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5 Tips To Effectively Manage Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

The postpartum period brings about a profound shift for many women. Life is filled with newfound joy, yet shadowed by emotions that may seem unfamiliar. Understanding and coping with postpartum depression and anxiety requires courage, and a whole lot of of self-love.

 

Postpartum depression & anxiety are conditions that can affect new mothers after childbirth, & in some cases, fathers or partners as well. It’s natural for new parents to experience some level of anxiety & fatigue, but postpartum anxiety & depression are more severe, persisting, & can interfere with one’s ability to function daily.

1. Recognize the Signs of
Postpartum depression & Anxiety

Anxiety and depression, especially postpartum, can be tricky to pinpoint. Sometimes, it’s the palpitations disguised as excitement, or the worries written off as maternal instincts, or the mood changes seen as typical ‘baby blues’. Distinguishing normal concerns from postpartum depression and anxiety is paramount. Here are some signs that might indicate a person is experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety:

Postpartum Depression (PPD):

Persistent Sadness or Low Mood:

Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless most of the day, nearly every day.

 

Loss of Interest or Pleasure:

Not enjoying things you used to, including time with the baby.

 

Changes in Sleep Patterns:

Insomnia or excessive sleeping, not related to the baby’s sleep schedule.

 

Changes in Appetite:

Eating significantly more or less than usual, which is not related to previous pregnancy eating habits.

 

Intense Irritability and Anger:

Feeling irritable or angry with no apparent cause.

 

Overwhelming Fatigue or Loss of Energy:

Feeling physically drained, even with adequate rest, to the point that even small tasks take extra effort.

 

Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt:

Strong feelings of not being good enough, making mistakes, or worrying that you’re not a good parent.

 

Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions:

Trouble focusing, remembering details, or making decisions.

 

Withdrawal:

Avoiding friends and family and withdrawing from social activities.

 

Thoughts of Harm:

Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, or fears of harming oneself or the baby.

 

*If you’re unsure if you’re having thoughts of harming yourself, your baby or others, you can speak to a therapist immediately by calling 988, the mental health hotline. 

Postpartum Anxiety (PPA):

Excessive Worry or Constant Fear:

Often feeling that something bad will happen and not being able to shake these concerns.

 

Restlessness or Feeling On Edge:

An inability to relax or calm down.

 

Sleep Disturbances:

Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, unrelated to the baby’s sleep needs.

 

Constantly Feeling Overwhelmed:

Feeling like you can’t handle daily tasks that you used to manage easily.

 

Racing Thoughts:

Thoughts that are difficult to slow down.

 

Compulsions:

Feeling the need to do certain things over and over to reduce anxiety, such as checking on the baby repeatedly.

 

Panic Attacks:

Sudden episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms, such as chest pain, heart palpitations, or feeling faint.

 

Fear of Being Alone with Baby:

Worrying about being alone with your baby because of fears related to the baby’s safety or your capabilities as a parent.

 

Physical Symptoms:

Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, nausea, muscle tension, stomach aches, trembling, sweating, or feeling keyed up.

**Experiencing one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean someone has postpartum anxiety, but if these feelings are intense, persistent, or interfere with daily life, it’s crucial to seek professional help. 

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2. Speak Your Truth: The Power of Sharing

Depression and anxiety thrive in silence but withers in dialogue. Find a confidant—a partner, friend, or family member—and speak your truths. When words flow, so does healing.

3. Self-Compassion: You’re the Priority

Perfection and motherhood are two words that have no business being in the same sentence. Motherhood is full of trial and error, hiccups and whoopsies. Set realistic expectations, embrace self-love, practice forgiveness—towards yourself first. Take things slow, learn about your baby, your routine and this new chapter. It’s all unfamiliar, and that’s okay– it’s supposed to be! You’ll find your way with your own intrinsic abilities as well as the support you accept from others. 

4. Mindfulness: In the Moment Lies Peace

Anxiety anchors you to the what-ifs, depression tethers you to the what-should’s but mindfulness  brings you back to the what-is. Through techniques like deep breathing or guided imagery, you tether yourself to the present—a haven often overlooked. Science corroborates, with evidence lauding mindfulness’s tranquilizing effect on the psyche.

5. Nourishment: Body, Mind, and Soul

This is where that self-love comes in. Postpartum is a time to nourish yourself.

  • Feed Your Body:
    • Omega-3s, probiotics, and essential vitamins aren’t mere nutrients; they’re safeguarding your physical and mental health. Choose foods that fortify and energize.
  • Some Semblance of a Sleep Routine:
    • Sleep isn’t an indulgence; it’s a necessity. Amidst nocturnal feedings and diaper changes, even a *flexible* schedule can be your beacon. Optimize your sleep environment; darkness and tranquility aren’t just atmospheric, they’re medicinal.
  • Movement is alchemy:
    • Boost those endorphins and stretch out pain points! You needn’t be a marathoner; dance in the living room, stroll in the park or go out and garden. 
  • Community & Support 
    • There’s fortitude in solitude, but communion breeds resilience. Support groups, both physical and virtual, are sanctuaries for the soul. Share, listen, find solace in others.

Final Thoughts

Postpartum depression and anxiety are very treatable with therapy and support. Motherhood is full of  challenges, victories, tears, and laughter. For some, the postpartum period presents more challenges than anticipated, and that’s where professional help comes in! With therapy and support groups, new mom’s and new dads can find their rhythm, routine and settle into their new-found family life.

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FAQ's about therapy at mbd

How do I get started as a new client?

Do you offer traditional talk therapy?

of course! though we have some unconventional therapy approaches, we are rooted in evidenced based practices. Talk therapy is a major player in the therapy room! See What we Treat and Integrative Services for more information

Does my insurance cover my visits?

Uur goal it to decrease stress and anxiety, so we understand that the financial commitment to therapy is something to consider! We provide OON billing for clients who decide to bill their insurance for services. A “Superbill” can be provided to you for potential reimbursement of services. To know if you have to OON benefits, you can call your insurance company and ask about the process of receiving these benefits. 

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See our “Affordable Therapy” Page for info on licensing and costs of therapy.

 LAC/LSW are therapists who may practice clinical work under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.

LPC/LCSW are therapists who have completed the necessary clinical hours post-graduation under supervision and can practice clinical work independently.

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We ask that clients provide at least 24 hours notice in the event that they need to cancel to avoid the 50% cancellation fee. we understand that life happens and do our best to be flexible & reschedule.

What is Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT)?

VRT is an immersive tool that helps clients to explore environments that can not be traditionally explored in therapy. Visit our VR page for more info and to watch our infomercial 

What is VRT used for?

we use VRT to support Exposure Therapy, a long standing traditional therapy modality to treat phobias, anxiety and stress. we send a headset directly to your home so you can access VRT from anywhere.

VRT not only helps with exposure therapy for phobias, but is great for ADHD, mindfulness, PTSD and social anxiety.

How does the process work?

  • Fill out a consult request below or reach out to us directly.
  • our phone number is 609-300-6481, call or text
  • MBD will respond within 24 business hours
  • You will get access to the patient portal to complete the intake paperwork
  • Once the paperwork is submitted and reviewed we confirm your intake appointment
  • Prior to your intake, you will receive a link to access the telehealth session.

Do You Offer Free or Reduced Therapy?

Yes! We offer a sliding scale as well as reduced fee therapy for clients working with out graduate interns. To learn more visit: Reduced Fee Therapy