Having a baby is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming, stressful, and a complete change to your daily routine. After a new mom comes home from the hospital, it’s fairly common for her to feel some of the “baby blues,” but some women will experience a more serious condition known as postpartum depression.
Research shows one in seven new moms experiences postpartum depression within a year of giving birth. Many women who are suffering from postpartum depression don’t just grow out of it – they may need counseling to help them manage this condition, recover their joy in their new baby, and pave the way for healthy bonding. The benefits of counseling are vast because a therapist will:
1. Listen to you
For moms dealing with postpartum depression, sometimes the biggest benefit of counseling is having someone to listen. Talking with a therapist isn’t the same as confiding in your partner or friend, where there can be fear of judgement.
A therapist’s job is to listen to your needs, ask questions about your life, and provide suggestions to improve your quality of life. During counseling, the therapist’s sole focus is you.
Getting someone’s undivided attention isn’t always easy. Trying to grab 10 minutes with your partner who works long hours or your friend who has a family of her own to juggle, for example, can be tough. With a therapist, you get his or her undivided attention.
2. Help you develop coping skills to manage stress
Being a new mom can be extremely stressful. From learning to breastfeed to returning to work, there are plenty of challenges in the first year of parenthood – and postpartum depression only compounds them.
It’s important to manage stress by recognizing triggers and learning coping mechanisms that will help you work through taxing situations.
These strategies will be immensely valuable to you now, but as an added bonus, you’ll likely use these strategies long after your counseling sessions end.
3. Help improve your communication skills
Seeing a therapist can help mothers improve their communication skills. With the right therapist, you’ll be able to recognize stress or feelings of anxiety and ask for help from those around you. This will in turn enrich your relationship with your partner, family, and even your new baby.
4. Encourage Self-Care
It’s common for moms to feel as though their baby should be the center of their world, so the idea of asking for personal help is often difficult to communicate. Women tend to feel guilty for needing help, especially during a time where societal norms say a mom should thrive in her role and “cherish every moment.”
A therapist can help you shed the guilt and help you realize that selfcare is not selfish care. When you take care of yourself, you take care of your entire family.
5. Treat your physical symptoms too
The symptoms of postpartum depression often go beyond “feeling blue,” and can trigger real, physical symptoms. Symptoms can include stomachaches, changes in appetite, headaches, and sleeping problems.
A therapist will talk with you about your emotional wellbeing and your physical wellbeing and create a treatment plan specific to your needs.
When to see a doctor
How can you tell if you or a woman you love is dealing with postpartum depression or is just simply tired and overwhelmed by a newborn baby? It’s important to call a doctor if a mother has any of these symptoms:
- Feelings of depression or sadness that last for more than two weeks
- Feelings of depression that progressively get worse
- Caring for the baby becomes difficult
- Handling everyday tasks becomes overwhelming
- A mom has no interest in bonding with her baby
- A mom has thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby
Postpartum depression can be treated, but it’s important to seek care as soon as possible. A therapist can provide a complete treatment plan, which will likely include counseling to help new moms fight through depression. Take the first BOLD step towards healing by reaching out to BOLD Health to learn more about pregnancy and postpartum depression.