Maternal Mental Health
Doubting Your Ability To Parent Happy, Healthy Kids?
As a trauma survivor, are you concerned about all aspects of motherhood—especially childbirth?
Have certain aspects of pregnancy or childrearing been triggering for you?
And do you want to ensure that you’re breaking the intergenerational cycle of trauma and not perpetuating it?
The process of becoming a parent is challenging for anyone. But for those of us that suffered abuse growing up, there are added emotional hurdles when it comes to transitioning into parenthood. So many of us carry the weight of thinking we’re “bad” moms and the guilt that the experience of parenting hasn’t met our expectations. Feelings of immense shame, sadness, and anger can significantly obscure a chapter of life that is sold to us as being purely joyful and fulfilling.
If any of this rings true for you, chances are you’re desperate to be a “good” parent but lack proper models for a healthy parent-child relationship. Because of this, you might be extremely anxious, highly critical of yourself and others, and overcompensating to ensure that your child feels loved and cared for.
As a therapist specializing in maternal mental health issues—especially concerning survivors of childhood abuse—I am here to tell you that you are enough. By making space in your life to pause, tune in, and chart a path forward that honors the needs of both you and your baby, you can begin the healing process.
In Our Culture, Mothers Have To Meet Unrealistic Standards
There is so much pressure to be a good mom. Even for mothers who grew up in loving, emotionally attuned environments, the transition into parenthood is often difficult and full of what ifs. Our culture places most of the responsibility of parenting on women, quick to blame and judge mothers for their children’s conduct and outcomes.
If we grew up in environments that were unloving or unsafe in any way, the pressure surrounding motherhood is amplified. Because our mothers were not caring, attuned, and supportive, we can develop the belief that we’re doomed to repeat their mistakes. This sets the stage for poor maternal mental health, perhaps even manifesting as perinatal/postpartum depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, there is not a ton of support for new moms, particularly among those who lack strong and present parental figures. Many of us turn to online spaces for validation and answers, receiving mixed messages about what is and isn’t acceptable. And when we scroll through the feeds of women who seem to have had a seamless transition into parenthood, it makes us feel all the worse about our uncertainties. Some days with a new baby are really tough, but we may feel like we need to manage the struggle entirely on our own.
During this time, it’s essential that you are taking the time for yourself not only to rest and get your needs met but to actively overcome the voice of trauma in your head, convincing you you’re all alone and underprepared. Together in counseling for perinatal and postpartum women, we can build up your resources so you feel more confident about your ability to parent well.
Maternal Mental Health Support At J Lang Therapy & Consulting
Therapy first and foremost provides you with a sense of community to combat the isolation that so often accompanies the postpartum period. As someone who can directly relate to your experiences, I can offer you tangible strategies for asking for support, creating strong connections with other parents, and healing the deep intergenerational wounds affecting your mindset. With maternal mental health support, you can learn to enjoy motherhood—maybe even for the first time.
What To Expect
Before we dig deep into past wounds, I’ll make sure you feel safe and resourced with effective coping skills. I’ll provide you with information about intergenerational trauma and how certain cycles are passed down and perpetuated between parent and child. You will also learn about your baby’s development and how you can create the most maternal, attuned, and loving bond possible without sacrificing your mental health.
From there, we will begin to chip away at the negative thought patterns that keep you stuck, frustrated, and dissatisfied. As you learn to stop comparing yourself to others, you can transform your self-perception from focusing on what you’re doing wrong to what you’re doing right.
Because trauma is stored in the body, I take a somatic—or body-based—approach to therapy for perinatal and postpartum women. Since childhood, your body has been living in high-alert mode, so we will use the counseling space to slow down your stress response and help you learn to trust and befriend your body. Targeting trauma at its core, the skills, insights, and relief you gain through integrative somatic therapy can last you for life.
You are not here because you’re doing a bad job; you’re here because this transition is triggering painful thoughts and sensations, and you want to do everything you can to be the most present and aware parent possible. There is no such thing as perfection, and you will make mistakes throughout this journey, but with proper maternal mental health support, you can learn what it takes for you and your baby to thrive.
Still Have Concerns About Whether Or Not Counseling Is Right For You?
Plenty of women struggle with perinatal and postpartum issues—how can therapy actually help?
Therapy can be a great tool for navigating your identity as a mother, partner, and individual throughout this significant period of transition in your life. If you’re a childhood trauma survivor, becoming a mom has likely brought up some tough thoughts and feelings. My role as a maternal mental health therapist is to guide you in healing core traumas, offering you the tools needed to build a support network and cope with symptoms of perinatal/postpartum anxiety and depression.
I don’t want to traumatize my baby, but I am not enjoying motherhood the way I anticipated to.
For all moms, motherhood is an unexpected journey full of twists and turns. It’s to suddenly become responsible for another being. But right now, you and your baby are still getting to know each other, and your baby will continue to grow and change, sometimes during periods you enjoy and sometimes during periods you find challenging. That’s all to say it won’t always be this hard.
The key to flourishing during this time of your and your baby’s life is getting the maternal mental health support you need for when times are tough. By learning to ask for help and let others take care of your baby, you will have more energy for the fun, happy, and enjoyable parts of parenthood.
My baby always wants me—they cry when I put them down/let someone else hold them, and it’s making me very frustrated.
First and foremost, it will not traumatize your baby if you let them cry a little or don’t hold them constantly.
Our time together can be structured around giving you more space and room to breathe in your everyday life so that you can overcome feelings of anger and agitation. I might suggest baby-wearing to free up your hands or hiring some support if there’s no one else to relieve you. No matter what, our time together in postpartum counseling will revolve around your goals.
You Can Break The Cycle
No matter what was modeled to you, you are capable of being a strong, attuned, and loving parent. To find out more about how I can help or my approach to maternal mental health issues, please contact me.
Have any questions? Send me a message!
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