Pregnancy and Postpartum
While pregnancy can be one of life’s most exciting events, it is a massive change in a woman and family’s life. Pregnancy symbolizes a huge life shift and naturally comes with tons of stress and unfamiliar emotions. Even when the pregnancy is unbearably exciting, it can put a strain on personal health, relationship, career, and social life. To put it simply, pregnancy is a pivotal life experience. And any big life experience can be benefited by the support and clarity of therapy.
While the experience of being pregnant is beautiful, it can also bring physical and emotional circumstances that a woman may desire help navigating. Physically, pregnancy brings so many changes to the body, which can stir long held beliefs in regards to body image. And it can simply feel relieving to talk about all of the changes happening! It may also feel helpful to have extra support with the physical symptoms throughout pregnancy, like morning sickness, aches, sleep irregularity, etc. Physical complications with pregnancy can create stress and anxiety for expecting mothers and couples, and are best to sift through prior to giving birth.
Many women who are in a relationship find that pregnancy changes the dynamic of their relationship, which may be another reason to lean on therapy throughout the pregnancy. Unresolved relationship issues often appear during pregnancy, and can create friction in the partnership. Therapy helps couples move through these issues prior to giving birth.
Of course, pregnancy creates a massive flux of hormones which affects a woman’s emotional experience drastically. Due to the shift in hormones, pregnant women often experience intense mood swings, fear, anxiety, forgetfulness, and various reactions to their changing body and life dynamic. If a woman experienced depression or anxiety prior to their pregnancy, they are likely to experience it throughout their pregnancy, perhaps to a greater degree. Understanding the impending responsibilities alone is a massive mental undertaking, for which therapy can be incredibly supportive.
Just as pregnancy is a significant life event, postpartum is also an important transition period for a woman — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Postpartum conditions can be a common reason for new mothers to reach out for support, especially in the case of postpartum depression (PPD). Approximately 15-20% of new mothers experience the symptoms of postpartum depression at any point during the year after birth. Postpartum depression is the experience of excessive worry/anxiety, overwhelm, sadness, guilt, insomnia, loss of interest in activities that once brought joy, and other depression-like symptoms. Postpartum depression can be an incredibly sensitive and challenging condition as new mothers face guilt and shame for their depression. They often feel like they should feel happy with the birth of their child, but hopefully it is comforting to know that PPD is common for new mothers, and can be supported extensively through therapy.
Different treatment models, like CBT, ACT, DBT, and mindfulness, can be used to support expecting and postpartum mothers. Our providers at Colorado CBT are ready to support Denver women on their pregnancy or postpartum journey. To get started, reach out to make an appointment.