Perinatal Mental Health & How it Impacts the Parent-Child Relationship
The birth of a child can be one of the most wonderful, amazing, and joyous experiences of a person’s life. It can also be incredibly emotional and challenging, particularly if the birthing person/ mom is dealing with any mental health issues. These can make it difficult to bond with baby and feel okay and competent as a parent/ mother.
The birthing person / woman may have struggled with their mental health before becoming pregnant and giving birth. They may have been in treatment for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. They may have stopped taking their medication during pregnancy and while nursing / human milk feeding.
A new parents may also experience the “baby blues” or perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Both are caused by a sudden and dramatic decrease in hormones. While the baby blues is milder and only lasts for a couple of weeks, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) can be much more aggressive and last for months. Parents / Mothers who suspect they are suffering from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are advised to seek treatment.
The Powerful Parent (Mother) -Child Bond
The importance of forming an intimate bond between parent / mother and baby cannot be overstated. The quality of this early relationship can have lasting effects on a child’s development, including socio-emotional adaptation, cognitive development, and language development.
When a parent is struggling with mental health issues, it impedes their ability to bond with and care for their baby. Depression and anxiety can result in feeling disconnected from their new babies and children.
The physical symptoms that often accompany mental health issues can also make it incredibly difficult to form a quality relationship with a baby. Parents who experience everything from panic attacks to an inability to concentrate to profound exhaustion may find they have little energy to give to bonding with their baby.
Mental health issues can affect the parent’s perceptions, sensitivity an ability to interpret and respond to their baby’s signals. This decreased emotional involvement and responsiveness from the parent can lead to disrupted attachment and mental, social and emotional problems for the child later in life.
Treatment Can Help
The good news is therapy can help parents / mothers struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). By getting treatment, you will have the tools and resources needed to take back control of your life.
If you’re a new mother pr parent who is currently struggling and are interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.