Maternal Mental Health

Perinatal Mental Health

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I hold an additional certification in Perinatal Mental Health. The perinatal period refers to the time before, during and after pregnancy. This area of mental health is so important, as it attends to the very complex and fragile nature of stepping into motherhood and parenthood. There are many different challenges along the way, and I am here to support you wherever you are on that journey.

Counseling During Pregnancy

While what we hear spoken about most often is postpartum depression, there is so much more that encompasses the gestation of pregnancy. Many people don’t know that mood disorders often begin in pregnancy. We know from research that is it is pivotal to focus on women’s emotional health while pregnant, and to attend and support her as she faces physical and emotional changes. Oftentimes, women get overlooked when they share their symptoms, and their complaints are dismissed as “normal pregnancy emotions”. When in fact, the statistics show us that up to 50% of women who develop a postpartum mood disorder started experiencing symptoms in pregnancy.

It is crucial we start paying attention to the emotional experiences of women as they navigate pregnancy, providing a safe and caring environment to address all the big changes they are experiencing. This can serve as a huge buffer for their experiences postpartum, and can help set women up for more success in their transition to motherhood.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD’s)

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD’s) are the disorders that can develop anytime in pregnancy or through the first year postpartum. They are as follows: OCD, Anxiety, PTSD, Depression, Bipolar Disorders and Psychosis. Click here for a great diagram.

Many times, women are not properly screened or treated for PMAD’s. Proper screening and assessment are necessary to make sure women are getting the support and help that they need.

We hear about depression most often, and depression is very common in pregnancy and postpartum. In fact the rates in pregnancy and postpartum are quite similar; about 1 in 5 women. While PPD is extremely common, it is also very preventable (as many PMAD’s are), making the focus on prevention an extremely integral part of my practice.

My Focus on Prevention

Perinatal mood disorders are considered one of the few psychiatric disorders that are preventable. This is because PMAD’s are multifactorial, and influenced by many risk factors and protective factors.

Research shows us that through proper screening and education, we can significantly reduce the rates of PMAD’s. We can do this by: providing women and families with proper education about the perinatal period, educating about risk factors, debunking outdated myths about motherhood and the maternal role, coaching families about ways to support each other, connecting families with resources before the baby is born, enlisting community resources and social support, and entering into therapy while pregnant or when thinking of starting a family.

The Fourth Trimester

While prevention is an important aspect, sometimes women don’t realize they are struggling until after the baby is here. In fact, most calls I get are from moms a few weeks or months into having a baby, and they feel like they are drowning. They are often in the period of time referred to as “The fourth Trimester”.

This refers to the first three months after a baby is born. During this time, women are undergoing an intense amount of hormonal fluctuations, adjusting to life with a new baby, recovering physically, and acclimating to a whole new world. I often refer to these first three months as the most challenging aspect of the perinatal period, and feel very passionate about supporting moms in the fourth trimester and first year postpartum.

In my experience as a therapist, I have seen how a lot of women are set up to fail by the unrealistic standards put on them by society; including the idea that they should be happy all the time after having a baby, that their bodies are “healed” after six weeks, or that they should be ready to return to work after just 6-12 weeks. (and many more….)

In my experience, the first year postpartum should be regarded as the minimum amount of time necessary to adjust, heal and accept your new role as mother/parent. In our therapy together, we address ways to challenge these beliefs and adopt more healthy and realistic ideologies about motherhood.

CBT & Family Systems Approach to Therapy

Therapy is individualized and tailored to meet your needs. Regardless of where you are on the journey to motherhood, we create custom goals that are specific to you. Therapy can be in the form of individual, family or couples; and is offered in person or virtually.

I utilize CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as well as an integration of Family Systems approaches to help you reach your goals. All therapy involves assessing for prenatal and postpartum risk factors as well as normalizing the transition to motherhood; and assessing the oftentimes unhelpful narratives about motherhood that set women up to fail.

Therapy with me is empowering, and you will have the opportunity to create your own narrative around motherhood and what being good mother means to you.

My Ideal Clients

I work with new moms, first time moms, expectant mothers, women who are facing fertility challenges, women who are ambivalent about starting a family, women who plan to adopt, women who are grieving due to miscarriage or loss of a child, women who have experienced a traumatic birth and women who are struggling postpartum with either the baby blues or a PMAD.

As a PMH-C I have expertise in assessing and treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, developing psychosocial treatment plans as well as appropriate psychotherapy techniques, considering systemic issues and attending to needs of the whole family and providing psychoeducation.

Regardless of where you are, I want you to know, there is help, and it will get better. With therapy, you will get well and you will learn valuable skills to get to a better place emotionally.

Sometimes having a safe place to talk and be real about your experiences as a new mom can be therapeutic and healing in itself. There is a lot of shame that often accompanies new motherhood, and when shame is kept secret, it’s like a poison that gets stronger with time. Shame cannot survive being spoken; and speaking with a therapist who truly understands can be liberating and freeing.

Click here to schedule a session today!

Resources for Moms

PSI helpline

Call or text anytime for access to support services for moms and dads

Call 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD)
English & Spanish

Text in English: 800-944-4773
Text en Español: 971-203-7773

In an Emergency

National Crisis Text Line:
Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline & Website:


Other helpful links

Medication Resources:

Join an online support meeting through PSI:

1776 N Pine Island Road Suite 318
Plantation, FL 33322
(954) 391-5305

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