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Perinatal Mental Health

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Have you been struggling with anxiety or depression since you’ve become pregnant or after giving birth?


Are you having trouble connecting to your baby and partner?


Are you trying to recover from the loss of a child?

Perhaps you’ve faced challenges with becoming pregnant or staying pregnant. Maybe you feel as though your loss is overlooked by others. You may be dealing with intrusive thoughts or constant wondering about what could go wrong.

Dealing with the emotional pain surrounding pregnancy and child loss is hard and can be a lonely road because those around you don’t truly understand what you're going through. Deep down you wish you could make sense of the complicated emotions or go back in time and change the past.

Though we can't change what has already happened, perinatal mental health counseling can help guide you through the pain and hurt and facilitate healing so you can move forward.

Perinatal Concerns And Challenges Don’t Just Go Away With Time


Maybe you're experiencing uncontrollable grief and sadness, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, anger, irritability, and loss of identity. Physically, you may be recovering from giving birth, caring for an infant, and struggling with physical healing and fatigue.

In social settings, you may feel isolated or have difficulty connecting with others. Maybe you even feel invisible if people come over only to see the new baby. You’re pressured into feeling happy about being a new parent but all you feel is misery and exhaustion.


Maybe you can’t make sense of everything you’re experiencing. However, perinatal mental health therapy can provide the support and guidance you need to work through the complicated thoughts and emotions you’ve had to deal with.

Mood Disorders During The Perinatal Phase Are More Common Than You May Think


Roughly 15 to 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men encounter significant mood or anxiety symptoms during the perinatal period. The likelihood of experiencing such symptoms increases with additional risk factors, such as financial stress or relationship instability.

Male partners also face mood disorders at a higher rate than the wider male community. For example, 1 in 10 dads suffer from postpartum depression. Despite being a relatively common experience, if left untreated, postpartum depression or anxiety can escalate quickly, leading to potentially dangerous consequences, including suicidal and homicidal thoughts. People with a history of mood or anxiety disorders are particularly at greater risk.

There Are Numerous Reasons People Seek Out Perinatal Therapy


There is no one cause of perinatal mental health disorders— it can range from genetic predisposition to social factors. Birth and building a family are some of the most significant changes in an adult’s life. Romantic partnerships are reorganized, housing, work, social lives, all of these can change when a baby comes into the picture.

The process of giving birth can be a transformative journey accompanied by its unique set of obstacles. The expectation is that it should be a joyful experience, which it often is, but it can also be an overwhelming and stressful adjustment. Additionally, when a parent experiences mood disorder symptoms they can conflict with typical ideas about blissful parenthood. Not all new parents feel positive after the birth of a child.

Regardless of how these issues have developed, having a compassionate and experienced perinatal therapist by your side can help validate your difficult experiences and provide the tools for you to process and heal from them.

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Perinatal Counseling Can Help Restore Your Peace Of Mind

Perinatal therapy provides a safe and supportive environment where you can freely express your thoughts, feelings, fears, and concerns. In this non-judgmental space, a supportive therapist is by your side to help you feel seen and validated.

Therapy helps provide support and hope in the midst of what may feel impossible to overcome, for example living without your child in the world or being unable to get pregnant.

During sessions, I always encourage authentic emotions in the face of social expectations. I want you to recognize that your symptoms can change and that you won't always feel this way. Through therapy, you can begin to develop a loving bond with your baby and partner over time.

Perinatal Mental Health— A Tailored Therapeutic Approach

When you begin therapy, I’ll start by targeting immediate issues and concerns, like your day-to-day needs, and ensuring you feel safe. After this, we’ll focus on addressing a combination of insight, relational connection needs, and coping skills. I will work collaboratively with you to help you identify ways to strategize and obtain sufficient rest and garner the support necessary for this demanding time.

After addressing immediate concerns and ensuring your safety in the perinatal mental health therapy process, the focus shifts to exploring longer-term goals. This involves building a connection with your child and addressing feelings of disconnection with your partner. In cases involving loss, the therapy delves into understanding the impact, creating space for the emotions, processing the loss, and allowing time for healing. Therapeutic efforts also center around opening up to others, enabling you to share who you are authentically.

Sessions will also address a combination of insight, relational connection, and coping skills. Attention is given to ensuring you allocate time for rest and recovery. Various skills, including self-compassion and self-care, are emphasized, guiding you toward prioritizing your needs, as well as those of your baby and partner. These skills are incorporated to address the specific needs of the birthing parent, preventing you from becoming overwhelmed while caring for your child.

The therapeutic toolkit also includes self-soothing techniques such as mindfulness and meditation. I will guide you in recognizing and identifying emotions, promoting awareness, and allowing feelings to coexist without overwhelming their overall experience. This acknowledges the reality of feelings, emphasizing that they are not always indicative of the truth in each situation.

You will also learn how to navigate the complexities of asking for what is needed, move through feelings of guilt or sacrifice, and develop relationship skills. The therapeutic process will help you understand how your identity may have shifted and identify potential changes needed in your life. Crafting priorities becomes pivotal in shaping a meaningful life during this transitional phase.

I hold a specialized certification in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C). This signifies that I have undertaken additional training and dedicated efforts in this specific realm of mental healthcare.

Though you’re going through this challenging life-changing experience, perinatal counseling with an experienced psychologist can give you the tools and the strength you need to recover.

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Maybe You Are Considering Perinatal Mental Health Therapy But Still Have A Few Concerns…

What is wrong with me? Why don't I love my baby like I'm supposed to?

Parenthood is sold to us as all warm and fuzzy. It’s often said that having a baby is the most precious time in your life and that you'll just feel amazingly connected to your child. That's a lovely story—but for most of us, it's more complicated. Having a baby disrupts your whole life. Your body isn't your own anymore, you don't get enough sleep and your emotions are all over the place. Sometimes, birthing parents need more help adjusting and acclimating to this new time in our lives.

I'm having very disturbing worries, am I losing my mind?

New parents can experience increased anxiety. Things like intrusive thoughts can be very scary and make you feel like you can’t trust yourself. This can and does happen too often to new parents. It can get better. The best thing you can do is seek immediate help, be honest with your therapist, and practice to be compassionate with yourself. This can get better, and it doesn't mean you are losing your mind—rather your mind needs a bit more support during this time.

When I got pregnant I oriented my whole life toward this baby, now there's not going to be a baby, how can I recover?

Losing a pregnancy or an infant is disastrous. You can feel like your loss is invisible to others, and people will probably say all kinds of unhelpful things like, “Well, you just can try again.” Take your time with this loss—it's real and it matters. Let yourself feel it and recognize what it means to you. People vary on how they would like to memorialize this kind of loss, consider what makes sense for you. Counseling can help you to sort out your feelings in this process.

You Can Feel Whole Again

The loss and complex emotions you’re experiencing do not have to last forever. When you’re ready, perinatal therapy is here to help you heal, recover, and move forward with your life.


Please call (708) 381-0634 or use the contact form to reach out for a free 15-20 consultation or to schedule an appointment to see how my approach to perinatal counseling can help you.

Kara E. Wolff, PhD
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