This Couldn’t Happen to Us and Other Lies New Parents Tell Themselves: A Three-Part Guide to Making Sure Your Relationship Survives a New Baby (Part III)

This Couldn’t Happen to Us and Other Lies New Parents Tell Themselves: A Three-Part Guide to Making Sure Your Relationship Survives a New Baby (Part III)

It is difficult to convince a postpartum woman to go to therapy. Whether or not she is depressed, a new mom is exhausted, overwhelmed and preoccupied with her new baby. Understandably, early motherhood is not the best time to introduce a therapeutic-relationship or impose a healing process that is time-intensive and costly. However, if her symptoms become worse after the baby is born, if she is experiencing intrusive or distorted thoughts, or if she is suffering enough, then she needs help and there may be no choice, but to get help right away. But how do you encourage her to engage in therapy?

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This Couldn’t Happen to Us and Other Lies New Parents Tell Themselves: A Three-Part Guide to Making Sure Your Relationship Survives a New Baby (Part II)

This Couldn’t Happen to Us and Other Lies New Parents Tell Themselves: A Three-Part Guide to Making Sure Your Relationship Survives a New Baby (Part II)

When Beth imagined motherhood, she pictured her and her husband John, lying in their bed on a Saturday morning. She imagined their little baby perfectly content lying between them. Beth and John would lovingly look at each other, and think how lucky they were to have this beautiful baby and perfect family.

What Beth did not imagine is being up at 3:00 AM with a colicky, screaming baby, feeling alone, depressed, and resentful as her husband is sound asleep in the next room. Beth is filled with feelings of guilt and worthlessness as she thinks to herself: ‘this is not the life I pictured. I must be a terrible mother. My family would be better off without me.’

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This Couldn’t Happen to Us and Other Lies New Parents Tell Themselves: A Three-Part Guide to Making Sure Your Relationship Survives a New Baby (Part I)

This Couldn’t Happen to Us and Other Lies New Parents Tell Themselves: A Three-Part Guide to Making Sure Your Relationship Survives a New Baby (Part I)

You have read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, you have tracked the size of your baby (by fruit) week-after-week, your registry has been reviewed and approved by all of your mom-friends, parenthood—you’ve got this!

The expectations and reality of having a newborn baby are often very different. If you or your partner is suffering from depression or anxiety after the birth of a baby, the postpartum period can have a devastating impact on your marriage and family. Even in the best of circumstances, with substantial support and resources, having a baby can be a challenge, an adjustment, and a strain on your relationship.

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Guest Blog: Therapy Beyond the Baby Blues by Simon Johnson

Guest Blog: Therapy Beyond the Baby Blues by Simon Johnson

Jamie Kreiter is a Chicago-based therapist who treats clients with postpartum depression and anxiety issues around fertility, pregnancy and parenthood. She is partnered with Better and recommends our services to her clients and we wanted to learn more about her practice and how she uses Better to give her clients more access to treatment.

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It Gets Better: Accepting Help as a New Mom

It Gets Better: Accepting Help as a New Mom

Most mothers caring for infants have more things to do than hours in a day. Mothers spend almost all of their time and energy taking care of their new baby, leaving little time for chores and other things like washing clothes, grocery shopping, preparing meals, entertaining visitors, writing thank you notes, packing lunches, cleaning the house. 

In the best of circumstances, with support and resources, having a new baby can be a challenge and an adjustment. In circumstances where a mother is experiencing depression or anxiety after childbirth, having a baby can range from a significant stressor to a crisis. There is no right or wrong way to transition into motherhood, but there is always a transition. Try to let go of perfectionist tendencies and know that you are doing the best you can, and that is just fine! Here are 9 things you can try to make your life easier.

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Mothering a Mother: 11 Tips to Take Care of a New Mom

Mothering a Mother: 11 Tips to Take Care of a New Mom

Having a baby is an overwhelming, emotional experience. The realization that this tiny and fragile being is completely dependent on you—paired with the physical exhaustion and recovery of delivery, rapid hormonal changes, and sleep deprivation—can be a challenge for any new mother. In recognition of these challenges, many cultures have adapted traditions and rituals for a mother to rest and recuperate and focus solely on bonding with her new baby.

In our culture, we perpetuate the notion that women should experience a smooth and euphoric transition into motherhood. However, practices in the United States do very little to promote this. Hospital stays usually vary from 2-3 days. New mothers are not encouraged to rest or take a hiatus from household responsibilities. In fact, most are expected to resume normal activities as soon as possible, neglecting the seriousness of a woman’s physical and emotional condition after birth. A new baby brings a lot of excitement and happiness to a home, but can also bring a lot of exhaustion. How can we better take care of our mothers?

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Mighty Mama: Stacey Porter from 2020 Mom

Mighty Mama: Stacey Porter from 2020 Mom

Stacey Porter is this Monday’s #MightyMama. She is the Ambassador Program Lead and Training Manager for 2020 Mom, a national non-profit organization that seeks to close gaps in maternal mental health care. Stacey’s strength is to provide compassion and empathy that is sometimes missing from our society. Stacey inspires others in both her professional and personal life. Stacey experienced the loss of her 25-week-old daughter, Delilah. Talking to other mothers who had experienced trauma and loss helped Stacey to heal and find strength. Stacey tries not to hold herself to the impossible perfect standards that the media sets up for mothers, which helps her keep the balance. She has two happy and healthy children, which also keep her going. Stacey’s message to other moms is to feel free to be themselves, to laugh at #epicfails, to stop striving for perfection and to give yourself a little break sometimes. For moms who are suffering from a loss of any kind, whether it’s the loss of a child or the loss of yourself, Stacey reminds you that there is a way back.

Keep reading for Stacey's full interview. 

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Three Reasons Why Working Mothers Feel Guilty and How to Deal with It

Three Reasons Why Working Mothers Feel Guilty and How to Deal with It

Mothers can feel guilty about all kinds of things—things within their control and things outside of their control. Guilt can be a common symptom of the postpartum period. Mothers often strive to meet unrealistic expectations of parenting. When they don’t reach these unattainable goals, intense feelings of guilt arise. In this post, I will explore some of the reasons why mothers feel guilty, specifically when returning to work. 

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Why New Moms Don't Want to Engage in Therapy

Why New Moms Don't Want to Engage in Therapy

Pregnancy and parenting is a happy time in your life. But what if it is not? Along with the joy that accompanies pregnancy and the birth of a new baby, there are also stressful experiences that generate anxiety and pervasive feelings of sadness, incompetence and loneliness. One in seven women suffer from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, a group of symptoms that occur during pregnant and in the postpartum period, interfering with a mother’s emotional wellness and overall functioning. Therapy can be very effective at reducing these symptoms, but most new mothers are not interested in therapy. Here are some reasons why mothers are ambivalent about starting therapy.

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Mindful Motherhood: Using Mindfulness During Pregnancy

Mindful Motherhood: Using Mindfulness During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of excitement, anticipation and transition. You may envision the child that you are going to have or the parent that you are going to be. You may attempt to plan and prepare. You may feel well-supported or lost and overwhelmed. Stress and perinatal mood disturbances are common and can begin any time during or after pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a time of emotional vulnerability due to the many biological and hormonal changes happening in the body.  For this reason and others, many of the women that I work with experience stress and anxiety during pregnancy and following pregnancy.  Mindfulness is a powerful coping tool that can help alleviate stress and anxiety in the general population and for mothers during pregnancy. But how does mindfulness work? What evidence is there that mindfulness can be used during pregnancy?

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has shown a lot of promise in reducing stress and improving overall mood. Therapies that connect the mind and body allow an individual to be more cognizant of present experiences, such as bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings. The practice of mindfulness focuses on increasing a person’s awareness of the present moment in a manner that is free from judgment, self-evaluation and distraction. But how exactly does mindfulness work? How can someone use it inside and outside of therapy?

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Maternal Mental Illness Impacts Everyone: The Struggle for Partners

Maternal Mental Illness Impacts Everyone: The Struggle for Partners

This past weekend 2020 Mom, in partnership with the March of Dimes, launched March for Moms®, a walk to raise awareness for maternal mental health and related disorders, including depression and anxiety. On Sunday, marches were held throughout the country in support of mothers and their families. While the walk was open to all survivors, families, supporters and health care providers, very few fathers were present. My husband noticed this as he sat blowing up balloons with maternal health statistics printed on them. As I looked around at the many women and their children, I did notice the absence of men. Where are all the dads?

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Celebrities Share Their Struggles in Motherhood

Celebrities Share Their Struggles in Motherhood

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) is one of the leading complications related to childbearing; however, is often under disclosed and under diagnosed. While there are certainly improvements to be made in the medical and professional communities, many mothers do not share their symptoms with professionals or even family members. Why is it that mothers who may be suffering from depression or anxiety are reluctant to come forward and receive help?

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Prepared for Anything? What You Need to Know About Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Prepared for Anything? What You Need to Know About Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

As a new mother, you are prepared for tons of dirty diapers, multiple loads of laundry, middle of the night feedings, and many new responsibilities that come with parenting. But are you prepared for the possibility of depression and anxiety?

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The Power of Shared Experiences: Shifts in the World & in the Room

The Power of Shared Experiences: Shifts in the World & in the Room

Last Thursday, thousands of Yemeni bodega workers and fellow supporters protested against Trump's "Muslim Ban". This occurred right outside of my therapy office. My clients passed  by protesters on their way to our session and many expressed feelings of sadness, admiration, fear, powerlessness, bravery, anger and vulnerability. I found myself also mirroring some of these emotions.  

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The Burden of Anxiety

The Burden of Anxiety

Individuals suffering from anxiety describe it as a constant burden they are forced to carry with them. Anxiety can feel like an invasion of intrusive thoughts and a  racing heart. Anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, chronic worry, social phobia, postpartum anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder, are difficult to overcome. Therapy can help reduce anxiety symptoms by identifying anxiety-based triggers and increasing coping skills.  

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Incorporating Calm

Incorporating Calm

When you are stressed, your body goes into what is called a “fight or flight” response to prepare to confront or avoid danger.  Even day-to-day events can provoke a stress response, and can cause health problems, suppressed immune system, anxiety and depression.  Yet not all stress is bad.  When appropriately invoked, stress can help you rise to many challenges.  There are a number of steps you can take to incorporate calm and live a less stressed lifestyle.  Research shows, for example, that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can help to decrease depression, reduce anxiety and improve overall mood. 

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