In honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, Healing Home Counseling Group hopes to highlight the incredibly beneficial impact of specialized therapeutic services in the early journey of parenthood called perinatal mental health care. Perinatal mental health refers to the mental health of parents–mothers, fathers, birthing parents, and non-birthing parents–as they navigate the period from trying to conceive through the first postpartum years.
Our Background at Healing Home Counseling Group
With advanced perinatal training from Postpartum Support International (PSI) and many of our staff with certification in perinatal mental health, Healing Home Counseling Group is uniquely qualified to provide expert clinical care. Founded by co-owners and parents Priya Rednam-Waldo LMSW PMH-C and Annie Philips LMSW PMH-C, the practice focuses on shining a light on maternal and parental mental health and encouraging all to reach out for therapeutic care for themselves or for a loved one when needed.
Inspired by the support they received during their own pregnancy and postpartum period, Annie and Priya remain dedicated to providing comprehensive services to their community and throughout greater Michigan.
Perinatal mental health needs are important to address not only for the benefit of the parent, but also for the wellness of the infant and other members of the family. In particular, when mothers are well and feel supported, they are better able to care for their baby’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development needs.
Conversely, neglected perinatal mental health conditions can have long-term effects on maternal mental health and the parent-child attachment. There are many “right ways” to parent, but all require maternal wellness to be the priority, rather than an afterthought.
Supporting Parents’ Mental Health Before Birth
It is important to note that the mental health needs for each parent may vary some during the perinatal period. Priya Rednam-Waldo reinforces the unique factors impacting each parent and family’s journey stating that, “Challenges in conception, pregnancy grief and loss, physical and mental struggles in pregnancy, as well as unexpected or traumatic birth experiences all can impact perinatal wellness.”
Tending to these risk factors before birth can be an extremely beneficial step to maintaining maternal mental health. When individual or family negative impacts to wellness are combined with common risk factors, the pregnancy and postpartum period may result in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).
While many risk factors exist for the development of conditions such as pregnancy or postpartum anxiety or depression, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, these PMADs are not inevitable. And in fact, awareness of risk factors to include history of mental illness and trauma, lack of partner/family support, lack of socioeconomic or social privilege, medical conditions, and age are an important part of addressing mental health needs early to avoid prolonged suffering.
Annie Phillips emphasizes, “to be aware of protective factors, such as maternal villages for social support, and preventive actions, to include building a postpartum plan with your partner, are key factors in improved mental health outcomes.”
Can I still get help after my baby is here?
Recovery from PMADs that do develop has a high success rate with specialized therapeutic support. Early identification of mental health issues is essential for timely interventions and treatment for improved outcomes for both the parent and their child. Perinatal mental health care may involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication or other wholistic treatment, support groups, and lifestyle changes.
Mothers and families can shift from surviving the perinatal period to truly thriving. Healing Home Counseling Group encourages continued discussion to highlight the essential need for perinatal mental health care so mothers can climb out of the darkness and into the light and joy of the journey of parenthood.