Mental health care for the postpartum period

by Dr. Chi Nguyen, PhD

One of the biggest life transitions that one may experience is parenthood. For women, the mind and body undergo so many changes during pregnancy, such as changes in hormone levels and weight gain. In addition, the postpartum period can be compounded by:

– Fatigue from a lack of sleep or broken sleep
– Overwhelmed with the demands of taking care of a newborn
– Doubts about their ability to be a parent
– Stress from changes in work and home routines
– An unrealistic need to be a perfect parent
– Grief about loss of who they were before having the baby
– A lack of free time

According to the U.S. Health and Human Services,, it is estimated that 1 in 9 new mothers experience depression. Even for mothers who don’t develop depression, the period after childbirth can be a difficult emotional time as they adjust and take on the new responsibilities of parenthood. These experiences are not only felt by mothers, but also the other parent. As a result, it could lead to increased conflict within the relationship. Perhaps, one partner may feel dissatisfied with the division of childcare and household responsibilities, or unhappy with how the demands of a newborn have changed the relationship, leading to feelings of resentment and anger. These factors could negatively impact the relationship.

Therapy may be a helpful option because you’re able to talk to a professional to learn strategies to change how depression and stress makes you think, feel, and act. Additionally, you could learn skills to more effectively communicate and support your partner, especially while both of you navigate this major life transition. If you’re interested in exploring this option, don’t hesitate to reach out by contacting us at (408) 680-4114.

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