“I love my baby but this was a mistake”
“I can’t do this”
“There is something wrong with me. This is supposed to be the happiest time of my life but I’m miserable.”
Does any of this sound familiar? Are you beyond exhausted…like more than what seems normal even with a new baby? Do you feel empty and then feel guilty about feeling that way when you have been blessed with a baby? Having a baby is one of the most transformative times in a woman’s life. It is accompanied by profound physical and emotional changes. Shifting hormones, sleep deprivation, and a new role along with the loss of your autonomy is the perfect recipe for a postpartum depression or anxiety disorder. You are not alone in this, many women (approximately 20%) will experience a mood or anxiety disorder after giving birth. In fact, they can occur anytime during pregnancy or in the whole first year. We can help you.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Every woman is unique but some common symptoms of postpartum depression include:
Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety
This does not get talked about as often as postpartum depression but it can be debilitating. Common symptoms include:
- Excessive worry
- Inability to sleep when given the opportunity
- Intrusive thoughts
- Not able to enjoy anything
- Poor focus
- Feeling tight in your body
- Chest tightness, shortness of breath
- Poor appetite
Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This is less common but can cause significant distress and disability. People often think OCD is about keeping things tidy and in order but that’s not actually true. OCD is comprised of obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions aimed at relieving those thoughts. Obsessive thoughts are intrusive (unwanted) and irrational as in you know they make no senes but you can’t stop them. They can be incredibly dark and scary. For example, maybe your brain keeps telling you that you are going to hurt your baby. Even thought you know that you would never do that, you avoid being alone with your child because you’re afraid of the thought. The compulsive action becomes avoiding being alone with your baby. Obviously, this interferes with bonding and becomes unsustainable. There is help.
Bipolar disorder is not caused by having a baby but a woman can have her first episode postpartum. The typical age of onset for bipolar is late teen years/early twenties which coincides with when many women have their children. The hormone shift and sleep deprivation following having a baby can trigger a manic episode. Manic episodes are characterized by heightened energy, racing thoughts, talking fast and more than usual, excessive and risky behavior like spending money with sheer abandon, new and multiple sexual partners or becoming hyper sexual with your partner. The behavior is uncharacteristic of you and confusing to your loved ones. This is serious as it is a risk factor for postpartum psychosis.
This is when a woman experiences a complete break from reality. She may have thoughts about harm coming to the baby but she does not find them distressing. Psychosis can wax and wane so she may seem ok for a while and then express strange or scary ideas. This is a life threatening emergency for the mother and baby. She should be taken to the hospital immediately as she will have no insight that anything is wrong. Do not leave her alone with the baby. Fortunately, this occurs in only 1% of new moms.
There is Hope and Help.
“You are not alone. This is not your fault. With help, you will be well.”
Medication and Therapy can help these postpartum issues.
There is an abundance of research proving that postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, and psychosis are all fully treatable with the right medication, support, and therapy. One of the most joyful things about our job is watching new moms blossom as their symptoms recede. We believe every mom has the right to enjoy motherhood and will help you get there. No, we can not do the 3 am feeding for you though!
Nurtured Well’s PMHNPs are specially trained to help you.
Many PMHNPs and psychiatrists claim to treat “postpartum issues”. However, this is a specialty area with information that rapidly changes. It is often referred to as “reproductive psychiatry”. At Nurtured Well, all of our PMHNPs stay current with the research and have completed training through Postpartum Support International. In addition, some of us have studied with Karen Kleinman and Postpartum Stress Center as well as with faculty from the Center for Women’s Mental Health at MGH.
This is important because there is so much misinformation about medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding. In a nut shell, the risks of depression, anxiety, and the such are often worse than the risks of medication.
We start by creating a warm and accepting environment. We are not here to judge you. In fact, our nurses sough working here because they are passionate about helping women through postpartum depression and anxiety. We start with a careful evaluation, asking you about your goals. We then form a plan together. This may involve medication, counseling, lifestyle changes or a combination of all three. If you are afraid of medication but feel its your best choice, we will support you through your fears. We will also coordinate care with our OB/Midwife or psychotherapist if you are seeing one.
Are you interested but scared?
We understand. We want to help you. You and your family deserve for you to be well. There is help. If cost is an issue, keep in mind many insurances will reimburse for out of network care. Also, due to our specialization, we are often able to get women the right treatment quicker. Once you are stable on your medication you will only need to come quarterly. We offer the convenience of tele-health so you can be seen in the comfort and privacy of your own home. No need to mobilize yourself and a newborn!
Start treatment for postpartum depression or anxiety today.
Call or email Jen today to set up an appointment. You don’t have to continue to suffer with theses symptoms. Help is available from the comfort of your home. After you schedule your appointment, you will meet with one of our expert PMHNPs who will do a thorough evaluation and formulate a plan with you.
Postpartum treatment is not the only thing we offer.
Our nurses love helping women through all stages of their lives. We provide medicine and counseling for depression, anxiety, ADHD, menopause, or just general life stress. We also offer genetic testing, courses and (Post Covid) events. Explore our website for more.