The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook
The Guide to Surviving Your Emotions When Having a Baby
This book helps you throughout your pregnancy and postpartum/postnatal recovery. By helping you understand what you are feeling, and teaching you empirically validated new skills so you can manage your changing moods, you can work toward feeling better.
Becoming a new parent is one of the biggest changes one can face in life. You are experiencing enormous changes biologically, hormonally, and emotionally. Your whole life may seem uprooted. It makes sense that you might be feeling significant mood changes as well. With one out of five mothers and one out of ten partners experiencing depression and anxiety when having a baby, this workbook will remind you that you are not alone.
This workbook is written with sleep-deprived new parents in mind, providing helpful information in short, digestible segments. These are intermixed with thought-provoking activities such as brief journaling prompts and suggestions for tangible steps to make small, realistic changes. You can pick it up and put it down, reading it on your timing, without the information becoming overwhelming. The workbook covers the entire range of mood symptoms, from the Baby Blues, to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, and more.
The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook uses inclusive language and content applicable to all new parents. There are chapters uniquely dedicated to building attachment, managing awful thoughts, bringing awareness to your partner's mental health, parenting babies in the NICU or with medical issues, and exploring culture, identity, and mental health. There is also a resource section with a wide array of support available to meet the needs of any parent. Adoptive and single parents, LGBTQ+ and heterosexual parents, as well as clinicians and birth workers will find this book to be an invaluable resource.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Helpful Information—Empowering You With Education 1. How to Get the Most Out of This Workbook 2. What’s Going on With Me? Breaking Down the Differences Between Baby Blues and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders 3. Learning More About Your Moods: No, Seriously, What’s Going on With Me? 4. Risk Factors and Screening: Why me, and What Next? Part 2: Building Tangible Skills to Help You Weather the Storm 5. Sleep and Self-care: Tangible Ways to Climb out of the Black Hole 6. Attachment and Bonding: Creating a Secure Foundation With Your Baby While In the Middle of Your Storm 7. Mom Guilt and Other Mind Battles: How to Manage Your Thoughts, Moods, and Behaviors Using Cognitive Behavioral Skills 8. How to Manage Your Really Awful Thoughts: Name Your Dragon to Slay Your Dragon 9. Role Changes, Building Support and Improving Effective Communication Skills: How to Build and Strengthen your Village 10. Mindfulness, Meditation, Relaxation: How to quiet the storm within Part 3: Additional Factors—Aspects of Your Life That Can Impact Your Mood 11. Embracing All of You: How Your Culture and Identity Intersects With Your Mental Health 12: How’s Your Partner Doing? (Yes, They Can Struggle Too!) 13: Crying, Low Sex Drive, Irritability and More: How Your Hormonal and Biological Changes Impact Your Emotions 14: A Tough Situation Just Got Tougher: How Parenting a Child With Health Issues or Disabilities Can Impact Your Mood Part 4: What’s Next? 15: From Ambivalent to Terrified and Everything In Between: Creating an Empowering Postpartum Plan for the Next Pregnancy 16: So What Now? Treatment Options
Bethany Warren, LCSW, PMH-C, is an experienced psychotherapist certified in EMDR therapy and Perinatal Mental Health. She regularly provides trainings and lectures on women’s mental health and trauma. Find her at bethanywarrenlcsw.com and on IG @bethanywarrenlcsw.
Beth Creager Berger, Ph.D., is a psychologist with over twenty years of experience specializing in anxiety disorders and Perinatal Mental Health. She frequently lectures to physicians and community groups about PMADs. Find her at drbethberger.com and on IG @bethcreagerbergerphd.
"Rich with practical information, The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook is written in a format accessible for even the most exhausted or distressed parent or partner. This indispensable workbook can be used independently or as a companion to psychotherapy. Warren and Berger have created an essential tool that’s long been missing in the toolbox for family well-being. Many thanks to you both for the support and assistance this book will provide!"
Pec Indman, PA, EdD, MFT, PMH-C, co-author of Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression
"The thoughtfulness and expertise in this workbook is unmatched. By combining necessary information and very usable skills in an easily accessible format, it will feel like having both brilliant psychotherapists right by your side. This is an essential addition to the much-needed resources for any pregnant or postpartum person, as well as for the clinicians who support them."
Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D., PMH-C, Mom & Mind podcast; Postpartum Support International executive board member-at-large
"This is an ‘Everything I needed to know about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS)’ guided self-help workbook for any woman who is pregnant, postpartum or wanting to learn more about PMADs. This workbook is also a wonderful tool for maternal mental health practitioners to use with their clients. With attention to special populations, it is inclusive and accessible to all women. It provides mothers the knowledge to better understand their affliction so they can start battling it successfully. It teaches women skills, so they not only survive their emotions when having a baby but thrive."
Alison Reminick, MD, associate professor of psychiatry; director, Women's Reproductive Mental Health Program, University of California, San Diego, USA
"Although there are many wonderful books about postpartum depression, Bethany Warren and Dr. Berger have provided readers with the most comprehensive and current workbook on the market on how to manage struggles with pregnancy and postpartum mood disruptions. Their voices are relatable, their knowledge is vast, and they succeed in reminding the reader that they are not alone and can get better with the skills provided in this workbook."
Maria Henke Elswick, MD OB/GYN, maternal mental health specialist
"They nailed it. The impact of pregnancy and postpartum on emotions should not be overlooked and emphasis on mental health is paramount in recovery during the 4th trimester. Beyond addressing Postpartum Depression, Bethany and Beth help new parents navigate this difficult time by addressing important topics such as the entire range of mood symptoms a new parent might experience, how to interweave self-care in a feasible way, and the impact that having a baby and having depression, anxiety, and other mood struggles can have on a relationship. They make this workbook user friendly for hard working/sleep deprived new parents."
Jay Goldberg, M.D.
"This is the book we’ve all been waiting for. Warren and Berger use their expertise to create the ultimate go-to bible on mental healing during pregnancy and beyond. Effortlessly, and with a warm and friendly style, they hew a mountain of research-informed methods into practical bite-sized chunks proven to help women on their path into motherhood. No mother or (maternal health therapist!) can afford to miss this valuable resource."
Dr. Sarah Simmons, Psychiatrist
"As an Ob-Gyn for over thirty years, I am so grateful to Bethany Warren and Dr. Berger for creating this much-needed workbook. The comprehensive and practical scope of this book is ideal for pregnant and postpartum women experiencing a wide spectrum of moods and emotions. I look forward to it helping many of my patients and their families."
Dr. Kirstin Lee, ObGyn
"This is a wonderful, rich and warm resource for women and professionals in the perinatal period. The authors' warmth and compassion leaps from the page and the chapters are clearly defined and accessible. I love the inclusion of prompts and sections to record thoughts and feelings which allow the reader to reflect and pause.This book covers so many issues that affect new parents and does not shy away from difficult topics or feelings. Highly recommended, I will be sharing it with the families I work with here in London, England!"
Dr. Rebecca Moore, Consultant Psychiatrist; Co Founder of Make Birth Better
"Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are the most misunderstood and/or ignored conditions among other childbirth complications. This workbook – The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook, by Bethany and Beth, brings so much light, education, and support to families and clinicians. This book is easy to read, the content is easy to understand, the graphics speak volumes. This book, I believe, should be a go-to book for families anywhere in the world."
Joyce Wanderi, PSI Coordinator Kenya; Lactation Counselor; Maternal Mental Health Advocate; Perinatal Loss Counselor; Grief Educator and Kenya Chapter Leader, The TEARS Foundation
"What a wonderful resource for new and expecting parents, and for perinatal practitioners who support them! Readers will quickly find their experiences validated and normalized by the supportive and non-judgmental tone struck by the authors. With digestible and informative text, the authors guide the reader to greater understanding of the many changes in mind, body, and relationships throughout this transformative time. Clear and practical strategies for reflecting on and coping with the stressors and challenges of the perinatal period make this workbook incredibly useful. Readers will appreciate the attention paid to the impacts of culture, identity, community, and to the challenges related to parenting children with health concerns. With this workbook, Beth Warren and Dr. Berger use their extensive experience to offer support, and best of all, hope to those navigating complications related to perinatal mood changes."
Jillian Early, LCSW, PMH-C
"I am a practicing therapist who has specialized in perinatal mental health for 10 years. I love this workbook! It is an invaluable tool that I wish every postpartum parent owned. It dispenses crucial information and much needed advice, while remaining warm and caring. The exercises in the workbook are simple, yet effective in helping new parents achieve a higher level of awareness, understanding and self-compassion. The exercises are an excellent springboard for change. The co-authors are both knowledgeable therapists with many years of experience and insight. Their approach meets parents where they are at in an empathetic and non-judgmental fashion, which will help parents to avoid feeling shamed about such a sensitive topic."
Karen Nimchuk-Cook, LMFT
"The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook is a tremendously valuable and much needed resource. While there have been numerous publications over the years to help women through their pregnancies and beyond, we know so much more now, and it has been condensed into this one incredible workbook. The two authors have extensive experience supporting new moms, and it shows.
One of the hardest things for someone to do when they are depressed is choosing an action to take that will help them through it. This workbook lays out accessible and realistic steps for activities, thoughts, exercise, and social connection for a tired, depressed, or anxious parent. The suggestions are realistic even for a parent with an infant.
Some of my favorite pages include pp 38-45, which handhold a new mother through the nuts and bolts of self-care. Pages 54-57 are cheat sheets on new baby bonding for the mom who needs tips with this precious part of caring for an infant while she is working on feeling better. Pages 64-66 guide the reader through step-by-step actions they can take to break a negative thought and behavior cycle. It is all so practical and realistic!
As a therapist, I feel this book gives me a structured intervention that my client could use with me in the office and at home between sessions, to keep themselves in the path of healing.
Tips on how to use it…each chapter is clearly and accurately labeled. If you don’t have time to read up on the facts about depression during and after pregnancy but you need help feeling better, then jump to part 2, building tangible skills...and any one of the useful chapters. You will find tips and activities on sleep and self-care (Chapter 5), bonding with baby (chapter 6), guilty thoughts (chapter 7) and so on. Once the workbook activities have offered tangible information to start your healing journey, then you can work front to back. If you are still too tired and busy to read a whole section, jump to the back of any chapter and read the 3-6 bullet points that summarize each one. That way you can quickly find a chapter that applies to you and focus only on that for the moment.
No matter how you apply it, this workbook is filled with useful information."
Gretchen Mallios, LCSW, RYT
"This workbook should be on every new parents' bookshelf! If they don't need it, wonderful. But if they do experience PMADs, finding resources or asking for help is often one of the biggest hurdles when feeling anxious/depressed/lost/tired. With this workbook at their fingertips, parents can find answers, and learn what is happening and what they can do to start feeling more like themselves again. The experts who wrote this are clear that perinatal mood disorders are no one's fault, and there is help."
Peggy O’Neil Nosti, Founder of the BlueDot Project, Educator