The August Childhood Trauma Newsletter: Matrescence, Patrescence, Infant Attachment, & Book Chat

It’s August, and the sights and sounds of back-to-school are joyously vibrating through my being! I don’t know about you, but this summer has been a challenge in the parenting department. Children thrive in their routines and structure, and summer life does not have enough of that for my child because the baffling behaviors are off the charts!

As a former child trauma therapist, I feel the pressure to always know what to do as a parent, and when I don’t I feel ashamed. So, cheers to a new school year, I am ready for it!

Thank you to all the teachers, school counselors, school nurses and other professionals who risk their lives and their sanity for our children. You all deserve a pay raise and more vacation time, in my opinion.

Trauma Truth

New parenthood can be traumatic. From the stress of the pregnancy on the body to any number of things that go wrong during the birth process, becoming a new parent is an overwhelming and potentially traumatizing experience for everyone involved.

This topic is important for me to speak up about because I struggled with anxiety and despair after the birth of my daughter, and I want every parent to know that you are NOT a failure if you are going through the same thing too. There is help available and there’s nothing wrong with asking for support or seeking mental health treatment. Getting the help you need is BRAVE and absolutely the best thing you can do for your children.

But, even if everything goes smoothly with pregnancy and childbirth the first year or more of your child’s life can be extremely stressful, and that’s expected. According to the most recent research, this developmental phase from the beginning of pregnancy to one year postpartum is known by scientists as matrescence and patrescence. This vulnerable and natural stage of development, similar to adolescence, is experienced by anyone who becomes a parent, even through adoption or surrogacy.

During matrescence and patrescence it is common to experience intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, irritability, shame, and frustration. Yet, we often pathologize new mothers experiencing a human process, which can cause even more shame for their struggles as a new parent. This is important to discuss because feelings of shame can easily exacerbate hopelessness and despair during an already difficult phase.

At the same time, suicide is the leading cause of death in postpartum people (up to one year from giving birth). The risk factors include:

When these deaths occur the impact on the baby’s developing brain and nervous system can be devastating. However, I believe that normalizing the overwhelming experiences during early parenthood, and creating public policies that support new parents could reduce postpartum suicide and prevent some of the childhood trauma across our nation.

I have to say, before you read the full article, that I dislike the use of these gendered terms, and, unfortunately, the only research we have access to today is based on people who identify with their biological sex. More inclusive data and language is needed to have a full conversation on this topic.

To learn more about matrescense and patrescence and how we can prevent parental death by suicide, read the my full article “Normalizing the Struggle of New Parenthood to Reduce Parental Death and Childhood Trauma.”

Resource of the Month

PACESConnection.com

This PACESConnection community is wealth of knowledge on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs). The research on ACEs and PCEs is clear. When young children experience adversity it negatively impacts their long-term health, and when children experience positive relational and social experiences, it buffers them from the adversity of life. PACESConnection is an online, free membership community filled with trauma and mental health experts who share resources and guidance regularly.

From their website:

PACEs Connection members include people living in rural, suburban, and urban areas and from a variety of different backgrounds, including health, education, criminal justice, social services, business, community activism, civic, and faith-based fields.

Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of making friends and influential connections through the PACEs community. I highly recommend you check it out!

Trauma Champion of the Month

Deborah McNelis, M.Ed

This month’s Trauma Champion meshes perfectly with the topic of matrescence and patrescence.

Deborah is a colleague of mine, and is also an author, speaker and creator of Neuro-Nurturing®. As an Early Brain Development Specialist and founder of Brain Insights LLC, she has developed the unique Neuro-Nurturing® Interaction Series, The First 60 Days booklet, and The First 60 Days Movement.

Deborah’s main focus is helping new parents understand and implement the process of attachment, and the important role it plays in the healthy development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. When new parents have tools like Deborah created, it can increase attachment, which naturally will reduce anxiety in the baby. Less anxiety typically equals more sleep, which is a win for everyone involved!

She has been seen in publications, heard on radio interviews and webinars worldwide and receives rave reviews for her engaging and insightful presentations and keynotes for communities, schools, organizations and companies. She has the ability to make brain science both understandable and easy to implement into everyday life and loves seeing “aha” moments occur as she shares insights with those who care about making a positive difference.

Deborah’s (not small) goal is to make this invaluable understanding of early brain development (finally) become common knowledge for EVERYONE, so that EVERY child develops the knowledge that they are worthy of love and acceptance for being all that they are. I can attest that her excitement for this work is contagious, and our work is closely aligned. Take a look at her First 60 Days Movement and make the world a safer place for babies.

News & Events from Beth Tyson Trauma Consulting

The energy that the fall season brings is already ramping up! Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone? September feels like the start of a new year for many of us, especially teachers, parents, and anyone who works closely with children. And with this uptick in energy I am looking forward to new projects and speaking opportunities!

Attention teachers, therapists, and caregivers!

 

REGISTER HERE

You’re invited to my very first Trauma Book Chat! Please join me and Author Ginger Healy online Monday, September 11th for a group discussion about Ginger’s new book, Regulation and Co-Regulation – Accessible Neuroscience and Connection Strategies that Bring Calm into the Classroom (and home). This is also my first affiliate link, something I trying out to see if it’s worth it. You can purchase the book below on Amazon. It’s a very quick read with lots of visuals, and bulleted content for quick consumption.

 

PURCHASE BOOK

September is Kinship Care Month

 

REGISTER HERE

Exciting news! On September 19th I will be the keynote speaker for Kinship Care Month in Albany, NY for the New York State Kinship Navigator Program. I was honored to be invited to share about my children’s book, A Grandfamily for Sullivan, and trauma-informed care for kinship families.

There are approximately 3 million grandfamilies, aka grandparents raising grandchildren, in the U.S. and that number is growing drastically due to the opioid epidemic. This population has a special place in my heart because I saw first hand, as an in-home trauma therapist, the unique pressures these families are under. Although we know there are huge benefits to placing children with relatives, there is still an enormous amount of trauma these families are coping with and they often lack the financial resources to care for the children. Relatives raising their kin need and deserve more support, and I am going to bring all of my latest trauma-informed skills to this keynote presentation, including my C.A.R.E.S Model for Connection After Trauma. If you’re in NY state, I hope you can make it!

The “Why Connections Matter” Training

If you keep up with me on my LinkedIn or Facebook page (you do, right??) you might have heard that this month, in collaboration with Connect Our Kids, Unbelievably Resilient and the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, we are rolling out an interactive new curriculum called “Why Connections Matter” to every child welfare professional in the state of Mississippi!

This training program motivates social workers to incorporate the groundbreaking Connect Our Kids technology to find and rekindle long-term relationships with kin and “fictive kin” for children in the child welfare system. I’ve been working closely with renowned foster care expert Allison Davis Maxon over the last year to create this training and the people of Mississippi are LOVING it so far.

Children in the U.S. foster care system often lose their biological family and their self-identity along with them, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Every child has someone out there who knows them or wants to know them. These people have valuable information that can help children in foster care answer life’s most important questions like, “who am I?” and “do I matter to anyone?”

If you are looking for training or curriculum in the child welfare space, there’s no better team. Please contact me today to schedule a chat and start breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma.

My Content is Being Translated to Hungarian

Over the next few months I will be working with Dr. Michael Makara and his team from Hungary, to translate some of my content/webinars into Hungarian. This will be the first time my work has be translated into another language, and I’m so grateful to be able to support children in Hungary who are facing trauma on a daily basis without access to mental health care.

A New Children’s Book is Coming!

I am publishing another children’s book! This new book will be for children between the ages 1-4 who experience separation anxiety for any reason, including trauma and loss.

Purpose of my new book:

Transitions can trigger trauma responses in children with a history of trauma or loss. They might have learned that people they love can die, or abandon them causing everyday separation from caregivers to feel like another abandonment. However, caregivers cannot always be present every moment of the day. They have other responsibilities and tasks, including taking a break for their own mental health. This book new book will highlight safe and loving relationships to reassure children that occasional separations from caregivers are scary, but safe. The goal of the book is to validate the child’s feelings while also relieving stress from caregivers who feel guilty during times of separation. The book will provide reassurance to children that even when they are scared, angry, or sad they are still safe and loved.

As I go through the creative process I will be posting ideas on my social media for opinions, suggestions, and general feedback. Definitely keep an eye out for fun updates and requests about the book. I can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you!

Closing Thoughts

As the new school year starts revisit my article about why transitions can be SO tough for children with trauma. A helpful rule of thumb is to schedule in 10 minutes each day to spend “do nothing time” with your children so they receive the gift of your presence, and sync up with your calm nervous system. Over time, this will teach their nervous system how to move in and out of distress with more ease. An incredibly valuable skill for resilient living.

Please reply to this email with questions or comments about my work or this newsletter. I love when I hear from you!

To schedule training, consulting, or speaking events on childhood trauma, ambiguous loss, and trauma-informed caregiving please reply to this email or contact me to schedule time to chat!

With hope,

Beth

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