J e n n i f e r M u r d o c c a, MA, MFT #45017
Licensed Pasadena Psychotherapist - Los Angeles
A WIDE VARIETY OF SYMPTOMSmay emerge as a result of giving birth that few women feel prepared for.
These often confusing reactions range from the uncomfortable to the truly distressing and unmanageable-feeling. Many new moms feel hesitant or unsafe about sharing these complex feelings as they don't seem to conform to the many myths about how new mothers 'should' feel about this transformative experience. These are the feelings, thoughts, sensations and experiences that are rarely talked about. Since so many new mothers have not had these experiences normalized for them as possibilites, they can incorrectly believe that something is terribly wrong with them - that they are defective, crazy or 'bad.'
Often new mothers keep all of these feelings inside for fear of being judged, misinterpreted, humiliated or criticized. Remaining isolated with these feelings can lead to a whole new level of shame, guilt, fear, anxiety/panic and depression that can exacerbate the original distressing feelings.
It is crucial to attend to and receive treatment for these symptoms as soon as possible, particularly if you and/or your baby experienced any trauma during the birth process. Left untreated, these symptoms can impact new mothers and their families for several years. Most of the remarkably brave new mothers I treat are initially terrified or ashamed to share their experiences with others. When they realize they are able to safely share any thought or feeling with me (no matter how outlandish or extreme-seeming), most experience newfound hope and some immediate relief.
Postpartum disorders are treatable.
I offer crisis management interventions, grounding/mindfulness techniques, empathic attunement, self care suggestions & education to help suffering new mothers embark on the path to wellness.
Overlapping symptoms of these disorders may include:
Sleep Disturbances - inability to sleep or excessive sleep
Changes in Appetite - significant increase or decrease
Irritability and /or Persistent Anger
Deep Sadness / Excessive Crying
Feeling overwhelmed with doubts that you can handle motherhood
Hypervigilant behavior regarding your
baby's safety - extreme concern & worry
Disinterest in your baby / lack of interest in your baby / difficulty bonding with your
baby / obsessive focus on your baby
Feeling inadequate / Feeling like a failure
Feeling ineffective as a mother (is your baby largely inconsolable - a high needs baby?)
Anxiety / Panic Attacks
Regrets about having had your baby
Feeling very disconnected from others / withdrawing from others
Intrusive, unwanted thoughts about harming your baby despite not wanting to do so
Catastrophic thoughts (visions of baby dead, excessive fear of SIDS)
Flashbacks of aspects of a traumatic birth
Difficulty concentrating / Memory Issues
Obsessive Compulsive thoughts & behaviors
Visions of hurting yourself or escape fantasies
Are your symptoms more serious than those listed above? If so, please read on about Postpartum Psychosis
If you have been experiencing some of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or more,
you may be suffering from one or more of the following, often overlapping conditions:
I do not treat
If you are reading this and identify with some of the Postpartum Psychosis
symptoms listed here:
Postpartum Psychosis is temporary and treatable.
Please seek immediate medical attention right now.
Postpartum Psychosis is an emergency.
If you are in crisis, you need and deserve support now
Call your physician or Call 911
an emergency suicide hotline:
(National Suicide Prevention Hotline)
Postpartum psychosis is a severe condition.
Symptoms often develop within the first three weeks after having your baby (or as soon as 1-2 days of giving birth).
The most significant risk factors increasing the likelihood of Postpartum Psychosis is a personal or family history of bipolar disorder or a previous psychotic episode.
Feeling removed from your baby, other people, and your surroundings.
Unusual hallucinations (experiencing things that aren't there, often involving sight/smell/hearing/touch)
Paranoia / Suspiciousness
Delusional thinking that isn't based in reality / There is a break from reality
Extreme agitation or restlessness
Confused and disorganized thinking involving
putting you at risk of harming yourself, your baby or another person.
Extreme mood swings - bizarre behavior