Having a baby can be joyful, exciting, and rewarding. However, it is also common for pregnant women and new mothers or fathers to experience anxiety, depression, or emotional distress. As many as one in five women experience emotional difficulties during pregnancy and in the first year after their baby’s birth. This can happen to anyone.
Vita is your IAPT service which offers free, confidential talking therapy for people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression. IAPT stands for ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapy’. They give priority to pregnant women and new parents.
It is common for pregnant women and new parents to experience:
It can be difficult to talk about how you are feeling and ask for help. Common reasons for this are:
Struggling emotionally at this time can happen to anyone. It is not your fault. Asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t cope or are not able to care for your child. It’s the start of getting the right help and support to ensure you can be the parent you want to be. It is very rare for babies to be taken away from parents, so you should not worry about this. How an IAPT service can help you IAPT offers short-term talking therapy to give you space to talk. These may include guided self-help sessions with a therapist, cognitive behaviour therapy, couples therapy and counselling.
A traumatic birth can feel like an emotional shock. Birth was not ‘meant’ to be this way so it can feel understandably hard to make sense of what has happened or how you are feeling. This can be doubly difficult when you add in the pressure of trying to get on and care for your new baby, recover physically or navigate other people ’ s opinions and feelings.
All of this takes immense energy and especially so after trauma. You are not alone – at least 25% of women and birthing people report their birth as traumatic, usually because some aspect of their experience left them feeling intensely afraid, helpless or out of control. A proportion of birth partners will also report birth as traumatic. Every person reacts to trauma in their own way and what felt traumatic to one person may not feel that way to another. It is certainly not for other people to judge what was or wasn’t traumatic for you. What matters most is your individual experiences and what they meant to you personally.