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Counseling for Women's Reproductive Mental Health and Wellness
 
 

The transition to motherhood does not always go as expected. Even though you may have had long-held hopes and dreams of starting a family, and maybe even worked very hard to finally make it happen, the realities are sometimes vastly different than what you imagined. There are huge transformations that take place as you become a parent, both individually as a woman, as well as relationally, with your spouse or partner, other members of your family, and even friends. These are things you might have had an inkling of before you embarked on the journey, but that often aren't fully understood until you're completely immersed in it.

And sometimes the opposite is true, too. You weren't expecting to add to your family, and suddenly another child comes along. Or you anticipated parenting with a partner, but find yourself going it alone. Or maybe you've been wanting a family for so long, and despite all your efforts, have not been able to conceive, carry a pregnancy to term, or have lost a baby or older child. Societally we are so caught up in the image of parenting and what we think it is or should be, that we can be blindsided when something doesn't go the way we expected.

Furthermore, in our culture, we celebrate the birth of the baby, but we rarely recognize the mother's role in the birth process, or the significant transformations that she is also experiencing with pregnancy and birth. Once the baby has arrived, all the focus is on the infant, with mothers often relegated to the background. Going through the emotional, physical, and spiritual transitions that accompany the birth of a baby, without proper acknowledgement, encouragement, and practical and emotional support from those around her, a women can feel alone, forgotten, and abandoned.

When things in this period of life go in unanticipated ways, it can send you to a place that feels very lonely, and you can feel stuck, frightened, and filled with guilt and shame. We don't talk much about the hardships that can accompany becoming a parent, and the fanciful myths that swirl around motherhood just compound that, often resulting in women staying quiet, and keeping their feelings to themselves. Many women in these situations feel isolated, and unsure of where to turn. Some may be afraid to reach out to their spouse or partner, because of the belief that they will somehow burden others with their pain. And some women fear they will be perceived as unloving or undeserving mothers if they admit what they might be feeling. Fortunately, that's beginning to change, with more awareness in the general public now about the need to prioritize new mothers' emotional wellbeing, but progress is slow.

In reality, the fact that you are willing to reach out for the support you need, even if it may feel a bit frightening, is a sign of courage and strength, and that you care about your family. Please know that, whatever you are experiencing, there is nothing to be ashamed of. You did not invite these feelings or these unforeseen events into your life. They are not a reflection of who you are or how good of a parent you are. And you deserve to get the support you need in a safe environment where you can explore these feelings, heal what needs to be healed, and not feel so alone.

Chrysalis
Counseling Center - Perinatal Counseling

I also work with women during their childbearing years by way of proactive counseling. Seeking support even when things are going well, sorting through emotions, clarifying values, and planning for upcoming transitions can be a positive part of self-care. Women need and deserve to be presented with information, tools, and options to mindfully prepare themselves for birth and parenthood. It is a great honor to guide women toward this heightened awareness in birth and what lies beyond, to offer alternate views and choices in a safe setting, and to create an environment where any choice made is acknowledged and respected.

Birth is one of the most physically and mentally challenging things that can ever be experienced, and is a tremendous opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. A woman's beliefs about herself and the world will influence how she gives birth. Exploring these beliefs can present a powerful catalyst for change and self-discovery. I am dedicated to helping support women in this life-changing transition to motherhood.

It is like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly, first weaving the cocoon, where inside this protected nest, remarkable and magical changes are taking place. And when the time comes, a butterfly emerges, unfolding its wings, learning how to use them, becoming a wholly different creature than it was before. When a child is born, so is a mother. The woman existed before, but her role as a mother is entirely new. And she is forever changed. It is essential that you recognize the newness, and be gentle with yourself as you learn to trust your wings.

Chrysalis
Counseling Center - Perinatal Counseling

I have many years of experience working with women throughout their childbearing years, and hold great respect for those who seek out guidance and support when necessary. My work is enriched by my training as a childbirth educator, which gives me unique perspective on the joys and challenges that women may face as they become mothers.

I want you to feel supported and nurtured as you make your way through any possible difficulties that you may be dealing with. I want you to feel secure and confident, and believe that you are worth making your needs a priority during what may be a tumultuous time in your life. And I want you to know that you are not alone. Below are some of the things that I can help with. I hope you’ll reach out if you think I might be of assistance.

  • Perinatal and postpartum adjustment issues
  • Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Support while navigating fertility challenges and/or assisted reproductive technology
  • Support during complex and high-risk pregnancies
  • Processing traumatic birth experiences
  • Grief and loss; miscarriage, still birth, neonatal loss, loss of a child
  • Support around pregnancy termination; elective or due to medical complications
  • Support around preterm births and/or NICU stays
  • Anxiety and fears around giving birth
  • Preparing abuse survivors for birth
  • Premature ending of fertility; due to ectopic pregnancy, hysterectomy, early menopause
  • Lack of connection or bonding with baby; in pregnancy or postpartum
  • Preconception counseling; identifying parenting values and goals
  • Mindfully approaching labor and parenting
  • Prenatal parenting and bonding
  • Postpartum planning
  • Managing anxiety about raising children in today’s world
  • Navigating pressures from others regarding parenting styles and choices
  • Support around the decision to remain childless, or the choice to have one child
  • Balancing motherhood and a career
  • Retaining a sense of self as a new mother; actively nurturing the woman as well as the mother
  • Support around menopause or perimenopause
Chrysalis
Counseling Center - Perinatal Counseling
 
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Information may not be copied and reprinted without permission of the author.
Chrysalis Counseling Services PLLC | Juliana K. Tyler, MA, LMHC | Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Certified HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator and Fertility Educator
PO Box 1604, Mukilteo, WA 98275 | 206.604.0996 | juliana@chrysalis-counseling.com