More than just the baby blues.
postpartum treatment from a leading expert
One in seven mothers experiences depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after giving birth.
Postpartum therapy can help new parents feel better and enjoy this special moment in life.
Postpartum depression & anxiety are very common and highly treatable.
Childbirth can be a stressful event due to hormone fluctuations, physical changes and lack of sleep. Experiencing these symptoms during the last trimester of pregnancy, more than 2 weeks after birth, or with great severity can signify the onset of postpartum depression or anxiety. Fortunately, postpartum therapy with a skilled counselor is often very brief and effective.
Jacki Silber assists postpartum clients through a cooperative process focused on practical solutions. The sole objective of therapy is to help mothers and their loved ones feel better quickly. Each mother's vision for her family is respected, and her wishes regarding breastfeeding, sleeping arrangements, taking medication, and other treatment options are honored. Babies and family members are always welcome.
During her own struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, Jacki discovered that few professionals are trained to treat this very common condition.
Since 2000, Jacki has immersed herself in the field of perinatal mood disorders. She is one of very few therapists in the Bay Area specialized in helping mothers and their families handle the challenges a new baby presents.
Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Information
How do I know if I have postpartum depression & anxiety?
Childbirth can be a very stressful event, thanks to hormone fluctuations, physical changes and lack of sleep. Almost 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues” shortly after birth.
It is normal to experience tearfulness, nervousness, moodiness, and feelings of dependency during the first two weeks. Experiencing these concerns during pregnancy, past the first 2-3 weeks, or more seriously in nature may be postpartum anxiety and/or depression.
Because motherhood is expected to be a joyous time, many women don’t seek help because they “are not supposed to feel this way.” When they do speak up, they are often told that it will pass or to “get over it.”
Does postpartum depression & anxiety therapy work?
Fortunately, postpartum depression & anxiety therapy is often brief and highly effective. Treatment at the earliest signs of depression or anxiety often has the best outcomes. Counseling during pregnancy also greatly improves the chances for a positive adjustment after childbirth.
What are the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety?
Many women report feeling as if their emotions are on a roller coaster. Moods and symptoms can change frequently for no apparent reason. Some days are good and some are bad. Many women put off getting treatment because they think that the days they feel good are an indication that the situation is “not that bad.” In fact, this is just a normal progression of the illness.
Remember: Symptoms can begin during pregnancy or up to one year after giving birth. They can develop slowly or rapidly.
Can postpartum depression and anxiety begin during pregnancy?
Although we may think of postpartum depression and anxiety as only happening after childbirth, just as many women become depressed during pregnancy. However, they often do not seek help because symptoms seem similar to those normally experienced during pregnancy. Most women assume that it will pass after the baby is born — often the opposite is true. Getting help during your pregnancy, you may be able to avoid depression and anxiety after childbirth.
What are common symptoms of postpartum depression & anxiety?
- Feeling on an emotional roller coaster
- Not being able to sleep when baby sleeps
- Feeling disconnected from your baby, partner or family
- Inability to deal with stress as effectively as usual
- Feeling guilty for not feeling “like a new mother should”
- Repetitive concerns about something bad happening
Common indicators that you may be at risk:
- Type “A” personality
- A personal or family history of depression, anxiety or mood disorders
- High levels of stress during pregnancy, birth or postpartum
- Previous infertility issues
- Lack of support from family or spouse
- Difficult pregnancy and/or birth
- A baby who is difficult to soothe
- Low tolerance for disorganization or lack of control
Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Treatment
Jacki Silber uses a cooperative process that focuses on practical solutions to help women feel better quickly and be able to enjoy this very special time.
Treatment for perinatal mood & anxiety disorders is very practical, with the sole objective of helping the mother and their loved ones feel better.
Jacki's 20-plus years of experience as a child and family therapist is often useful in helping parents as well as older children in making a happy and successful transition.
Often people choose to continue therapy to work on other issues they would like to resolve after the perinatal treatment is complete.
During the first session we will assess the following areas:
- Anxiety & worrying
- Feeling blue or depressed
- Mood swings
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Changes in appetite
- Comfort with and attachment to the baby
- Repetitive concerns running through your head repeatedly
- Visual images of bad things happening
- Excessive worry that something bad will happen
- Pregnancy & birth experience
- Medical issues
- Life circumstances
- Relationships with partner and other family members
- Other relevant factors
Challenging Birth Experiences
When your birth experience does not go as planned, it is normal to have feelings of despair, resentment, and anger.
Therapy can help you to address the underlying feelings generated by your traumatic experience and begin the mental healing process to go along with your physical healing.
Jacki will work with you to provide validation and support as you work through the many emotions you are feeling after your difficult birth experience.
Challenging birth includes:
- Physical injury caused to you or your child during pregnancy or delivery
- Delivery that does not go as planned (emergency cesarean section, induced labor)
- Giving birth to a baby who requires NICU care and separation from you
- Losing your baby regardless of the circumstances
- A birth that was not ideal, disappointing, or frightening
How To Tell If It's Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
What’s normal and expected?
Difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep while pregnant; waking in the night to care for the baby
Being excited or worried at times
Emotions & thoughts that are slightly more intense than usual; being ‘moody’
Eating somewhat more or less than usual
Somewhat less concentration and/or increased forgetfulness
Wondering what you will be like as a parent; wanting to be a ‘good’ parent
Being scared or nervous at times
Knowing that really important changes are happening in your life
When should I contact a care provider?
Being so tired you can’t function and aren’t refreshed by sleep
Difficulty sleeping when the baby sleeps, especially when your mind is racing
Being uncharacteristically angry, irritable, or overwhelmed; feelings may be experienced as waves or panic attacks
Feeling like you’re on an ‘emotional rollercoaster’ for no reason; emotions or thoughts that increase for no reason
Unable to eat, even though you know you should; unable to stop a significant increase in ‘comfort eating’
‘In a fog’ or unable to do important tasks; forgetting important information, unable to make most decisions
Thinking that most other parents are better than you are; thinking you are not good enough to be a parent
Experiencing scary thoughts that are repetitive in nature; frequent nightmares
Believing that the only way to cope is to hurt yourself or kill yourself
Proactive Steps To Care For Yourself
Eat at least three meals per day that include protein (small meals are OK).
It may be helpful to prepare dinner leftovers on a plate to microwave for lunch the next day.
Keep water and snacks near where you feed your baby and in your diaper bag so they are accessible at all times.
Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.
Nap or rest during the day if you are tired. If you’re unable to sleep, listening to a relaxation track may be helpful.
Talk with your care provider if sleep does not come easily to you or if your sleep is not refreshing.
As you’re feeling better, it may be helpful to go outside one time per day.
Identify a way to exercise that is enjoyable to you, eventually working up to half an hour or more three times per week if possible.
Realize that during this time you may not be able to handle stress as effectively as usual. Limit the amount of time you spend with people or in situations that cause you stress.
As you are able, spend time each week with people who are important to you. Allow yourself to accept help from others.
When you are ready, joining a mother’s club or support group can be very useful. Ask your care provider or Jacki for referrals if you need them.