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professional experienced counselling with Debbie Kelly MSc 07590 572866

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Category: Difficult birth

  1. About Counselling and Pregnancy and Postnatal Depression

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    pregnant woman, grey tones photo-1456427370572-34441f97a340

    Pregnancy (antenatal, prenatal) depression can affect around one in ten pregnant women. No doubt this has been around for a very long time but is only recently scientifically and medically being recognised as a significant issue for some pregnant women, perhaps even as common as postnatal depression. Pregnancy naturally causes peaks and troughs in general mood, due to hormones, physical changes and stress associated with the pregnancy, but if you feel that your mood is low more than you are feeling happy and you are feeling particularly anxious, you should talk to your GP or midwife. The earlier you are able to seek help and put support in place, the better you will feel moving into the birth and postnatal phase. Counselling at this stage can be helpful in talking through your anxieties and putting into place coping mechanisms.


     Postnatal Mood Disorders

    In general terms, ‘baby blues’ is a common experience for new mums and tends to occur soon after birth and up to 10 days after baby is born. ‘Baby blues' is generally associated with the hormonal changes following birth and can lead to low mood and tearfulness. head_in_her_hands


    Postnatal depression, however, is where the low mood lasts for weeks or months, and is often associated with other ‘symptoms’ such as anxiety and  OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Postnatal depression is said to affect approximately 1 in 8 women and can occur any time in the year after your baby is born and can continue into the second year after birth.

     There are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of postnatal depression:


    • Any trauma associated with the current pregnancy/birth,
    • Or previous birth trauma  
    • Pregnancy loss
    • Relationship difficulties or lack of social support
    • Previous history of depression or pregnancy anxiety
    • Low self esteem or being overly self critical


    Some of the symptoms associated with postnatal depression are:


    • Long lasting low mood
    • Lethargy, difficulty sleeping, (often difficult to quantify with a baby to look after)
    • Tearfulness
    • Feeling withdrawn, not wanting to go out
    • Panic/anxiety attacks
    • Low self esteem, feeling guilty
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Thoughts of suicide and self-harm


    This is by no means an exhaustive list and not everyone will experience the same symptoms, you are the best guide as to how you feel. Sometimes, it is hard for the woman to realise they are feeling depressed and you may need to rely on feedback from those who know you, such as your partner, family and close friends.


    Talking to your GP, midwife or Health Visitor about any concerns you have is vital in putting into place the help and support you may need. Sometimes having someone to go with you to the GP can be helpful.


    Postpartum (Puerperal) Psychosis


    This is a serious but rare postnatal disorder that occurs in the days and weeks after baby arrives. The symptoms tend to be extreme, whether it is low mood, mania, hallucinations and thoughts about harming yourself or your baby. This is a medical emergency and usually requires hospitalisation. If you or your partner/family have any concerns please seek help from your GP immediately.


    Counselling for pregnancy and postnatal depression alongside any medical input can be beneficial as it provides the opportunity to talk through how you are feeling and to put into place coping mechanisms. Counselling can be used as a form of therapy along side medication from your doctor; it is important to discuss this with your doctor and counsellor for an effective collaborative approach. Debbie Kelly also offers individual and couples therapy for spouses experiencing relationship difficulties after the arrival of a new baby.

    Please visit my links page for details of further online support and information.

    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 20 minute introductory meeting.


  2. About Counselling and New Mums

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    Debbie Kelly counselling for new mums

    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 20 minute introductory meeting.