Pregnancy, Motherhood & Mental Health

Since becoming a mother, I’ve learned about an entirely different side of life–of thinking, of living–that are unique to motherhood. The consideration, planning, and sacrifice that is motherhood have an enormous impact on mental health. As a mom, I find that all too often, moms only talk about the positive impacts of motherhood: the joys of watching children learn and grow, the pride when your child shares willingly with another child, etc. Why don’t we talk about the challenges, the struggles, the enormous life changes that motherhood brings? Why do so many moms feel that taking time away from their children to care for themselves is selfish?

My first pregnancy went pretty smoothly; there were no prenatal complications, the baby was healthy, I was healthy…physically. I have a history of depression, and although I had not been depressed for over a decade, the depression returned during my pregnancy. I was angry, felt lonely, cried hard and often and for no apparent reason. Despite the “past history of depression” in my chart at the OB-GYN, I was never asked about my mood or offered a plan and options for a possible recurrence of depression during my pregnancy. When friends asked how I was feeling during my pregnancy, I would say “I feel fine, but this pregnancy is making me crazy”. I found during my pregnancy that most people dismiss prenatal depression as “hormones”, and most health care providers are reluctant to treat it or even ask about it. The common expectation is that pregnant women should sacrifice their own mental health for their baby, and this expectation carries on throughout motherhood in many cases.

After I had my daughter, I found the more I spoke about my battle with depression during pregnancy, the more other mom’s shared that they’d had similar experiences. The remarkable thing to me was that no one I spoke with actually received treatment for their mental health during pregnancy. I’ve since studied, and become certified in, perinatal mental health. I’ve learned that there are risks to mother and baby when mental health is not properly treated during pregnancy, just as there are risks to treatment. I’ve learned that the common practice of NOT offering treatment to pregnant women or encouraging women who want to become pregnant to stop treatment is primarily based on uncertainty and fear rather than on actual research. What I know now is that there are many safe options for pregnant and breast feeding women to manage their mental health so they can be good moms AND happy humans. Taking good care of our mental health early in motherhood can help establish better habits throughout motherhood and set a good example for our children.

Help is one click away!

If you are struggling, please join me for a virtual presentation on May 22, 2022 (12-1:30pm) that will include an open and honest discussion about common concerns surrounding mental health treatment during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and motherhood including:

Adapting to an unexpected pregnancy 

Managing expectations and choices about birthing options and raising children

Balancing the demands of motherhood, asking for help, and making time for self-care

What is “normal” during pregnancy and the post-partum period and what may require treatment 

What types of treatment are available for pregnant and breastfeeding parents and how safe are these treatments for parent and baby? 

For more information, please visit our website:

About the Author

Danielle Mitsch is Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Waypoint Wellness Center. Danielle sees children, adolescents, and adults for medication management and has advanced certification in perinatal psychiatry. She uses evidence-based treatment approaches and delivers them with a warm, individualized approach to medication management.

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