PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND POST NATAL COUNSELLING
Women react to the news of pregnancy and the experience of childbirth and early parenting in different ways.
They seek help for a variety of reasons including:
- Making decisions and exploring possible options about a current pregnancy
- Discussing the pregnancy with others
- Coming to terms with unexpected outcomes (eg. Stillbirth, miscarriage, genetic conditions, problems at birth, cot death)
- Dealing with a variety of feelings related to the pregnancy, birth or early months of being a parent
- Attachment issues
- Life transition and adjustment including relationships
- Treatment of diagnosed pre/post natal anxiety, PTSD and depression
The moment you discover you are pregnant can bring on a range of emotions. Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can be daunting too. Sometimes things do not go to plan.
Unexpected outcomes, for example, miscarriage, discovery of genetic conditions and reactions of your significant others, including partners and family, may also give rise to strong and persistent emotions.
If the emotions experienced are negative and weighing on your mind it is often helpful to talk to a professional.
The thought of birth can cause much anxiety. Not only the perceived physical demand but also the kind of birth you may want. Past experiences of birth, either yours or another woman’s, may influence decisions you make and it may be helpful to talk through these anxieties and thoughts before decisions are made.
If there are unexpected outcomes, for example, a “bad” or traumatic birth, a caesarean, complications, injury or stillbirth; then professional counselling can often help.
Counselling for early parenting usually focuses on adjustment and confidence to parent, life transition (career woman to parent), and attachment to the child. A range of emotions can present and can be resolved with professional intervention.
MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSIS
A number of diagnosed mental health disorders may arise from pregnancy, childbirth and in the post natal period. If you are at all concerned about your mental health and it is having a significant impact on your life and emotions please discuss it with a GP.
There are a number of services which are rebated by Medicare if you have a referral from your GP. Some of these services relate specifically to pregnancy, childbirth and the post natal period.
For diagnosed mental health disorders your GP may suggest a Mental Health Care Plan to coordinate care between your GP and a Psychologist. Once you have a Mental Health Care Plan and a referral, you are eligible for an initial six sessions, and further sessions may be available after a review.
Without a GP referral psychology services are still available but a Medicare rebate is not. However, if you are privately insured you may be able to claim a rebate with your health insurer.
RHONA BARKER – PSYCHOLOGIST
Rhona graduated from James Cook University in 1998 with a 4 year Bachelor of Psychology degree. She is an Associate member of the Australian Psychology Society. Rhona is registered with Medicare and ATAPS through both Western Sydney and Northern Sydney Medicare Locals.
In 2004, following some time working with troubled youth, Rhona began counselling women who had experienced a traumatic birth. Since then her primary interest has been helping families work through issues during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. In 2009 Rhona started her own practice in Wahroonga and in 2012 began working in a secondary location at PBB Health Centre in North Parramatta.
Rhona engages in general counselling and uses techniques from both cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness. Rhona regularly engages in professional development with a focus on perinatal and infant psychology.