Hello and welcome to this week’s Motherhood Unfiltered Blog post. It’s been a while since we have interviewed someone, and this week we had the pleasure of interviewing Sophie Burch. Sophie is a parent and perinatal therapist, coach, and public speaker. She is the author of the book Beyond Birth: a Mindful Guide to Early Parenting. We asked her:
Tell us about your career. What types of services do you offer? What led you down this career path?
I'm a perinatal and parental therapist, author, trainer, leader, and speaker, passionate about emotional wellbeing and mental health. Having my children and struggling with my own mental health, after birth trauma, and PPD, led me into a career wanting to bridge the gap in support services and continuity of connection for all people in pregnancy and parenting. I’m on a mission to bring simple, effective, emotional wellbeing, and mental health awareness to all people starting perinatally, for families, for life. I founded the Beyond Birth Collective and have trained nearly 200 people worldwide who are running Before and Beyond Birth parent support sessions to their parenting communities. I also offer 1:1 mentoring and therapy to parents globally as a Hypnotherapist with CBT and Mindfulness. I practice what I preach and know how important it is to do so being a mum of 4 boys (including twins).
How do you help mammas overcome their childbirth fears?
I use a unique combination of mindfulness, hypnosis, CBT, and gentle psychoeducation to help parents prepare for their baby and birth. We look deeply at the relational element to bringing a baby into our arms, and the use of relaxation and breathing techniques helps deepen the connections with self, baby, and partner to boost awareness and calmness.
What are some things mammas can do to prepare for the possibility of PPD?
Simple practices to boost self-awareness, and emotionally regulate and build emotional resilience that can lead to more confidence and understanding of when a mood disorder is present. Grounding, Breathwork, Journaling, and Mindfulness can all help when practiced daily.
What can partners do to support mom's mental health during the perinatal period?
Communication is essential, as is tender, loving care and understanding. Before baby arrives, it can help to see a couples therapist or complete a questionnaire to talk through what they both need when they are tired, vulnerable, and feeling unable to cope. Gratitude and oxytocin boosting practices are a great way to reframe the tough days and feel closer to each other.
Tell us about your own postpartum journey. What caught you by surprise?
I had NO support from family or the local community/healthcare professionals despite having birth trauma and 2 out of 4 babies in the NICU, which led to PPD and Anxiety issues. That’s why I wrote my book, my training course, parent support sessions, and continue to work hard to raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues now.
I wish someone had shown me how to hold myself, and work with my frightened inner child. All my babies had silent reflux and colic, so the crying was very hard to manage and there were times I just wanted to run away. Those moments coupled with intrusive thoughts of harming my babies or myself were horrendous. I now know that it’s far more common than we talk about and I wish someone had helped me to understand that at the time when I just felt like I was losing my mind.
If you could give one piece of advice for new mammas, what would it be?
You deserve to be held, heard, seen, and safe every day in every way. Sometimes that looks like doing that for yourself as much as it means reaching out to get it too. Learn to ground yourself and check in with yourself regularly every day. It doesn’t take much to get into the habit, and it makes a huge difference to our nervous system.
Thank you so much, Sophie, for taking the time to do this interview. We love your mission to support moms and families during pregnancy and postpartum along with the awareness you are spreading about mental health during and after pregnancy.
If you would like to see more from Sophie, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can see what services she offers on her website and read more about her program here.