Occupational Therapy support for Motherhood
Occupational Therapy for Mums?
While you may not have heard much about the work Occupational Therapists do with Mums, we can and do play a vital role – particularly for new Mums adjusting to the enormous demands of being a parent.
Becoming a Mum is about so much more than just caring for a baby. It’s also about caring for yourself. Creating, learning, developing and nurturing your new “occupation” of motherhood – it’s a lot more involved than simply changing nappies and choosing the right brand of stroller!
Motherhood is an occupation so vast that it changes EVERY single aspect of your life. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually – you are never quite the same person you were once you’ve become a Mum. And you’ll never be the same again.
It’s an enormous adjustment on so many levels. And, unfortunately, in today’s society we don’t live in the “village” culture of yesteryear where we would observe and instinctually learn all we need to know about being a Mum from the other women around us.
This is why new Mums in our society need to seek out this support and professional advice. Which is where Occupational Therapy comes in. At its heart, the profession of Occupational Therapy is all about helping people to function optimally in the different roles within their life – and what more important role is there than being a Mum?
Becoming a mother is a big life change.
This role brings with it significant emotional adjustments which can cause women to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and sometimes even depressed.
Some of the emotional adjustments required when becoming a mother include:
- The responsibility of being a primary caregiver for an infant
- Experiencing a change in life priorities
- Meeting new people – other mothers in the community, new health care providers
- Making sense of a wide range of conflicting parenting advice
- Fear and anxiety about making parenting decisions
- “Mummy guilt” – constantly questioning oneself about their aptitude as a mother
- Emotional recovery following a distressing or traumatic childbirth experience
- The challenges of raising an infant or child with an illness or developmental disorder
- Dealing with the emotional impact of sleep deprivation
- Changes to body image and self esteem due to changes in their physical body
- Changing relationship dynamics with partners, family members and friends
- No longer being an income earner for the family
- Leaving a workplace, or a profession, often for an uncertain period of time
- Adjusting to a loss of “freedom” in their daily lives.
- Adjusting to the changing emotional and social needs of their children as they grow
Dealing with these above issues, and often many more, can frequently be difficult for mothers to navigate. Feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, fear and inadequacy can often result and many women can begin to feel like they are “failing” as a parent, or feel they have “lost themselves” in the process of becoming a mother. Being mother can often be quite isolating, and women can feel lost with regards to when, how or who to turn to for help.
And it’s not just “new” mothers who are at risk. Challenges to emotional wellbeing can arise in mothers of children of any age.
Occupational Therapy can be of great benefit to any mother experiencing emotional difficulties during her motherhood journey. The types of support we can provide within an Occupational Therapy treatment program include:
- Education and information regarding the emotional challenges being faced by the new mother
- Motivational interviewing
- Lifestyle coaching and goal setting support
- Relaxation and stress management strategies
- Practical time management and activity scheduling support
- Mindfulness based cognitive therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
The primary benefit of an Occupational Therapy program is that is takes a unique “mind-body-soul-environment” approach to wellbeing, and is client-centred, so each program will be specifically tailored to the individual woman, and her unique concerns and needs as a new mother.
55 minute consultation: $150 (plus GST)
Sarah Hausler is also endorsed by Medicare Australia and OT Australia to provide focused psychological strategies under the Better Access to Mental Health Care program. This allows eligible clients to receive Medicare rebates on up to 10 individual appointments and 10 group sessions per calendar year. To access these rebates, clients will need to obtain a referral for OT services from their GP.
Private health insurance rebates may also be available. Please check your level of Occupational Therapy extras cover with your health insurance provider.
Appointment times are available at the Bloom Wellbeing clinic, 17 Robe Street, Port Adelaide.
Click here for online bookings, or contact the clinic on (08) 7228 0248.