There are few times in life where so much is expected from us and yet we feel so ill prepared. From the moment of conception, or at least from the moment you share the news you’re expecting, new parents become inundated with unsolicited advice. What sits most uncomfortably with many woman however, is that this seemingly innocent advice is often laced with judgement and assumption. People generally have VERY strong opinions about how to make, raise, feed, discipline, love and support a child. With these comments and judgements comes this notion that the “perfect mom” is an actual thing that some people achieve.
The combination of hormonal changes, external judgments and impossible expectations sets the stage for postpartum depression and anxiety to creep in. AND it’s an ugly illness.
Postpartum depression and anxiety have the ability to convince intelligent woman and loving mothers, that they have failed their child in some way or that they aren’t good enough. So much so that many are convinced their baby would be better off without them.
“Breast feeding wasn’t working. I had tried everything. I still remember holding my son as he cried this horribly desperate newborn cry. My breast lay open, but he wouldn’t stop screaming and all I wanted to do was disappear. How could I have failed him already?” (a new mom, S.C). Having a baby is “supposed to be” the happiest time of your life, so why do you feel so overwhelmed, resentful, inadequate and scared?
Everyone expects you to have this “glowing new mom” look, while you experience getting lost in gazes at your sleeping baby and filling with joy at each little baby sound she makes. But what if that joy doesn’t come so easily? Well for one thing, you’re not alone! Postpartum depression is more common than we think, affecting 8-12% of new moms (Canadian Mental Health Association).
While postpartum depression can affect anyone, there are some factors that may put you at even higher risk, in addition to sleep deprivation and hormonal changes, which are experienced by most new moms, such as:
- A personal or family history of mood or anxiety issues
- Lack of support
- Experiencing abuse or violence
- Recent stressful events: moving, loss of a job
- Medical complications for you or your baby
Expectations of yourself and your partner can also have an impact.
The hope lies in support, validation and counselling. Evidence suggests that counselling and support groups can have a dramatic impact on a new mom’s ability to heal and reduce (or even eliminate) symptoms of postpartum anxiety and depression.
Healing Moments Therapy specializes in postpartum counselling and offers a unique mobile, inhome counselling service for moms in need. Other therapies include acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy and chiropractic care.
The transition to being a new mom can be very difficult, but you don’t have to suffer this deeply anymore.
Nicole Serena Chudzinski MSW RSW
Therapist, Social Worker, Counselor.
Complete Wellness Clinic
450 Bronte St S, Milton Ontario
905 875 2288