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Copy of Motherhood Tree of Life

International Narrative Therapy Conference -Adelaide 2013
by

Viviane Oliveira

on 11 September 2015

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Transcript of Copy of Motherhood Tree of Life

Part 1 Part 2 Observations Motherhood Tree of Life The Motherhood Tree of Life The Forest of Life Viviane Oliveira
viviminas78@gmail.com A collective narrative methodology created by Ncazelo Ncube and David Denborough to respond to children who have experienced trauma, or loss in ways that are not re-traumatising and that brings to light children's own skills and knowledge.

Provide children with experiences that increase connectedness with their families, values, beliefs and culture. Tree of Life Avoid individualising collective experiences and thus decrease vulnerability
Provide mothers with a safe space to talk about the experience of parenthood that is not judgmental or critical of their efforts
Reconnect parents with what is important to them (values, beliefs, hopes, history)
Bring to light the ways parents are already responding to difficulties Considerations behind the methodology 1. The Motherhood Tree of Life

2. The forest of life

3. The storms parents face

4. Celebration The methodology Questions could include:
* What were your ideas about being a parent before getting pregnant? Where did they come from?
* Did you always want to be a parent or was it something you did not expect?
* If you had the desire to become a parent, where did it come from? If you did not have the desire, how was it for you to find out you were expecting?
* How old were you when you realised you wanted to be a parent?
* Did anyone influence your choice to become a parent? Roots
In this part parents can talk about where the desire of being a parent comes from. If participants did not have a desire to become a parent, they can talk about where their ideas of parenthood come from.
Questions could include:
* How is your life now as a parent?
* How is your day to day life with your family?
* What are the things you do? The ground represents participants'
lives now as parents, or parents to be, and as individuals. Questions could include:

* What are your skills, abilities and values
as a parent, individual, partner or friend?
* For how long have you been aware of
these skills, abilities or values?
* Where did you get them from? In this part, participants can talk about their skills, abilities and values as parents.
Questions could include:

* What are your hopes and dreams for your children, your family, and for you as a person?
* Why are these hopes and dreams important to you?
* Have your hopes and dreams changed after having a child? If so, in what ways?
* How do you hold on to these dreams and hopes? The branches are the hopes and dreams people have for their children, their families and for themselves. Question could include:

* Who are the people that have influenced you as a parent?
* Who are the people who may not have influenced your decision to become a parent but who are important to you?
* Who are the people that support you in hard times?
* What is special about these people?
* How would these people react if they knew the importance they played in your life? The leaves represent people who have influenced the participants in their role as parents. These people can be alive or no long living. They may be people that participants have met in person or people that they have heard or read about. Questions could include:

* What are the gifts that were given to you that influence you as a mother? This includes gifts of care, love and kindness.
* Who gave these gifts to you?
* Why do you think these gifts were given to you? The fruit represent gifts participants have received. These are metaphorical gifts such as love, care and patience. When the participants finish the first part they can be asked to present their tree to the group. Then each participant can put their tree on the wall to become a collective forest.

This brings a sense of collectiveness to the group. Participants will have a sense that they are not alone when facing the challenges that parenthood brings. Firstly, participants can be asked to talk about collective problems most mothers face. This could include isolation, problems with the baby and tiredness. In certain groups, people will bring up issues of violence, drug and alcohol, etc.
After this, each participant is asked to talk about their personal struggles.

Questions could include:
What are the difficulties you face as a parent?
How do you respond to these difficulties? Can you share with the group some parenting tips you use and find helpful?
How do you hold on to your hopes and dreams in the hard times?
How do you know it is time to get some extra help?
What would your children tell us about the kind of parent you are? Part 3 Storms that parents face In this part, the facilitator can create a collective document using the participants' stories. This document with their skills in parenting can be shared with other parents.

Each participant can take a copy of the document home.
Partners and friends could be invited to witnesses these stories. Celebration Part 4 3 mothers in the group had been diagnosed with postnatal depression prior to starting the group. All had been prescribed medication to deal with the problem.

All of them were diagnosed by a doctor using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The test only considered the last 7 days of the mothers' lives. Cultural and social contexts/factors were not considered.

When we explored this topic in the group, we found that all the mothers felt like the 3 diagnosed with PND at many times in their motherhood life. All of them had their own ways of responding to and surviving their experience. Observations of the group Symptoms of PND:

* were stronger when isolated
* were usually experienced when babies were suffering from colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties or other problems
* were stronger when participants compared themselves with other mothers who seemed "perfect" Exploring the influence of PND Calling their mothers in Brazil
Meeting with other Brazilian mothers
Believing they were doing their best
Accepting it was ok to stay in bed and leave the house in a mess when over-tired
Not listening too much to the advice of Doctors and other specialists
Knowing that their mothers survived motherhood and that they too would also surivive Ways They Were Already Responding * The assumption that breastfeeding is natural
* Many women find it painful; some developed complications
* Not always ok to breastfeed in public in Australia
* Fear of being criticised because of bottlefeeding
* If pain is affecting bonding between mum and baby, isn't it better to bottlefeed the baby? Breastfeeding Problems In Brazil...
* Each mother knows what is best for them and their baby
* Milk Mothers are common
* Milk Banks are common
* It is ok to bottlefeed the baby if it assists mothers to bond with their baby

Also:
In Australia, we need to speak out about breastfeeding in public and discuss non-sexualiasation (or de-sexualisation?) of the mother's breast for all mothers. Reconnecting with Brazilian Ways of Breastfeeding In many Brazilian communities it is ok to talk about sex, however this is not always the case in Australia.

Communicating with partners about sex.
some men find it hard to have sex with their partners after they have became mothers. How do we demystify or address this?

When the mother does not feel attractive, what can be done?
* turn off the lights
* talk to their partner
* give it a go! Sex After Giving Birth Several mothers in the group were experiencing Domestic Violence

This presents an opportunity to explain what DV is.

Give out information about services to help migrants and women. Domestic Violence There were assumptions that:
* women were more responsible for caring for the baby than men
* if the man provided money they did not need to looking after the baby's daily needs
* if the man changed a nappy, cleaned the house, or looked after the baby during the night, he was doing the mother a favour

We have been exploring ways mothers can invite their partners to share parental responsibilities in ways that are respectful and inclusive. For example we have been getting the fathers to have skin-to-skin time with their babies. Gender Expectations:
What is the man's and the woman's role in parenthood? Cultural Differences Which Brazilian and Australian cultural beliefs or practices do parents want to pass on to their children?
How can this be negotiated with partners?
The importance of reconnecting with family back in Brazil.
Efforts to raise a bilingual children.
Brazilian events in Australia to support our culture. Complain more about pain
Cry too much
Talk loudly
Lack boundaries
Give too much love
Talk openly about pretty much everything "Latin American Mothers" It is the intention to have a celebration session to invite the fathers in to be witnesses of their partners.

Practitioner could create a community of support by encouraging mothers to:
* meet up for coffee or other activities
* contact each other outside of the group
* connect on Facebook and/or create a FB Page
* celebrate children's birthdays or other milestones together Celebration
Inviting the fathers in The Motherhood Tree of Life is an adaptation of the Tree of Life methodology for the specific context of parenting Created in response to Brazilian mothers living in Sydney facing the following challenges:

The risk of an incorrect diagnosis of postnatal depression
Relationship problems after becoming a parent
Cultural differences between Brazil and Australia
Society's expectations of parenting
Social isolation Each participant is asked to draw their own tree.
Trees should have:
Roots
Ground
Trunk
Branches
Leaves
Fruit The Ground Trunk Branches Leaves Fruit Postnatal Depression
Full transcript