Most of us want to be in a relationship.  For women in particular, the quality of their relationships is closely related to their emotional well-being.  Having a close relationship with your partner can help you feel confident, inspired, and energized enough to reach your goals.  A strong relationship can also help you face life’s biggest challenges and regain emotional balance.

Research even shows that a loving relationship can help provide a sense of well-being during physical distress and pain.

While a supportive relationship can protect you from becoming depressed when you are faced with stress, the opposite can also be true.  A relationship that does not meet your needs and is laden with conflict and turmoil can increase stress and wreak havoc in your life. 

Dealing with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy will be one of the biggest challenges you (and your partner) will face.  You may be concerned about your increased sense of responsibility or grieve the loss of your current independent lifestyle.

If you are in a stable relationship, you and your partner may not have the resources to accommodate a new baby.  For example, you may be in school, or unemployed.  You may also be concerned that your career will be compromised.

An unwanted pregnancy can also be challenging if you are a single woman or in a relationship that you fear may not continue.

Even if you have been actively trying to have a child and perhaps going through fertility treatment, you may be shocked if to find out that you are going to have twins or triplets.

There is no doubt that the birth of a child is an intense experience.  Your body goes through the physical transition of delivering a baby and you become a mother.

Many women are afraid, or at least nervous, as they anticipate their labor; yet they are always hopeful that they will end up with a healthy baby to take home.

As your pregnancy progresses, the impending birth becomes a central event in your life.  It will be a long-lasting memory that you will usually remember decades later.  If all goes well, giving birth will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and completeness.

Although most women have positive birth experiences, sometimes things do not go according to plans.  A percentage of women will experience events that will pose threats to her or her baby.  These women may end up feeling fearful and even helpless.

Here are some events that can cause a great deal of stress during birth:

Pregnancy is a time of significant physical and psychological change.  A woman gives birth not only to her baby, but also to her new identity as a mother.  This is a gradual and lengthy process that starts when a woman mentally “conceives” her baby; continues through conception and pregnancy; and doesn’t end until months after she gives birth.

The formation of the maternal identity might be one of the most fundamental transformations a woman ever goes through.  The most significant aspect is the development of a “motherhood state of mind.”  This new state of mind will determine a woman’s thoughts, priorities, frame of vision.  It also affects a woman’s sensitivities and what excites or frightens her in regards to her baby.  This new identity will realign a mother’s values and, organize her mental life.

Becoming Preoccupied with Your Baby

Most parents state that their children make them happy.  If that is true, if parents are indeed so happy, how come many often complain about feeling exhausted and stressed-out by their kids, along with being torn between work and child care?

There is no doubt that parenting is emotionally and physically taxing- couples with babies report diminished marital satisfaction.  Despite the joy of having a baby, taking care of the infant can be psychologically tough on parents and affect their relationship early on.

LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE

1 in 5 women will experience depression during pregnancy.

Depression may affect not only how you feel, but also the course of your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

If untreated, depression may lead to adverse reproductive outcomes such as:

  • pregnancy complications: nausea, vomiting, hypermeisis (intense nausea during pregnancy), and preeclampsia (high blood pressure)
  • miscarriage
  • low birth-weight babies or babies that are small for their gestational age
  • pre-term delivery (before thirty seven weeks gestation)

Finding the right treatment for depression can be challenging.  

Below, you will find a discussion of the available research that

may help you decide on your best treatment options.

When you are depressed, it easy to lose hope and forget that depression is a treatable problem.  Finding the best treatment or therapy can help you overcome depression and reclaim your life.  Hopefully, the information below on researched and effective treatments for depression will be useful to those of you struggling with depression.

Counseling -Talk Therapy Works

Talk therapy is an extremely effective treatment for depression.  Research shows that all forms of psychotherapy work towards reducing depression.  It is hard to find one treatment (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy) that works better than the other- they all seem to be equally effective.  What does make a difference in therapy outcomes in decreasing depression are the characteristics of the therapist and the quality of the relationship you build with your therapist.

Characteristics of Helpful (Successful) Therapists

Therapists and counselors that are empathic, caring, affirming, and accepting of their clients and their clients’ problems have substantially more success in treating depression, regardless of the methods they employ.  In addition, expertise and competence in the specific treatment area (e.g. depression) is more important than overall therapist experience to the outcome of therapy.  Some studies also show that female therapists have higher success rates than male therapists, especially if the patient prefers a female therapist.

The Mind-Boosting Benefits of Motherhood

How Motherhood Can Improve Your Mental Skills, Intelligence,

and Preparedness for the Working World

If you have a baby or small children, you may often feel like you have permanently lost your mind, leaving it behind with your pre-baby self.  You may feel forgetful, scattered and like you are barely able to manage mundane activities such as changing diapers, washing baby bottles, and doing laundry.  You may sometimes feel like your brain has turned to “mush.”  Because you do not feel mentally simulated, you may start doubting yourself, causing your self esteem to plummet.

If you cannot remember to turn on the oven or get milk for your kids, you may wonder how you will ever be able go back to work and manage complex tasks.  When this happens, it is easy to feel that you have lost your “smarts;” be insecure about going back to work; and wonder what you will do when your baby gets older.

The break-up of a relationship ranks as one of the most stressful life events- it’s up there with the death of a loved one.  After the initial shock, when you may feel like you were just hit by a truck, sadness and loneliness often take over.  You may feel “a part of you has died,” and your whole world has fallen apart. The ability to concentrate and get motivated may be hard to come across.  You may also find yourself remembering and missing things you used to do with your partner.

How to find middle ground between extreme

work-related stress and self-care during pregnancy

Are you pregnant and always on the go?

Are you still working as much at your office or with your kids and never seem to sit down and catch a breath even though you are pregnant?

More than 2/3 of all pregnant women work, most of them in full-time jobs.  80 percent are still at their jobs the month they give birth.

Since women are most likely working during most of their pregnancy, reducing stress during this time should not be dismissed as an urban myth. 

Research shows that a high level of stress in some pregnant women can lead to preterm birth, smaller babies, and potential problems later on.  

In order to advance professionally, women sometimes have to prove their commitment to work regardless of being pregnant or having a family.  Sometimes there is financial pressure, especially for single mothers, to continue to work until the last day.