New Mom’s Support Group in Novato

Motherhood is a wonderful gift and can bring so much joy, but the strain of bringing up children can sometimes bring you pain in the form of stress, anxiety, anger and feeling overwhelmed. Many women turn to other moms in the playground, friends over a glass of wine or go to a support group to help them with problems they are going through. Speaking to others who are in a similar situation, face to face rather than on-line, can be comforting and help a great deal.

I have spoken before about how I felt when I first became a mother and how I found support and friendship through the mother and baby group at The Parent Center ((read article)). Now a new support group for moms has begun in Novato run by Rebecca Brandi MFT, Psy. D
 and Andrea Pinkerton Psy.D.

Rebecca Brandi explains more to The Marin Scoop;

Why did you and Andrea Pinkerton decide to start this support group for moms?

Andrea and I were inspired to start a project that we felt passionate about, to acknowledge and bring to light the overwhelming difficulties of motherhood.  As therapists and moms we wanted to provide mothers in our community with a safe, nurturing environment in which they could connect with other moms.  While exploring their experiences, we hope that they will find balance and peace in their lives.  My own personal vision to start a support group began seven years ago through my journey to understand and heal from my own untreated postpartum depression.  Several years ago, I had an amazing opportunity to attend a conference by Postpartum Support International and the Marce’ Society in Pittsburg, where I received training on Perinatal Mood Disorders.  I met and heard similar painful stories from other mental health providers about their own suffering from not being screened by the medical professionals they were coming into contact with after their deliveries.  I realized then that I wanted to help other moms and to focus my clinical practice to specialize in the area of pregnancy support, postpartum adjustment, and behavioral difficulties in children.

What kind of challenges do mothers face when raising their children?

One common experience and area that I work with moms on is around the myths of motherhood.   Societal expectations of what defines a “good mom” cause unrealistic pressure and feelings of guilt when those expectations are not achieved.  Being a mom can be the most challenging job you ever do.  Many moms don’t examine these unrealistic expectations; instead they internalize them and blame themselves for not measuring up.  This pressure causes a storm of internal conflict and suffering.  It can manifest itself in depression and anxiety which affects the family who consequently, absorb some of this conflict.  Another challenge mom’s face is the fact that their family and culture can at times minimize the job.  When they do find the courage to reach out for help to those closest to them, often times they are not heard and do not feel validated.

Moms face the challenge of having so many responsibilities and not enough energy and emotional space to thoroughly complete the numerous duties.  Being a mom is nonstop, you are always on duty.  Often times, the responsibility falls on their shoulders for: education, social development, keeping the house from looking like a bomb hit it, scraping the sand and gum out of the car, trying to nurture a relationship with their significant other after 8pm, being the family nutritionists, and somewhere in there we are supposed to take care of ourselves.  It just feels impossible at times.  The goal is realizing that life is a constant determination to find a balance and learning that the compassion we show ourselves will make the journey more enjoyable.  These experiences have the potential to nurture our soul in ways you never knew possible.

What can mothers expect, learn and take away from participating in the group?

The goal of each session is to provide moms with the opportunity to connect with other moms in a safe and confidential setting.  Moms will learn skills to improve self care and emotional health.  They will learn how to balance their needs with the needs of their family.  Exploring the myths of motherhood has been effective in reducing the feelings of shame and isolation.   Another important area that will be covered is learning how to manage and tolerate your child’s difficult emotional response while remaining calm and in control of your own emotions.  Through this examination we will explore your individual parenting style and family of origin parenting style. 

If someone is looking for parenting and emotional support in confidence, can you offer one on one help too?

Many moms do not feel comfortable to do therapeutic work in a group setting.  I also provide individual therapy and I would be happy to support you in gaining a deeper understanding of yourself while learning more effective parenting and coping skills.  The other area that I specialize in is parent coaching.  As a certified Parent Child Interaction Therapist I will provide you with the practical skills to enhance your parent-child relationship and to improve your child’s behavior.  Parent Child Interaction Therapy is an effective, researched based program successful in decreasing child behavior problems and improving parenting skills.  I also offer home visits for assessment and consultation, where together we can identify the most challenging problems that need attention.

As a mom of three I understand how difficult it is to raise a family and take care of your own needs.   As a psychologist my approach is to provide sensitive, thoughtful support to help my clients resolve and experience relief from both current problems and long-standing patterns.  My goal is to help you develop greater emotional resilience so that you can feel better about yourself as well as better equipped to handle challenges.  I offer individual, couples, family and child therapy.  I provide a sliding scale and a free consultation session. 

Contact Rebecca to register for the mom’s support group on Mondays 9.30 – 11.00 am. 

Rebecca Brandi MFT, Psy.D: Perinatal Mood Disorder Specialist & Parent Child Interaction Therapist at 415-967-2020 &
Registered Psychological Assistant PSB 36197
Supervised by Diane Harnish Ph.D (PSY 24138)

Is there support available for parents of adopted children?

Andrea Pinkerton explains: Being an adoptee, I have a special interest in adoption-related issues. I co-facilitate a support group for adopted teen girls and also work with adoptive parents and adopted adults. It can be difficult for adoptive parents deal with adoption related issues, such as what, when and how to tell their child information about their adoption and birth family. In addition, parents often need help understanding how to deal with any attachment-related issues and how to support their children through the special challenges that can face adoptees as they get older. Each stage of development brings with it different issues for adopted children to deal with and integrate. Increased awareness about these issues will help adoptive parents in the many challenges that can come with raising an adopted child.”

You can contact Andrea Pinkerton at 415-686-7364 or
Registered Psychological Assistant PSB – 35906
Supervised by Diane Harnish Ph.D. (PSY 24138)

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