Therapy for Moms
The reminders, the calendars, the schedules, the carpools, the after-school activities, the homework, the illnesses, the orthodontist appointments, the illnesses again, the pets, the in-laws, the birthdays, all the things. This is pretty much day to day living, right? Oh, I probably forgot to mention the sprinkle of guilt here and there and the quiet nagging feeling that you’re not doing enough.
You might have a hard time understanding how you can run constantly all day, but still can’t get everything done. Since you “just stay home,” you SHOULD be able to do EVERYTHING, right?
Maybe you work full-time and you see other moms “doing it better” or “making it look easy,” which has you wondering what the hell you’re doing wrong.
The truth is, you’re trying your best. Reading this page right now signals that you are a great mom who wants things to be better. The fact that you’re here means more than you might know.
Motherhood isn’t for the faint of heart. You may have heard this before you became a parent, but it really rings true now. You love your family, but you’re also tired, stressed, and just trying to do your best. Many days, it still doesn’t feel like it’s good enough.
It isn’t a secret that motherhood can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. The highs are so high, but the lows can also feel so crushing. You’re not alone in how you feel, but these feelings may be challenging to navigate. Everyone around you is reminding you to “enjoy every moment,” which can make you feel even more guilty and confused when things feel less than ideal. I mean, how much can you bask in waking up to literally hundreds of tasks a day?!
Here are some of the common issues postpartum therapy and therapy for moms addresses:
The Mental Load of Motherhood
The mental load refers to all the invisible work moms absorb to keep their household running. This includes everything from planning meals to sending birthday party invitations to calling contractors to researching preschools. Whether you stay at home or work full-time, this mental load can be arduous, and it often feels like its own 24/7 job.
Research shows that, while many dads are stepping up, moms still carry most of the burden of this mental load. At times, it can certainly feel impossible to get everything done (and that’s because the list never ends!).
Therapy can help mothers better understand the impact of their own mental load. It can also provide a roadmap for setting boundaries with others and re-evaluating the division of labor. Our team will often hear moms say that they have zero time to practice self-care. We get it, which is why our approach doesn’t include ANOTHER LIST OF THINGS YOU SHOULD DO! Instead, we will work WITH you to develop the skills needed to lighten your own mental load.
Sit with any group of moms, and you’ll hear the themes of guilt emerge. I really should be reading to my baby more often. I should have known that she wasn’t feeling well. I feel so bad that I’m working during the day and can’t spend more time with the kids. My partner is at work all day, so I shouldn’t burden them.
Guilt is a universal emotion, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But many mothers constantly worry that they’re making a mistake or doing something wrong. They often compare themselves to other parents and feel inferior. Social media can amplify these effects…all that curated exposure to pseudo-parenting experts and seemingly perfect family lives can really distort reality.
Therapy isn’t about eradicating guilt, but it can help with increasing a sense of self-compassion and acceptance. You won’t do everything perfectly, but you can learn how to give yourself (and your family) more grace during this season of life.
Identity Changes & Grief
Maybe you love being a mom, but you also really miss what you had before your children. Who were you before you were changing diapers and heating up chicken nuggets? What did life look like before carpooling and extracurricular activities? It’s hard to even imagine, isn’t it? Plus you might be feeling the pressure from your spouse to “be fun again.”
New moms, in particular, are vulnerable to the grief associated with their changing identities. Life is different now, but it’s important that you still look after your own needs and well-being. Again, it’s not about doing things perfectly, it’s about giving yourself a fair shot.
Therapy offers a space for deep emotional exploration. If you feel overwhelmed with how much your life has changed, your therapist can also help you unpack your main values and goals.
Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
As a society, we’re getting better at recognizing the need for robust maternal mental health resources. But, it’s a misconception that postpartum mental health issues are obvious. Many women struggle silently and don’t really recognize that they’re experiencing profound postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
The baby blues are real, but pervasive emotional struggles sometimes tell a different story. Mood swings, intense anxiety, feelings of dread, or persistent apathy may indicate that you need more support. These are really scary things for moms to admit. We’ve heard these things, we understand, and you aren’t crazy.
If you’re a new mom and don’t feel like yourself, or you’re struggling to really bond with your baby, it’s not your fault. Measuring yourself up against social media posts won’t help, but therapy can. Therapy can help you understand your triggers and emotions and learn skills to manage stress during this change.
If you had a difficult birth experience or a traumatic birth, you may experience trauma symptoms that can profoundly affect your emotional well-being.
Birth trauma varies from person to person, but it may happen if:
Either you or your baby experienced medical complications after birth or during the pregnancy There was a significant deviation from your original birth plan Had an unplanned C-section Had a long, painful labor Had poor or ineffective pain management during birth Your baby had to go to the NICU Experienced breastfeeding problems or were unable to breastfeed despite wanting to do so Lacked support or had poor communication issues with your medical team
Therapy can help you heal from these traumatic experiences. There’s often a grieving process that new mothers undergo, and this can lead to other mental health issues or relationship problems. Therapy offers support, practical tools, and guidance for your recovery.
Therapy for Moms in Illinois
The motherhood journey is as beautiful as it is difficult, and you deserve support during this time. At Back to Balance Counseling, our goal is to support moms to find their confidence and harness deeper happiness. We’re a solution focused team who gets it, and we don’t want you to suffer in loneliness any longer. We offer both in-person and online therapy sessions throughout Illinois.