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Perinatal Psychology - for parents

Towards Parenthood is a self-help guidebook for parents during pregnancy and in the first year after having a baby. It was co-authored by Dr Bronwyn Leigh. Read more at Acer Press

towards_parenthood


TIPS FOR NEW PARENTS

Each fortnight we provide you with an idea or strategy to help you manage stress, parenting and relationships during the perinatal period. This fortnight we focus on the importance of Reading your baby's cues.
Click here for tip sheets
for parents

Perinatal Psychology offers individual and group services to mothers, infants and families. We work at the interface between mental health issues and parenting in the early years. We are interested in the wellbeing of all members of the family – mother, father, infant and siblings.

Becoming a parent encourages us to think about ways in which we were parented and to consider which aspects we wish to bring with us into our emerging relationship with our own baby and which aspects of being parented we wish to leave firmly in the past and hope not to repeat.

Fantasies and expectations about the sort of baby we might have, the sort of parent we might be, and the pregnancy and birth experience may not be met. Unmet expectations can leave us feeling disappointed, angry or incompetent, which may affect our parenting.

Some of the distressing emotionally-based experiences parents have include:


Mothers
When a mother experiences some of these feelings, it affects her in many ways. It may affect how she feels about herself, her ability and self-confidence in mothering, and her capacity to interact with other important people in her life, particularly her infant and partner. Of course, some experiences during the perinatal time may not meet criteria for a mental health disorder, but nonetheless cause distress and may affect daily functioning, quality of life and enjoyment in her relationships.

Fathers
Fathers are also vulnerable to experiencing emotional upheaval during their partner’s pregnancy and also in adapting to the role of father. Fathers frequently require some assistance in understanding and developing a relationship with their young baby. When the mother struggles with her transition to motherhood or is unwell, the emotional and practical load of fathers magnifies. When the mother is experiencing feelings of depression and/or anxiety it is important to include the partner in the treatment process, as raising children is a family affair.

Infants
Infants aren’t born with manuals and many a perplexed parent have wondered, “What now?” when holding their infant after the birth. Parenting a baby is about getting to know your baby; getting to know what they like, dislike, what their temperament is, how their temperament fits with yours, and so on. Infants who feel secure in their relationships with their parents experience improved wellbeing, not only in the present but over the course of their life.


The challenges of early parenthood are made all the more difficult for parents who are struggling with their mood or relationships. Seeking help early is useful before patterns of interaction become habitual and entrenched. Early intervention can limit or prevent more serious difficulties in the longer term. Any experiences in the perinatal time that affects a sense of parental wellbeing are worthwhile attending to, regardless of perceived level of severity. At Perinatal Psychology, we attend to all these experiences as well as the needs of parents and infants suffering serious mental illness.



For more information for parents, including blogs, please refer to our new website the Centre for Perinatal Psychology.













Towards Parenthood is a self-help guidebook for parents during pregnancy and in the first year after having a baby. It was co-authored by Dr Bronwyn Leigh. Read more at Acer Press

towards_parenthood


TIPS FOR NEW PARENTS

Each fortnight we provide you with an idea or strategy to help you manage stress, parenting and relationships during the perinatal period. This fortnight we focus on the importance of Reading your baby's cues.
Click here for tip sheets