What is maternal overwhelm? Helping moms in St. Louis from postpartum to post-graduation

It’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness week so it would obviously only be appropriate to blog a little bit about moms and their mental health. I hope those of you reading this have also been following along on our Facebook page and Instagram page as we share statistics about maternal mental health, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. The word is starting to get out with a little more purpose…a little more swell of support…about the critical period that is the “perinatal” period. We at Marble Wellness hope that trend continues. If it does, it can really start to break down the stigma around things like postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and the host of other mental health issues that are on the table while your hormones are running rampant while a baby is growing inside of you…or growing on the other side of you!


As that conversation continues, it will also hopefully start to shift the message to moms about what to expect during that period. So many new moms have narratives about the beauty and joy of being a mom. Which is definitely possible, but if that beauty and joy is either ALSO present with depression or guilt or anxiety….or even absent altogether….you aren’t alone and you haven’t failed. In fact, the narrative has failed moms if they think they are “the only one” who experiences that.


A larger conversation is also starting to happen around the mental health of ALL moms. Around the mental health beyond the postpartum period. This is another conversation our team is thrilled is finally starting, and like the conversation around the reality of postpartum, we hope the momentum continues!


In order for that to be the case, though, a little more understanding has to take root about exactly what maternal overwhelm even is. I mean, on the one hand, people can say, “well, from the words I get it” but on the other hand, how would it be summarized? Described effectively? Wrapped into an elevator pitch? I might be able to deliver that another time (#businessowneroverwhelm) but in the meantime, here are a few ways maternal overwhelm can be described:

  • It’s that “at capacity” feeling you carry day-in and day-out.

  • It’s that inability to understand not just how to slow down but also what to do with yourself when are slow.

  • It’s that feeling that something is “off” or “wrong”, even though-when you look around at your life-you can’t really identify that is wrong. (Hint to moms: that feeling is coming from an internal place, not an external one. Still very valid! But you’re not going to find it in the house….or at the school…it beats within you.)

  • It’s the feeling that if “one more thing” happens, you won’t be able to “handle it.”

  • It’s the nagging feeling of constant irritability.

  • It’s the brain fog; the feeling that most decisions are nearly impossible to make because you’re just so tired”; and the continuous thought pattern of “IF ONLY…” (“I could get an extra hour of sleep; if only the laundry did itself; if only the kids did more chores; if only I had two extra hours in the day”).

  • It’s an inability to identify and speak about what you need.


Maternal overwhelm doesn’t necessarily mean you’re anxious, or depressed, or having marital issues, or developing a thyroid problem. Though those can be on the table as contributors to those above feelings.


It does mean things are out of balance and you feel like you’re having trouble surviving the day to day….let alone thriving.


Maternal overwhelm is on the table for moms at any stage of their motherhood. From postpartum to post graduation. Because: the momming.never.stops.


So what does therapy for moms/ counseling for maternal overwhelm do? I’m so glad you asked!


  • I’m not trying to be trite but one of the most impactful things is that it gives moms a space just for them. It’s not even a friendship where reciprocity is needed and once we’re done talking about you, we need equal time to talk about me! A whole fifty-minutes each session just for you!

  • It gives moms a chance to just put things out in the open. Spill the beans. Unburden themselves. Speak it out loud. And that, in and of itself, is a relieving process all on its own.

  • It gives you a chance to receive a fresh perspective from someone: a new problem-solving tip; a schedule suggestion; new chore assignments. You can’t think of everything by yourself!

  • Um, validation anyone?

  • Assessing for things like those contributing or underlying factors I mentioned (anxiety, depression, etc). Because once properly identified, those things can be properly addressed, and removed or reduced as a barrier.

  • The bolstering of YOU!

o Regaining self-identity

o Identifying your needs & knowing how to meet them

o Communication skills

o Self-soothing techniques

o New thought processes to kick back the mom guilt

  • Unpacking anything you’ve been holding onto that is creating a burden in the here-and-now.


I think we all believe in and love moms. Maternal Mental Health week raises the conversation to a level that says “and this specific group of people we love so much? Yes, they need some extra support. They aren’t always okay, even if they say they are or we just look at them on the surface and think they are. Let’s help them move the needle by raising the volume on the conversation, highlighting the support that is out there, and breaking the stigma about accessing it.”


Valuable resources deserve to be valued. Invaluable resources deserve even more. Moms: you’re invaluable to us. Let us help you recognize that.


Want to read more about our view of maternal overwhelm? Head to our webpage on it!

We also have ones written on:

-postpartum

-moms of teenagers (we also wrote a blog post about some aspects of that--cause we all know it can be just as hard to parent a teen as be a teen!. You can find that here.)

-momming as a whole!


If you have questions, want answers, are ready for support through counseling, or there is anything else we can do for you, please reach out!

You can:

-reach us by phone: 636-234-3052

-reach us by email: hello@marblewellness.com

-submit an inquiry through our website here

-or schedule directly online by clicking here


Talk to you soon!




Marble Wellness is a St. Louis counseling practice that specializes in counseling for anxious and depressed adults and kids, those with dealing with grief or chronic illness, overwhelmed moms, and stressed out couples. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our website. If you have questions or would like to get started in working together in the therapy process, contact us today or request an appointment now!