Being a new parent is no joke.
Trying to conceive, pregnancy, birth and now being responsible for a tiny human can bring about so many emotions. Some common feelings include; anxiety, depresion, disappointment, anger BUT there will also be joy, pride and excitement. It is confusing to say the least and is more difficult than many people expect.
Finding a safe space to process the many life events that lead up to being a new parent and all the emotions that come about can greatly help cope with this huge life transition.
There are many reasons a new mom may seek out therapy, here are a few:
Lack of support
Reality does not meet expectation
Difficulty coping with change in identity
Perfectionism and comparison
No matter what the reason is for seeking out therapy, it is valid and it is important. Every new mom deserves to feel like herself again.
Therapy is a safe and non-judgmental space for a new mother to process her many emotions. It offers support and a space for a new mom to take care of herself when she spends 99% of her time taking care of everyone else.
Sometimes when a new mom tries to talk to friends or family about their struggles they can be met with statements like,
“The birth may have been hard but at least now you have a beautiful baby.”
“It doesn't matter if breastfeeding is hard for you, you do what is best for the baby, not yourself.”
“You’re a mom now, your emotions don’t matter, it’s all about the baby.”
Therapy offers a place where a new mom can process their thoughts and emotions without being afraid of judgements. They do not have to hold back emotions or thoughts to spare someone else's feelings and they do not have to pretend to be okay when they are not.
4 Common Goals In Postpartum Therapy For New Moms
Therapy is a place to process all the changes a new mom goes through and it is important to set goals for what is hoped to be achieved in therapy sessions. Creating goals becomes like a roadmap for the client and therapist to navigate together with a purpose.
1. Processing Identity Change
When a new baby is born, a new woman is also born - a mother. It is inevitable that with this new identity comes so many changes. Women take on a new role as mom, but their former roles as wife, friend, daughter still exists which can create an internal struggle.
Priorities shift, daily routines change, free time, social life and personal care suddenly all become very different and, at times, even non existent. It is important to process all these changes and learn how to cope and accept this new role.
2. Grieving Expectations vs. Reality
Many pregnant women begin to imagine what life is going to be like once their baby is born. They may picture a seamless breastfeeding journey, family and friends by their side helping out, their body “bouncing back,” and building an instant bond with their baby. When the baby comes it is typically different from this picture perfect scene created in a pregnant woman's head.
It can be hard to accept this reality so it is important to take the time to voice these disappointments. Saying them outloud does not make anyone a bad mother, it just means they are human and are grieving what they thought this stage of life would be like. By going through the grieving process and talking about these disappointments, a new mother can come to a point of acceptance which will alleviate negative emotions.
3. Reducing Perfectionism & Comparison
In this day and age of social media, it is SO hard not to compare one's parenthood journey to the next. People only tend to post a “highlight reel” of their lives which leaves new mothers who are so vulnerable susceptible to comparison and self doubt. “They make it look so easy, why is it so hard for me?” Is such a common question new parents often ask themselves. They hoped to have the Pinterest perfect picture to post on their own social media feeds only to be covered in spit up without a shower for 3 days.
In therapy, the goal is to reduce comparison and remember not everything we see on social media is the full picture! To do this, it is important to focus on and be aware of personal self-talk. If a new mother can identify their negative, perfectionistic thoughts, she can then work on reducing and challenging them.
4. Improved Communication with Partner
As mentioned before, having a new baby comes with many life changes and a huge one is the relationship between two new parents. Not only does the mother’s identity shift, but so does her partners. That means there are two people going through so much; trying to navigate this new role, learning how to care for a new baby, and sleep deprivation just to name a few. As a result, a lot of times the relationship can get put on the back burner.
Therapy can be a place where two people come together to process these changes together. Often, each individual partner thinks they are the only one “going through it” which is, a lot of times, not true. In therapy they will be able to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and needs and work together to maintain or build a strong relationship.
How To Find The Right Postpartum Therapist For You
It’s important you find a therapist you feel comfortable with in order to get the most out of your time in therapy.
Set up consultation calls: set up a few consultation calls to make sure you find the right fit.
Choose the therapist you feel is the best fit for you and schedule your first appointment
If you are a new mom and are interested in working with me to achieve the goals above, reach out today to schedule a free consultation!