Perinatal Counseling and Therapy

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

The loss of a baby whether by miscarriage, stillbirth (after 20 weeks), or other neonatal loss can feel unbearable and overwhelming. It is common to experience emotions ranging from disbelief and anger, to sadness, despair and grief. Partners often respond in different ways at different times. Men may feel the need to be strong for their partner and therefore do not verbalize their feelings. As a result, the woman may think that her partner did not care about the pregnancy as much as she did. Unlike other experiences of grief and loss, pregnancy loss is often minimized and unacknowledged by professional caregivers as well as family and friends. Not feeling understood can exacerbate the grief and even prolong it. Women may worry about the health of a subsequent pregnancy or she might feel a resurgence of grief related to past miscarriages or terminations. Although miscarriage is common - approximately 1 in 6 pregnancies end before 12 weeks - it remains a traumatic experience.

Pregnancy Termination

Sometimes a difficult decision is made to terminate a pregnancy. Genetic information may reveal abnormalities, a pregnancy might threaten a woman’s physical or emotional health or the pregnancy may be unintended. Terminating a pregnancy can be one of the most devastating experiences of a lifetime. Whatever the reason, grief, sadness, guilt, anxiety or confusion may result. It can be particularly difficult to talk to family and friends about a termination and the feelings around it.

Traumatic Childbirth/NICU Experience

If you are experiencing intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks or intense sadness or tearfulness related to the birth of your child, you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Unresolved birth trauma may negatively impact your relationship with your partner and your ability to bond with your newborn. While society's message may be "At least you have a healthy baby," it can be frightening when your child's birth does not go as planned.

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Having a baby is a challenging time, both physically and emotionally. After a baby is born, many women experience a myriad of emotions, from joy and happiness to apprehension and anxiety. The birth of a new baby can also result in something most people might not anticipate - depression and/or anxiety.

Many new mothers experience the “baby blues” following childbirth which often passes with time. But sometimes it is more than baby blues; Postpartum depression or anxiety is a form of depression and anxiety that develop within the first six months after child birth and affects between 15% and 20% of women. Postpartum depression and anxiety are real medical conditions and are the most common complications following childbirth. They are characterized by tearfulness, mood swings, irritability, extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, sleep problems, loss of sexual interest, extreme worry or fear, panic, appetite and weight changes, negative scary thoughts, feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and despair. In addition, thoughts of suicide and feelings of anger, shame and guilt are often present.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of transition. A growing and developing fetus causes the body to go through profound hormonal, emotional and physical changes. Awe at the miracle of life inside of you can be offset by worry, sadness or fear. Depression and anxiety are not only a postpartum issue but occur in pregnancy as well. Some normal changes during and after pregnancy cause symptoms similar to those of depression.

Contact Info

Integrative Psychotherapy, Kristen Mulheren Levitt, MS, LCSW  •  39 Avenue at the Commons, Suite 106; Shrewsbury, NJ 07702  •  Phone: 732.977.3547  •  Email:

Additional office location:
746 Route 34, Suite 3; Matawan, NJ 07747