Prenatal Adjustment Difficulties
Motherhood is a major life transition and being pregnant can sometimes bring up feelings of anxiety, depression or uncertainty. Receiving support at this time can increase your emotional well-being and coping skills and help you to feel better prepared for motherhood, which can also reduce the likelihood of postnatal depression.
Up to 15% of Australian women are affected by postnatal depression and related conditions, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Symptoms of Postnatal Depression
Typical symptoms of Postnatal Depression include:
- Feelings of sadness, anxiety, panic, anger or loneliness
- Inability to enjoy anything, including baby
- Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, failure or guilt
- Sleep disturbance, even when baby sleeps
- Appetite disturbance
- An ability to cope or make decisions
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Feelings of not bonding with baby
- Distressing or frightening thoughts
It is important to seek help if you are experiencing some of the above symptoms, as Postnatal Depression can impact maternal well-being, affect the couple relationship and other children and impact the development of secure attachment between mother and baby. Unfortunately many mothers may not recognise themselves as depressed or may take a long time to present for treatment due to stigma of being a bad mother and being unable to cope.
What Causes Postnatal Depression?
Postnatal Depression doesn't have one definite cause, it results from a mixture of factors that put women at risk. These include:
- Previous episodes of depression or anxiety
- Pregnancy and delivery complications
- Breastfeeding difficulties
- Medical problems
- Previous perinatal loss
- Sleep deprivation
- Difficult childhood history or history of trauma
- Difficult or absent partner relationship
- Difficult or intrusive relationship with mother or other family members
- Poor social support or isolation
- Recent life stressors, such as moving, partner job loss, financial problems
- Unrealistic expectations about motherhood or perfectionism
Treatment of Postnatal Depression
Treatment first involves an assessment of your symptoms, your experience of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and mothering, and other medical, psychological and social factors. We will also explore any difficulties you may be experiencing in bonding with or caring for your baby. Treatment is focused on improving your well-being as a mother, reducing your symptoms, strengthening the bond and attachment between you and your baby, and supporting you to experience a greater degree of confidence, fulfilment and joy as a mother.
Treatment is tailored to the needs of the indivdual and may be drawn from a number of therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapy or Psychodynamic Therapy. Treatment may also include Coaching in Parenting Skills to improve your confidence as a mother in caring for your child and teaching you ways to promote a more secure attachment. The Wait, Watch and Wonder Intervention is an infant-led therapy designed to increase maternal sensitivity and the mother's ability to respond to her child's needs and promote secure attachment. Jill is also a CIRCLE OF SECURITY™ Registered Parent Educator and is qualified to teach the CIRCLE OF SECURITY™ Parenting Program. The Circle of Security is a relationship based early intervention program designed to enhance secure attachment between parents and children.
SPECIFIC PROGRAMS FOR MOTHERS
These programs are available face to face or by Skpe. Sessions may be claimable through private health funds or Medicare with a referral from a GP.
PREPARING FOR MOTHERHOOD (DURING PREGNANCY) - 3 SESSIONS
Motherhood is a major life transition and being pregnant can sometimes bring up feelings of anxiety, depression or uncertainty. In this program you will:
- Learn how to better manage the demands of work, preparing for baby and pregnancy
- Learn tools to feel calm and reduce and anxiety
- Increase your emotional wellbeing and coping skills so that you feel more prepared emotionally for motherhood
- Reflect on your parenting style and understand more about the needs of babies
TRANSITION TO MOTHERHOOD (IN THE FIRST YEAR AFTER BABY IS BORN) - 3 SESSIONS
Becoming a mother is a potentially joyous and wondrous experience and at the same time it can be overwhelming, confusing, disappointing or scary. It involves learning a whole new set of skills, a completely different lifestyle and being challenged emotionally and psychologically. Some of the adjustment task of motherhood include:
- Formng an identity as a mother - coming to terms with the change of role and what has been "given up" - even if temporary
- Developing a set of new skills and a sense of competence in caring for your baby
- Forming an emotional bond with your baby
- Renegotiating the couple relationship
- Establishing adequate support networks
This program will help you to better understand and make these adjustments to motherhood, talk through the difficulties, explore options, receive support and guidance so that you can make the transition successfully and enjoy motherhood.
RETURNING TO WORK - 1 SESSION
This session is focused on helping you to explore you feelings about returning to work. You will also learn practical strategies to cope with the challenges of working and being a mother. Further sessions can also be included if you wish to explore alternative career options that match your values, personality, skills and interests and to help you to develop a plan to implement a new career direction.
Please contact Jill if you have any questions, or if you would like to make an appointment.