Before or after you have your baby, it’s not unusual to feel sad or overwhelmed when you expected to feel joyful. Most parents struggle to adjust to the challenges of welcoming a new baby into their lives. Some people call related mood changes the “baby blues.” But when feelings of intense sadness, anxiety and other symptoms persist or get worse, it’s time to reach out for help.
Providence family support counselors specialize in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, which occur during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. We offer personalized evaluation and practical help, including steps, tools and resources to help you adjust. We also offer a full range of services and support for your whole family.
Whatever you’re going through, you are never alone. A licensed professional counselor provides individualized counseling when you need it most. We offer specialized mental health services for parents experiencing perinatal mood disorders. Additional help and support are available for partners or co-parents.
Conditions We Treat
We treat these and other conditions or disorders that sometimes affect new parents:
- Postpartum anxiety
- Postpartum panic disorder
- Postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder
- Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder
- Postpartum psychosis
Perinatal Mood Disorders
There are many reasons for depression or anxiety during pregnancy, after pregnancy loss, or after your baby is born. Your body, mind and spirit undergo important and significant changes. Caring for your little one affects your sleeping schedule and your lifestyle. In addition, you may have many expectations for yourself, your baby and your partner, and others may have expectations for you.
It takes time to find ways to cope with all these changes and you may experience mood swings as you navigate new paths. But seek prompt professional help for these or other common symptoms during pregnancy or after childbirth:
Anger or irritability
- Anxiety or panic
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating or indecisiveness
- Emotional numbness, concern about ability to bond with the baby
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feelings of inadequacy or guilt
- Frequent sadness or crying
- Insomnia (inability to sleep when the baby sleeps)
- Obsessive rituals
- Repetitive thoughts, images or fears
- Thoughts of suicide or escape fantasies
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are in a crisis situation, call the Crisis Line at 907-563-3200 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Services We Offer
It is important to get help when you need it. The risks of untreated mood disorders can be severe. There are many different treatment options and your health care provider can work with you to find the one that works best for you and your family.
Some effective treatments include:
- Herbal remedies
- Hormone therapy
- Light therapy
- Respite/rest and regular breaks from childcare
- Support groups
Please bring a referral from your primary care provider. If you need a referral for further mental health services, please call 907-212-5886 to schedule an appointment.
Education and Support Groups
Monday Mamas Support Group – Attend our mom-to-mom postpartum support group with monthly guest speakers, 11 a.m. - noon on Mondays at the Providence Maternity Education Center. For more information call 907-212-5886.
Preparing for Your Appointment
- Please come 15 minutes early to allow time for new patient paperwork
- Arrive on time to get the most from your appointment
- Bring any results of prior psychological testing or other treatment information
- Try to arrange childcare for children over the age of 2
- Request a referral from your primary care provider
It’s not just about depression. Many parents feel anxious, overwhelmed, irritable or guilty after delivery. It helps to talk about it. We can talk about bonding, sleep, scary thoughts, difficult births and other worries. Women and men of every culture, age, income level and race can have these feelings.
Think of it as a mental health checkup. Just like a 6-week checkup with your OB or midwife, it is important to check in with a specially trained counselor. A specialist can see how you are adapting to your new or expanding role as a parent. You can come in during your pregnancy to prevent problems and get off to a good start.
You will start by filling out a screening tool before meeting with a counselor to review the results. We’ll develop a treatment plan if you need counseling services. We can also connect you with groups and other services that meet your needs. Babies are always welcome.
Up to 25% of new dads or non-birth parents experience feeling overwhelmed, withdrawn or irritable after delivery. A family support counseling appointment can help parents talk about their experiences and provide practical tips for parenting.