Perinatal Mental Health

pregnancy photoBefore Emily became a mother herself, there was no way to truly understand, or even begin to imagine the unparalleled time in a woman’s life leading up to, and following her pregnancy.  There is a remarkable juxtaposition of this time being marked by both an overwhelming sense of strength and awe over bringing (and birthing) another person into this world, and also of delicate vulnerability, especially in part due to significant gaps in perinatal mental health services provided (or even offered) to women during the time leading up to pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum – the perinatal time.

“Pregnancy is no ordinary time in the life of a woman.  At no other point in her life will so much about her change in such a brief period, or will the nature and quality of her adaptations have such far-reaching implications for her own and her child’s physical and psychological health.  On the one hand, this time of enormous transition, transformation, and reorganization is one of hope and possibility and on the other, it is a time of crisis and potential disorganization.”  (Slate, Cohen, Sadler and Miller, 2009).  

Women need support during this phase of their lives, perhaps more than any other time.  But almost more importantly, they need to know that it’s OK to ask for, seek, and give oneself permission to receive support during this profoundly significant time.  Emily is very open with her clients about her experience of postpartum depression and anxiety, pregnancy loss, and the trauma that ensued there-in.  Drawing upon this experience, Emily offers both experiential context and clinical knowledge.

No two women’s experiences are the same – leading up to pregnancy, during pregnancy, during the birthing experience, or following pregnancy – but core commonalities exist.  When you become a mother, there is a significant shift that takes place as you are called to predict, interpret and anticipate another person’s needs in a way that you never had to before.  And often, as the growing demands of your newborn baby increase or intensify, the woman’s ability to acknowledge, listen to, and respond to her own needs atrophies.

But this can all can be strengthened, reinforced and built back up again with proper support.

To note: Though Emily does not specialize in infertility, she is acutely aware of this particularly challenging time many women face, which is very traumatic in nature, and is open to offer support to clients during this time.  Offering support to women during pregnancy loss(es) is also available to clients, in helping to process this emotional and physical trauma.  In both of these cases, it is important to note that Emily is herself a mother, and would be transparent about this with her clients.

Services offered:

Additional Resources:

  • Resilient Birth is a phenomenal organization that provides trauma-sensitive support to women during the perinatal time, including trauma-sensitive child-birth education classes and personalized support.