Leigh Fraser-Gray provides perinatal and postnatal support counselling, and understands the many worries and concerns that can arise for women during this time …
Disclaimer: The following self disclosure may trigger upset for some.
If the standard greeting card congratulating pregnancy and/or the heralding of an infant unto the world is to be taken literally, apparently conception, gestation and birth is one big, rosy predictable bouquet of happiness-soaked, wonderment-infested, love-fest: Ahhhh, a BAAAAA-BY, how simply and spectacularly marvellous for all!
My own experience however – amongst that of many, many others’ – suggests the contrary.
For example, I have had four confirmed pregnancies involving ultrasounds (complete with a heartbeat) although only two actual children now merrily trail behind me …
I also recall periods of non-conception preceding said confirmed conceptions. As in … Nothing. Nada. Blank. ‘Insert crickets’. For MONTHS. Despite medical assurance there was ‘nothing apparent to suggest you cannot conceive naturally’.
Except, of course, I had yet to ACTUALLY conceive, ‘naturally’ or not. FOR. MONTHS.
For some, it is years. Or … never.
Then, I do recall the actual early years of raising a family: sleep deprivation; competing needs; limited resources. Pressure was applied and cracks appeared.
In stark contrast, whilst some stare sadly at yet another month of negative pregnancy tests, others may be rocked or even shocked by pregnancy decidedly unplanned.
Babies choose US, it would appear, regardless of whether we are prepared for the event.
With a nod to diversity in family structure, some unions crave children however the presenting biology is not conducive to mainstream conception. Consequentially, there may exist concerns, distress or growing worries regarding alternatives to baby making, such as surrogacy, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and/or adoption etc.
My own birth stories are rather sedate however that is not always the case; some parents, male and female, can exit the process with a sense of failure, shock and/or fear. There can be trauma. Worst case scenarios can and do unfold. Individual birth stories can vary immensely.
The common link with all of the above scenarios?
We may feel what is before us is beyond our control.
This can be greatly unsettling and bring much emotional turmoil to the surface, in terms of how we view the world and our designated place within it.
Thus, perhaps, the ONLY predictable component of conception, pregnancy or birth, let alone the actual subsequent baby wrangling and child raising, is that it tends to be a highly unique process and pretty much unpredictable each and every time.
As a means of support, I am trained in non directive perinatal counselling.
This can provide a safe and non judgemental space to discuss a pregnancy in a way that is exploratory in nature, and assists all parties involved to consider options.
In terms of both fertility and postnatal matters, I adopt a similar philosophy by creating a safe space to explore your own unique set of circumstances and examine what that means to you. The support on offer can also be gender inclusive, as parents can experience a myriad of emotions when faced by their own specific set of circumstances.
Fertility experiences can also involve issues around grief and loss and bereavement, as can termination and/or infant loss experienced at any point in the gestation phase.
The therapeutic alliance is regarded as a journey as options may appear limited at first. Perception can be a fluid concept however, and there may be more silver linings to any experience of adversity and/or loss than first appears.
As a practitioner exploring these areas, my aim is to identify and build on client strengths and assist with exploring emotions and external issues at play, and then perhaps lay some solid groundwork towards understanding the self and the situation at hand to a greater degree.
Refreshed and revitalised hope can then sometimes replace a more bleak outlook, and a way forwards can gradually become more apparent in circumstances that are as diverse and individual as the person experiencing them.
Author: Leigh Fraser-Gray, B Soc Work, B Soc Welfare, Dip Human and Community Services, Voc Grad Dip FDR
Leigh Fraser-Gray is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, with many years of experience in working with people in crisis and/or with a trauma background. She is passionate about maximising resilience in her clients, drawing on solutions focused, strengths based approaches.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129