“The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail – when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her.
The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love.
It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred.”
Post Natal Anxiety and Depression
Are You Struggling to Cope?
A new baby is a joy and a blessing.
But the demands of early parenting can place strains on even the most organised mum.
It can be hard to juggle all the things that we need to do - and keep our feet on the ground.
Lack of sleep can exhausts us, making everything that much harder.
Then there’s the pressure to be “perfect’.
To have the perfect baby, to be the best parent we can be, to manage all our other responsibilities as well as our relationship with our partner.
That’s hard enough for any new mum.
The time around birth and bringing home a little one is emotionally intense, not just for practical reasons but also for the emotions that it brings up.
Psychoanalysis and attachment theory tells us that for many women, a new baby will bring up feelings from their own birth and infancy. Although of course we don’t remember them, these feelings ( the “unthought known”) can sometimes overwhelm us at a time when we are already stretched to our limits.
The combination of anxiety around parenting, the demands of a new baby, hormonal instability and unconscious feelings from our own early life can make it hard for us to cope.
How can Attachment Focused Counselling Help?
Hi, my name’s Amanda and I am a social worker. I have worked with many parents and people struggling with emotions that they just weren’t ready for - we’ve all been there!
But for new parents life can be particularly challenging.
It’s an emotionally volatile time and can present us with so many things that we just weren’t expecting.
My aim is not just to help you get through this period, but to put you in a good place to manage your own mental health into the future and give your child the very best start in life.
Your relationship with your child is what really matters.
And that depends on your emotional wellbeing.
Getting the help you need is so important - getting help early and getting the right help can make the difference between enjoying your baby and feeling resentful, out of control or overwhelmed.
Post natal and peri-natal depression and anxiety can hit any parent, often unexpectedly.
It doesn’t mean you are a failure.
Parenting is hard work.
The emotional turmoil and anxious thoughts that accompany this challenging time can lead to problems relating to your baby.
Most new parents have heard of attachment, but attachment isn’t just a parenting style.
Its a whole body of knowledge that can help us understand how new mothers and their babies bond and how these experiences can influence a child’s wellbeing into adulthood.
Your own experiences of attachment will influence how you parent.
Emotional Wellbeing and Attachment.
For some parents, the emotional experiences brought to consciousness through relating to a new baby will be overwhelming.
Its just not something that people talk about or expect. In some ways its hard to talk about because language isn’t adequate to describe these feelings.
That’s where psychotherapy and counselling can help.
Attachment focused psychotherapy will give you the space to talk about what is going on for you.
You will be able to discuss the difficult feelings and thoughts you may have in relation to parenting and your new baby without feeling judged.
I will create a safe space for you and your emotions.
I can help you manage your own feelings, but much more than this I will help you understand, enhance and enjoy the special bond that you have with your baby.
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Attachment is not just a theory.
It has profound implications for you, your child and your partner.
Knowing how to manage and balance your own wellbeing with the needs of your baby is incredibly important.
Most parents have good intentions.
Most also have regrets, anxious thoughts, frustrations and, sometimes, anger.
But when these challenging feelings get in the way of relating to your baby, they can interrupt the attachment process and affect your wellbeing - and your baby’s development.
Attachment Focused Counselling will provide you with the support, guidance and encouragement that you need to develop a healthy bond with your baby.
You May Still Have Some Doubts About Coming to Therapy.
I am just a bit worried, I Don’t think I have PND
Its normal to have worries at this time, but if they are distracting you from your baby, then you need to at least discuss what is happening. It is far better to get help early, even for a short period, than to leave things until you are feeling much worse.
I understand that coming to therapy can be a big step, but it is important to get you into the best place to have an enjoyable and healthy relationship with your baby.
Those first few months are precious.
That is why I want to help you enjoy them and make the most of your new role. Psychotherapy with me will ensure that you are well placed to respond and relate to your baby, so that you can both feel secure and happy and make the most of your time together.
I can work this out for myself, why should i have therapy?
Often people who need it are reluctant to come to therapy - for many reasons. But the reality is that untangling the root causes of some of the problematic feelings and thoughts that may come up during this time is not something that most people will be able to resolve on their own.
Some of the emotions that cause problems with relating to your baby will be challenging. That is why a containing and empathetic presence is necessary to help you feel safe and to uncover the more difficult feelings that have been brought to the surface as you go through the ups and downs of the perinatal period.
As an experienced and empathetic psychotherapist I can help you process some of the difficult emotions associated with parenting and your relationship with your baby. I will support and guide you through the journey of developing self-awareness and improving your emotional wellbeing so that you can be the best parent you can be.
What can i expect from attachment focused psychotherapy?
Attachment focused psychotherapy will help you understand yourself and get on top of whatever might be preventing you from enjoying a healthy bond with your baby. I will help you manage your own wellbeing, develop self-compassion and enjoy those first early weeks.
Together we will explore some of the emotions, circumstances, relationships and expectations you have around becoming a parent.
I will encourage you to develop self-awareness around your feelings and the responses you have to your baby and your partner.
We may also talk about your experience of birth, breastfeeding and the physical challenges (and joys) of pregnancy and having a baby.
These will all feed into your emotional well-being and your ability to relate well to your baby.
Rest assured that I will provide a compassionate and non-judgemental space for you to focus on your own well-being, so that you can be there for others.
The aim of attachment focused psychotherapy is to help you tap into your own strengths and develop a healthy bond with your new baby.
As part of the counselling process, we will also explore some of the deeper issues which may have arisen for you. These can be challenging and may require us to look at your own childhood, including how you were parented and how this might be affecting you now.
In order to explore these deeper issues, it is important for us to develop a trusting, warm and secure relationship, so that you can feel safe. This can take a while to develop and there can also be ups and downs during this time, where you might feel stressed or upset. That’s normal for any therapy.
Therapy with me will help you learn to manage your emotions, self-soothe and develop a better sense of self-awareness.
As the therapy unfolds you may notice that you become calmer and less anxious and you will be able to enjoy your baby much more.
I’ve heard that therapy is expensive, How will I afford it?
As a social worker, I am committed to making therapy affordable for everyone. I offer Medicare rebate-able sessions to eligible clients, and am able to bulk bill those with a health care card. If money is providing an obstacle to beginning (or continuing) therapy, we can discuss how to make it more affordable for you.
Attachment focused psychotherapy is an investment in you, your baby and your family. By helping you develop more self-awareness and better coping strategies, you are investing in their future – and yours.
Sometimes there are deeper issues at play, especially where you may have suffered trauma or mental health challenges in the past. This can take a while to untangle.
The overall aim of attachment focused psychotherapy is to put you in the best place to manage your own wellbeing and your relationship with your baby.
Rest assured that I will work with you to get the best results for you, whether that is to help you manage the stress of parenting, tolerate your anxiety or just to learn to relax more. The length and depth of the therapy will depend on you and the issues you want to work on.