not preventable, there are a number of things new mothers can do in addition to therapy to give themselves the best fighting chance in reducing risk and even managing potential symptoms:
1. The more sleep for longer stretches, the better. (This requires enlisting help to share nighttime feeds and needs when possible).
2. Taking breaks from baby. Leave the babe with partner, a trusted family member, etc, and get out of the house every few days even for just an hour. Go for a walk, or go grab a coffee and sit in the car in peace. Simply, just get out.
3. Find a tribe, any tribe: Local moms groups/support groups, connect with fellow new moms in the neighborhood, etc.
New mothers don’t need a postpartum depression diagnosis to benefit from therapy for postpartum. All moms can benefit from support for their mental well-being. It is okay to struggle as a new mom. If anything, it is expected, but moms don’t have to do it alone. Research indicates having a strong support system is essential to the mental health of a mom. Therapy is always a great first step in building one’s support system.
For more tips, information on Being Better Main Line’s services, or to schedule your free phone consultation, please visit betterbeingmainline.com.