MINDFUL PREGNANCY & PARENTING
Helping Moms & Families – An Overview of Services
Becoming a parent is a time of spiritual & psychological growth. It is also a time of uncertainty and fear about parenting skills, questioning relationships, balancing career and parenthood, wondering how to be a good parent. There is a heightened intensity of emotion, which can be triggering for people with abusive pasts. Your feelings about past abuse, rape, abortion, other significant life events may impact your emotional state.
One of the goals of maternal mental health counseling is to help every woman feel at peace and positive about her birth choices and experiences and the transition to motherhood, whether she chooses to give birth in a hospital or home birth setting.
Another goal of is to let women know it is ok to ask for help.
We live with the myth of the natural mother and natural parent. The truth is that many social behaviors, including parenting, are learned behaviors. Blended into our instinctive feelings for our children, we learn parenting from our family of origin and also from the society at large.
Just as healthier communication and relationship skills within a marriage can be learned, so can healthier communication and relationship skills be learned as part of parent-child interaction.
If you grow up in an abusive or just non-communicative home, it is likely that when you marry, you will discover that you need some help in the how-tos of a relationship. It is the same type of thing when becoming a mother/parent. You might need some some help about the how-to of parenting a newborn and developing your identity as a mother/parent.
Remember, social learning comes from watching other people in our personal lives and from the larger culture, and we integrate this into our personality. Give yourself the gift of qualified education and assistance.
Breastfeeding and helping a baby to sleep is also a learned behavior. There are many ways to be a good mother and no one size fits all. You can decide to have a natural birth, to safely bed-share, or to breastfeed, if this is the right decision for you. These might be perfect choices for you as an individual, or these decisions may be too difficult for a woman with a history of rape & abuse. You need to look at your individual situation, what your values are, what you can tolerate, and compassionately integrate the competing needs and feelings of yourself and your family. Be kind to yourself. We learn parenting & relationship skills from watching other people, from our lives.
All women experience pregnancy and childbirth and the adjustment to motherhood differently as each individual has different past experiences and coping skills contributing to her overall emotional and psychological state. So, it can’t be predicted in advance what may may come up for each person during the childbearing year. However, every woman experiences a profound shift in identity. Pregnancy & birth clearly signal an end to a woman’s identity as a girl and a reshuffling of roles and priorities. When your baby is an infant, your role as a mother is in the foreground, yet eventually your identity as a mother is integrated and reshuffled in with your other roles.
Services for maternal mental health are tailored for pregnant moms and their partners to positively explore their past history and and fears to facilitate a healthy psychological adjustment to motherhood. Kathy’s services take an integrative approach, combining the healing power of the therapeutic relationship with complementary mindbody approaches to address these issues, recognizing that a woman’s mind, body, relationship, and past experiences all influence a woman’s emotions and psychology during pregnancy, birthing and in the transition to motherhood.
Some of the issues addressed in the field of maternal mental health are:
- Reducing stress during pregnancy,
- Bonding prenatally with your infant,
- Preparation for birthing by addressing anxiety and fear,
- Examining the effects of past sexual abuse on pregnancy & birthing and the development of the maternal identity.
- Integrating your dream baby & mama with the real baby & mama
- Integrating your parent’s parenting practices and creating of your own parenting practices
- Identification and treatment of perinatal mood disorders
- Dealing with infant loss