By: Shelley Nortje (Clinical Psychologist)
There has been an increase in awareness over the recent years that pre-natal and early infancy is a sensitive developmental phase. As such, it is well understood by professionals in the infant mental health field that early intervention or prevention at this early stage is of great importance. At Ububele, one of our central mandates is to support the early relationship between caregivers and their babies, and to prevent risk factors such as poverty, domestic violence and depression in mothers, from negatively impacting on the short and long-term outcomes for that mother and child.
Parent-infant psychotherapy (PIP) is one such psychological intervention aimed at facilitating secure and strong attachments between caregivers and their babies. By caregivers we mean parents (including fathers and mothers), grandparents or caregivers in children’s homes. PIP sessions are offered at Ububele and at our satellite facility, the Brown House at Alex Clinic. PIP involves weekly sessions with a trained psychologist, in order to support you in your parenthood, and help you to think about your unique baby.
Ububele would like to encourage caregivers to seek the necessary assistance as soon as possible. If you are a caregiver who is struggling to cope as a parent, or if you are a family member or friend to a caregiver who is need of assistance, Parent Infant Psychotherapy may be a helpful service.
Below is a table that lists a few of the risk factors that may lead to a mother, father or baby that is struggling to manage with difficult feelings or experiences.
At-risk babyPost-natal depression (PND)A traumatic birth experienceDisabilityDisabilityUnplanned pregnancySleeping difficultiesLack of social supportPremature birthTeen pregnancyFeeding difficultiesRecent loss of a loved oneExcessive cryingPrevious stillbirths or miscarriagesStress signals such as avoiding eye contact with mom or dad, colour change, being easily startled etc.Difficulty bonding to the babyLow birthweightMarital conflictFailure to thriveHistory of psychiatric difficultiesRecurring health difficulties (e.g.: rashes, diarrhoea…)
If any of these symptoms seem to describe you or your baby, please do not hesitate to contact Ububele at 011 786 5085 for further assistance or an appropriate referral.