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Perinatal Mental Wellness

Brother's Kiss

Perinatal Wellness is not just a topic I am passionate about. It is a subject I have received comprehensive training, education and supervision in. I am constantly learning and growing in my knowledge of perinatal wellness so that I can provide the most comprehensive, competent and compassionate care. 

Sarah Gallagher, LISW

Educational +Training Background: 

PSI Perinatal Mental Health 2-Day Certificate Course

PSI Advanced Perinatal Mental Health Course
Seleni Institute: Anxiety and Mood
Seleni Institute: Grief and Loss
Touchstone Institute: The Advanced Practice of EMDR
for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Ethical Inclusion in Perinatal Mental Health Care
Monthly webinars
Postpartum Support International Conference, 2023

Certification, 2023
Memberships: EMDRIA, Postpartum Support International​

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What does perinatal mean?

"Perinatal means the period “all around” birth. We use it to mean the period of time all throughout pregnancy and the year following delivery." (Postpartum Support International) 

We often think of postpartum depression when we think of mom's with mental health challenges after giving birth, but the truth is there are other mental health challenges that can occur and there are other times that expressions/symptoms of mood or anxiety disorders can occur as well. While I use the term Perinatal Therapy; it is intended to include all therapy related to maternal mental health. 

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Perinatal Therapy

At Five Magnolias, I understand how challenging it can be to navigate the perinatal period. Individual therapy sessions are designed to help you work through the emotions and stress that can come with this stage of life. My goal is to empower you to reconnect with yourself and cultivate the resilience needed to navigate this new chapter in your life. I am here to listen to your story and provide customized support.

 

Perinatal therapy is a transformative journey towards feeling better, finding relief, and cultivating self-compassion. I offer specialized support for individuals and couples who are navigating the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood. My approach is rooted in empathy and understanding and I offer a safe space for you to share your experiences and feelings.

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Individual Therapy

I specialize in perinatal wellness. Whether you have been struggling for a couple of days or several months; please reach out for help. Feeling better is possible! 
 

Couples Therapy

I offer 6-8 sessions of couples therapy designed to help you adjust to the life changing role as parents. I am experienced at helping couples improve communication, connect with empathy and negotiate tasks and priorities.  
 

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Compassionate + Qualified Care

with

feeling better is possible

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Symptoms/Expressions

Postpartum Depression

Symptoms can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. They differ for everyone, and might include the following:

  • Feelings of anger or irritability

  • Lack of interest in the baby

  • Appetite and sleep disturbance

  • Crying and sadness

  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness

  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy

  • Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself

Postpartum

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD from Child Birth is more common than what is talked about. Approximately 1 in 10 women will experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of their child birth experience.  Postraumatic Stress can result from a real or perceived danger such as the following situations: 

  • Prolapsed cord

  • Unplanned C-section

  • Use of vacuum extractor or forceps to deliver the baby

  • Baby going to NICU

  • Feelings of powerlessness, poor communication and/or lack of support and reassurance during the delivery

  • Women who have experienced a previous trauma, such as rape or sexual abuse, are also at a higher risk for experiencing postpartum PTSD.

  • Women who have experienced a severe physical complication or injury related to pregnancy or childbirth, such as severe postpartum hemorrhage, unexpected hysterectomy, severe preeclampsia/eclampsia, perineal trauma (3rd or 4th degree tear), or cardiac disease.

Postpartum Anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum might include:

  • Constant worry

  • Feeling that something bad is going to happen

  • Racing thoughts

  • Disturbances of sleep and appetite

  • Inability to sit still

  • Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nause

Postpartum OCD
Symptoms of perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive symptoms can include:

  • Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.

  • Compulsions, where the mom may do certain things over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.

  • Fear of being left alone with the infant

  • Hypervigilance in protecting the infant

  • Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them.

Postpartum PTSD

Symptoms of postpartum PTSD might include:

  • Intrusive re-experiencing of a past traumatic event (which in this case may have been the childbirth itself)

  • Flashbacks or nightmares

  • Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event, including thoughts, feelings, people, places and details of the event

  • Persistent increased arousal (irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response)

  • Anxiety and panic attacks

  • Feeling a sense of unreality and detachment

Postpartum Psychosis

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:

  • Delusions or strange beliefs

  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)

  • Feeling very irritated

  • Hyperactivity

  • Severe depression or flat affect

  • Decreased need for or inability to sleep

  • Paranoia and suspiciousness

  • Rapid mood swings

  • Difficulty communicating at times

Postpartum Psychosis

If you suspect you are suffering from postpartum psychosis; please call for someone to sit with you and baby while you call for help. Postpartum psychosis is treatable with proper attention and support. 

If you suspect that someone you love is suffering from postpartum psychosis please sit with them and baby while you make plans for help. 

PSI has 24 hour assistance available to help guide the emergency plans by calling:  1.800.944.4773.

Your symptoms are treatable. 

This information is for educational purposes only and not intended for anyone to diagnose a mental health condition without a licensed mental health professional's guidance. These lists are not exhaustive and require a mental health professional to assess other factor's related to a woman's health. 

Symptom information gathered from Postpartum Support International. 

Image by Lina Trochez

You are not alone and you are not to blame. Help is available. You will get better. 

PSI, 2024

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