Counseling for postpartum, pregnancy, and infertility

Are you struggling with the challenges of pregnancy or being a new parent?
Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or scared?
You might be feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster.
Or, maybe you’re asking yourself if this is how motherhood will always be.

We are often told that the transition to motherhood “should” be intuitive and joyful.  In reality, pregnancy and new motherhood is often a very challenging transitional period.  Anxiety and depression during pregnancy and after giving birth affect as many as 1 in 5 women. While postpartum depression is gaining more attention, women face an array of other symptoms that can develop during pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth.  These challenges are known as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.  If you feel like your symptoms are interfering with how you take care of yourself or your family, our pregnancy and postpartum counselors can help.

If you’re feeling like something isn’t quite right, trust your instincts.  Pregnancy and postpartum counseling can help you feel like yourself again.

We offer perinatal mental health support including:

  • treatment for postpartum depression and anxiety
  • perinatal mood disorders – before, during, and after pregnancy
  • the baby blues
  • pregnancy depression
  • stress, anxiety, worry
  • transitioning to motherhood
  • the impact of pregnancy and parenthood on relationships
  • intimacy issues during and after pregnancy
  • miscarriage/pregnancy loss and infant loss
  • parenting
  • infertility
  • trauma survivors
  • deciding whether or not to be come a parent

What are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders?

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are mental health conditions arising during pregnancy or the first year after giving birth, including:

Depression – feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, lack of interest in things she used to enjoy, lack of interest in the baby, feelings of hopelessness, appetite changes, or sleep changes.  Some women have feelings of wanting to harm herself or the baby.

Anxiety and panic disorder – extreme worries or fears, tension, feeling overwhelmed, panic attacks, fears about the health and safety of the baby.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – repetitive, upsetting mental images or thoughts, compulsive behaviors or rituals that decrease the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts.  Some moms have unwanted thoughts and images of the baby that they find very scary.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – flashbacks, anxiety, and fears related to a traumatic event including a scary or traumatic birth experience.  Some women who experienced traumatic events as a child have an increase in anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum.

Psychosis – hallucinations which may include seeing or hearing things that other people don’t, very unusual beliefs that others can’t understand, extreme distrust of others, confusion, or memory loss.  Postpartum psychosis is a serious emergency requiring immediate help from a doctor.

Symptoms can appear anytime from conception to the baby’s first birthday and may begin gradually or suddenly.

You are not alone and it’s not your fault.

Treatment for postpartum depression

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are the #1 complication of pregnancy and birth, impacting as many as 1 in 5 women.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are temporary and very treatable.  Most women find relief through a combination of family and social support, self-care, talk-therapy, and, in some cases,  medication.  Our perinatal therapists are here to help.

What are the baby blues?

The baby blues are a normal period of adjustment lasting about 2-3 weeks and impacting around 80% of new moms.  Having a baby can be exciting and joyful but also exhausting and overwhelming.  After birth, women experience rapid changes in their body.  Most women also experience sleep deprivation and changes within the family.  This is a lot to handle at once!

If you’re struggling with the baby blues, you might be feeling:

  • weepy or more emotional than usual
  • moody or irritable
  • exhausted
  • lonely
  • sad
  • anxious
  • restless
  • highs and lows
  • worried that this is how motherhood will always be

While the baby blues are perfectly normal and usually resolve on their own, it can really help to have someone to talk to.  Our postpartum counselors are here to help.

You might still have some questions or concerns about pregnancy and postpartum counseling.

I’m embarrassed to talk about this and worried it means I’m not a good mom.  
So many women don’t get the help they need because they feel embarrassed or ashamed.  Remember, you are not alone.  As many as 1 in 5 women struggle with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and up to 80% struggle with some form of the baby blues.  If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.  Seeking help for your emotional needs is a sign of strength and one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family.

I’m afraid I will have to take medication.
Medication is rarely the first treatment for emotional concerns.  We believe in trying therapeutic tools first in most situations.  If other options have been exhausted, there are times when medication can be helpful.  For most women, medication is a temporary addition to therapy, where they learn additional coping tools.  Ultimately, the choice to try medication is up to you.  If you decide medication may be helpful, we can help with referring you to a trained psychiatrist.

Whether you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or just having a rough week, our pregnancy and postpartum counselors are here to help you and your family.

Therapists who work with postpartum, prenatal, and infertility:

Kriston Nixon, LPC Virginia Beach Counselor

Kriston Nixon, LPC

Kriston specializes in perinatal mental health including
struggles related to infertility, pregnancy, and postpartum.

Call today if you need help with postpartum, prenatal, or infertility