COVID and Anxiety


It doesn’t look like COVID is going anywhere, anytime soon. I’m sure I am not the only private practice provider that has seen a spike of anxiety and depression during COVID. Between increasing numbers of people that have the virus and are getting sick from it, along with the lock downs, lack of social interaction, and being stuck in the house, it is a perfect storm.

What does anxiety look like? Some people say it is like looking at yourself or an imposter who took over your body. Others say it is like having a personal rain cloud that follows you everywhere. Some more direct symptoms are excessive worrying, feeling fatigue, irritability and trouble falling/staying asleep. If you are postpartum, these symptoms look like a constant feeling of dread or even OCD with constant cleaning, checking, or intrusive thoughts.

The CDC has a plethora of helpful tips, tricks, and resources on their website.

Luckily, there are many different providers, including myself, offering telehealth so that we are staying safe but getting the help that we need.

Feel free to reach out to me today to schedule your first appointment, from the comfort of your own home!

Additional Resources from CDC Website:



More Than Just the Nursery Series


Hello! I am currently Open and Accepting New Clients.
One of my specialities is in Perinatal Mood Disorders.

I am excited this summer to be launching my “More Than Just the Nursery Series” Focusing on Maternal Mental Health and Relationships. The series comes with an 80 page workbook that includes Milestone Trackers, Journals, and NICU Trackers (because you never plan to be in the NICU). We will discuss relationships, parenthood, and everything good and bad in between! Can’t wait to see you there!

Does My Child Need Therapy?

These are questions I get asked all the time from concerned parents.

Lets go over some of the facts:

In the 1940’s some research was done that indicated clinical depression in infants that were deprived of a primary caregiving relationship.1

In the years to come and through developmental theory, it was suggested that actually children are too immature to experience the core emotions of depression. Subsequently, ruling out clinical depression in infants.1

Empirical data shows that infants can distinguish emotions by 6-8 months including sadness and joy.

So, what’s clear is that mental health and depression does start at a young age, but it is unclear exactly how and why emotional development unfolds during infancy. However, in my own thought process, I feel like if adults have to take medications for example SSRI’s or the like to stabilize their serotonin and dopamine levels then wouldn’t it make sense that this was probably an ongoing issue from childhood? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a bunch of kids walking around with labels like clinical depression and adjustment disorder just because they were a fussy babe. However, should we not consider that some children perhaps do struggle with mental health from a young age?

It has been shown in research that a mother’s serotonin and dopamine levels have a direct effect on the infant levels. The infants that had higher levels of dopamine and serotonin and lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) had better stability and excitability scores on the BNBAS.2

Why do we care? Because the earlier you can offer intervention, the more benefit the client is going to get. For example, the preschool period has been researched for some disruptive disorders and it is shown that the earlier the intervention the better the outcome. One report stated, “This may be related to greater neuroplasticity and therefore increased sensitivity to environmental inputs earlier in development”3

It is likely that earlier intervention is particularly important for depressive disorders due to the chronic, relapsing course depression takes, the minimal treatment responses, and the high rate of resistance in depressed adolescents to treatment.

Early identification s imperative and early interventions are necessary to help advance public healthcare.

Let me know what you think through a comment.

Are you struggling with depression or know someone who is? The most courageous thing you can do is try to understand your own story. Call, email or text today!



  1. Edited by Zeanah, Charles. (2019). Handbook of Infant Mental Health. Fourth Edition
  2. Field, Deigo, Hernandez-Reif, Figueiredo, etc. (2009, Dec 1). Prenatal Dopamine and Neonatal Behavior and Biochemistry. Infant Behavioral Development. PMC. Doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2008.07.007
  3. Kennard et al., 2006; Weisz, McCarty, & Valeri, 2006
  4. Troller-Renfree & Fox, 2016

More Than Just the Nursery Intro : Sneak Peak

Everyone talks about the nursery. Listen, we got the diapers, we picked out the name, we put the crib together barely. Those last months of pregnancy can seem like years. Anxiously awaiting your little bundle of joy. Babies are joy, but it also can be challenging and trying. Listen mommas, it is hard. Everyone is so focused on the logistics, the nursery, birthing classes, lactation, etc. Who touches on Perinatal Mood Disorder? Who talks about the 1 in 5 women that have postpartum depression and anxiety? Who talks about when its completely normal and when it’s time to worry? What about the mom that has the perfect nursery, did the birthing classes, her birth plan went great, but after being home one week she feels like she doesn’t even know her baby? “What’s wrong with me” she will think to herself. She did everything right, it wasn’t supposed to be this way! Let alone the mommas who have some barriers and less than perfect lives (now, those are my people).

Well, while I can’t fix all the issues and all the problems. (Sorry!) I am here to offer you REAL, RAW, Evidenced Based information on Mental Health During Pregnancy and Postpartum. So that you come out of this series feeling like a Warrior, Prepared for battle! #MoreThanJustTheNursery

If you enjoyed my sneak peak or feel like you know someone who could benefit from my services, let me know! Drop a line or send a quick email/text.

My “Why?”

At first it was “if I just get some sleep, I’ll feel better” or “if I can take a hot shower, I’ll feel better”. However, the next six months would continue to take me to a darker and darker place…

I often hear that my niche is very specific. Some people love it, some people hate it, I feel like it is needed. In fact, when doing a market analysis, there are not enough people that specialize in the niche of Perinatal Mood Disorders. Aside from the need though, let me explain why this is so important to me. In 2014 I graduated with my master’s degree in social work and became a therapist. A year and a half later, in fall of 2015, I found myself a single mother with a newborn. Everything was okay in the hospital, aside from a less than perfect delivery. The first night home with my newborn baby, I could not stop crying. At first it was “if I just get some sleep, I’ll feel better” or “if I can take a hot shower, I’ll feel better”. However, the next six months would continue to take me to a darker and darker place. Eventually, when my son was about 2 months old, things were so bad that I considered leaving. You see, I never wanted to hurt my bub, but I did think that everyone would be better off without me. I thought if I just left, went to another state or country everyone else would be happier. I struggled with this feeling for months. I only was asked one time how I was feeling emotionally, and I replied “fine”. I had a whisper in my ear saying “you’re not a good mom”, “this isn’t rocket science, why is it so hard for you?”, and “they will judge you, they’ll call DCS, they’ll ruin your life”. No one around me understood what I was going through, so I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I thought to myself “you’re a therapist Traci, you should be able to figure this out”. Every single night I cried. Eventually it got better, I suffered through.

One year later I took a class called Perinatal Mood Disorder which was put on by Perinatal Support International. They began the class warning about triggers, that some of the content would be difficult. I sat in that class, not feeling upset, but relief. What I had experienced was common, in fact, there was tons of research on it, therapy practices and medication. Why had I never heard of postpartum depression? Why had no one asked me? Why had I, a change agent in the field, felt that no one would understand and kept quiet about it? Why did I do the very thing I encourage my clients not to do? Something started simmering in me that day. Today, it has spread like a wildfire in my soul. Today I know that my mission in life is to try to make sure moms know that they are not alone, that it is not their fault, and that with help they can be well. This is the PSI mission, and this is my personal mission. Today I wish that someone at a pediatric appointment or at the daycare would have noticed my comments, my rundown appearance, my fatigue, my sadness and told me it was a safe place. I wish someone would have related to me, said “it is hard, and you are not expected to know everything the day your baby is born”. I wish someone would have seen. Now, I am that person. I see you momma, I heard you, and I will not judge you for thinking that maybe this isn’t for you. I will help you through those thoughts, you are not your thoughts and your thoughts are not actions. Good moms have scary thoughts sometimes. It is okay. With the right help, you will be well.

Today, years later, I have a healthy and happy 4.5 year old son that I adore and he adores me. Today, years later, I am a survivor of postpartum depression…we are survivors of postpartum depression.

If you are a new mom, what thoughts and things do you struggle with?

If you’re a practitioner, I want to know your WHY?

Stay Healthy

Traci Schank, LCSW