Support for parents through pregnancy and early years with a focus on mental wellbeing for mums and dads is being offered in a new course by a Ramsgate therapist.
Sophie Burch is The Mamma Coach and specialises in everything from hypnobirthing and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy to baby massage and aromatherapy.
The mum of four boys, aged 14, 11 and twins aged 7, has some 14 years of experience as a coach and therapist after parenthood prompted her to make a career change.
The former singer, who clinched two number ones in the classical album charts with her group Medieval Babes, has run a varied parenthood gauntlet – including initially being told she would never have children.
The medical prediction has since been disproved four times over and Sophie uses those experiences – which include undergoing C section and a lack of specialised support when her two premature twins were in the special care baby unit – alongside her qualifications to help other parents on their journey.
Sophie, 45, said: “Lots of mums are pretty unsupported. If they do not have family nearby it can be very difficult and they are expected to manage on their own.
“Dads also often get ignored and it can be a tough time for them too. There are some shocking statistics for male suicides in those under 45 and especially at a time when they are becoming a dad when there are those pressures.
“There is so much for babies in the first year, but nothing out there for parents’ mental wellbeing, which is just, if not more important at this challenging time.”
Sophie, who moved to Ramsgate with husband Phil and family four years ago, initially trained in 2000 for a diploma in aromatherapy and holistic massage. She took a side course in pregnancy massage and it was this that eventually became the base for her career change.
She said: “My boyfriend at the time had got me into film production and then later I worked as a production assistant. I really enjoyed it. I had been told I could not have children so when I met my now husband I told him I was a career girl, that there would be lots of fun but no children. Nine months later I found out I was pregnant!
“I had to reinvent myself. After having Ollie (now 14) I couldn’t work in film doing 60 hours a week so I started teaching baby massage and aromatherapy and it grew from that.
“I took a break when I had the twins but now feel I am in the place I was meant to be.”
Sophie ran a pilot parents’ group last year and has now created a new six week course. She said: “It’s called Beyond Birth: A Mindful New Parents Group and includes relevant themed chat about sleep, connecting, nurturing, nourishing, transformation, healing and the all important crying/emotions, refreshments, mindfulness and some baby soothing.
“Each of the 6 weeks has a theme and there are some handouts to use at home. Everyone will get an aromatherapy blend made by me and some mp3s to use in their own time. It’s for both parents, but either parent can attend on their own, it’s not just for mums.”
The course is held at Sophie’s home in Vale Road starting tomorrow (January 9) but being run in rotation throughout the year. People can come any week either paying each session or taking out six for £50. Sessions are on Thursdays 10am-11:15am.
There is also an online offering from January 20. This is a free pilot for the first six weeks and then a nominal £35 to join for life which will include a private facebook group and a members’ area with workbooks, mp3s and resources.
The course focus on the emotional and psychological aspects of being a parent, using mindfulness, self compassion, relational coaching, relaxation and self hypnosis to ease the transition.
Sophie said: “My dream is to see it reach parents worldwide. My aim is to write a training course for other teachers to use this year. If I can train others to offer it, then we can have groups across the country (and maybe world!). “
As well as helping new parents, money from the venture will be donated to Pandas Foundation UK – a charity which supports and advises any parent experiencing a perinatal ( mental illness and offers guidance to family members, carers, friends and employers,.
Sophie said: “My work with women as a coach seems to attract women who identify with what I’ve lived through in life; Post-traumatic stress disorder, Post Natal Depression, lots of major life-change, career change and now, perimenopause! Mostly, I help people manage their anxieties, fears and low mood; anyone that feels a bit stuck, and needs a little hand-holding and guidance.
“As a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, I use CBT and Hypnotherapy alongside Mindfulness to help people make lasting changes to their thoughts, feelings and how they behave in life. I treat everyone uniquely.
“It’s about what they need and not what the therapy dictates, and most importantly, I come from a place of compassion and empathy. I take a “motherly” role with my clients and allow them to feel heard and held without judgement. That’s what matters so much to me, and I believe, what we all need from time to time. “
Find The Mamma Coach at https://www.themammacoach.com/