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  • Writer's picturePat Stepler, LMFT

How to Enjoy the Ride of Motherhood

A mother with her baby sitting on her lap.

Having a new baby feels like a non-stop, whirlwind, rollercoaster ride full of twists, turns, loops, and curves. There are exhilarating moments of pure joy, love, and fulfillment. There are also intense drops of isolation and overwhelm. The days are long, and the nights are longer with sleep deprivation, chronic crying, dirty diapers, constant feeding, physical pain, and emotional burdens.

The #1 complication of pregnancy and postpartum is Perinatal Mental Health Disorders which include: Depression during pregnancy and postpartum, Anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum, Pregnancy or Postpartum OCD, Postpartum Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Mood Disorders, and Postpartum Psychosis. Many people are unaware of the wide range of signs and symptoms. Mild mood changes are expected with this life transition, and research shows that up to 20% of women experience significant symptoms of anxiety or depression in the perinatal phase.

The hopeful news is you do not need to continue to suffer. You can have a full recovery with appropriate and informed care. Treatment options are different for each woman, but recommended treatment plans include self-care, social supports, therapy, and treatment of symptoms.

  • Self-care includes: getting proper rest, focusing on healthy nutrition, gentle exercise, mindfulness activities such as deep breathing and meditation, and relaxing activities.

  • Social support looks like: spending time with your loved ones, receiving encouragement from other moms, getting practical assistance to help with the baby, and joining an online or in-person support group.

  • Therapy provides: a safe and nurturing space to address your mental and emotional needs. It is recommended to find a mental health professional who specializes in treating Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

  • Treatment of symptoms means: ongoing evaluation from a medical provider which may include medication management when necessary.

The ride of motherhood can be enjoyable and fun. It is not meant to be ridden alone. With proper care and support you can embrace the ups, and prepare for the downs. Empire Therapy & Family Services has a passionate, informed, and prepared professional team ready to join with you on your path to healing.


Pat Stepler, LMFT, PMH-C is a Psychotherapist and Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional who provides counseling services to women and families.

Pat can be reached at 805-765-2873 or

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