For many people, making the decision to see a psychologist can be incredibly daunting. People often question if their issues are “bad” enough to warrant an appointment, what others (like family and friends) will say about them getting therapy and they might grapple with the self-stigma about needing mental health support.
Once they have decided to seek help, they must get a referral (for the Medicare rebate), find a suitable psychologist, make the first appointment and turn up… Phew! This is bound to be daunting for anyone but when it relates to the perinatal period, there can be even more challenges. Mums (and dads) often worry about additional things like why they need extra help when others appear to be coping well, whether they will be deemed unfit to parent, and practical issues such as the time and money required to get the support they need.
It is not uncommon to experience difficulties in the perinatal period. Australian data suggests that before baby arrives up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men struggle with depression. Then in the postnatal period, more than 1 in 7 new mums and up to 1 in 10 new dads experience postnatal depression (PANDA, 2017). Rates of anxiety appear to be higher with 1 in 5 women experiencing anxiety in the perinatal period. We also know that many parents can experience both depression and anxiety at the same time. For the new mum or dad who is struggling now, knowing that perinatal depression and anxiety are common BUT also treatable can be helpful when deciding to seek support.
If you are considering seeking mental health support during the perinatal period (pregnancy up to the first year of birth), one of the most important decisions to make is which psychologist to see. If you have access to a psychologist who specialises in this perinatal period, this can be beneficial for several reasons.
Psychologists with additional perinatal mental health training:
bring a unique and advanced skill set to the understanding and treatment of mental health in the perinatal period.
integrate knowledge of maternal mental health, infant mental health, developmental psychology, family dynamics and systemic issues to assess and treat a wide-range of mental health needs for women (and men) both during pregnancy and after birth.
use evidence-based therapy for many types of psychological distress, from mild, moderate to severe and more complex issues relating to the pre and postnatal periods.
provide effective interventions that can help to improve mother-infant relationships and improve the social, emotional and behavioural development of baby.
are skilled at developing rapport with both women and men during this vulnerable time.
understand that pregnancy, childbirth and the adjustment to parenthood can have a significant impact on mental health that can be exacerbated by lack of sleep, pre-existing mental health issues and changes to other relationships.
As a specialist perinatal psychology practice, Mums Matter Psychology consists of a team of registered Clinical and General Psychologists and Mental Health Social Workers with a minimum of 6 years training, all whom work daily with parents in the antenatal and post-natal period experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues.
The Mums Matter Psychology team have worked for, completed clinical placements or training within various organisations focused on perinatal and infant mental health including:
The Royal Women’s Hospital
The Royal Children’s Hospital
Parent Infant Research Institute
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA)
The Australian Psychological Society
Centre for Perinatal Psychology
Perinatal Emotional Health Program
As a mandatory requirement, all of our team have completed perinatal mental health training provided by:
Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE)
University of Sydney
To get to know more about each of our clinicians, take a look at their profiles here.