Celebrating 10 Years

Prenatal and Postpartum Counseling

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Prenatal and PostpartumThe prospect of having or raising children is, for many of us, just as much a source of conflict and anxiety as it is joy. While there are a lot of factors that can play into these feelings, it’s important to keep in mind that every emotion you are experiencing is part of the spectrum of parenting. Whether you and your partner recently discovered you are pregnant, you recently delivered your baby, are grieving a miscarriage, or struggling as new parents, whatever you are feeling—good, bad or indifferent—there are no wrong emotions.

Having children changes your life. It alters your priorities, shifts your relationship with your partner and has an impact on your social life. That’s when things go smoothly. When things don’t go smoothly, having children can introduce another layer complexity into your life that is prompted by anxiety, depression, fearful parenting and, in some instances, even coping with grief and loss.

Prenatal and Postpartum Anxiety

A certain amount of worry when you’re pregnant is natural, and even healthy. When that worry becomes consuming, it can create a problem, not only for you around your daily activities, but conflict with your partner, as well. Getting support during your pregnancy can be helpful for you in terms of managing the anxiety you may be experiencing.

Similarly, you may be experiencing an inordinate amount of anxiety since having your baby. Again, a certain amount of heightened vigilance and concern about your baby’s welfare is natural. When that vigilance and concern turns into hyper-vigilance and constant worry, then it may be time to take a closer look at what’s happening for you. If you are constantly distracted by your anxiety, you can’t be present for your baby, or in your relationship. Counseling can help you temper your concerns, so you can do that.

Fearful parenting

Fearful parenting is different from postpartum anxiety. It’s less about what happening with your baby and much more about second guessing yourself as a parent and primary caregiver. It’s normal to question whether you’re doing the right thing as a parent, but, with so many people having so many opinions about what ‘right’ actually looks like it’s easy to start questioning yourself. When that questioning turns into constant worry, ongoing ‘do-overs’ and even paralysis around your baby, counseling can help you get some perspective and move into a better place.

Prenatal and Postpartum Depression

Prenatal and Postpartum Services, Michelle Williams, West Hartford Holistic CounselingOne of the most common emotional experiences for women who are pregnant or have recently delivered a baby is depression. There is no question that being a new mother can be overwhelming. Sometime that sense of overwhelm can turn the corner from feeling like it’s hard, to feeling like you simply can’t handle it and you never should have chosen motherhood in the first place. Another thing to keep in mind is that, if you feel like you’ve turned that corner into postpartum depression your experience is unique to you.

Different women experience new motherhood differently. You may be feeling guilty because you think you should be handling your situation better. On the other hand, feelings of irritability, anger and even rage might be fueling your resentment toward your baby, your partner and maybe even your childless friends. Maybe you’re not feeling bonded with your baby and are lacking any real sense of parent-child attachment. While any or all of these feelings may leave you feeling disconnected, isolated or even like you’ve lost control of your life, counseling can support you in gathering greater perspective on your experience and help you understand that, not only are you not alone, you don’t have to be alone in your new role as a mother.

Grief and Loss

Grieving should never be a part of motherhood, but sometimes it is. You may be struggling to accept a baby who was born with a disability. It’s possible you’ve miscarried or experienced a stillbirth. You may have chosen to give your newborn up for adoption or to have had an abortion. Each of these situations brings with it the potential for grieving or experiencing loss.

Counseling through this difficult time can bring you to a place of healing. At the moment, it may feel that nothing can sooth your pain. With the support of an experienced counselor, you will have an opportunity to access reserves of resilience you may not even know you had available to you. While your pain may never be fully resolved, you will, at the very least, come to a place of acceptance that will allow you to move forward into a new phase of your life.

Many of our clients at West Hartford Holistic Counseling have questions about the process of therapy and what they can expect from counseling.

Shouldn’t I be able to handle motherhood on my own?

Motherhood is challenging. It means taking on substantial responsibility, completely restructuring your life, possibly rearranging or even leaving your career, not to mention weathering the shifts in the relationship dynamics with your partner and your family overall. There’s no handbook, but there is help. By gathering a more balanced perspective on the dramatic changes in your life, you can find what works best for you.

Can my partner be part of this process?

Whether you are contemplating the challenges of parenting, or struggling with grief and loss, your experience around your child is shared. No matter what your circumstances, the dynamics of your relationship have changed. Addressing those changes—good, bad or indifferent—in a safe, nonjudgmental setting as a couple will support you in moving into this new chapter of your life.

Is counseling around pregnancy just for women?

Although the challenges men face around impending parenthood or the loss of a child are potentially different, they are still valid experiences that, if difficult to manage, may need to be addressed. By honoring his experience, your partner can come to a deeper understanding of not only himself, but how the two of you are interacting around your pregnancy or loss. Gaining a deeper understanding of his role in relationship to you and your changing family can provide him with the perspective he needs to move forward on your journey together.

We invite you to call our office for a free 15-minute phone consultation at 860-258-4171. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about counseling and our practice.


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