Having a baby can be an overwhelming experience, full of all kinds of emotions.
For some new mums the joy can get a bit lost in anxieties about ‘getting it right’and this pressure, internal and external, can lead to a loss of confidence in parenting skills. New mums are bombarded by literature, adverts and online tips on how to feed, what to feed, when to feed, what nappies to use, what routine (if any) must be followed for the ‘perfect happy baby’. Some of this information can be helpful and informative but can also lead to undue pressure on mums to ‘do the right thing’.
When you add trauma into the mix, adjusting to motherhood can be very difficult. For instance, if there have been previous losses, feelings about this may resurface. If the pregnancy, labour or birth have been difficult or not as planned, being thrown into motherhood on the back of processing your experience can delay recovery and affect adaptation to the new role. This can also be true even if you are not a first time mum as every pregnancy is different. The pregnancy, labour or birth don’t have be medically traumatic – everyone’s experience is unique- and the degree to which a delivery can be said to have ‘gone well’ varies greatly between the medical staffs’ view and that of the woman experiencing it. Experiencing the 'baby blues' is not uncomon, and this can occur from birth to ten days after your baby arrives. However, if any low mood, anxiety or distress continues please contact your GP, midwife or Health Visitor for help.
The opportunity to reflect on and discuss your birthing experience gives new mums (or indeed new parents) the opportunity to process the birth, what was difficult, how they felt and to know that they have been heard. Family and friends are great listeners but the focus of attention quickly (and naturally) turns to the new arrival and with the demands of caring for a new baby, the mother’s needs can be shelved at a time when they most require care and attention.
Counselling with Debbie Kelly offers the opportunity to reflect on your pregnancy and labour experience and a couple of sessions are often all that is needed. However, for some new mums, this life transition can reawaken historic anxieties and experiences that may benefit from longer-term counselling work. Please contact Debbie Kelly on 07590572866 to discuss your needs. A free initial half hour meeting is available, which is not a counselling session but an opportunity to identify your counselling needs and make a plan for further work.
If you suspect that you might have postnatal depression, please contact your Gp or Health Visitor in the first instance, as additional medical support may be required in the form of medication. Counselling can the take place alongside this as a combined approach.
Adapting to parenthood can also be a time of strain on relationships and parents can find this a challenging, exhausting and confusing time. Debbie Kelly also offers individual and couples therapy for spouses experiencing relationship difficulties after the arrival of a new baby.
Debbie Kelly MSc is an experienced counsellor working in Basingstoke in North Hampshire. She sees clients experiencing life challenges concerning anxiety, depression, work stress, grief and bereavement, relationship difficulties and miscarriage/pregnancy loss.
Contact Debbie on 07590 572866 or email to arrange a free 30 minute introductory session.