What are Maternal Care Services?
We offer a variety of services to meet the needs of women during pregnancy, the postpartum period, and throughout the course of motherhood. Crossroads Counseling is a partner of Joyful Life Birth & Counseling Services and together we provide maternal care services to women in all stages of motherhood.
Our Maternal & Women's Health Team
Our Maternal Care Services include:
Maternal Mental Health Counseling
Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are life-altering experiences, which are impacted by each woman’s individual needs and unique history. The mental and emotional impact of pregnancy and childbirth often far exceed the expectations of many women. Factors such as elevated hormone levels, exhaustion, discomfort, and anxiety and depression can cause problems in communication, relationships, and managing emotions. For some, unexpected struggles may arise, such as triggered memories of trauma or abuse, fear of the childbirth experience, difficulty adjusting to the responsibilities of being a mother, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (e.g., postpartum depression). Beyond the childbearing year, many women continue to struggle with motherhood as they address difficult parenting decisions, growing families, relational disconnections, sexual and hormonal changes, and many other challenges.
While these are common experiences to many women, the impact of their occurrence can be lessened and eased through the additional care and attention provided by a mental health professional. We use the term “maternal mental health” to refer to the broad spectrum of mental health issues that arise in connection with motherhood. More specifically, we refer to “perinatal mental health” as the way in which pregnancy and the postpartum period intersect with, and affect, a woman’s mental health.
Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are some of the most isolating threats to the health of women and their partners during the childbearing years. Despite the increasing voices of health organizations, agencies, professionals, and families, stigma and shame continue to silence women (and men) experiencing distress, and prevent them from getting the help they need. Studies indicates 15-25% of all women may experience a mood or anxiety disturbance or disorder, though actual statistics are unclear due to the methodological differences. Research also suggests that the occurrence of PMADs among women might be linked to an increased occurrence of PMADs among their partners.
Although the first and most common mental health concern that comes to mind for many is Postpartum Depression (PPD), PPD is only one of many ways in which the mental health and wellbeing of women and their partners are affected by pregnancy. There are several other mental health disorders that may describe the host of symptoms experienced by women and their partners during the childbearing years. These disorders include: antepartum anxiety and depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (before, during, or after birth), as well as Postpartum onsets of Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Psychosis.
For many women, PPTSD occurs following the difficult birth of a baby, while others develop symptoms after a birth that was seemingly “normal”. In fact, symptoms may even be attributed to circumstances that occurred during pregnancy or following the birth of the baby. PPTSD can develop as a result of either a real or perceived trauma. While sometimes it may seem illogical or irrational to be upset over the event(s) that are causing the distress, perception is reality. In other words, if it feelstraumatic, it was a trauma to the person who experienced it. Even if the trauma is perceived or misremembered, its impact can be significant, and even critical, for both women and their partners.
There are a variety of subjective and objective risk factors that may predispose women to developing PPTSD including, but not limited to: a diminished feeling of privacy or dignity, fear for the baby’s safety, problems with caregivers or staff, feeling ignored or uninformed, disappointment in her body’s ability during childbirth, and frustrated expectations, a lengthy or short/painful labor, poor pain relief, high levels of medical intervention or an emergency intervention, a miscarriage or stillbirth, infant health complications, a history of depression, anxiety, other mental health conditions, or trauma (e.g., sexual assault, childhood abuse, domestic violence). The experience of trauma is often accompanied by feelings of grief, loss, disappointment, a deep sense of helplessness, and even anger.
It is important to note that PPTSD is often confused with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, especially postpartum depression, as the disorders often have overlapping symptoms. Coordination between your medical caregivers and a licensed mental health professional, as well as referrals to other professionals, may increase your ability to recover and begin living a joyful life again.
Prenatal Preparation Counseling:
Prenatal preparation counseling is a great opportunity for couples to prepare themselves for the adventure of parenting. Success in parenting is just as much about how you interact with your partner as it is about how you interact with your child. Whether you are already expecting, or just beginning to consider the possibility of having a child, we want to empower you to be prepared both individually, and as a unit, for the unique joys and challenges you will face as a new parent. Prenatal preparation counseling is designed to help you share your values and goals, identify parenting role models, explore how your parents influenced your vision for future parenting, recognize strengths and potential weaknesses in yourselves, improve your communication and connection, learn how to work better as a team, and create an informed parenting plan.