Do you feel worried about being the perfect parent?
Are you struggling to find joy with your baby?
Your family has grown, yet do you feel alone?
Have you lost yourself in parenthood?
Parenthood is Nonstop
Your life has been taken over by this tiny baby that constantly needs attention, regardless of what you need for yourself. Sleep was a problem during pregnancy and now who knows when you’ll get more than a few hours of sleep at a time, if you are lucky.
Everyone has an opinion. “Breast is best”. Formula shortage? “It’s your fault you chose to not breastfeed.” “Don’t sleep train or you will traumatize your baby.” “It’s your fault your baby isn’t sleeping, you should let them cry.” Now you feel guilty and worry you’re doing it wrong? For breastfeeding parents, there’s no escape since you’re a 24/7 baby restaurant. Maybe you struggle to produce enough breast milk and feel judged or ashamed.
Perhaps you’re struggling to split your time between your first born, a new baby and your partner. Your relationship is shaky, yet no matter how hard you try no one is happy and seems like it is all your fault.
What is a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD)
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD) is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. Yet PMADs are often not recognized or acknowledged. Who wants to admit that having a new baby, which is supposed to be this joyous event in every parent’s life, comes with intense challenges that you didn’t expect.
Most birth parents present with anxiety, depression, OCD, panic, or PTSD and non-birth parents can have a PMAD too! In fact, when one partner is diagnosed with a PMAD there is a fifty percent chance the other partner will also experience a PMAD. This means if mom has a PMAD there is a fifty percent chance dad will have one too.
Ways to Cope
When the painful feelings arise and refuse to go away, do you scroll on social media constantly comparing yourself to the “perfect parent?” Do you obsess over every detail for your baby and then feel anxious that it is not enough? Is that happening to the detriment of your relationship?
Instead, focus on finding acceptance that mistakes will happen. Parenthood is a masterclass in letting go of control. This means finding ways to ways to prioritize and take care yourself, because self-care is not selfish care.
Also, recognize the major change in your relationship with your partner and get intentional about how you want to change together. The baby is ideally welcomed into the family, it does not become the center of the family.
How counseling can help
Another person, with a different vantage point, can help you figure out what feelings are normal and expected, and what might be parental preoccupation becoming problematic. They can help you identify the real issue and apply new tools that have helped many others before you.
A good counselor is someone who will accept where you are at, not judge how you got there, and be willing to help you find the right direction for you. A counselor trained to look for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can better help you process the emotional, physical, and identity changes that happen with parenthood. It is possible to have help sifting through your feelings and find a way to feel better and enjoy being a parent. If you are ready to talk to someone trained and experienced to help, reach out and let’s get you started on creating your best self.
Visit the appointment page to request an appointment. Let’s get you on a path to creating your best self!
We offer in-office or teletherapy sessions to anyone in Washington State. Online counseling is conducted using HIPAA compliant software for your confidentiality.