I have a particular interest in supporting couples, before a baby is conceived, to discuss the questions and issues each partner considers about becoming a parent.
I have worked for 14 years as a trainer with PIPPIN (Parents in Partnership – Parent Infant Network), which developed programmes for women and men in the transition to parenthood: expectant and new parents, as well as parents adding to their families. The focus was on developing and enhancing relationships between the parents and between the parents and their infant.
Often men and women wonder:
- should we become parents now, later, or at all;
- what might it be like for me, for my partner, for our relationship;
…and a great many questions that start with the words, “What if…” regarding pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal support.
- my baby won’t stop crying?
- my baby won’t sleep at night?
- my baby won’t take a breast or bottle?
- my baby doesn’t like me?
- I don’t like my baby?
- my partner doesn’t help?
- my mother tells me things I don’t agree with?
- I can’t cope?
Counselling before conception, surrogacy, fostering or adopting a baby, provides an opportunity to discuss these and other issues about being and becoming a parent, without being told what to do. It’s an opportunity to discuss imaginings, expectations, and anxieties about parenthood and where they may have originated.
While my work has involved running groups for expectant and new parents and their infants, it has also involved travelling around Britain, responding to requests by health authorities and Sure Start programmes, to train professionals who work with expectant and new parents, to change the way they work with their clients by developing an understanding of the emotions involved in becoming a parent and to develop and pass on effective communication skills.