Conceiving, being pregnant, and bringing a baby home are each unique developmental stages that often get clumped together when we think of having a baby. But in reality, each stage requires different skills and tasks from a parent, or both parents.
We want to help you at every or any stage of the process of having your baby: preconception, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and getting adjusted to your new family. And especially when you bring your baby home, we want to tend to not just the baby, and not just mom, but dads and co-parents, too.
Individual therapy and couples therapy options are offered for each stage, so we got you covered whether you are coming in alone or with a co-parent/partner. Online therapy is also available to make mental health treatment accessible and sustainable, especially when you have a little one at home.
COUNSELING FOR THE POSTPARTUM STAGE
& PATERNAL POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
Whatever your conception and pregnancy process was like, all parents have some preconceived notions of what bringing a new baby home is going to be like. And oftentimes, the reality feels very different from what was planned.
It is normal for the postpartum stage to bring with it anxiety, insomnia, irritability, marital problems, and depression. And for women, body image concerns, as well as frustration with the physical limitations that accompany the postpartum and breastfeeding stages are very common.
In fact, research on maternal health indicates that up to one in seven women will develop a mental health disorder during pregnancy or postpartum. And research on paternal postnatal depression (PPND) shows depression in new dads increased 68 percent during the first five years after having kids.
When it comes to dads, it is normal to fear that you don’t have the skills needed to raise a child, or feel left out due to the mother and child bond you see forming. In addition, you may feel helpless to help your partner with her postpartum depression. In fact, about half the fathers whose partners have PPD are depressed themselves.
Due to sleep deprivation, not being able to take care of yourself or your partner while also taking care of a baby, and the process of learning a whole new skill set can turn anyone’s life upside down. Even the most resilient marriages are stressed when a new baby is brought home. The Gottman Institute reports that 69 percent of new parents experience conflict, disappointment, and hurt feelings.
We want to work with you to navigate this new process, and help you both learn how to stress less and be more content and joyful in your new family structure.
We take a dual-layered approach:
Skills. This portion of the work is practical and tangible. We work on skills of non-violent communication, problem-solving, connection building, and follow through. Often, these skills are applied directly to postpartum planning, apartment or house hunting, and expectations for how involved (or not involved) you want your family and partner's family to be.
Getting clear on how you operate as a team is crucial because balancing your needs as individuals, a couple, and as a family is so much easier when there is a strong foundation of communication and clear expectations.
We might spend a little time or a lot of time in this area, depending on your unique needs as a couple. This portion of our work together will involve making lists and plans, and often some homework to take with you into your week to practice before our next session.
Styles of relating. We draw from the work of Dr. Sue Johnson and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to help you disentangle your old styles of relating (aka “attachment style”) from what is going in in your present partnership.
When toxic dynamics are at play, we get in too deep and lose our perspective and ability to notice them. We want to help you both get on the same page in recognizing how old dynamics might not be best serving you as a couple.
Once we establish the relationship patterns that are keeping you stuck, we will work together to understand why it is happening, and how to create new, more positive and productive methods of relating that is focused on generosity and understanding.
This is an especially useful tool to cultivate now-- before you are deep in parenting, and one that you will return to for years to come. We want to help you establish positive patterns early!
COUNSELING FOR THE BREASTFEEDING STAGE
While many expectant parents research and create “birth plans,” few create “breastfeeding plans.” Breastfeeding, however, is equally if not more important to plan for as it may span weeks, months, or years of a new mother and family’s life. The decision to breastfeed is complex and often gets at the heart of one’s hopes for who they will be as a parent.
At Oasis, we want to help you mindfully prepare for how you will feed your child. We will explore common issues that arise for new breastfeeding mothers and families.
In a non- judgmental setting, we will develop “breastfeeding plans” using trademarked worksheets that will help each expectant parent prepare for ideal, and less-than- ideal scenarios, as well as explore their own opinions and goals for this important life-stage.
And if you are already breastfeeding and struggling physically and/or emotionally, we want to help you take care of yourself and your baby. We will discuss alternatives, based on the most up-to-date empirical research, and we will support you in getting a wellness plan in action.