Welcoming a new child into the family
Having or adopting a child can be one of the most exciting changes in one's life. It can also be the most terrifying, challenging, and stressful.
I support parents in preparing to welcome a child into the family, coping with their and their older children's reactions to the new child, and coming together as a couple and/or family.
Change you can't prepare for
- It is normal to have strong emotional reactions after having a baby. However, 'normal' does not mean 'unimportant' or that you should endure in silence. if your child had a cut, it would be 'normal' for it to bleed but you would not ignore it. While we hear about difficulties with postpartum adjustment, no explanation can really prepare you for your individual experience.
- Adoptive parents may also experience something like postpartum depression. Regardless of how long one has been waiting for a child, the arrival is a huge change. While you may have spent months or even years dreaming of what it would feel like to be a parent, the reality may be different or more overwhelming than you expected. Also, adoptive parents often have additional stressors as they wait for legal issues to be finalized or cope with their child's unexpected medical problems.
- With a little support, most parents move quickly from distressing reactions to a more satisfying and comfortable experience of themselves as parents.
- While medication is sometimes necessary and helpful for difficult adjustments and I have collegial referral relationships with psychiatrists experienced in perinatal anxiety, depression, and related disorders, I believe that most new parents simply need more solution-oriented support that helps them to reconnect with themselves and their communities of support. I am happy to provide referrals for psychiatric evaluation and will not hesitate to strongly recommend them if needed but generally will be able to work with those who prefer to avoid medication and develop a plan for overall health and wellness.
When in-home therapy helps
- Prenatal bed rest - Just when you should be setting up the nursery and enjoying your shower with friends, you are told that any activity could harm you or your baby. This isn't what you imagined! Being on bed rest can, ironically, be very stressful and pre-dispose mothers and fathers to depression, anxiety, and couple stress. Using this time to sort through feelings and become more emotionally centered may have big payoffs once baby arrives.
- Postpartum blues - I work with each woman's individual strengths and resources to help her re-connect with the person she was before the baby--the person she still is--and to define and become more comfortable with her new identity as a mother, partner, and member of the community.
A special note for LGBTQ and single parents
You are not alone! - We live in a richly diverse community made up of all kinds of families. I honor and am privileged to work with families with varying backgrounds, sexual orientations, and partner arrangements.