Help for Moms: Postpartum and Beyond

OK, this job of being a mom turned out to be really hard …way harder than you could ever have imagined.

People had told you it would be difficult, but you’ve learned that there was no way to appreciate just how hard until you experienced it yourself. And while some aspects of parenting have gotten easier as the kids have grown, other aspects seem harder and harder. You keep waiting for this to get easier, and you’re still waiting.

One day, you feel like you’ve got a handle on it; the next, not so much. You wonder, how do these other moms seem so together all the time? You feel this enormous pressure to put up a front the minute you walk out the door…that is, if you can even get out the door with those kids. It’s so hard to do the simplest things. You suspect that maintaining that veneer of being all put together is costing you, and you’re right, it is.

It’s wrong that in our society, moms feel so much pressure to be perfect, to hide their feelings about how hard this all is.

As a mom, you may be exhausted and overwhelmed by the demands of parenting, which are never ending.

mom issues

It’s hard to get even your most basic needs met, if you even ever have a chance to think of yourself. It’s so easy to be concerned for the well being of the kids and to put yourself last, and it’s little wonder that with that neglect of your own needs, you feel anxious, depressed, or hopeless. We weren’t designed to ignore our own needs so much of the time, and yet somehow we’re now expected to do that, with barely any support in parenting. The expectations on moms are irrationally high. Perfectionism sets in, and we read the parenting books and hear all the advice and suggestions and wonder if we’re even doing a good job.

Women show up for counseling frequently in the early and mid-parenting years stating, “I just don’t even know who I am anymore.” So many factors play a role. You may have given up a career you loved. Or you may be overwhelmed by the competing demands of parenting and holding down that job. Many moms struggle with excessive guilt related to believing they’re not giving their kids enough of their time (if they’re employed) or not contributing to the household income (if they’re a stay-at-home mom). They feel guilty taking even one minute for themselves.

No one told you that the moms who do best are the ones who have figured out that it is not only OK—but absolutely essential—to learn to take care of yourself. That analogy to airplanes is true: Put on your own oxygen mask first, then your child’s, so you can be present for both of you. But it’s so hard to know that it’s okay to take care of yourself or know how to go about that.

At Life Counseling Institute, we can help you learn that all of your feelings about parenting are OK, that what you are feeling is perfectly normal and understandable. That you are a good mom, despite the self-doubt you sometimes experience. That is makes sense to feel stressed and overwhelmed or be struggling with anxiety or depression right now. And that there is a way out, to feel like yourself again. In counseling, we will create a safe, nonjudgmental space for you in which you can share all of your feelings and find your way to feeling and doing better in this job of being a mom.

We can help you at various phases of parenthood:

mom issues

Postpartum Period

Upset feelings in the postpartum period can come as a real surprise.
While we may have educated ourselves about postpartum depression during our pregnancy, we may nonetheless have imagined that we would be happy at this time and feel blindsided by the anxiety or depression we experience when the baby arrives.

Postpartum Anxiety

Did you know that anxiety in the postpartum period is actually more common than depression? If you’ve been wondering why you’re struggling with feeling anxious a lot, you’re not alone. Counseling can help with:

  • Worry, a general sense of anxiety
  • Preoccupation with the health of the baby
  • Postpartum OCD, including scary thoughts, such as fears of harming the baby
  • Obsessing about breastfeeding
  • Worries about not bonding
  • Difficulty leaving the baby in the care of others
  • Difficulty getting a break for yourself

To learn more about our services for postpartum anxiety, click here.

Postpartum Depression

No one tells us that the joy we expected to feel after having a baby sometimes fails to materialize. Instead we can feel sad, exhausted, guilty, and inadequate. We might yearn for the life we had before children, or be upset to even think that. If your mood is down, it’s honestly no wonder, so difficult is the job of being a mom.

Counseling can help you feel like yourself again. You might have to shed a few tears and grieve a few losses, but we can help you learn to love your new life, improve your mood, and find joy again. We can help you with:

  • Conflicted feelings about being a mom
  • Feeling exhausted, depleted, inadequate, or resentful
  • Sadness, difficulty experiencing pleasure
  • Excessive guilt
  • Anger at your spouse
  • Scary thoughts

Later Years: Parenting Stress Adds Up

As women, we juggle so much—our jobs, our homes, the schedules of our children and spouses. And it can be so easy to begin to neglect ourselves, become overwhelmed, or find ourselves lost.

The moms that we see frequently ask, “Am I the only one who thinks this job is really hard?” “Why do other moms seem to be so perfect/put together?” “How can I find time for myself and still take care of my family?”

We can help you to:

  • Accept yourself for being a less-than-perfect mom
  • Learn to care not just for your children, but for their primary caregiver as well (yes, that would be you!)
  • Develop a stronger self-identity
  • Find better balance for yourself and your family

Prenatal Period

Pregnant with your first child? Wondering how this might go? It’s normal to be scared. Especially if you have a history of depression or anxiety, it’s a good idea to get help before baby comes to know what to anticipate and to develop a plan for how to cope. We can work with you and your partner to know signs to look out for, gain coping strategies, develop plans for supporting one another, and finding resources for getting the help you’ll want to have. It will be time well spent!

Miscarriage, Infertility

The experience of infertility, miscarriage, or secondary infertility can be enormously isolating. You’re not sure who to tell or whether your feelings are normal, and thus these experiences can be uniquely scary and painful. You may be navigating a sea of medications, doctor visits, and medical procedures, all while feeling scared, sad, and alone. Your relationship with your spouse may be strained. We can help you:

  • Cope with stress and uncertainty
  • Develop resiliency
  • Grieve losses
  • Strengthen your relationship and
  • Find support and meaning in your experience
help for moms

Online Counseling: A Great Solution for Busy Moms

You may not be able to leave the house right now, either because of the current pandemic or the need to watch your baby or other children. Moms, we got you. You can get the help you need and deserve online, from the comfort of your home. Learn more about online counseling (teletherapy) here.
We look forward to working with you on the path to reclaiming your life. We have offices in both the northwest (Park Ridge) and southwest (Willowbrook) suburbs.