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Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond Services for New and Expecting Parents

Cathy Armstrong, MS, LPC-S, RN

Registered Nurse, Certified Childbirth Educator, Board Certified Supervisor-Licensed Professional Counselor

Fellow with the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists

Provider for Professional Training to Nurses, Mental Health Professionals, Birth Workers

Telephone: (361) 688-8200 for a free 10 min info visit

 

Hands holding baby feet"The birth of a baby is the birth of family. Women become mothers, husbands become fathers, daughters become sisters and sons become brothers. One birth ripples through generations, creating subtle shifts and rearrangements in the family web. The first year following the birth of a child is a time of great, and often underestimated, adjustment."  
__________Gayle Peterson, An Easier Childbirth

Unique telehealth services for the childbearing year. Maternal mental health services and wellness for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond. Childbirth education, hypnosis for more comfortable birthing, support for miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, individual, couples, marital, and family counseling services. Offering stress management, counseling, classes, support, and psychotherapy for whole family support and help in creating healthy and happy families. Services from conception, pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, and parenting. My goal is to help you and your family a safe place to learn, explore, grow, and create a life full of love, joy, balance, and happiness!

Welcome to my private practice. My name is Cathy Armstrong and I am an experienced labor and delivery room nurse, former hospital and home birth doula, breastfeeding educator, prenatal and new parent educator, infant CPR instructor, former prenatal yoga instructor and have taught natural childbirth educator for over 40 years. I have been trained in three of the leading hypnosis for birthing methods, Lamaze, Spiritual Birth, and I am the creator of the Tranquil Method of Childbirth that I have taught at local hospitals, for midwives, and still offer in my private practice. I have attended hundreds of amazing natural births and been a witness to the mind, body connection using affirmations, clearing statement, and self-hypnosis. As a Licensed Professional Counselor I offer counseling and psychotherapy services in addition to my hypnosis classes for natural birth. Becoming a parent is an exciting time for some couples and it can be a challenging time for others.

Not everyone experiences the glow of pregnancy with all the fairy tale hopes and dreams of how pregnancy, birth, and falling in love with your baby would be. I am here to support you during the challenges of the childbearing years and offer a variety of services to meet your individual needs. I offer individual and couples counseling and treatment using CBT, DBT, and somatic integrative methods for perinatal mood disorders, and anxiety and depressive disorders, OCD, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Family PTSD, and Complex PTSD. I am taking new clients on Humana PPO, Aetna, and some Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO, and self-pay to new moms and dads experiencing stress during COVID 19,  or having situational depression and/or anxiety in regard to the changes that come with parenthood. 2020 has been a very challenging year for all of us, and COVID 19 has increased worries, fears, and changes for new parents. Many times couples are faced with disappointments regarding the restrictions placed at the hospital, doctors office, and within the family unit. These changes often times disrupt  plans, excitement, joys and fairy tale magic of becoming parents. Other couples I see have encountered unexpected challenges and heartbreaks, such as infertility high risk pregnancy, birth trauma, miscarriage, or having a sick newborn they had to leave at the hospital. Counseling can help couples work though the many challenges of the childbearing years.

Many times i see new parents for counseling that are faced with a decisions and choices they need to make. Often times new parents feel confused and conflicted about the advise they receive from doctors, family, friends, magazine articles, classes, and books. Women during the childbearing years can benefit from counseling and explore their feelings about various options, solutions, and problems they face. Some couples are have fears of bringing a new child into the world during a pandemic. Stress with the changes  about social distancing, safety and limiting the exposure to other people has impacted the joy of baby showers for some couples, limits set on who can attend the birth as well as attend sonograms and mother-baby checks have created disappointment for others. Counseling can help new create more balance and feel supported when coping with breastfeeding issues, colicky babies, baby blues and postpartum depression. Marriage and couple counseling help new and expecting parents maintain a healthy relationships as partners and parents. Prenatal counseling and postpartum counseling can help promote mother baby bonding and prevent and treat postpartum anxiety, OCD, and/or depression. I am well trained and qualified to help new and expecting moms and dads on their journey to parenthood. I am trained as a Childbirth Educator in Lamaze, Tranquil Birth, Hypnosis for Natural Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Prenatal, and Parenting Educator and maintain a private counseling practice that focuses on Wellness and Wholeness using the Mind Body Connection for Change and Reaching Your Full Potential.

  •  Counseling, Psychotherapy, EMDR, Tapping, Expressive & Creative Therapy
  • Advanced Relaxation Techniques, Stress Management, Anxiety & Depression Release
  • Somatic Therapies, Resiliency, Moving On, Letting Go
  • Affirmations, CBT, Mindfulness Techniques, Work with Neuroscience Tools for Change
  • Clearing Statements, Thought Stopping Techniques to Allow for  More Possibilities
  • Exploring Core Beliefs, Family of Origin Issues that Lead to Fear and Doubt
  •  Mother-Baby-Bonding Guided Imagery, Meditation, Hypnosis
  • Hypnosis for Pain Management, Labor, Fear Release

 

Pregnancy is a major transition in the woman’s life  and can be even referred to as a rite of passage.  Stress, Covid 19, and other life challenges can occur  while planning a baby, being pregnant, or after the baby comes. Emotional distress can occur. Help is available! Symptoms can have a negative impact to your over all health and well-being, effect your relationship with you baby, those you love, and take a toll on your relationship. 

If you are a loved on is having thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or injuring or taking the life of  another person Call 911 Now!

Pregnancy and Birth Virtual Counseling Services 

Includes: Initial Intake Session-We will explore your history and how you current  and past emotional psychological, and mental health impact your pregnancy and upcoming birth experience. You will work though any unfinished issues of your past including past pregnancies, relationship with your own mother, childhood trauma, fears of birth, and anxiety issues regarding your relationship with your partner, stress during your pregnancy, and fears of becoming a new parent.

This is a special time of transformation and change for many women, and because of it being a 9 month journey, it is many times overlooked as a turning point in the life of a woman or a couple. 

Whether you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant now, or just had a baby, becoming a new mother and parent is not always what "it is cracked up to be " for some women!

 Planning a family, carrying a new little life inside of you as you... deal with relationship problems, school, work, in laws, plus complicated by the fear of childbirth, or financial concerns might not create the magical and wonderful time of what pregnancy and motherhood was suppose to be. 

In reality, it can be much lonelier than any of us ever dreamed up. Expectations not being met, and not feeling that "glow of pregnancy" can create issues of stress, anxiety and depression. Sometimes even anger, self-doubt, and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Not what  you expected.

Many times after the baby is born, we feel isolated with an  newborn that requires our constant attention and lack of sleep. There is no time for us, and we have no time to do the things that once made us laugh and brought pleasure to our lives.

Some of us do suffer from postpartum depression and some of us are in shock and disbelief about how drastically our lives have changed. Some of us want out of our relationships, want to runaway and just hide. Life feel overwhelming.

Please know that many people struggle during times of pregnancy and postpartum. Many women deal with the fears of childbirth whether it is an induced labor, cesarean birth, or a planned non medicated natural birth. The childbearing year is an important time that can affect you, your relationship, and your child for a long time. 

Are You At Risk for Prenatal or Postpartum Depression?

Red Flags: Certain factors may increase a woman's chance of experiencing depression during and after pregnancy:

  • Do you have a personal history of depression or another mental health illness?
  • Do you have a family history of depression or mental health problems?
  • Do you have a good social support system in place from your friends and family?
  • Are you anxious, angry , or worried about the pregnancy?
  •  Are you a teen mom trying to finish school?
  • Did you have complications with a previous pregnancy or birth?
  • Are you having work related stress or financial problems?
  • Are you having relationship issues? Do you feel put down or abused?
  • Are you have job security  or financial problems?
  • Are you under stress from work, school, family, friends or other major life events or changes?
  • Do you have a history of substance abuse, infertility, abortion, miscarriage or the loss of an infant?

Women that are depressed during pregnancy have a higher chance of becoming depressed after the baby is born. We offer screenings to pregnancy and postpartum women experiencing anxiety and depression. We take private pay clients and are taking new clients on the following insurance plans: Aetna, United, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal, Driscoll Star, and Traditional Medicaid.

Red Flags: Signs of  Prenatal or Postpartum Depression?

  • Eating too much or too little,
  • Poor appetite,
  • Failure to gain adequate weight
  •  Excessive weight gain,
  • Sleeping problems
  • Sleeping too little or too much, restless sleep, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, waking up too early.
  •  Feelings of helpless or hopelessness
  •  Feeling everything is all your fault,
  • Having thought of suicide, self harm
  •  Disappearing, withdrawing from other, isolating yourself,
  • Missing prenatal visits,
  • Not following medical instructions,
  • Using harmful substances, like tobacco, alcohol. or illegal drugs.
  • Thoughts of hurting your baby or others

Please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital if you are feeling suicidal and/or wanting to harm/take the life your baby or others!!!! Help is available.

What can happen if depression is not treated?

Untreated depression can hurt you and your baby. Some women with depression have a hard time caring for themselves during pregnancy. 

Depression during pregnancy can raise the risk of:

  • Problems during pregnancy or delivery
  • Having a low-birth-weight baby
  • Premature birth

Untreated postpartum depression can affect your ability to parent. You may:

  • Lack energy
  • Have trouble focusing
  • Feel moody
  • Not be able to meet your child's needs

    Your doctor can ask you questions to test for depression. Your doctor can also refer you to a mental health professional who specializes in treating depression.

    Some women don't tell anyone about their symptoms. They feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. They worry they will be viewed as unfit parents.

    Any woman may become depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby. It doesn't mean you are a bad or "not together" mom. You and your baby don't have to suffer. There is help.

    Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping.
  • Don't try to do too much or try to be perfect.
  • Ask your partner, family, and friends for help.
  • Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner.
  • Discuss your feelings with your partner, family, and friends.
  • Talk with other mothers so you can learn from their experiences.
  • Join a support group. Ask your doctor about groups in your area.
  • Don't make any major life changes during pregnancy or right after giving birth. Major changes can cause unneeded stress. Sometimes big changes can't be avoided. When that happens, try to arrange support and help in your new situation ahead of time.

Call Us: (361) 688-8200

How is depression treated?

The two common types of treatment for depression are:

  • Talk therapy/psychotherapy/counseling. This involves talking to a licensed professional counselor, therapist, psychologist, or social worker to learn to change how depression makes you think, feel, and act.
  • Medicine. Your doctor can prescribe an antidepressant medicine. These medicines can help relieve symptoms of depression.These treatment methods can be used alone or together. If you are depressed, your depression can affect your baby. Getting treatment is important for you and your baby. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking medicine to treat depression when you are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby.

    Women who are depressed during pregnancy have a greater risk of depression after giving birth. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for depression during and after pregnancy, regardless of a woman's risk factors for depression.

    What is the difference between "baby blues," postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis?

    Many women have the baby blues in the days after childbirth. If you have the baby blues, you may:

  • Have mood swings
  • Feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
  • Have crying spells
  • Lose your  appetite
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • The baby blues most often go away within a few days or a week. The symptoms are not severe and do not need treatment.

    The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after childbirth. If you have postpartum depression, you may have any of the symptoms of depression listed above. Symptoms may also include:

  • CALL 911 immediately of you have:
  • Thoughts of hurting the baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Not having any interest in the baby
  • Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a doctor.

    Postpartum psychosis is rare. It occurs in about 1 to 4 out of every 1,000 births. It usually begins in the first 2 weeks after childbirth. Women who have bipolar disorder or another mental health problem called schizoaffective disorder have a higher risk for postpartum psychosis. Symptoms may include:

  • Seeing things that aren't there
  • Feeling confused
  • Having rapid mood swings
  • Trying to hurt yourself or your baby
  • What should I do if I have symptoms of depression during or after pregnancy?

    Call your doctor if:

  • Your baby blues don't go away after 2 weeks
  • Symptoms of depression get more and more intense
  • Symptoms of depression begin any time after delivery, even many months later
  • It is hard for you to perform tasks at work or at home
  • You cannot care for yourself or your baby
  • You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Your doctor can ask you questions to test for depression. Your doctor can also refer you to a mental health professional who specializes in treating depression.Some women don't tell anyone about their symptoms. They feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. They worry they will be viewed as unfit parents.
  • Any woman may become depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby. It doesn't mean you are a bad or "not together" mom. You and your baby don't have to suffer. There is help.

    • Here are some other helpful tips:

    • Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping.
    • Don't try to do too much or try to be perfect.
    • Ask your partner, family, and friends for help.
    • Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner.
    • Discuss your feelings with your partner, family, and friends.
    • Talk with other mothers so you can learn from their experiences.
    • Join a support group. Ask your doctor about groups in your area.
    • Don't make any major life changes during pregnancy or right after giving birth. Major changes can cause unneeded stress. Sometimes big changes can't be avoided. When that happens, try to arrange support and help in your new situation ahead of time.

     

     While some women do not struggle emotionally during pregnancy, research shows that emotional support during this time of major transition is highly beneficial for maternal adjustment after the baby is born and can create lasting damaging effects in the psyche and in the relationship if needs are ignored.

    Part of you personalized pregnancy counseling experience will include free Holistic Tranquil Birth childbirth education classes.

    These classes will be exploring your inner prenatal world. By looking inside at the inner landscapes of your mind, you will be able to make any needed changes to shift your perception form the negative to the positive regarding your birthing and postpartum experiences. 

    Your rite of passage to being a mother can have a  significant difference in how you integrate your new roles during pregnancy and motherhood with your approach to childbirth, and how you mother baby bonding and adjusting after the baby comes. 

    Birth is an important even in the life of a woman and it is common for women to repeat their birth stories years and years after their children are grown and have children of their own.

    Expressive and creative therapies are combined with guided imagery, relaxation, meditation, affirmation, and self-hypnosis. Journal writing , creative writing, and yoga breath work are incorporated in therapy.

    “The artist’s relative lack of adaptation turns out to his advantage; it enables him to follow his own yearnings far from the beaten path, and to discover what it is that would meet the unconscious needs of his age……art represents a process of self-regulation in the life of nations and epochs” –Jung (CW 15, 131). 

    Disclaimer

    Individual therapy is  scheduled on an individual basis as needed and prescribed in the treatment plan, weekly, twice a week, monthly, or whatever the specific need of the client is. Individual therapy is a one-to-one meeting with a mental health therapist for the purpose of reducing the stress and emotional pain of inner conflict with internal suffering due to  an addiction, anxiety disorder , depression, mood disorder, conduct or behavior, problem feelings creating intense emotions, painful or self-sabotaging beliefs, relationship stress,  or dealing with past experiences.

    Ongoing psychotherapy is also a common and useful means of self-growth and self-actualization but require a psychiatric mental health diagnosis to use insurance. Life coaching is available for those not meeting the criteria for having a mental health problem and are seeking services of personal growth, personal or professional empowerment or success and those searching for spiritual growth and enlightenment of the soul.

    Fees and Insurance

    The majority of my practice is Self-Pay and working with individuals and couples that are not in need of psychotherapy requiring a psychiatric mental health diagnosis. I currently am taking new patients and accepting Humana PPO, some Blue Cross Blue Shield, and some Aetna. 

    Most of the clients  we see are wanting to set goals and more interested in creating balance, health, peace of mind, needing anger management, or wanting to learn how to enhance the quality of their lives. We do work with specific addictions and combine hypnotherapy, mediation, EMDR, EFT,Mindfulness, ACT, Jungian Therapy, and  CBT. Self pay sessions are $100.00 per 60  or  90 minute sessions.

    Self pay rates are based on the specific service offered. Please call to discuss rates. You will be advised of rates before being seen for therapy.

    Most fees range from $80 to $100.00.

  • Postpartum Depression
  • Postpartum Anxiety
  • PTSD/Birth Trauma
  • Couples Counseling After the Baby Comes
  • Group/Individual/Couples Therapy for New Mothers
  • If you or a loved one is having suicidal or homicidal thoughts please call 911!
  • We don't prescribe medication or emergency mental health services.

    Birth Recovery Story Time

  • Three 90 Minute Sessions

    Our next Birth Trauma Story Recovery will be Saturday February 8th, 2020 from 10 am to 11:30 am. It will be three Saturdays in a row. Cost for the Workshop is $120.00 with a non-refundable deposit and registration fee of $50.00 payable by January 15th. Paypal, checks, money orders, and cash are accepted!Call to register at (361) 541-4563

    Location: 5934 S. Staples, Suite 206 Five Oaks Plaza

    Is This Workshop for You?

    If you are struggling during the transition of being a new parent, help is available. You are not alone. Often times women struggle during the transition of pregnancy to become a new mother.

    If you gave birth weeks, months, or even years ago and have unresolved feelings of : Disappointment, Feel Cheated, Feel Like Your Body Failed You, Made Your Feel Unworthy, Disconnected or Stuck in Shame....this workshop could be for for!

    The workshop includes : Telling Your Story, Creating a Rite of Passage, Re-connection to Self , Others, and The Divine.

    Expressive arts, sand tray, guided meditation,balancing, affirmations, moving out of the darkness circle, releasing, uncreating, letting go, and moving on!

    Seating is Limited! Jungian Concepts, Archetypes, Integrative and Holistic Wellness! This workshop is not for women with serious mental health disorders. You must meet with Cathy for an Assessment to be a Participant in the Group. Most of the Moms in the Group are in Therapy with Cathy.

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    Please feel free to call and inquire about additional services or imoration.