Getting Ready for Baby

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Education and Support for post-traumatically stressed parents-to-be and new parents

You are expecting a child, congratulations! Whether through childbirth, adoption, or surrogacy a baby is joining your family, and with that comes a whole mix of feelings. Joy, trepidation, excitement, anxiousness, and overwhelm are all to be anticipated in the face of such a big life change.

As we approach new parenthood, many concerns can come up, especially for those who are survivors of childhood abuse. We know we want to create a safe, loving home for our children, but since many of us did not have that ourselves, we are worried that we might repeat the abusive behaviors that we grew up with.

For survivors of childhood abuse, parenthood can bring on an unexpected wave of triggers which cause them to re-live their traumatic past through mental, emotional and/or physical flashbacks. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress may return, or arise for the first time during pregnancy, childbirth or new parenthood. A state of hyper-arousal, in which we are constantly scanning for threat, can occur or heighten during this time.

For parents-to-be, this program is an individualized look at how your past traumas may be triggered, and builds personalized action plans to build stronger bonds with established boundaries, so that both parent and child can feel safe. For couples who are expecting, our work will include creating a plan for how you will work together to support each other and keep open lines of communication during your transition into parenthood.

My dream for you…

I want you to know that you are not alone in your fears about new parenthood. I want you to know that you are not crazy or irrevocably broken. I want you to be aware of potential triggers, so that you are not blindsided and can understand how to coach yourself through that moment with self compassion. I want you to be able to set boundaries, and to know when it is appropriate to set boundaries. I want you to feel connected to a wider community of survivors. I want you to know that abuse survivors can be great parents. I want you to know that parenthood can be an amazing opportunity for personal growth and deeper healing.

As a mom, educator and compassionate witness, I am here to help you understand the issues that commonly arise for survivor parents, and help you build a strategy so that you can feel more confident, calm and prepared.

Together you and I will spend 4 weeks exploring:

 -how Adverse Childhood Experiences impact your mental health, physical health and core beliefs

-identifying trauma triggers and trauma reactions

-re-thinking personal boundaries for stronger connection with your loved ones

-building a personalized toolkit of self soothing strategies for you

-for couples: developing a communication plan and clarifying expectations for how you will co-parent

So what does that look like?

During this 4 week period, we will have weekly 45-minute conversations via Skype. What we talk about will come from your current concerns and from writing prompts as well as short reading assignments and the occasional fun art exploration to help you better understand the post traumatically stressed brain.

After the initial 4 week period has finished, you can decide to finish working together, continue on a monthly or bi-weekly basis, or to have an occasional check-in sessions whenever needed. Many parents like to book some follow up sessions for after baby arrives to discuss how things are going and make adjustments as needed.

 

How much does this cost?

The rate for our first 4 weeks is $375 (Canadian) and individual follow up sessions are $75.

 

Here are some of the key frameworks that inform our work together:

Trauma Informed: What does this mean for you? It means that we work from a strengths-based framework, understanding that you have survived to this point because of the tools you developed, and we are now going to look at your toolkit and add to, subtract from, or adjust as needed. It means that we focus on creating a safe space for you, which means that you are always the one guiding our work together. It means that our work is collaborative.

Peer Support: What does this mean for you? This means that together we create a supportive relationship through our shared lived experiences. Peer support is often used in conjunction with counseling or other therapy. For more information about what peer support is and is not, click here.

Intersectional Feminist: What does this mean for you? I am approaching this work through a social justice lens, understanding that Adverse Childhood Experiences exist in conjunction with Adverse Community Environments, which includes systemic racism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, sizism and community disruption. I come to this work acknowledging my privilege as a cis-gendered white women in a relationship with a white man.

Body Positive: What does this mean for you? I work from a weight neutral perspective, which means that our work together never assumes that weight loss is a goal. My framework is informed by the Well Now approach developed by Lucy Aphramor, which emphasizes self compassion and self acceptance as core factors in a healthier relationship with our bodies and with food. As someone who has struggled throughout her life with body image and weight issues, it is important to me that our work together dismantles the diet industry’s hold on women’s lives, and questions current notions of “health.”

Healing through Creativity: What does this mean for you? As a writer and artist, I know from personal experience that there is so much healing value in creativity. This does not mean that you need to be a trained artist or writer, it means that we can use these tools in our work together to explore issues that are coming up for you, and you will never be asked to share your art or writing with anyone else unless you want to.

Creating Community: What does this mean for you? Through the Parenting with PTSD support group, you are connected with a community of survivors who are willing to share their wisdom, experience, and resources. Connecting with other abuse survivors is empowering and helps to normalize our reactions and experiences.

Are you ready for unconditional support and guidance?

Fill in the form below to arrange a free consultation call to discuss whether this program is right for you.