Why does nobody talk about postpartum anxiety?

What happens when you become a mother? “We think of it as this beautiful, blissful, natural thing that should happen to every woman,” psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf begins in this week’s episode of The goop Podcast. “It’s maternal destiny.” She pauses. “What?! I mean it is like a nuclear bomb goes off.”

Birndorf, who specializes in reproductive mental health for women before, during, and after pregnancy, focuses on unpacking the disconnect between what motherhood is supposed to be and the way people experience it in actuality. And there is often a great divide between the two. “No one likes to pair that ideal with imperfection, and reality, and struggle, and difficulty. We can’t believe that could be the truth.” At the Motherhood Center in NYC, Birndorf’s team offers the kind of support for new and expecting mothers that not nearly enough of us receive in 2018. She sees women who are struggling with postpartum depression as well as postpartum anxiety, an experience that many share but that is all too often overlooked or misunderstood.

But whatever your experience (or preconceived notion) might or might not be, Birndorf’s wider message is crucial and profound: We all need to be mothered. Hit listen to hear the full podcast episode and play to see Birndorf answering some of our Q’s about mom expectations, anxiety, and getting the help you need.

Listen via iTunes  |  Watch on GOOP


Catherine Birndorf, MD is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and obstetrics/gynecology and founding director of the Payne Whitney Women's Program at the New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. She is also the founder of the Women’s Mental Health Consortium, a New York area network of women’s mental health clinicians and researchers. Dr. Birndorf’s area of psychiatric expertise is in reproductive mental health, helping women with emotional distress during times of hormonal change, from menses to menopause. She specializes in treating women before, during and after pregnancy, as well as at other times of transition in their lives.

If you think you have PPD, Call The Motherhood Center at 212-335-0034. We are here to tell you for sure if you have postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. And more importantly, if you do, we will provide the treatment you need to feel better.