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Counselling for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Many women experience severe depression or anxiety in the weeks and months after childbirth. We’re here to help.
Welcoming a new baby can bring a lot of different emotions, from excitement and joy, to feeling anxious and overwhelmed. But, sometimes those “baby blues” can last long after childbirth and severely impact day to day functioning.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are common complications that develop after giving birth. The symptoms can make caring for and bonding with your new baby very difficult. Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety do not develop due to character flaws. They are real disorders that require treatment to help you manage your symptoms and get back to enjoying motherhood.
Postpartum depression and anxiety can both begin during pregnancy or within the first year of childbirth. It may also occur in women who have had a miscarriage or abortion.
If you think you might be depressed or anxious after pregnancy, book a consultation with one of our mental health specialists who can help you better manage and overcome these conditions.
What Does Postpartum Depression Feel Like?
Unlike the common mood swings that occur after childbirth and lift within a few hours or days of giving birth, postpartum depression sticks around.
Postpartum depression has the same symptoms as major depressive disorder but can be uniquely painful due to its timing. You may have thoughts like “I’m not fit to be a mother” or “why don’t I feel anything?”. Postpartum depression can make daily tasks feel impossible. It is common for new mothers to feel robbed of the joy they expected to experience.
Some of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression include:
Feeling down or sad for most of the day every day
Withdrawing from family and friends
Loss of interest or pleasure
Problems concentrating or feeling like you’re in a fog
Changes in appetite- such as overeating or under-eating
Fatigue or lack of energy
Feelings of guilt or low self-worth and shame
Thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or your baby
A small number of people may go on to develop postpartum psychosis. This may include hallucinations or delusions, paranoia, obsessive thoughts about the baby, and excessive energy or agitation. Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviours and requires immediate treatment.
Postpartum depression in new fathers
New fathers may also experience postpartum depression, where they feel sad, fatigued, or overwhelmed. This form of depression can be particularly disruptive to relationships and can impede a new father’s ability to bond with their baby. Seeking help to navigate the symptoms of postpartum depression is recommended for mothers and fathers.
About half of women who experience postpartum depression will also experience postpartum anxiety.
Postpartum Panic Disorder
With postpartum panic disorder, you may have sudden panic attacks related to your anxious thoughts.
Postpartum panic attack symptoms may include:
Shortness of breath or feeling unable to breathe
Intense fear of death (for you or your baby)
Chest pain or tightness
Shaking or trembling
Will Postpartum Depression or Anxiety Go Away if I Don’t Seek Help?
For some people, symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety may resolve within six months of giving birth. For others, symptoms can last for years. The symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety can interfere with critical bonding between mother and baby. Therefore it is always recommended to seek help for both postpartum depression and anxiety. You deserve to feel well, and treatment can help you manage the symptoms of these challenging conditions.
What Causes Postpartum Depression and Anxiety?
First of all, it is crucial to know that Postpartum depression or anxiety is not your fault. These conditions are complications of childbirth that require treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
Postpartum depression or anxiety may develop due to a combination of factors such as:
Personal history: You are at a higher risk of developing these complications if you have a personal history of mental illness, particularly depression or anxiety disorders. You may also have an increased risk if you have had a previous pregnancy loss or lost an infant.
Family history: You are at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression or anxiety if you have a family member with depression or anxiety.
Exposure to Trauma: Traumatic experiences, including previous miscarriages, can increase your risk of postpartum depression or anxiety.
Biochemical Factors: Hormone fluctuations and disruptions associated with pregnancy can trigger postpartum depression and anxiety.
Environmental Factors: Characteristics of your environment may increase your risk of postpartum depression or anxiety or make symptoms worse. Some environmental risks include difficult relationships, poor support system, instability, and the sleep deprivation and stress that goes along with caring for a new baby.
Receiving clinical intervention for postpartum depression or anxiety is imperative to managing symptoms and improving your ability to enjoy your life.
How are Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Treated?
The most common treatment for postpartum depression and anxiety is therapy. Many new mothers are hesitant to take medications, but they may be recommended in combination with therapy for some people.
Counselling & Therapy for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Untreated postpartum depression and anxiety can be very disruptive to family relationships and early child development. Therapy is one of the most effective treatments to help you cope with the difficult symptoms you may be facing.
Supportive therapy can help you learn effective tools to combat negative thoughts and strategies to reduce anxiety. Your therapist will tailor a program specific to your needs and offer a supportive environment where you can vent your concerns and get the support you need during this extremely difficult period.
Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are very effective in treating depression and anxiety. Many of the ways we interpret events and deal with our problems can be unhelpful or even harmful to our well-being. In CBT, your therapist will work with you to identify any unhelpful ways of coping and help you learn more helpful ways of viewing your world and tackling your problems.
If you have experienced trauma in your past, our team of therapists specializes in helping clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn effective ways to begin the healing process.
The team at Life in Harmony is committed to providing you with the absolute best treatment to help you deal with your postpartum depression or anxiety. Our team is experienced, diverse, and offers an array of treatment approaches that can be specifically tailored to your needs. You and your family deserve support.
Reach out to book a consultation with one of our specialists today.
Counselling for Postpartum Depression & Anxiety in Vaughan, Woodbridge & Greater Toronto Area
We are the largest counselling service provider in the Vaughan and Woodbridge area with over 15 years of experience. Our team of therapists specializes in helping clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn effective tools for overcoming them. We offer cutting edge counselling and coaching to individuals, families, and couples.