Your Journey of Transformation
As we prepare for the arrival of our new family member, our lives undergo a profound transformation. Our homes evolve, our bodies change, and our minds adapt to this new chapter.
Our home transforms to accommodate this new life, just as our bodies adjust to nurture our growing baby.
Amidst external changes, our brains work silently but powerfully. New neural pathways emerge, expanding our capacity to put our baby’s needs first, strengthening our bonds, and shifting our thinking from individualistic to nurturing.
Hormonal fluctuations accompany us from conception through to parenthood, shaping this unique journey.
With parenthood comes a shift in our sense of self. Societal, cultural, and familial expectations blend with our own experiences as children and our hopes as parents.
Enter “Matrescence” – just like adolescence and menopause, Dana Raphael’s term defines this transformative transition to motherhood. It connects us to the strength of women who’ve walked this path before, offering self-compassion and acceptance during this monumental time.
Think of your adolescent self, lost in the unknown. Now, imagine giving that younger you a reassuring hug. We need to do the same for ourselves as we navigate parenthood.
Take a moment to ground yourself, breathe deeply, and affirm, “I accept these changes. My body and brain are guiding me through this transition. I am doing well. I am okay.”
This transition into parenthood does not need to be experienced alone.
The Parent-Infant Research Institute’s Towards Parenthood Program
The Parent-Infant Research Institute’s Towards Parenthood program is a self-help program designed to help expectant and new parents prepare for the transition into parenthood and the challenges associated with becoming a parent. It covers issues not often discussed in routine antenatal classes, such as communication between couples, the impact of a baby on the couple relationship, and ways to enhance self-esteem and assertive communication. Information about the needs and capacities of the newborn helps prepare you for what lies ahead, including understanding a baby’s behavioral cues.
The program is based on a biopsychosocial model of parenting, which sees negative parenting experiences as resulting from the interaction between vulnerability factors in the mother and/or father, unrealistic sociocultural expectations, and current trigger factors such as stressful life events. The program aims to reduce these negative experiences by helping parents to:
- Identify and address their own vulnerability factors
- Challenge unrealistic sociocultural expectations
- Develop coping mechanisms for stressful life events
- Learn about the needs and capacities of the newborn
- Develop effective communication and parenting skills
The program is available as a workbook or as an online course. The workbook includes exercises and activities that can be completed individually or with a partner. The online course includes additional features, such as interactive exercises, videos, thought provoking text, and a personalised workbook.
The Towards Parenthood program has been shown to be effective in reducing parenting stress and improving parent-infant relationships. It is a valuable resource for expectant and new parents who want to prepare for the transition into parenthood and to create a positive and supportive environment for their child.
To learn more about the Towards Parenthood program, visit the Parent-Infant Research Institute website: https://www.piri.org.au/programs/towards-parenthood-workbook-program/
We’re here, uncover your village.
Visit pmhweek.org.au to find support for expectant and new parents in need.