"With love, with patience, and with faith

she’ll make her way...” – Natalie Merchant

Society has a way of teaching women that there is nothing better than having a new baby. This is supposed to be a time for joy and elation, the celebration of life and it’s
possibilities. The photos we see on social media send messages that life is grand with an infant. As mothers, we are supposed to be happier than we’ve ever been. Or are we?


For many, having a new baby isn’t the experience that was expected. Perhaps the joy you anticipated hasn’t accompanied the birth of your baby. Having negative thoughts or feelings around motherhood are often accompanied by shame and guilt. 

Discussing these emotions can be incredibly difficult, even with those to which we are closest, like family members, best friends, or even our partner. Having a professional therapist to speak with can help sort out these feelings and collaborating together on specific things can get you feeling like yourself again. 


It wasn’t until I became a mother, suffering from postpartum anxiety and depression myself, that I realized just how serious and prevalent this issue has become in our society. My own journey through motherhood has opened my eyes to the inner strength of all mothers and I am passionate and determined to deliver quality care and support to a very deserving and, at many times, forgotten population.

 

ABOUT ME / EDUCATION

You may notice, when searching for a therapist, various letters following names: PhD, PsyD, LPC, LMFT, LCSW, etc. I am a LCSW. What does that mean anyway? LCSW stands for “Licensed Clinical Social Worker”. The journey toward clinical licensure begins in graduate school. To earn a Masters in Social Work (MSW), one must complete a two-year program at an accredited University. I obtained mine in 2005 from The University of Michigan.


I began my career in New York City, which requires 3 years of full-time clinical work as a LMSW (“Licensed Master Social Worker”) under strict supervision. After this time, all supervisory notes are submitted to the state licensing board and the LMSW may sit for a national exam that focuses on mental health. I have been a LCSW since 2009. To maintain my clinical licensure in the state of

New Jersey, I must complete 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years.



Member, Postpartum Support International
Member, National Association of Social Workers

 
 

It is not uncommon to experience both depression and anxiety simultaneously, although one feeling may be more distressing than the other. Perhaps, like many people, you have struggled with one or both of these in the past or are experiencing this for the first time while pregnant or postpartum. You don’t need to suffer with either of these conditions. We will work together to identify what is triggering your symptoms and develop coping skills to manage them.

Depression & Anxiety

Was your birth experience extremely scary where you feared for the life of yourself and/or your child? Did you have to leave your precious baby behind in the NICU? Typically, when mothers have experienced trauma during birth there is very little time to process what has just occurred as you are thrown into survival mode and subsequently motherhood. You may also be healing from major surgery or a difficult delivery. You deserve to have your story heard and, as a professional, I can help you work through these scary feelings.

Traumatic Birth Experience

Losing a baby during pregnancy can be a devastating and sometimes traumatic event. Perhaps you are feeling hopelessly stuck in your pain. I offer grief counseling to help heal the part of you that has been damaged by this experience.

Pregnancy Loss

Almost all parents experience some degree of distress when a new baby enters the family. Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, family dynamics shift and stress levels can be high. We can discuss how this is affecting you and what we can do to make your situation more manageable.

Life Transition Challenges

Motherhood and substance misuse and abuse collide at a much larger rate than we recognize. Addiction is a symptom of a broken spirit. Whether you find yourself enjoying painkillers post-cesarean a little too much, you’re drinking too much wine at those mommy play dates, or have struggled with addiction in the past, we can talk openly about this and work together to identify triggers and find solutions.

Substance Use/Abuse

Finding childcare is hard! However, it shouldn’t be a barrier for you to receive care. I welcome babies at sessions when this happens and I’m also open to phone sessions or web sessions during times of illness or other events that prevent you from leaving the house.

Babies Welcome

"We don't have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to." - Brené Brown

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17 Hanover Road, Building 100, Suite 110, Florham Park, NJ 07932 |  (973) 946-8957  |  ShawnPortnerLCSW@gmail.com