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Pregnancy & Postpartum | Your Family Wellness Village | Mental Health Counseling Practice in Glen Ellyn, IL


What to expect: The perinatal period spans from conception, through pregnancy, and is commonly recognized to end at 12 months postpartum. Some experts would argue that the perinatal period lasts up to 18-24 months after birth, which is the belief we take. Therapy during this time is recommended from the time parents decide they want to start (or expand) their family, or whenever symptoms appear (see below for a list of common symptoms of some Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders). Typically, therapy persists during the entire pregnancy and 18-24 months after the birth of a baby. This is done to ensure that both parents are supported in all steps of parenthood. Both partners are encouraged – but not required – to participate in perinatal therapy. If mom or the birthing partner is the primary participant in perinatal therapy, her clinician may suggest one or two support sessions with dad.

It is no secret that babies do not come with an instruction manual or cheat sheet. Commonly, upon discharge from the hospital, parents are left thinking “What do we do now?” Often, feelings of inadequacy, worry, feeling judged by others are considered a normal - yet unpleasant - part of the adjustment to becoming a parent. Worrisome thoughts that don’t seem “right” may be part of a parent’s perinatal experience. Some of these common thoughts include: “I wish I didn’t have this baby,” “I don’t have what it takes to be a mom/dad,” “I miss my old child-free life” usually followed by feelings of guilt over having these thoughts. On top of these doubts and judgments from your mind, you may have experienced infertility issues, a history of pregnancy or infant loss, or have had an unexpected NICU stay. These situations that destabilize your world increase your likelihood of developing anxiety or depressive symptoms during pregnancy or postpartum. If you have experienced a complicated birth, infertility, miscarriage or infant loss, or a NICU stay, please consider connecting with a perinatal therapist.

Did you know? 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads struggle with some

sort of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder?


Basic coping skills to help a parent survive new parenthood include physical activity, a healthy diet, getting 4-6 hours of sleep in a row, and receiving help from family and friends. This may be sufficient to get you through the initial adjustment period. However, if symptoms persist or increase past the 2-week normal baby blues period (more on this below), working with a therapist who specializes in perinatal issues can offer much needed relief.

When thinking about perinatal mood and anxiety issues, we often over-emphasize the postpartum period (those 18-24 months after birth). But birthing partners can start experiencing symptoms at any stage during their pregnancy. Any of the following signs and symptoms can occur during pregnancy and stick around during postpartum, or they can show up anytime within those 18-24 months after birth (including after a miscarriage or a stillbirth).

Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and doubts about whether you should have become a parent in the first place

  • Feeling guilty due to high self-expectations

  • Not feeling bonded with the baby

  • Racing thoughts and you can’t quiet your mind

  • Feeling sad, empty and numb as if you’re just going through the motions

  • Feeling anxious, on edge, restless, difficulty relaxing

  • Difficulty sleeping due to racing thoughts

  • Lack of focus and concentration

  • Being afraid that if you reach out for help, others will judge your inabilities

  • Not enjoying the activities you used to enjoy

  • Struggling with daily self-care activities for you and/or for baby

  • Decreased or increased appetite

  • Irritable, snippy, impatient towards others


Baby Blues Vs Postpartum Depression or Anxiety

The above symptoms are common signs of postpartum depression and anxiety (PPD/PPA). However, there is an important distinction to be made between PPD/PPA and the baby blues.

Baby blues is not the same as postpartum depression or anxiety. Baby blues refers to a period of up to 2 weeks after birth where the birthing partner feels like her emotions are out of whack: down and sad one minute, followed by laughter the next. Crying for no reason is common, so is impatience, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, insomnia (even when the baby sleeps), and poor concentration. Up to 80% of new mothers will experience baby blues.

If these symptoms persist past 2 weeks, or new ones such as the ones mentioned above appear, this may be an indication of postpartum depression or anxiety. Consulting with a perinatal therapist is recommended.

If you or your loved one experiences a combination of the following more rare yet severe symptoms, immediate help is necessary. An inpatient hospitalization may be necessary to keep mom and baby safe. Remember, you will not go through this alone: your OBGYN, midwife, or perinatal therapist will guide you through the process of getting help.


More severe and rare symptoms include:

  • Delusions or hallucinations

  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

  • Thoughts such as “my baby would be better off without me”

  • Loss of appetite

  • Decreased need for sleep, or insomnia

  • Feelings of extreme guilt


With the proper support and time, you will get better. Perinatal therapy will help you recognize unhelpful thoughts and feelings that get in the way of you becoming the best parent you are meant to be. You will then learn to notice and control the sadness and anxiety instead of those feelings taking control of your life. You will learn to get to know and love the new person that was born when your baby was born: a caring, concerned, and loving parent.

Contact us today for a free phone consultation to connect with one of our perinatal therapists: Casey, Jennifer, or Katie. It takes a village to raise a child and support a parent! Let us be part of yours!

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