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Attachment theory concerns the propensity to form strong emotional bonds with particular individuals, or with regard to children, their main caregiver. This is an innate characteristic present in infancy and continuing throughout adolescence, adulthood and into old age (Bowlby, 1973, 1982). The attachment system is activated in adversity or when an individual is distressed or ill, when there is the urge to seek comfort and support from the primary attachment figure or caregiver. However when the individual feels secure and not distressed there is the urge to explore the environment, to play, work and travel.

A secure home base is seen to be crucial for optimal functioning and mental health; however for some individuals this home base may have been the reason for distress.

Loss of an attachment figure or loved one is traumatic and tragic; this loss can be even more complex when it activates unresolved painful memories of earlier relational trauma and loss. The process of grieving and bereavement can be long and painful; the process can include such feelings as:

  • Denial: of the experience of loss.

  • Anger: wanting something to change.

  • Bargaining: an attempt to change this situation to avoid the pain of acceptance.

  • Despair: a painful experience, entering into a place where depression can accompany the working through and morning of a loss.

  • Acceptance: where the energy that was tied up in this stuck grieving is finally freed up for use elsewhere.

Therapy offers a space where you can begin to mourn and come to terms with your loss. Perinatal group support and therapy offers a space to explore intergenerational patterns of coping, and gain support in caring for your infant with a knowledge of your own past and why you may have felt depressed, anxious or alone.

  • The perinatal period refers from the time a woman becomes pregnant and up to one year after birth. This can be a time of great change involving physical changes in a woman’s body image, psychological changes regarding her relationship with her partner or supportive others, perhaps anxiety over her career development  and the choices she will make regarding labour, home and work/life balance and life with her newborn.

  • There is a particular relationship between mood disorders and pregnancy and the postnatal period. One in six women is affected by mental issues and stress during pregnancy or after birth (Oates and Rothera, 2006). Depression and anxiety disorders in the antenatal and/or postnatal period may be  linked to adverse developmental outcomes in infants due to dysfunctional relationship (or attachment) styles.

  • Often women find it difficult to find support and acceptance when feeling anxious or negative about themselves especially when media and magazines may promote pregnancy and  parenthood as easy. It is of huge importance infants feel secure in their attachment to their primary caregiver in order that they develop with security and confidence as children, however this is not always possible. Children grow into adults, intergenerational patterns are played out and re-enacted and their is little support available for many prospective parents, although this is changing slowly.

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Perinatal support and therapy offers a space to explore intergenerational patterns of coping, and gain support in caring for your infant with a knowledge of your own past and why you may have felt depressed, anxious or alone.

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