"What lies before and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Emerson
Women may experience certain biological, environmental, and psychosocial challenges related to gender, and these concerns can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being. Given the multitude of roles and expectations women of all ages face, many women find themselves feeling overwhelmed, tired, isolated, frequently sad or irritable. Individual therapy can be a mind, heart and soul-healing experience that allows a woman to live more peacefully, authentically and with increased well-being, health and happiness in life. Through exploration, knowledge and empathic connection, therapy can help you heal old hurts, establish tools to promote self care, and then develop the ability to maintain and enhance relationships which are healthy, loving and meaningful.
Pregnancy is often regarded with great excitement, but no matter how eagerly a child's birth is anticipated, stress and other forms of emotional distress are still likely to occur before, during and after pregnancy. Pregnancy issues may be mild or serious and can range from infertility to postpartum depression and/or new mom anxiety and exhaustion. And pregnancy-related challenges or life stressors during pregnancy can also affect the health of the mother or child, put a strain on romantic partnerships or other children in the home, and can lead to life challenges that can significantly impact the well-being and emotional health of all members in a family. Therapy can help reduce stress, improve well-being and enhance and create a more peaceful and beautiful life for mother and baby. When appropriate, Dr. Sage collaborates with OB/Gyn's and/or Reproductive Psychiatrists regarding medications, medical treatments or conditions, as well as therapy, to provide the most supportive care. Dr. Sage has a passion for working with perinatal women and has obtained additional training in PMAD's - Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
Wherever you are in your life, therapy can be a beautiful journey into yourself.....
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss. And have found their way out of their depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
Women Whether you are a single or young woman, a mother, daughter, sister or grandmother, you are more likely to encounter cultural and societal expectations that can result in significant stressors which impact your life. In Orange County, those expectations are often much higher than they are in other parts of the country. Health, appearance, career, exercise, weight, success, aging, family, parenting and friendships are just some of the issues and relationships which women must navigate on a daily basis. Until recently, it was widely believed that the hippocampus—the part of the brain partially responsible for regulating emotion and memory—was larger in women than in men. This belief is considered to have at least partially contributed to stereotypes that women are more emotionally expressive and have better memory. However, a study conducted at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2015 found the hippocampus to be the same size in both men and women, and further found there to be minimal differences between the brains of men and women, supporting similar findings of previous studies. Thus, the challenges faced more often by women may occur more as a result of gender-based stereotypes, assumptions, or some cause other than gender. Regardless, as a woman in the world today, the odds are high that most of us feel tremendous pressures to be all things to ourselves, as well as to our parents, children, partners, employees and employers, friends, neighbors, schools and many others in our lives. The truth is that it is often just too much; and when you add in emotional and relational challenges, childhoods that may have been missing important healthy factors, skills or tools, a lack of self care, and/or a demanding and overwhelming schedule, we can often benefit from taking some time to explore who were are and where we are, and who we want to be and where we want to go in our journey.
Pregnancy and Motherhood
Another major issue women face revolves around the complexity and significance of motherhood. The ability to reproduce and carry a child may bring immense joy and satisfaction, but the prospect of motherhood also delivers a number of potential health risks. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and aging sometimes bring significant emotional challenges with them. Challenges also arise when women encounter problems with infertility, postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and a range of concerns related to sex and sexuality. Conditions related to perinatal mood might also have a significant impact upon some women. The most common complication of childbirth, perinatal mood issues such as postpartum depression affect as many as 20% of new mothers in the United States—approximately 1 million women—each year. In addition to the immediate effects of postpartum depression, mental health concerns can have lasting effects on both mother and child beyond the early years of motherhood. A mother's mental health can impact attachment, development, and the mental health of the child. If the child develops behavioral and emotional problems, this can place additional stress on the mother, thus establishing a cycle of challenges for the entire family. Pregnancy often includes significant life-changing experiences which can range from mood swings, fear, anxiety, forgetfulness, or body image issues to managing medication issues, unsolicited advice, birth plans gone awry, and then to depression and exhaustion during and following delivery. Between 15 and 20% of women experience clinically significant anxiety or depression after childbirth. Two-thirds of mothers diagnosed with severe postpartum depression began experiencing changes in mood during pregnancy. Sixty percent of mothers with moderate postpartum depression had pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes.
Stress During Pregnancy Stress experienced during pregnancy, especially posttraumatic stress (PTSD) has been linked to premature birth, low birth weight, and risky behavior (such as drinking or smoking) during pregnancy. Many women experience "baby blues," or a period of low mood and tearfulness, for a week or two following childbirth. These feelings generally resolve with the support of one's partner or family. When they do not resolve, they may include hopelessness, negative thoughts about oneself or one's baby, or a loss of appetite, among other issues.
Life With A Newborn Despite the beauty of having a child from pregnancy, surrogacy or adoption, it can sometimes be difficult for new parents to become accustomed to life after the birth of a child. A difficult birth can leave both parents emotionally and physically fatigued, and it can be difficult and stressful for parents to adapt to new roles and responsibilities. Both the mother and her partner may experience fatigue or have trouble sleeping, due to the demands of a newborn and often other children in the home; and this lack of sleep may lead to a lowered immune system, increased irritability, and stress. While it is often possible for a couple to communicate their issues and work through them together without outside help, often professional support is beneficial to this process. Some women who have just given birth may find it difficult to accept that certain aspects of pregnancy and delivery did not happen as expected. Some women who are unable to breastfeed may experience feelings of judgement, failure or frustration and become stressed or experience symptoms of depression as a result.
Pregnancy Loss Stillbirth and miscarriage are two pregnancy complications that lead to fetal death. Miscarriage is pregnancy loss occurring within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, while a stillbirth occurs after 20 weeks. About 1 in every 160 pregnancies will end in stillbirth, and between 10% and 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Up to 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, but a number of these occur before the pregnancy is recognized. Miscarriage and its causes are often misunderstood and stigmatized. In most cases, the cause of a miscarriage cannot be determined. Some possible causes include chromosomal abnormalities, hormonal concerns, improper egg implantation, maternal age, and exposure to toxic substances. Pregnancy loss can lead to complex emotions, such as grief, shame, guilt, and isolation. Some of those who have experienced pregnancy loss believe they could have prevented it or that they will never be able to have a child, but this is often not the case. Because pregnancy is not yet apparent in many of those who have a miscarriage, many feel isolated following this loss. Experts say acknowledging the pain and loss, and having it acknowledged by others, can help reduce these feelings and allow the processes of grieving and healing to take place.