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How To Cope If You’re Pregnant And Depressed

Pregnancy is an exciting time, and truly like no other experience in the world. However, that doesn’t mean that every second of your pregnancy will feel happy and wonderful. In fact, if you’re feeling depressed throughout your pregnancy, you’re not alone. 

You’ve probably heard of postpartum depression (PPD) which occurs after you give birth. Less focus has been given to depression during pregnancy, although it is not uncommon. According to Postpartum Support International, 10% of women experience depression during pregnancy.

The signs of depression often go unnoticed or untreated during pregnancy. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of depression to watch out for in case you are struggling. Once you know the symptoms, you can speak with your physician, midwife, or therapist to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Your physician, midwife, and/or therapist can help you find ways to deal with your depression and there are things you can do on your own to cope with your symptoms every day. You don’t have to feel hopeless or helpless during this unique stage of life. 

Unique Signs to Look For

In addition to the more “traditional” signs of depression such as depressed mood, lack of pleasure, and sleep and appetite disturbances, there are some unique symptoms to be aware of that could indicate you’re dealing with depression while pregnant. Some of those symptoms include: 

  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of anxiety about your baby
  • Struggling to feel reassured

Some women are at a higher risk of developing depression during pregnancy than others. For example, if you have a history of depression you are more likely to experience it. Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or a lack of familial support can also increase your risk. 

Once you have a better understanding of some of the more common signs, you can take active steps toward coping with the way you’re feeling. Most pregnant women understand how important it is to take care of their physical health. Taking care of your mental health is just as crucial. By making an effort to treat your depression now, you will be less likely to experience it after your baby is born. 

How to Handle Depression While Pregnant

It can be difficult to reach out for help, but it’s crucial that you address your symptoms of depression since being depressed can lead to reductions in prenatal care. The first step is to talk with your physician, midwife, or therapist. You can address your symptoms through ongoing therapy and possibly through medication. There are medications that are safe to take while pregnant which can treat your symptoms, and your physician or midwife can talk to you about this option.

In addition to seeking out medical attention, changing some of your daily habits and including some new practices can help. Though depression can impact the way you sleep and your diet, it’s important to get as much rest as possible and nourish your body with healthy foods. Both will give you more energy, which can improve your mood. 

Getting enough physical activity each day can also help. That doesn’t mean you have to do anything strenuous. A walk around your neighborhood is a great way to get your blood pumping. Exercise and being out in nature are both natural mood-boosters. For an even greater benefit, take that walk with a friend, family member, or your partner. Feeling supported and understood can make a big difference in your attitude and outlook. 

Finally, monitor your stress levels. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety. Stress will only fuel those feelings, contributing to a cycle that is difficult to escape. You will want to reduce your stress as much as possible, and take time to pause, breathe, and be mindful each day. 

If you’re pregnant and dealing with depression, feel free to contact me. Together, we can work on even more strategies to combat those feelings so you can enjoy this unique stage of life.  

The Social Media Struggle: How It Can Make Parents Feel Inadequate, Anxious, and Depressed

Social media is a part of life. For many people, it’s the first thing you might look at in the morning. From there, you might scroll through your news feed randomly throughout the day. 

If you’re a parent, though, social media can feel like a struggle. You may want to use it to connect with other parents and friends, but at the same time, it can have its downsides.

We all know the parents who post pictures of their “perfect” lives: Perfect kids, perfect dinners, perfectly clean houses, etc. It’s easy to think that they have everything together. They must never stress out over anything or lose their sh*t at their kids or partner. They certainly don’t seem to have the same struggles that you do. 

Letting Social Media Dictate Your Mood

As a parent, you might already struggle with feelings of inadequacy. It’s totally normal for parents to feel like they are “failing” sometimes. Unfortunately, social media can make those feelings worse, even when you’re doing your best. 

When someone shares something about their family, and it’s a parallel to something you’re struggling with, it can be a trigger for feeling anxiety, shame, or depression. Maybe you’re going through a divorce and a friend of yours posts a picture of her happy family. Maybe your kids are struggling in school and someone shares his child’s great report card. 

Whatever the case, it’s important to know that there’s a reason they shared those things online. 

We live in a world where “likes” and “shares” make people feel good. For some, they use it to boost their self-esteem or even their self-worth. That obviously isn’t a healthy way to prove yourself, but that’s another subject completely. 

Those who put a lot of weight on their social media presence are more likely to share the “perfect” moments, even if they’re manufactured. 

Seeing Through the Filters

The things people post on social media are the best moments of their lives. They are often staged, presented with filters, or missing important contextual information. Social media is a “highlight reel” of these people’s lives. 

When was the last time you looked on social media and saw a photo or content about someone’s messy house? What about how badly their child was misbehaving? People rarely, if ever, post about these things. But it doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Believing all the “highlights” on social media is a recipe for feeling crappy about your own life in comparison. 

So what can you do? For starters, limit your time on your social media accounts. It’s easy to get drawn in and scroll away. Before you know it, you could spend hours on an app without realizing it. 

Additionally, don’t take everything you see seriously. Undoubtedly, there are great moments in your day that you could talk about or take pictures of to share online. But there are plenty of messy, chaotic, less-than-perfect moments, too. 

This is true for everyone. 

No one’s life is perfect all the time, so keep that in mind when you’re looking through social media. If social media posts tend to trigger you, or you’re struggling with anxiety and depression because you feel like an inadequate parent, you’re not alone. If those feelings become too strong to handle on your own, you may benefit from talking to a professional. 

It’s not always easy to ignore the “perfection” on social media. If you’re struggling with feeling inadequate, anxious, or depressed in relation to parenting, feel free to reach out. We can talk more about where these feelings are coming from, and how to deal with them so that they stop interfering in your life so much. Working together can help you get to a place where you can let go of some of the pressure you put on yourself and you can enjoy parenting more.

5 Signs You Might Be Struggling With Postpartum Depression or Anxiety

Most women and men have at least heard of postpartum depression or anxiety (PPD and PPA). You have probably even read about it more than once throughout your or your partner’s pregnancy. However, after the baby is born, it can be easy to ignore some common symptoms if/when they arise. 

Often, postpartum symptoms are disregarded as the “baby blues.” While the baby blues are very common, and many people struggle with some mood swings, crying easily, and feeling overwhelmed after their child is born, the baby blues resolve within a couple of weeks and do not significantly impair functioning. Postpartum depression and anxiety are more significant and need to be taken seriously in order to resolve. 

While PPD and PPA are manageable and won’t last forever, they are difficult to deal with when you’re trying to care for a newborn. In order to get help with your symptoms, it is crucial that you receive a proper diagnosis. Therefore, it’s important to know the signs of PPD/PPA so that you can be aware of whether you need to see a professional for diagnosis and treatment. Here are some warning signs to look out for.

1. Your Postpartum Symptoms Are Not Improving

You may think you’re just dealing with the “baby blues;” however, if you don’t start to feel better within a couple of weeks, that is a sign that it could be PPD/PPA. It’s common to feel a little down, stressed, or overwhelmed for the first few weeks of your baby’s life, but if these feelings don’t start to lessen, or if they are getting worse, it could be a sign of something more. 

2. Your Sadness or Worry is Consuming

Feeling overwhelmed by sadness or guilt the majority of the time is a sign of PPD. You may feel hopeless about the future, or cry at different times of the day for no reason. On the other hand, you may feel highly anxious, worrying throughout the day and night about a variety of things, such as whether you are a good parent, your child’s safety, and the ways in which you are caring for your child. Feeling tense, worried, and overwhelmed the majority of the time is a sign of PPA. When these feelings of sadness or anxiety take over your life and are making it difficult to function, it’s time to get help.

3. Your Interests Change

Many women who struggle with PPD or PPA find that they are no longer enjoying things that used to bring them pleasure. This can include everything from movies and activities, to foods they typically enjoy.  Of course, you aren’t going to be happy and overjoyed all the time. However, if some of your favorite things aren’t making you feel any better, it’s important to find out why. 

4. You Can’t Sleep (Even When The Baby Does)

It’s normal to experience changes in your sleeping patterns after giving birth. After all, you’ve got a new baby to take care of, and he or she is bound to be up several times during the night. However, if you find yourself unable to fall or stay asleep (even when you have the opportunity), it could be a sign of PPD or PPA. Sleep deprivation can also have a negative impact on your mood, and can make it more difficult to cope with all of the changes in your life that occur when you have a newborn. For this reason, it is especially important to seek out help if you are not getting enough sleep.

5. You Have Thoughts of Suicide or Self-Harm

For some people, the feelings of overwhelming sadness and hopelessness or anxiety and guilt become nearly too much to bear. You might believe that you’ll never feel better or that there is no way to improve your situation. As a result, you begin to experience thoughts of suicide or self-harm. If this is what you have been experiencing, it is crucial that you reach out for professional help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is always available at 1-800-273-8255 or you can text HOME to 741741 anytime to text with someone about what is going on for you.

More Resources

Postpartum Support International:

Mayo Clinic – Postpartum depression symptoms

Our Resources Page

If any of these signs sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. One is seven women and one in ten men experience postpartum depression, and ten percent of women will develop postpartum anxiety. The sooner that you reach out for help, the sooner you will begin to feel better and more like yourself again. 

If you’re worried that you or your partner may have PPD or PPA, contact me for more information or to set up an appointment. Together, we will work to improve the way you’re feeling, so you can start to enjoy parenthood.

Postpartum Anxiety: Symptoms and Treatment

Whether you are currently pregnant, already have children, or know someone who does, you have undoubtedly heard of postpartum depression (PPD).

But have you heard of postpartum anxiety (PPA)?

It’s almost as common as postpartum depression but isn’t talked about nearly as much. Both conditions present after giving birth and cause significant distress. And yet, the symptoms are very different.

That’s precisely why it’s essential to know as much as possible about postpartum anxiety, so you can get the help you need or encourage someone else who may be struggling to get treatment.

When Normal Worrying Turns Into Something More

When you’re a new parent, it’s perfectly natural to worry about your baby’s health and safety. You might wonder if they are eating enough, if they are sleeping like other babies do, or if they are developing on schedule. You might also be worried about the state of your own life (i.e., the pile of dishes in the sink or how you’ll possibly juggle all of your new obligations).

These things are natural. A little worrying shows how much you care for and love your baby and want what’s best for him or her. However, these everyday worries can sometimes turn into something more.

If you find that your fears are keeping you awake at night or completely taking over your thoughts, you may be dealing with postpartum anxiety.

What Are the Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety?

How can you tell when your typical worries have gone too far? Understanding some of the most common signs of postpartum anxiety (PPA) can make you aware of whether you might be struggling with PPA. The most prominent symptoms include:

· Constant worrying or fear that doesn’t go away

· Feelings of dread

· Continually thinking about bad things that could happen

· Sleep that is disrupted by your worries/fears

· Irritability

· Concentration problems

Your symptoms may also present themselves physically. As a new mother, that’s probably the last thing you want to hear. Your body is still recovering, and you might be experiencing some physical issues from giving birth. Some of the physical symptoms to look out for with postpartum anxiety are:

· Fatigue

· Hyperventilation

· Racing heart

· Sweating

· Nausea

· Trembling

Postpartum Panic Attacks

Individuals with PPA may sometimes experience panic attacks. A panic attack can feel like a few moments of extreme fear and dread, along with physical symptoms such as:

· Shortness of breath

· Racing heart

· Dizziness

· Chest pain

· Sweating

· Shaking

· Hot flashes

· Nausea

· Numbness

· Chills

· Fear of “going crazy”

The panic attack may also be accompanied by an overwhelming fear of death, whether you’re thinking about yourself or your baby. The good news is that these attacks don’t last long. However, they can be terrifying to go through.

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one type of postpartum anxiety disorder, and it is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed postpartum condition. If you are struggling with this disorder, you would be experiencing repetitive and intrusive thoughts or images (obsessions) that are often related to the baby and can consist of frightening thoughts about harming the baby in some way. You may be frightened or ashamed to admit to having these thoughts because you are scared of what your doctor or therapist might think. It is important for you to know that if you are struggling with postpartum OCD, you are not likely to act on the thoughts that you are having. You cannot control what comes into your mind, but you can control your behavior, and there is no link between postpartum OCD and harming your child.

In addition to the obsessions, in postpartum OCD you also experience compulsions which are behaviors that you engage in to reduce the anxiety that the obsessions cause. Some common compulsions involve keeping the baby away from dangerous situations (the stairs), cleaning constantly, or checking/counting items. While postpartum OCD is often misunderstood or misdiagnosed, if you see a therapist trained in postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, you can receive the correct treatment, and with treatment your symptoms should improve.

What Can You Do About Postpartum Anxiety?

The first step in getting treatment for postpartum anxiety is getting a proper diagnosis. That’s why it’s essential to recognize the signs and know that PPA is a common problem for many new mothers.

You can talk with your doctor or start looking for a therapist that specializes in postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Treatment options include individual therapy, support groups, and/or treatment with medication. Often people benefit from a combination of treatment approaches. Reaching out for help can be difficult, but is the first step towards feeling more like yourself again.

More Resources

Postpartum Support International – Anxiety During and After Pregnancy

Women’s Mental Health – Is It Postpartum Depression or Anxiety?

Our Resources Page

If you feel you are dealing with postpartum anxiety and you’re unsure how to handle it, feel free to contact me. Together, we will discuss some of the possible underlying causes and work on ways you can overcome your fears.

Postpartum anxiety, much like PPD, doesn’t last forever. Working through it can help you start to more thoroughly enjoy this exciting stage of life with your newborn. Contact me today if you’re ready to start feeling like yourself again.


2805 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.
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Duluth, GA 30097

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