Hello Willow Mamas! My name is Cara English. I am a Doctor of Behavioral Health with over 20 years of experience in counseling women, parents, couples, adolescents, and children. I’ve spent the past three years living my dream; specializing in counseling for mamas suffering from chronic stress, depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and other mental illnesses during pregnancy, the postpartum “fourth trimester,” and beyond. I co-founded Terra’s Place in October 2017 with three partners to provide a special place for moms and their families to receive the high-quality counseling services that were previously not accessible in our community.
My passion for improving perinatal and infant mental health services began 11 years ago during my pregnancy and postpartum experience with my only son, Liam. Suffering from severe post-natal anxiety, depression, and OCD left me feeling isolated from my son, my husband, and my friends, family, and co-workers. My OB told me it was just the baby blues at my six week follow up appointment (Baby Blues only last 2-3 weeks), so I thought there must be something wrong with me. My family knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what to do or who to go to for help – post-partum depression was only beginning to be understood or discussed publicly at that time, and I didn’t know of anyone who specialized in treating it. My family and I would have benefitted greatly from health care that integrated the emotional and physical needs of mothers, and from providers who had been trained in best practices for treating what we know now is something at least 1 in 7 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers experience during pregnancy and/or during the first postpartum year.
Willow’s vision and our vision at Terra’s Place resonate strongly. I’m overjoyed to be offering behavioral health counseling in an integrated setting at Willow beginning on November 20th, 2017. When Diane and Belinda envisioned their Midwifery Center, they envisioned integrated behavioral health services for their patients. When we at Terra’s Place envisioned offering behavioral health services to mamas, we envisioned delivering our services where mothers seamlessly, under one roof, where mamas are receiving care from their prenatal providers. It’s a partnership made in heaven!
Here are some of the symptoms of mamas who have benefitted from counseling services during pregnancy or after birth:
- Feeling overwhelmed or guilty
- Afraid you’re a bad mom
- Having trouble bonding with your baby
- Having racing thoughts & restlessness
- Having scary or disturbing thoughts
- Afraid to be alone with your baby
- Feeling the need to constantly check things
- Feeling confused or scared
- Feeling irritated or angry
- Feeling nothing or empty
- Feeling overwhelming sadness
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling a sense of dread
- Having trouble eating and sleeping
- Having trouble concentrating
- Feeling disconnected
- Thinking that something is wrong
- Thinking of running away
- Thinking of hurting yourself
- Afraid this is your new “forever”
- Afraid to reach out because someone will judge you
Schedule an appointment to talk about any of these thoughts or feelings. I will be happy to consult with you via phone first to talk about your experience and help you decide if counseling is right for you. Becoming a mother for the first or 5th time brings many unexpected feelings, thoughts, and changes. I often imagine that this is like going to a movie theater to see a specific movie – you’ve seen the previews, and heard from friends that it’s going to be wonderful. You show up, and the movie scares the crap out of you, or involves intense emotional responses you did not expect, or ends in a way that seemed opposite to what you had in mind.
Birthing journeys can be difficult when reality varies from the vision or script we wrote for ourselves, and mamas deserve support with the emotional and physical toll this can take. We want you to know that you are not alone, and that these are treatable illnesses from which you will recover.
I look forward to meeting you and your babies at Willow Birth Center!