Is The Transition Into Parenthood Causing Feelings Of Frustration, Resentment, Or Inadequacy?
Are you adjusting to life as a new mom?
Has it been overwhelming to balance your needs with the needs of your baby and other relationships in your life?
Do you feel sad or disappointed because you expected to feel differently when you became a parent?
The transition into parenthood drastically changes every element of life. Between taking time away from work, having to tend to the needs of your newborn, and developing an entirely new identity as “Mom,” you may often be stressed or isolated. Instead of feeling surrounded by love and support during what you imagined would be a purely joyful time in your life, you may feel detached from your relationships—especially that which you have with your baby and partner.
Perhaps You’ve Developed Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression Or Anxiety
With all of the hormonal and circumstantial changes taking place, you may experience a rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis. As exciting as the “highs” of parenthood are, the “lows” are equally intense. You may often feel sad, anxious, or weepy without fully understanding why. Not to mention, your body has undergone a tremendous transformation, leaving you physically drained and possibly even in pain.
Many women grapple with conflicting feelings after the birth of a child. Especially if this is your first time, you may feel confused or disappointed that your expectations of what this period would look like are not being met. It’s possible that instead of feeling connected to your newborn, you feel detached and socially isolated by them. This naturally creates a cycle of guilt, setting you up to feel like a failure as a parent within your baby’s first few months.
However, you may not feel comfortable sharing these feelings with others. Worried that you will never love this baby the way you “should” or that you are not up for the task of parenthood, you may be panicking about what your future holds. But therapy is a safe space to explore your postpartum experience. Working together, you can learn skills for managing stress, getting your needs met, and creating a strong, healthy attachment with your baby.
Postpartum Mood Disorders Are Common Among New Moms
If you’re struggling as a new mom, it’s important that you not feel ashamed of or alone in your experience. It’s estimated that close to 20 percent of women experience some form of postpartum anxiety or depression, but only a fraction of new moms seek counseling.¹ Instead, many women believe that they have to manage the stress of this transition on their own.
Furthermore, modern women have vastly different experiences of childrearing than generations past. Nowadays, many women prioritize their careers first over having children, and the median age for becoming a parent is higher than it once was. For many, the transition into motherhood completely interrupts an entire lifestyle that is oriented around work, socializing, and having autonomy. Suddenly, the needs of a baby replace the needs of the individual.
We also live in a time when everyone’s parenting is put under the microscope of social media. There is immense pressure to be the “perfect” mother, wife, and career woman—having to balance all three when a baby enters the picture. It’s very common for new moms to feel inadequate, believing that “having it all” is not an option for them.
If you’re feeling ambivalent about being a mom, it’s okay. Most women have difficulty admitting to themselves—let alone others—that they’re feeling anything less than bliss. But asking for support takes strength, demonstrating a commitment to your baby, your partner, and yourself. Working with a therapist who specializes in postpartum issues can help you explore your feelings without judgment and normalize your experience.
Therapy Honors Your Postpartum Experience, Whatever It Might Be
In counseling for postpartum moms, I welcome the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that seem socially unacceptable. You won’t be judged in therapy; you will be validated. As we identify and embrace the many and often conflicting emotions you’re having, you can gain perspective and understand that you will not always feel this way.
As a psychodynamic therapist, I approach postpartum issues from the lens of early experiences. Your distress likely originates from elements of your own upbringing, which have been carried into many areas of your life—not just limited to your parenting style. We’ll connect the dots between your current symptoms and past experiences so that you can more readily identify the thinking and behavior patterns that create distress. For new moms, in particular, I aim to make our counseling sessions solution-focused, providing you with relief today and giving you resources to connect with other postpartum women who share your experience.
My approach also works to enhance the bond you have with your baby. Because psychodynamic psychoanalysis heavily focuses on early attachments and relationships, we will explore some parenting templates you internalized as a child as we challenge counterproductive thoughts and beliefs you’ve developed about your new identity as a mother. Through postpartum therapy, you can learn to adjust the expectations you’ve created for yourself and others so that you can parent with more peace and satisfaction.
It is possible to feel connected to your baby. This transition is certainly difficult, but we will collaborate on ways to make it more manageable—allowing you to accept your limitations, enhance your self-compassion, and see that you are, in fact, a good mother, partner, and person.
Still Not Sure If Postpartum Counseling Can Help You?
How will talking to a postpartum therapist help me in my life outside of therapy? You won’t be there when I’m stuck at home alone with a newborn.
It is true that I can’t be physically where you are, but our conversations will offer you perspectives and insights that you can take with you anywhere outside the counseling space. Therapy is an opportunity to internalize new information and create new patterns, giving you a chance to accept and normalize—rather than reject—the complex feelings you have. Postpartum counseling affords you an invaluable opportunity to be kinder and more forgiving towards yourself as an individual, which will create a positive ripple effect in your role as a mother.
I have friends who are postpartum—I don’t need to talk to a counselor; I can just talk to them.
It’s important for new moms to have support, and I certainly encourage you to connect with other new parents on your journey. However, talking to friends is not the same as talking to a therapist who specializes in postpartum issues. Unlike the cultural expectations to view the postpartum period as a time of complete bliss and harmony, therapy is a safe space where you can explore all of your emotions—even the ones you’re afraid to admit.
From my trained perspective, I can help you see how certain expectations are harming your relationships, including those you have with yourself and your baby, so that you can feel confident rather than inadequate as a mom.
I’ve heard that psychodynamic therapy takes years, and I don’t have that kind of time with a new baby around.
When working with postpartum moms, I usually take a more active, solution-oriented role as a therapist. Postpartum therapy is more about getting you to a manageable baseline so that your attachments and bond with your baby can thrive. However, if you wish to go deeper in ongoing counseling sessions beyond the postpartum period, I am available for longer-term therapy that can facilitate an even deeper understanding of yourself and your relationships.
Let Me Support You During Your Transition Into Parenthood
If you’re struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or other issues related to the transition into parenthood, therapy is a safe space to explore all of your emotions and develop meaningful solutions. Contact me or call (949) 237-2372 to learn more about how I can help.