“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” -Brené Brown
Every new parent deserves more preconception, pregnancy and postpartum support than the standard care we have in the United States. People aren’t talking about common challenges of family planning early parenting enough. As a result, parents enter this transition without preparation and wondering if they are alone in their concerns and overwhelming feelings, but they don't actually need a mental health therapist to treat a mental illness, so they don't know where to turn. Enter pregnancy, postpartum and early parent coaching*.
Who can benefit?
New parents and parents again
Parenting through infertility and after loss
Parents recovering from traumatic pregnancy and birth
Parents overcoming baby blues, feeding and sleeping issues, struggles to bond, finding their footing as a growing family
It’s important that when looking for a coach, you find someone who aligns with your needs and your style.
My coaching addresses more of the work of becoming a new family and finding your voice in the pregnancy, postpartum and parenting journey, as well as educating you on child development and various parenting approaches that are backed by research. My coaching focuses on providing you with an experienced professional to help you process the fears associated with becoming a new parent, a fellow parent to keep you accountable with self-care, a counselor focused on your general family wellbeing as you learn about what to expect regarding your recovery and development as a parent or parent again. Expect 6-12 weekly sessions (depending on needs and goals). Each session is approximately 60 minutes. Work between sessions involves clarifying conversations with your coach by phone or online, as well as "deeper dive" activities sent by email.
A new parent coach is your guide, your cheerleader and your confidant to move through this life change with the support you deserve. Some of the topics addressed in parent coaching include:
Parents as Professionals
Is your work not working for you as a parent or parent-to-be? Are you stuck on whether to reduce your work, work-from-home, stay-at-home or change jobs or careers? Are you wondering how you can manage parenthood and professional life?
New Parent Planning
Are you pregnant or adopting? Shopping for parenting essentials? Filling out your birth or adoption plan? STOP. You need a plan that will allow you to get rest, get fed, get showered and get out of the house when you need some me or we time. You need a plan for how to remain "awake" amidst the prolonged sleep deprivation that comes with newborn or new child care. You need to understand perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and how they affect you as well as partners and co-parents. You need to set the stage for consistent parenting among your child's most important carers.
One of the most unexpected and upsetting parts of becoming parents is the affect on the relationship between partners. One parent may take on the primary parenting role and expect their partner to follow their lead. This can induce power struggle between two well-meaning parents that can stumble into fights about chores, money, free time and intimacy. This is an opportunity to set into motion good habits and ways of communicating that keep the couple relationship strong and bonded while taking on the parent role as a team.
What is matrescence?
Between the demands of work, family and relationships, how do you invest in yourself? Learn how to relax, get mindful, dream big, set goals, make your mind more flexible to embrace change and challenges, engage your favorite people, find inspiration and follow through on YOU.
Baby Blues and Mean Reds
Managing "all the feels" that pregnancy and parenthood brings. Feel like you have disappeared into parenthood? Grieving a birth or breastfeeding plan that didn't go as planned? Feeling disconnected from your body, your co-parent and/or Baby? Wondering if you made a mistake? I can be that stable nonjudgemental support through the emotional transitions associated with pregnancy, postpartum and early parenting. And if you need higher level clinical therapy to diagnose or treat you, as a mental health therapist, I can help you recognize this and will either offer to bump up your level of support (if you live in CA or TX), or will connect you to a clinician in your state/local community.
Have some friends or peers who want the same opportunity to grow and support each other in the process? In addition to individual coaching, I see clients with their partners or in small groups.
Group coaching is a popular, affordable and interactive alternative to individual coaching focusing on a topic shared by the group. Support and accountability can be used to ensure that group members actually apply the content from coaching sessions. Coaching has been proven to be a powerful means to cultivate change in people using other people. In some formats of group coaching, the members not only get coached, but they practice coaching their peers. Group coaching is interactive and filled with the creative force of many minds coming together to encourage change in each other. There is often as much laughter as there is learning. Groups are kept small, typically up to 8 individuals or up to 6 couples. This is a great opportunity for a registry item or gift certificate from someone you love.
How is Coach different than Therapist?
There is a debate on this. Psychotherapists are bound by rules of state licensing boards, which require certain levels of education, experience, supervision and continuing education, as well as certain ethical and professional standards. For example, I had to complete six years of college/graduate school, more than 3000 hours of supervised clinical practice and pass two exams just to get started. Coaching is still in its infancy and unregulated, so "anyone can do it". A therapist can provide coaching, but a coach cannot and should not provide therapy. A client deserves to know the credentials of their helper as they determine whom to engage for support. People who advertise themselves as parent coaches might be:
personal trainers who focus on fitness and nutrition
mental health therapists focused on mind/body integration of emotional wellness, co-parent relationships, parent/child bonding and family development (this is where I fit in)
educators on parenting (this is where I fit in)
parents who feels they have a knack for supporting other parents