Postpartum Counselling in BC
In the postpartum period (the 12 months following pregnancy), new parents are at a higher risk of experiencing a wide range of mental health concerns due to significant life changes, role disruption, sleep deprivation, relationship and identity shifts, and hormonal fluctuations. The most common postpartum mental health concerns are postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA). These concerns may be seriously debilitating for the new mother and her family. Approximately 15% of women experience significant depression symptoms following childbirth, and 10% experience significant anxiety symptoms. This number is even higher for women who are experiencing abuse or trauma, who lack a supportive home environment, or who are also dealing with poverty. Women who have a personal or family history of major depression, past or current abuse and trauma, or other mental health concerns are at an increased risk of experiencing PPD and/or PPA.
What is postpartum counselling?
Postpartum counselling is a specialized counselling therapy aimed at supporting new parents manage their mental health, relationships, identity changes, trauma, and any other issue that arises during the first year of their baby’s life. Postpartum counselling is a unique specialty and requires advanced training and knowledge, as postpartum mental health brings challenges unique from mental health concerns in other seasons of life.
Postpartum counselling may look like unstructured, traditional talk-therapy where you are encouraged to express your thoughts and emotions, identify goals, and find solutions to your problems. Alternately, counselling may involve a more structured and directive approach, such as in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy. At Sage Mental Health, we aim to tailor your postpartum counselling to your unique personality, needs, preferences, and goals.
How can postpartum counselling help me?
The first year postpartum is frequently a challenging and vulnerable time for new parents. It is extremely common to find yourself struggling with parenthood, your mental health, your identity, or your relationships. Postpartum counselling may be helpful for you if you:
- Are wanting or needing support managing big emotions during this difficult time;
- Are finding yourself feeling overwhelmed and triggered more easily (noticing more anger, more sadness or crying, or difficulty completing every day tasks);
- Are having thoughts that are scaring you (for example, thoughts of not wanting to be around anymore, or having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby);
- Are having trouble sleeping even when the baby is sleeping;
- Are experiencing a heightened level of conflict in your relationships;
- Are noticing changes in your appetite or weight without intending to;
- Are experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms, such as nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, or changes in your mood and anxiety levels;
- Are feeling unable to relax or unwind, even when given the time and space;
- Are battling strong beliefs of failing or not being a good enough parent;
- Are concerned about bonding and attachment concerns with your baby;
- Are wanting support transitioning back to the workplace after leave from work;
- Are unsure if what you’re experiencing is normal.
What can I expect when I meet with my postpartum counsellor?
Once you are matched with your counsellor and have booked your first appointment, you will be invited to fill out an intake form where you are free to share as much or as little about your life and concerns as you feel comfortable. In addition, all pregnant and postpartum clients are typically screened with a 10-question assessment called the, “Edinburgh Postnatal/Perinatal Depression Scale”, which helps us to better understand your concerns and assess for a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.
During your first appointment, your counsellor will go over some intake information with you, and then will discuss with you your concerns, your personal history, and your goals for your counselling therapy. As with all of your counselling sessions, you are in charge of what you choose to share, and you are under no obligation to share any information that feels too sensitive or private. Your counsellor will work with you to figure out what you’d like to change and plan for how to get you there.
Postpartum Counselling in BC and Across Canada
Our team at Sage Mental Health has advanced training and experience in supporting clients through the difficult months of postpartum. We offer online and telephone counselling support to clients across BC and Ontario, and in certain provinces where counselling therapy is unregulated (currently, this is the case in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, North-West Territories, Nunavut and Newfoundland, and clients from these regions are welcome to inquire). We are also able to offer in-person postpartum counselling support at our in-person office location in the Fraser Valley, BC. In-person services are also accessible for women seeking postpartum counselling in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley and Mission, B.C.
If you’re finding that this is not what you expected and are struggling postpartum, you may be wondering if postpartum counselling is right for you. Please consider reaching out for a free, confidential consultation with one of our maternal mental health therapists:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (604) 785-9511