Pregnancy, Child Birth and Early Parenthood……each an experience like no other, together a journey hard to put down in words. A time of emotional, physical and self change, a time of bewilderment, a time of learning, a time of physical and emotional pain, a time of joy, and unconditional love and a time of vulnerability…..all in all…..a time in a parents life…that is like no other.
I am a Mama and a Psychologist who has recently started on a new little venture……well being writing and Blogging!!!!! Mama Be Frank!!
The truth is, I was given a wonderful opportunity to write an article for a wonderful Magazine…..WONDERFUL MAMA!!!! This opportunity was hard to refuse as it gave me the opportunity to combine my two passions…being a mum to my beautiful children and being a psychologist to many amazing to be, new and second/third/fourth time parents and their kiddies!
I thought (without thinking) that as a professional who was trained and practiced in the areas of emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and early parenthood and parenting…that I would have this stuff sorted as I entered into the journey of motherhood!! But the truth is I was far from realizing what it meant to actually live out some of the things that I encouraged my clients to be mindful of and to try.
And that’s where my passion is…. being real, being honest, being FRANK, as a MAMA to other MAMAS and Dads, and as a professional…..in sharing my experiences, in hope that they may help other MAMA’s, MAMA to be’s and fathers……in some way.
So why you might ask….am I choosing to write this blog piece and what is it all about!?!?!?!….
I recently gave birth to our second healthy and happy little girl. Fortunately we have been blessed with two ‘normal pregnancies’ ‘normal deliveries’ and two beautifully happy and healthy baby girls.
For me the biggest difference between these two experiences was not how I carried my baby during pregnancy, how the labour progressed, or how I felt leading up to bubas arrival. For my partner, and me the most significant difference between the two experiences is the type of care and support we received through pregnancy and beyond.
We were lucky enough (and I say lucky because the availability is so sparse) to be offered a place in the Midwifery Group Practice Program at Wollongong Hospital. For those who are not familiar with the program….it is a program funded by the Public Health System. The program aligns a small team of miwdifes with each expecting mother and father. The parents primary midwife provides care to the parents through pregnancy, at the delivery of their baby and for a period of time post natally (once bub has arrived).
I feel immensely passionate about sharing our experiences in an attempt to provide awareness and support to the program and most importantly to share a public acknowledgement to our midwife, Anne, who supported us through a journey like no other, who has a job like no other (I couldn’t imagine carrying the emotions and pressure of bringing a new little human into intensely expecting parents) and who therefore deserves a thank you like no other.
Our first experience of the care received through the public system was not a negative one. We missed out on a place in the Midwifery Group Practice Program and chose to go with shared care (care provided by our Family General Practitioner and the midwives at Wollongong Hospital).
The significant difference between our two experiences is all about the Relationship and how the relationship impacted on how we felt during our journey.
The relationship we developed with our Midwife, Anne, throughout our pregnancy, delivery and postnatally, is a relationship hard to describe. It is short in duration but so special, it will never be forgotten.
To have a health professional who you can turn to and rely on, throughout the journey of bringing a new baby into the world, provides a level of support and reassurance like no other. To have a professional know your story, and be able to provide you with the level of care and support you need and deserve as an expecting parent, has really set us on a new path with the arrival of our second beautiful baby girl.
As a Mama, it has meant having someone who I trust and feel comfortable with, available and able to provide practical, emotional support for me and my baby, at a time where seeking help and support is so crucial to the well being of both mum and bub.
As a Psychologist who has worked in the field of perinatal mental health, my experiences in the field have showed me that the support and experiences a mother has during pregnancy, birth and beyond, has a significant impact on their overall wellbeing, attachment with baby and mental health outcomes…
Pregnancy, Birth an Early parenthood is a time packed with expectations and emotional vulnerabilities. Whether we feel supported, whether we feel understood and well cared for can contribute significantly to how we cope and make it through the journey of bringing a baby into this world….in lots of cases, this has a more significant impact than the events that actually happen.
It is a time requiring high levels of support, from people who we trust. It is a time where RELATIONSHIPS have a big impact on how we feel, how we cope, and how we respond to the struggles, the met and unmet expectations that this journey can present with.
The Midwifery Group Program is a program that provides the opportunity for a trusting supporting relationship to grow and develop between expecting parents and their health professional. For me, there is no doubt that this provides a secure foundation for expecting parents to step into the world of parenting. This is what I experienced.
A platform in which I was supported to feel as ready and as supported as possible.
Unfortunately, the program has limited funding, and is only able to offer a sparse amount of places to expecting mums. The program needs support and funding. The program needs the voice of mamas, sharing experiences, sharing their stories and speaking out about the significance of receiving holistic relationship based support during a time like no other.
Thankyou for being the one to provide such gracious support and care,
Thankyou for being the one who was always just right there,
Thankyou for being the one to help us on our way,
Thankyou for being the one to bring our little girl into the light of day.
The support you shared and the kindness you showed,
Will never be forgotten, for as long as time goes.
You gave us a gift, a gift like no other,
A gift of love and support,
Through a time like no other.