Research by the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) shows that 50% of new mothers struggle with mental ill health or emotional difficulties in pregnancy or the first year. And that was before the pandemic.
Every woman's experience is personal, but common issues include:
changes in identity, relationships, body and lifestyle
low confidence, depression, anxiety, stress, isolation
unfinished business or repeating patterns from your own childhood
facing additional major life events and decisions, such as a bereavement or moving house
struggling with cultural and systemic aspects of motherhood which feel personal (for example lack of support for parents, myth of the perfect mum, taboo against ambivalent feelings, low/no financial value given to care work, the overwhelm of parenting in the information age)
Becoming a mother involves a breaking down of your old life and building a new one. It is a creative process that includes mourning for lost parts and usually a lot of confusion and uncertainty. The transition is enormous and different for each woman.
My clients have often overcome stressful life events or difficult childhoods and find that 'old stuff' bothers them again because of the stresses and particular triggers of motherhood.
For the first few months you can bring your baby to your counselling sessions.
Pregnant or trying for a baby
The moment the idea of a baby takes shape, the life changes of motherhood have begun.
There is a lot to get your head round, and I can help you. We can talk about your life so far and focus on any issues you would like to work on before your baby arrives. We can explore the areas of motherhood you are most anxious about, and discuss the personal strengths that you bring to your new job of mothering. We work towards you feeling as best prepared as possible.
You may want support because you are having a difficult pregnancy, or difficulties with conception or adoption.
No sooner have you found your balance then something else changes! You may be struggling to balance competing demands (relationships, work, home, multiple children, self-care) and finding that one or more area is suffering.
Of course mums face all the same difficulties as any person. You may be suffering emotionally and want counselling for any issue. It can be helpful to meet with a counsellor who understands that a huge part of your life is motherhood, and that your problems and dilemmas happen in that context.
If you have lost a child or baby (including pregnancy losses) I can help you to grieve and move forward again.
My special interest is in motherhood, but I know that fatherhood can be very challenging too, and that there are lots of different types of family. I have a few spaces for general counselling and welcome any dads or others who would like to work with me.