Peaks and Valleys Perinatal Counseling
This season of your life is not forever.
Your birth experience matters and your mental wellness does too.
Peaks and Valleys Perinatal Counseling offers trauma-informed therapy for people experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Our mission is to walk alongside you and guide you in your deeply personal experience towards a place of restoration and confidence. Taking care of your mental health is equally important as tending to your physical health.
I’m so glad you’re here.
My name is Missy, and I created Peaks and Valleys Perinatal Counseling to support people who are navigating the highs and lows of the family growing stage of life. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and I have a Perinatal Mental Health Certification. I have supported pregnant and parenting individuals for the last five years--as a Doula, Home Visitor, Childbirth Educator, and Therapist--and I have a deep appreciation and reverence for the vital work of stepping into a parenting role.
There is life after postpartum.
Did you know?
You're not alone.
"What is happening to me?"
The family-building stage of life can be stressful, overwhelming, physically grueling, and taxing on relationships. Pregnant and newly postpartum people are navigating a highly personal and profound transformation--one which can elicit feelings of astonishing, expansive highs and painful, disorienting lows. It can be hard to have such conflicting feelings, but it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent.
10% of women experience depression and 6% experience anxiety during pregnancy.
Factors that may increase the likelihood of depression during or after pregnancy can include; family or personal history of mental illness or substance abuse, inadequate support from family and friends, anxiety about the fetus, previous birth trauma, marital or financial problems, and young age (of mother or newborn).
15 - 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after the birth of a child.
Symptoms can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. They differ for everyone, and might include irritability, lack of interest in the baby, appetite & sleep disturbance, sadness, feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness. Some people have thoughts of harming themselves or their baby.
[More pregancy loss info]
Up to 25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Pregnancy loss includes miscarriage, stillbirth, complex congenital anomalies, and pregnancy decision making. Experiencing the loss of a pregnancy, infant, or child brings unimaginable pain, grief, and isolation.
Each stage of the perinatal period has unique challenges.
Trying to Conceive
Infertility occurs in 10 - 15% of couples of reproductive age.
Investigation of the causes of infertility and treatment can bring on a “life crisis” that can tax a couple’s existing problem-solving resources, threaten achievement of life goals, and awaken unresolved past difficulties.
You're not crazy.
Therapy can help improve the symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
The Perinatal Period: refers to the period of time surrounding pregnancy--it can include trying to become pregnant, pregnancy and childbirth, early postpartum, and up to a year after giving birth. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are terms used to describe distressing feelings that can occur in the perinatal period.
"Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have become a parent. I'm sad all the time."
Depression during pregnancy and postpartum can feel like anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or themselves.
"I'm having panic attacks and nightmares about my birth experience."
Postpartum PTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth or past trauma, and symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event.
"My anxious feelings seem to last all day and never end."
With postpartum anxiety, you may experience extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby. Some people have panic attacks and might feel shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling.
"Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have become a parent."
Bipolar mood disorder and mania can appear for the first time during pregnancy or postpartum. Initial signs may be severe depression and individuals may need informed evaluation and follow-up on past and current mood changes and cycles to assess whether there is a bipolar dynamic.
"I can't seem to control these intrusive thoughts."
Pregnancy or postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder can present as repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions), and sometimes they need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. These individuals find these thoughts very scary and unusual and are very unlikely to ever act on them.
"I'm hearing and seeing things that aren't there and it's scaring me."
Postpartum psychosis sufferers sometimes experience hallucinations - seeing and hearing voices or images that others can’t. They may have periods of confusion, believe things that aren’t true and distrust those around them. Memory loss and mania may be present as well. This severe condition is dangerous so it is important to seek help immediately.
If any of these symptoms sound like something you've experienced, you're not alone.