Parenthood is one of the most life changing journeys you will ever embark on, and now more than ever in this current climate we are finding ourselves trying to work our way 'back to balance'.
Have you recently had a new baby, maybe you've just found out your expecting, maybe your working your way through loss or trauma, there is so many complex feelings, emotions and experiences that you can encounter along this new journey and it's so reassuring to know you are not alone, we see you, there is support.
Meet Yara Heary - Psychologist from Life After Birth Psychology and also a mother of two who has personally struggled with her transition into motherhood and soon realised she was not alone on this journey.
"My baby didn’t sleep, I was beyond exhausted, my body hurt, we had difficulty breastfeeding, my relationship was fracturing, and many of my social relationships had vanished."
With a goal to help heal herself and other women around her, Yara invested in learning and focused on servicing and supporting the sometimes (and more often then not, let's be honest) intense transition to motherhood (matrescence).
We caught up with Yara to discuss not only her support work but also Babywearing, its benefits and how these can go hand and hand with therapy and help those women transitioning into motherhood.
We know you loved to wear both your baby's along your motherhood journey, how do you think this helped most? What are the major benefits for new Mums?
Wearing my babies just felt like the easiest choice because I wanted them near me. I was happier when they were with me and so were they.
Babywearing has helped me stay close and connected to my babies, it has helped them learn about their world as they move through our days with me, its helped me get them to sleep (my daughter slept on me in the carrier for about 9 months before being able to fall asleep lying down), it’s helped me feel less fatigued throughout motherhood because its easier to carry their weight on my body than in my arms, and it has given me freedom to move around (which was hugely important once my second baby cam along as I also had a toddler).
Honestly I don’t know what I would have done without baby wearing!
When did you personally find was the best time to incorporate Babywearing, or where?
Hmmm… everywhere! When they were babies my favourite time was when they were sleepy and snuggly. My kids are now 5 and 3 years old and I still wear my 3 year old regularly, and occasionally the older one wants to be snuggled in a carrier too.
It's still pretty special but I can’t wear him for very long anymore! As my kids got older I enjoyed wearing them more on “adventures” like going to the supermarket or out and about where we can talk about what we are doing and the things we are seeing.
Do you recommend Babywearing as a practice to new parents, what are the main benefits you find can assist with bringing back that balance?
Yes I often recommend baby wearing to new parents because of all the ways it has helped me.
Babywearing can also support the establishment and maintenance of breastfeeding due to physical proximity which can support the demand and supply relationship; and it can help support and maintaining connection with mothers who are experiencing mental health challenges in those early months. The latter I think is possibly due to the flexibility afforded by baby wearing and to the benefits of nervous system co-regulation.
I also often suggest it to mothers who feel as though they can’t ever put their baby down. I reassure them that it’s normal and that crying when being put down is a protective response from their babies.
The bodies of mothers are the best place in the world to a baby and they want to be near you as much as possible because it provides comfort, warmth, and strengthens connection and attachment.
These things are all important for a baby’s survival. We live in a modern world, but babies still behave as they always have throughout evolution, and this is to seek comfort and connection from their mothers in particular.What will new Mothers expect in a therapy session or workshop with you at Life After Birth Psychology?
Firstly, Mothers can expect a non-judgemental space full of compassion and reverence for the mothering work they are doing.
Therapy typically involves talking about what their current struggles and strengths are, understanding their history, identifying goals for therapy, and supporting Mothers in developing skills that will help them thrive on their Motherhood journey.
I view Motherhood as an opportunity to rediscover and heal ourselves as Mothers while providing nurturance and safety for our children. I am quite eclectic in the therapy modalities I use because there is no one size fits all for therapy.
I also believe that each person is an expert in their own experience, but we all need some guidance and support as certain points throughout life. I am a trauma informed therapist and lean heavily into approaches that highlight the importance of nervous system responses to stress or threat - so this is essentially what our bodies do when we feel stressed or are reminded of stressful or traumatic experiences. I use a mix of therapy approaches including polyvagal, ACT, schema, compassion focused strategies, and CBT.
"You can heal and learn to thrive and enjoy your life as a mother, and as a woman"
We'd love to invite all Chekoh Mama's to ask Yara any questions you may have about transitioning into Motherhood, Babywearing or anything else you might need a little help with to help bring back your balance.
Don't forget to watch Yara's Instagram Takeover!
If you'd like to learn more about Yara and Life After Birth, follow the links below:
Website / Instagram
Pictures by Rae Fallon and Vaida.