Here’s what Prisma has to share!
MAKING SENSE OF MOTHERHOOD
BY PRISMA MARTINEZ, LMFT
Whether planned or not, finding out that you are pregnant can bring a mix of emotions. Feelings of joy or sadness can begin to arise as you realize you will need to make drastic changes in your life. Sometimes these feelings slowly begin to get in the way of your thinking, functioning, and the ability to care for yourself. With no manuals that tell you everything that will happen or answers to your every question, you are left wondering and feeling overwhelmed. Within time comes the baby and everyone around you is saying “Wow! You must be so happy; you have a baby now”. But you really don’t feel that way, maybe you feel indifferent, sad, disconnected, or have a hard time accepting that you are now responsible for a small human being.
So, you may ask yourself,“What is this all about? Why do I feel so different? Why don’t I feel what they say I should be feeling?” Confusion and doubt then sneak in as you question, “How do I change a diaper? How much do I feed my baby? How many hours should my baby sleep? When do I eat and sleep?”. In fact, we forget that with many new events comes a period of transition and adjustment.
Baby Blues is the common term used to describe the typical 2-3-week adjustment period after birth. During this time, you may feel tired, sad, overwhelmed, or have changes in your eating and sleeping habits. Most of the time, mothers begin to find answers to their questions as they begin to learn their baby’s cues, ask family or friends, or meet with their baby’s pediatrician.
Other times, the confusion and doubt can last 5 to 6 weeks or more and turn into deeper thoughts and feelings leading to excessive worry, guilt, and sense of inadequacy as a mother. Some mothers may say, “I want to cry all the time when I see my baby”, “My baby doesn’t stop crying and it’s all my fault”, “Who am I, I don’t feel like myself anymore, My baby would probably be better off without me”. Those deeper emotions and thoughts that get in the way of you taking care of yourself and your baby are commonly known as Postpartum Depressionor Perinatal Depression and Anxiety.
Perinatal Depression and Anxiety is common and can affect any woman regardless of age, culture, education, and social economic status. According to Maternal Mental Health Now, 1 million women each year experience some form of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and may not know what it is. Knowing the signs of perinatal depression and anxiety before and after birth can help you find the support you need.
Some of the questions you can ask yourself
- Do I feel down, depressed, or hopeless?
- Do I feel tired or have little energy?
- Do I feel little interest or pleasure in doing things?
- Do I have difficulty concentrating?
- Do I have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
- Do I have a poor appetite or am I overeating?
- Do I feel bad about myself or that I am failing or have let myself and my family down?
- Do I have thoughts that I would be better off dead or of hurting myself or my baby in some way?
- Do I see or hear things that are not there?
If you answered yes to many of these questions, let me assure you “YOU ARE NOT ALONE - THERE IS HELP – YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOTHER”.
From individual counseling to support groups, both provide a safe space for you to share those scary and overwhelming thoughts, feelings, and questions.
In individual sessions, I support mother’s by acknowledging their uncertainties, validating their struggles and challenges, holding a safe space for them to be their authentic self and process the thoughts that cloud their day, provide psychoeducation on symptoms, and practice skills that facilitate a sense of calmness in their daily life. When in a group setting “The Light in Motherhood”, I provide a safe space for mothers to connect and build a support system that works for them, facilitate activities that help nurture their individuality as a women and as a mother, and teach infant massage strokes that enrich the bond and connection between mother and baby.
If you or a loved one are struggling, please don’t wait, ASK FOR HELP. The sooner we connect, the sooner life will begin to make sense.
Please feel free to ask about my upcoming group in September called “The Light Of Motherhood”.
August 2, 2019