Early Connections is a 7 week prenatal attachment group focusing on relationship based interventions during pregnancy.
The group is offered to first time prenatal mothers by Rose of Durham counsellors, many of whom have completed their infant mental health certificates from York University.
This program originates from the belief that supporting the mother and child from the very beginning to become aware of their journey through pregnancy on all levels physical, relational, psychological and emotional becomes the best predictor for the positive life trajectory for both the child and mother.
Early Connections is based on material from Promoting Maternal Mental Health During Pregnancy.
Each week interactive interventions are offered with the expectation that clients will explore new concepts within the safe haven of group; allowing them to begin the boding process with their unborn child.
Themes that are explored include:
Week 1: Entering motherhood
A celebration into motherhood is shared with a baby shower for all participants. Participants are also given memory boxes, which they can use to collect memories of their pregnancy journey.
Week 2: Connecting with baby
Moms write letters to the baby, we offer video taping of them reading to their babies as well as perform an imagery exercise which encourages mom to relax and visualize their baby.
Week 3: Attachment is addressed
Participants have an opportunity to explore everyday baby care activities and learning ways to take these tasks into optimal attachment moments.
Participants will also look at how they were parented and effects.
Week 4: Relaxation and Well-being
The importance of relaxation and healthy well-being is discussed. Participants have the opportunity to partake in exercises that provide skills such as meditation and deep breathing.
Week 5: Honouring the Woman
Participants are encouraged to assert themselves in regards to their needs and relationships, themes covered include: saying no exercise, looking at healthy sexuality and exploration of Ghosts from the past is encouraged to begin inner healing.
Week 6: Making Space for child
Participants are provided with the opportunity to begin the process of allowing the child into their lives; interventions include making space for baby mentally, emotionally and physically.
Week 7: Baby’s brain development
Education on baby’s brain development is provided. Interventions focus on mother’s learning about the critical role they play in optimal brain development for their child.
Early Connections is presently available to clients Thursdays between 4:30 and 6:00pm at the Rose of Durham in seven week session increments. Sessions are co-facilitated by two counsellors who have their Infant Mental Health Certificates from York University. This is a program created and developed by the Rose of Durham Clinical Supervisor with counsellor input using the NCAST material as a guide