Christina M. Schultz, MA
Resident in Counseling
Supervised by Megan A. Ellis, LPC
Thriving Families Counseling, LLC

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

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Pregnancy and new motherhood and fatherhood are all times in your life we celebrate and we often expect will be without emotional pain. We read What to Expect When You Are Expecting, and expect (or hope) pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum year will be a play-by-play chapter.  

If you are reading this, chances are, you find yourself feeling and thinking differently than you expected, you read, or others told you about pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood.  It is scary to feel this way, especially during the times in life when you expected to feel so good.  The problem with euphemisms from books and well-intentioned family and friends are that they are often half-truths at best, belittle your feelings, and add to your guilt and loneliness.   
First off, please know that you are not alone and you are not to blame, as 20% of moms and even dads experience prenatal and/or postpartum depression and anxiety, also known as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs).  
PMADs' occurrence have been linked to a dramatic increase or drop in hormone levels occurring during the pregnancy and postpartum period, in which some women are more sensitive to.  Hormonal changes, along with prior postpartum or clinical depression or anxiety disorder, family history of depression or anxiety disorder, sleep deprivation, changes in thyroid function, and stress of new parenthood are all integrated causal factors of PMADs.   

Postpartum Mental Health Emergency

1. I am afraid that I might harm myself in order to escape this pain.
2.  I am afraid that I might actually do something to hurt my baby. 
3.  I hear sounds or voices when no one is around.  
4.  I do not feel that my thoughts are my own or that they are totally out of my control.

5.  I am being controlled by forces beyond myself.  
6.  I have not slept at all in forty-eight hours or more. 
7.  I do not feel loving towards my baby and can’t even go through the motions of taking care of him/her.
8. I am rapidly losing weight without trying to.

***If you answered yes to any of these, you need immediate help! 

Call your local 24-hour Crisis Hotline at Blue Ridge Behavioral Health: 
540-981-9351 , or go to your nearest Hospital's Emergency Room.  

How May I Support You?

I have training, personal experience, and professional counseling experience in supporting women experiencing prenatal and postpartum depression and anxietyperinatal grief, fertility issues, traumatic birth and pregnancy, and issues for the couple’s transition to first-time parenthood.

I have served for one year as a Postpartum Support Virginia Volunteer Co-Facilitator of a local Postpartum Support Group, have had specific Maternal Mental Health training, and personal experience as a postpartum depression survivor. 

I believe deeply and have observed each mom’s innate resilience and ability to grow from life’s challenges and life transitions of new parenthood.  I would be honored to support you and your spouse during the perinatal period and beyond with any difficult challenges you may face.
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I encourage you to call me or e-mail me today to take that
leap into action and find the support you are looking
for a better tomorrow for yourself!