Supporting mums through the postnatal period

Supporting mums through the postnatal period

This week is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week (1-7 May),  an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding for people suffering from perinatal mental health issues (anytime during pregnancy, birth or early parenting). Supporting new mothers is an essential part of the work that Napier Family Centre does, including through its unique postnatal programme.

“The postnatal period can be an exciting and challenging time for new mothers,” Napier Family Centre’s Liz Ross-Smith says.  “The physical, emotional, and psychological changes that come with childbirth can be overwhelming, leaving many women feeling isolated and unsupported.”

The Napier Family Centre’s Post-Natal Adjustment Programme (PNAP) is designed to address these issues and provide a supportive environment for new mums.

PNAP is an eight-week programme that offers psycho-educational support and therapeutic experiential groups for women with children aged one and under. The programme focuses on postnatal depression and anxiety, birthing stories, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) skills, sleep support for babies, attachment, support and relationships, self-esteem, and self-compassion.

“It’s designed to provide a safe and welcoming space for mums to share their experiences and connect with other māmā who are going through similar experiences,” Liz says. Liz has been facilitating the PNAP programme for around ten years and has worked with around countless māmā.

Run twice a year, the first PNAP programme for 2023 has just wrapped up, with feedback from participants overwhelmingly positive. The written feedback, submitted anonymously at the end of the course, indicated that participants really valued the programme’s support, with many comments about self-reflection and experiences as the group progressed. Some māmā expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe place.

While the programme runs for eight weeks, Liz says the support doesn’t stop there.

“At Napier Family Centre we’re able to offer wraparound services to our mums and whānau, through family support, parenting programmes, and budgeting, to ensure continued support for new mothers beyond the programme.”

The Post-Natal Adjustment Programme, the only of its kind in Hawke’s Bay, is made possible by generous funding from the Royston Health Trust.

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