Perinatal Mental Health
The perinatal period — from the beginning of a pregnancy through about a year after birth — can be one of the most challenging and transformative periods in our lives. It only makes sense that we have unique perinatal mental health needs! At Stella Nova, we support new and prospective parents from the decision to start a family, through all the changes and transitions that come after a new baby arrives.
Therapy for Postpartum Depression & Postpartum Anxiety
The weeks and months surrounding the birth of a child are supposed to be full of joy and love, right? So why are you feeling so…crappy?
The truth is you’re not alone. Physical changes, combined with big shifts in our identity and lifestyle, mean that the perinatal period can really challenge our mental health.
How common is postpartum depression?
In fact, almost 80% of women experience the “baby blues,” and about 15% meet criteria for postpartum depression. A whopping 91% of mothers struggle with anxiety or obsessive thoughts about their baby. And trans and nonbinary parents can experience all of these concerns, as well as additional challenges unique to navigating pregnancy and parenthood as a gender nonconforming person.
But if you’re looking for some additional signs that therapy might be helpful, here’s some examples of the types of concerns the new parents we work with often bring in:
- Depression that’s lasting more than a couple weeks, or feeling more intense than other new parents you know
- Having obsessive or ruminative thoughts about your baby’s well-being, sometimes alongside excessive behaviors like checking to see if they’re breathing, or compulsively cleaning
- Difficulty processing a difficult pregnancy or traumatic birth experience
- Avoiding your baby because of painful thoughts and feelings, or having difficulty bonding
- Feeling fearful or experiencing panic attacks when caring for your baby
- Appearing to be a “super mom” to others, but internally feeling like you’re barely holding it together
- Preparing for childbirth or for a new baby’s arrival, especially for parents with a history of anxiety or depression
Support for your fertility journey
Infertility often leaves prospective parents torn between holding on to hope, and managing expectations and disappointments. It’s an emotional rollercoaster (sometimes, with extra hormones supercharging those ups-and-downs!) Our friends and family do their best to offer support, but sometimes their efforts don’t land quite right, or can feel invalidating.
Navigating fertility struggles often includes experiences of grief and loss: Miscarriage, or the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy. Difficulty letting go of the way we had hoped pregnancy and childbirth might look. Grief over our bodies’ limitations, and the choices that were made for us. The unfairness of it all.
If challenges with fertility are part of your story, working with a therapist can be a source of much-needed support through the process. We’ll provide a nonjudgmental space to discuss your experiences, and create a space to talk through decisions without any agenda beyond supporting you.
Meet Dr. Shianling Weeks, Perinatal Psychologist
Postpartum depression, anxiety, and trauma may be common, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take them seriously. They’re real, and they’re treatable — you don’t have to struggle with them alone or in silence.
As a perinatal psychologist, I help new mothers and parents navigate the ups-and-downs on the path to parenthood and beyond. I bring my professional expertise as well as my lived experience as a mother of two to my clinical work, blending warmth and care with evidence-based approaches to help you reach your goals.
If you’d like to learn more about working with me, I invite you to schedule a free consultation with Stella Nova today!
Finding Yourself Again After Baby Comes
During pregnancy and in the months following birth, much of our lives revolve around the new baby. It’s very easy to become absorbed in their many needs, and the physical and emotional demands of parenthood. Along with that, our sense of identity shifts and changes. In that transition, we may even feel as though we’ve lost the core of who we are.
Our intimate relationships with partners, friends, and family change too. Mothers have described feeling “all touched out” by the end of the day, and experiencing a loss of physical intimacy with a partner or spouse. We may have less time for relationships and activities we previously prioritized. When we do find the rare moment for time with friends, we might find ourselves distracted, or struggling to find common ground with our child free counterparts.
In the midst of these transitions, therapy can be a space to find yourself anew. What do you want to make sure you carry through from your life before children? And what budding parts of yourself need nurturing in order to blossom?
Other Services at Stella Nova
The perinatal period can bring up a variety of mental health concerns. At Stella Nova, we also specialize in treating a range of mental health concerns, with a focus on the needs of women and nonbinary professionals. Our team has expertise in treating trauma, depression, chronic pain and illness, anxiety, and professional burnout. We treat individuals age 18+ throughout California, as well as couples and groups.
In addition to virtual therapy, we are pleased to now offer in-person sessions at our Lower Pacific Heights location in San Francisco.