Even though it seems like everyone around you expects you to feel overjoyed by the upcoming birth of your child, inwardly you might not always feel this way. Perhaps you’re wondering if you will be able to handle the responsibility of becoming a parent. Or if you have a history of anxiety or depression, it’s possible that your pregnancy has been tough for you.
Or maybe you’ve recently given birth and it’s been more challenging than you anticipated. When you compare the expectations you had before giving birth—always feeling joyful, loving, and complete once the baby arrived—with how you actually feel—often exhausted, overwhelmed, and isolated—the contrast isn’t lost on you.
Fortunately, we have created a course that talks candidly about these challenges and offers tangible steps you can take to get the help and support you need. If you are in need of more information on pregnancy and postpartum mental health or want to determine if you are at risk for a PMAD, our course can help you identify the signs early so that you can get support sooner than later.
The extent of physical, psychological, and emotional transition that takes place during the perinatal phase is extensive. In fact, there’s a term for it: matrescence. Similar to adolescence, matrescence is a time in our lives when everything is in flux. As we prepare to bring new life into the world and become a parent, we simultaneously leave behind life as we’ve known it up to that point.
It’s understandable that in this time of metamorphosis, we may feel a flood of emotions, both positive and negative ones. Unfortunately, our culture perpetuates the false myth that pregnancy and postpartum is a time when a new parent will feel their deepest joy. However, the reality is often something far different than this—we may experience fears, doubts, anxiety, and sadness during pregnancy that continue through the days, weeks, and months after giving birth. Unfortunately, if we enter this phase of life thinking we should only feel elated and grateful, the times that we feel less inspired can instill a sense of feeling imperfect which shakes our confidence as a new parent.
The good news is that Birth Education Center understands the importance of setting realistic expectations for pregnant people and their partners about the feelings they experience during the perinatal period. Our collaboration for the Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health course provides an open and honest in-depth exploration of this subject that dispels the judgment that is often associated with mood disorders such as Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. By understanding that the symptoms of PMADs are temporary and treatable, you can step into your new role as parent feeling confident and connected to your baby.
Many parents who have taken our BEC childbirth education courses throughout the years have confided that the books they’ve read and the movies they’ve watched about childbirth and parenthood haven’t prepared them for the physiological and emotional changes they’re now experiencing. They expected to feel nonstop joy and anticipation, only to find they were also confronted with more difficult emotions that no one talks about.
Because we have seen first-hand how common this issue is with new parents, we wanted to bring the topic of perinatal mental health out of the shadows and have a frank and open discussion about the you might face. Recognizing the long-term impact your mental health will have on you during pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond, the BEC has created a course that covers the different mental health issues that can arise so that you are equipped to identify and treat PMADs early.
In this course, we will talk about the different symptoms associated with PMADs, such as perinatal or postpartum depression or anxiety, so that you will be able to conduct a self-assessment and determine whether you may be at risk. By breaking down the stigmas of mental health in the perinatal period, you will realize that everything you’re experiencing is normal and, with proper diagnosis, highly treatable.
We begin the course by defining what PMADs are and how you can determine whether or not normal baby blues has blossomed into something more persistent and severe. In addition to discussing who is most vulnerable to PMADs and why, we will talk about how your partner’s mental health is also impacted during pregnancy and postpartum but often overlooked. Further, our course provides you with self-care practices, prevention and treatment options, and ways to access local resources to get help.
We aim to normalize the psychological and emotional challenges you may be experiencing. Destigmatizing your mental health at this critical period in your life can help you chart a healthy path forward into parenthood.
The BEC courses have been created with the understanding that connection with your baby comes first. Because you are the one who is crafting the birth of your baby, body autonomy and personal responsibility should guide the choices you make. Once this shift in your consciousness takes place, your physiological transformation will follow.
While the “baby blues” is an adjustment period experienced by most birthing people in the postpartum period, when the duration, frequency, and intensity of symptoms exceed what is considered normal, it may indicate something more serious. Learning how to identify the symptoms of a PMAD early—whether it’s postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety (PPA), OCD, PTSD, or psychosis—is invaluable because each condition is temporary and treatable. The sooner your PMAD is diagnosed, the sooner you can find out how to treat it.
You can take this course before you are pregnant or ideally during the first trimester! If you’re pregnant, it’s understandable that you may feel overwhelmed with childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant care classes. However, everything else you are juggling through this significant life transition relies on you feeling well. By prioritizing your pregnancy and postpartum mental health, you will create a stable foundation for yourself. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—getting a handle on your mental health before it becomes a bigger problem will positively affect all aspects of your pregnancy and postpartum experience.
Learning to identify the signs of symptoms of a PMAD early can have a lasting positive impact on your perinatal experience. Once you click the link below and register on MemberVault, you will have immediate access to the course. We have developed it as a recorded presentation facilitated by Care Messer, the founder of the Birth Education Center, and Beth Warren, a certified Perinatal Mental Health and EMDR therapist. The fee of the course includes a copy of Beth’s book, The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook, a wonderful resource that includes all course material and more.
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