New moms often start therapy because they are having scary thoughts that they are afraid to admit it to anyone. They are scared that someone will think they don’t love or want to take care of their baby. The truth is that pregnant and postpartum mothers love their babies so much, which is why these thoughts are so scary.
“Isn’t it the best?” is often a well-intentioned statement that people make to new moms. Unfortunately, this and other statements like it set up mothers who are not feeling this way to have feelings of shame and thoughts that something is wrong with them.
Some of the thoughts I hear are:
“This sucks. Why did I think it was a good idea to have a baby?”
“I thought I would be excited about being pregnant, but I’m just not.”
“I want to run away. I can’t take this anymore.”
“How can anyone think this monotony is great?”
“Can this feeding session end already?!”
“Breasting feeding is so much harder than I thought it would be. I feel like a failure.”
“I thought the instinct that everyone talks about would kick in, but it hasn’t. I feel like something is wrong with me.”
Moms experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety absolutely LOVE their babies, and at the same time, they can feel so conflicted and confused for having these thoughts.
It’s not like they want to have them. They long to have the magical experience that they heard about and expected, instead of feeling alone and isolated. They keep going because of their baby. Their baby is their motivation to get better.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, also known as PMADs (postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum bipolar disorder, postpartum PTSD, and postpartum psychosis), affect 1 in 5 women, making them the leading complications of pregnancy and the postpartum period. In other words, they’re pretty common. Because of this there has been a lot of research in how to treat them. With evidence-based treatment, new moms can feel better sooner. Recovery is possible!
If you live in California and are interested in a free 15 minute consultation to see if we would be a good fit in working together, contact me here.
Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.