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“When a woman contemplates motherhood, her friends tell her it will change her life.  It would be more accurate for them to say, ‘You will no longer have what you now call your life. You will have a different life.’” – Harriet Lerner

No matter how or when a child enters your life, there is nothing that can really prepare a woman for the identity transformation we call motherhood. Life is redefined in every way – your body, your family, your friendships, your finances, your goals, you name it. It’s absolutely normal to have mixed feelings about these changes, and therapy is the ideal place to sort them out.

Nearly all women believe that new motherhood will be a time of great joy, but few are prepared for the stresses that come with the 24-hour job of caring for an infant. And with more technology and information available to today’s moms, women can feel overwhelming pressure to be perfect.

Research suggests that 10 – 18 % of pregnant women and 10 – 20 %  of postpartum women experience depression.  And if you experienced an episode of depression at any point in your life prior to pregnancy, your risk increases exponentially.  These are treatable illnesses that distinctly differ from the extremely common “baby blues” (a brief period of high emotional sensitivity immediately after giving birth). Symptoms include persistent sadness, irritability, lack of interest, difficulty concentrating, sleeping too little or too much, appetite changes, anxiety and morbid thinking. Therapeutic and social support are crucial to women struggling with these symptoms. However, if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your child, don’t wait for a scheduled appointment.  Seek immediate help by calling 911 or going to your closest emergency room.

Recommended Reading:

The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book.  Jennifer Louden
The Mother Dance.  Harriet Lerner
The Balanced Mom:  How to Raise Your Kids Without Losing Yourself.  Bria Simpson
This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression.  Karen Kleiman & Valerie Raskin.


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