** This post shares my own postpartum struggles. I am not a mental health professional and am not providing specific advice. Please see a professional if you need help.
In January I finally did it: I made an appointment to see a therapist after thinking about it for months. I found one that specializes in prenatal and postpartum issues and her office is not far from my house. She even offers online sessions when I can’t make it in person. I had been struggling with postpartum emotions and anxiety for months but I had felt like it was something I wanted to deal with on my own, until it became too much. At nine months postpartum my anxiety was through the roof. Irrational, consuming thoughts were preventing me from sleeping even when the baby was not really keeping me up anymore. I never really felt at ease.
I’m happy to say that my mental health has improved since beginning my therapy sessions, even though I still have a long way to go. I’m sharing the many ways I’ve benefited from seeking professional help in hopes of inspiring even one person who needs it to do the same. Maybe it’s a mom struggling at 3 a.m. and searching online whether others felt the same way. You don’t have to be alone in this.
How Therapy Has Helped Me:
It has given me tools to challenge my thinking and cognitive distortions.
It has given me a safe space to talk about my feelings and thoughts.
It has provided me ways to communicate more effectively (even though it’s a practice and I have a long way to go).
It has reassured me that I was justified in some of what I was feeling and that I am doing a good job as a mom.
It has provided me ways to cope when I notice my body is having a reaction due to anxiety. It has shown me how to manage the thought process that happens and how to slow down my breath and my reactions.
It has given me ideas on how to gain support as a mom, like joining apps to meet mothers in my area and signing up for mom-and-me classes.
It has helped me find ways to cut back on factors negatively affecting my sleep.
I’m sure I could list many more ways I’ve benefited from therapy, but you get the point. I hope this shows the value of speaking to a therapist to work through whatever you’re experiencing and that it’s possible to improve your mental health and whatever aspects of yourself you want to change for the better. I won’t lie, it’s hard work. But it’s necessary and you can often find low-cost or online services to help. You are not alone.