Nicky Carlisle MBACP MA Counselling and Psychotherapy based in Clapham & Dulwich

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Identity adjustment

Sometimes it is just hard being a mother.... Life changes overnight and the weight of worry and responsibility can be a burden.

Few jobs, other than motherhood, leave us so alone, so unsupported, but with so much responsibility. Mothers can struggle to make sense of what is happening to them in this new phase of life.

Experiences are impactful and can lead to feelings of 'who am I now'? As mothers have little time to reflect on and make sense of their experiences, sharing them can make mothers more confident.

Mothers Sharing offers a place where the complexity and enormity of motherhood experiences, is recognised.

I provide a safe, understanding space to come and talk about worries, concerns or unexpected personal behaviours and reactions. This is a confidential environment offering you a place to just 'be' and 'feel' how you are at this point in your life.

Perhaps we need to explore mothers’ tenderness whilst keeping in mind that they are still human and have needs and vulnerabilities too -(McMahon)

Postnatal Depression

Pregnancy and childbirth can evoke difficult feelings for some mothers. It’s both a significant and happy event but the thrill and reward can also sit next to difficulties and stress. There are physical & emotional changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. Women can feel sad, tired and fatigued, anxious and can also have poor attachment to their baby.

Sometimes symptoms persist or worsen – and these include the above as well as an increased number of other possible symptoms. These may include sadness or joylessness, emptiness, frequent crying, anxiety or concern about their mothering skills, feelings of guilt or inadequacy, inability to be comforted, reluctance to take care of oneself, irritability, lack of concentration and worries about both the new baby and what kind of mother they themselves will be. Sometimes fearfulness of the possible harm to the baby compounds these feelings. This is beyond the baby-blues and becomes postnatal depression. Having postnatal depression is a matter of concern for mother and baby’s wellbeing but it is a medical condition of which no-one should be ashamed.

It may be that if new mothers had experienced a difficult relationship with their own mother then anxiety around pregnancy can be quite acute. It may be that if they are someone who has experienced depression at other times in their life, pregnancy could trigger a further depressive spell. Postnatal depression, like any depressive episode can leave the suffering mother with feelings of despair and worthlessness. There are other social, relationship and psychological factors which impact on antenatal depression. Of course, new parenting stresses can contribute.

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