pre/postparum support

Therapy foR mental health and pregnancy in NYC

Get the specialized support you need for your mental health before, during, and after pregnancy.

You’re not alone

We Specialize in Therapy for mental health and pregnancy in NYC

It’s common to have challenges throughout significant life changes like pregnancy and parenthood. You may be experiencing infertility, high-risk pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or depression before, during, and after pregnancy. Because of the stigma around mental health issues, dealing with a complex range of emotions including anxiety, grief, anger, and rage can make you feel isolated and confused. The truth is that you’re not alone.

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and after childbirth can play a role in mood changes, but they’re not the sole cause. Psychological stressors such as relationship difficulties, financial concerns, previous trauma, and the adjustment to parenthood can also contribute. Additionally, a personal or family history of mental health conditions may increase the risk. ​Physical and emotional changes throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period can cause many new parents a lot of confusion and anxiety. However, you can learn new methods of self-care, including those that focus on your body, mind, and spirit.

Our NYC therapists work with individuals, expectant, and new parents with a wide range of concerns related to reproductive mental health. To provide effective evidence-based treatment that also tackles the social and cultural influences on mental health, clinicians receive continuous special training in reproductive mental health.

What Is THERAPY FOR Mental Health during pregnancy?

Infertility, pregnancy, and miscarriage are some of the reproductive transitions that can be accompanied by mental health concerns. However, therapy can also help address concerns related to reproductive health in general, such as challenges coping with mood changes during your menstrual cycle or menopause, your decision to work with a surrogate, or extra support navigating menopause. Therapists who specialize in therapy for mental health during pregnancy in NYC help clients on a wide range of challenges including:

      • Infertility

      • Prepartum/Postpartum depression

      • Unplanned pregnancy

      • Adjustment to changes in family dynamics

      • Anxiety or stress related to reproductive health issues

      • Unresolved traumatic experiences such as sexual assault or medical trauma

      • Chronic illness or disability that impacts reproduction

      • Feeling overwhelmed with decision making related to reproduction

      • Relationship changes related to reproductive health issues

      • Difficulties with conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term

Additionally, therapists who specialize in mental health and pregnancy concerns can provide professional support to individuals or couples who would like help to:

 

      • Process the experience of fertility challenges, or stress associated with fertility treatments

      • Address the grief associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, or failed fertility treatments

      • Work through the emotions associated with the decision to terminate a pregnancy

      • Process the ambivalence of choosing to become a parent

      • Cope with the feelings of guilt and shame associated with infertility

      • Navigate the decision to become a single parent by choice

      • Navigate the decision and/or journey to use a donor or surrogate

      • Explore the psychological impact of infertility for men

At Clarity Therapy, we tailor our psychotherapy and integrative approach to your specific needs at any of these points in your reproductive journey.

Why does mental health and pregnancy treatment matter?

Addressing mental health before, during, and after pregnancy is crucial because many symptoms can have far-reaching consequences if left untreated. Untreated mental health issues during pregnancy and the postpartum period can negatively impact not only the parent experiencing them but also the infant’s development and the family’s overall well-being. Seeking therapy and support early can improve the quality of life for both parent and child and foster a healthier family dynamic.

What Do Mental Health Issues before, during or after pregnancy Feel Like?

Since reproductive mental health issues occur at different points of a person’s reproductive journey, they might manifest in various ways. Here are a few common examples of reproductive concerns that therapy can help with.

fertility/Infertility issues

In the United States, around 11% of women and 9% of men of reproductive age experience fertility issues and often struggle with feelings of guilt or shame. Therapy can help you process the experience of these challenges, stress around fertility treatments, and emotions associated with alternative family planning (donor, surrogate, adoption) if you choose this route.

Pregnancy Loss/miscaRriage

Everyone, men and women alike, may look for explanations and reasons for these tragic events. Early losses are just as painful, and have the same longer-term effects on mood, as later-term losses. These experiences can often take an emotional toll and involve grief and self-blame, or anxiety about carrying a pregnancy to term in the future

After experiencing a pregnancy loss due to miscarriage or stillbirth, many women can conceive again and have a successful delivery. However, just because the body may be physically able to, it’s normal to still experience the emotional effects of a previous loss. This may manifest in many different ways including:

    • Concerns about the following pregnancy
    • Changes in the couple’s romantic dynamic
    • Pressure to do a “good” job as a parent and a pregnant mother
    • Shame
    • Sadness for the loss that doesn’t go away, even years later

Unplanned pregnancy

Processing any ambivalence about becoming a parent can be complex. This may involve navigating decisions around lifestyle changes, partnership, being a single parent, or terminating a pregnancy. Making decisions related to reproduction can feel overwhelming.

Traumatic medical experiences

Birthing, pregnancy loss, and certain medical procedures can be traumatic experiences that impact your comfort with medical care, your feelings around your reproductive health, and even your vision of family planning. 

Traumatic birth experiences

Traumatic birth experiences can lead to a range of challenges that affect your well-being. For some, physical complications during childbirth like severe tearing, emergency cesarean section, or postpartum hemorrhage can result in pain, a prolonged recovery, and feelings of helplessness. Others may endure emotional distress due to unexpected complications, emergencies, or a significant deviation from their birth plan, leading to fear, anxiety, or a sense of powerlessness. Some women may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a distressing or traumatic birth process, such as high-risk deliveries, medical interventions, or medical negligence. Additionally, experiencing the loss of a baby or a traumatic event during childbirth, such as stillbirth or neonatal death, can cause intense grief, sadness, and guilt. Traumatic childbirth experiences can leave emotional scars, and therapy can provide a safe space to process and heal from these events.

stress + anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum

A significant percentage of pregnant and postpartum women (20%) may experience mood or anxiety issues. This can include prepartum/postpartum depression, which can often be an isolating experience and impact your experience of feeling connected to your past self and your child

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression (PPD) has symptoms similar to the “baby blues,” but is typically more severe and lasts much longer. Postpartum Depression can even make it difficult for new mothers to take care of their child and perform regular responsibilities. Other effects include:

  • Changes in mood, sleeping, and eating patterns (outside of what may be typical for a new mother with an infant)

  • Shame, guilt, and anxiety

  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

  • A sense of being completely overwhelmed

  • Negative self-talk or difficulty turning off a negative monologue in one’s head

  • Feeling detached from one’s self and child

  • Difficulty connecting to your child or experiencing positive emotions

  • Intrusive thoughts of suicide or harming others

Postpartum Rage

Postpartum rage is a lesser-known, yet significant, aspect of postpartum mental health. It’s characterized by intense anger, irritability, and emotional outbursts that can occur in the weeks or months following childbirth. It’s believed to be linked to hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, overwhelming responsibilities, and the immense physical and emotional adjustments that come with motherhood.

Women experiencing postpartum rage may feel a loss of control over their emotions, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and confusion. We understand the impact that postpartum rage can have on both women and their relationships, and we offer specialized support to help women navigate and manage these intense emotions effectively.

Adjusting to changes in family dynamics

Your relationship with your partner and family may change after fertility challenges or even a healthy pregnancy. Balancing the addition of a new child into your existing family may look different than you expected. Therapy can help you navigate this new normal and help you better cope with unexpected challenges.

Perimenopause/Menopause

Menopause is a natural part of aging, and for many women, midlife and menopause can be a stressful time marked by the following symptoms:

    • Irritability
    • Mood changes
    • Hot flashes or chills
    • Insomnia or sleep changes
    • Pain during intercourse

Women are more likely to experience depression during perimenopause and menopause due to hormonal changes.

THERAPISTS WHO CAN HELP

Therapists Who Specialize in Therapy for Mental Health and Pregnancy in NYC

Connecting with the right therapist is the most important factor in your search. We’re here to help you find a great match.

How Therapy for mental health during pregnancy in NYC Works

Similar to psychotherapy, reproductive health therapy in NYC focuses on identifying current concerns and identifying their core cause. To do this, you may have to talk in-depth about what you’ve been through, how you feel, and what worries you.

To help people with mental health concerns associated with reproduction, fertility, and menopause, we provide tailored treatment based on your needs as an individual, couple, or family. Depending on your concerns we have different treatment options available, such as therapy for individuals, couples, and families. 

We’re also here to help address the emotional and mental difficulties that accompany the menstrual and postmenopausal transitions, such as menstruation-related mood disorders. If you are dealing with sexual issues or trauma-based concerns involving the reproductive system, we can provide support.

Therapy for perinatal mental health is a specialized and evidence-based approach aimed at helping individuals navigate the unique challenges they face during pregnancy and the postpartum period. It typically involves:

  • Assessment and Diagnosis: Your therapist will begin by conducting a thorough assessment to understand your specific concerns and symptoms. This may include evaluating the severity of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders.

  • Evidence-Based Treatment: Therapists often employ evidence-based treatment modalities such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). These approaches have been proven effective in addressing perinatal mental health issues.

  • Individualized Care: Therapy is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. You and your therapist will work together to set goals and develop strategies to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

  • Education and Coping Skills: Therapists provide education about perinatal mental health and equip clients with coping skills to manage stress, anxiety, and mood disturbances.

  • Support and Validation: Therapy offers a safe and non-judgmental space to express your feelings and fears, and to receive validation and support from a trained professional.


Treatment for perinatal mental health often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and support. Therapy is a cornerstone of treatment, providing emotional and psychological support. Medication may be considered for severe cases under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Peer support groups and community resources can also play a valuable role in the recovery process.

    How therapy can help your mental health before, during, and after pregnancy

    Therapy can be profoundly beneficial for individuals experiencing perinatal mental health challenges. It can:

    • Reduce Symptoms: Evidence-based therapy can significantly alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, enabling individuals to regain a sense of normalcy.

    • Enhance Coping: Therapy equips clients with valuable coping strategies to manage stressors related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

    • Improve Relationships: Couples or family therapy can strengthen relationships strained by the challenges of pregnancy and parenthood.

    • Prevent Long-Term Effects: Addressing perinatal mental health issues promptly can help prevent long-term mental health complications and improve the overall quality of life for both the individual and their family.

      Barriers to getting help for mental health during pregnancy and how to overcome them

      Stigma remains a significant barrier to seeking help for perinatal mental health. Some individuals may fear judgment or believe that they should be able to handle their emotions on their own. Overcoming this barrier involves:

      • Education: Promoting awareness and understanding of perinatal mental health issues can help reduce stigma and encourage individuals to seek help without shame.
      • Supportive Communities: Creating supportive networks and communities where individuals can share their experiences can normalize seeking help and provide a sense of belonging.

       

      WHAT IF I’M NOT READY TO START THERAPY? 

      Coping with Pregnancy – Practical Tips to Feel Better Now

      We recognize that taking the first step toward counseling for reproductive mental health may feel overwhelming. There’s no need to rush into this decision if you aren’t ready. If you need help getting through your challenges, you can look into other options first.

        • Prioritize your health: Exercise and other forms of physical activity, including taking walks, can become part of your everyday routine. Take some time to recharge your batteries. Stick to a healthy diet and cut off alcohol.

        • Have reasonable expectations: You may not want to put too much on your plate at once. Try to reduce the pressure you put on yourself to heal and act quickly. Do the best you can and let go of expectations that don’t serve you.

        • Spend some time on yourself: Put yourself first and take a break from your daily routine. If you have a baby, you may need to ask your partner to take on more responsibility or find a babysitter. You can spend time on a hobby or an activity that brings you joy. Planning some alone time with your significant other or close friends is also a good idea.

        • Social Support: Reach out to friends and family for emotional support.

        • Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and reduce stress.

        • Journaling: Consider keeping a journal to express and process your thoughts and emotions in a productive way.

        • Check out Postpartum Progress and Postpartum Support International — These two websites are geared toward mothers in the postpartum phase, offering many support groups and educational resources for those in need of them. If you’re hesitant about reaching out to people in your life, it can be helpful to connect with strangers that are going through the same struggles.

       

         

        need Support for Your mental health before, during, or after pregnancy?

        We can help.

        You don’t have to suffer alone. We’re here to provide you with the support you need surrounding reproductive mental health and healing. Reach out today for a complimentary consultation with one of our therapists who specialize in therapy for reproductive mental health and pregnancy in NYC.

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        Alyssa Digges, MA
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