WellMum programme

baby and mother

WellMum Programme – Promoting wellbeing in early motherhood

Becoming a mum can be a rollercoaster of different experiences and emotions. Many of us have clear ideas, images and fantasies of what it will be like when our new bundle arrives. The media is full of scenes of new mums and their babies, commonly looking into each other’s eyes, serene and peaceful, and we all hope and expect that things will go as smoothly for us.


What happens when your baby arrives into the world and it’s not like this all the time or ever? What happens when as well as the expected and welcomes emotions such a joy and love, there are unexpected and unwelcome ones such as anxiety, sadness and anger?


Challenges in the early months of motherhood

New mums can experience a range of distressing emotions for a whole host of reasons – it may be that the birth didn’t go as they had hoped and planned, there are physical complications from the birthing process (baby or mum), the baby has colic and won’t sleep, breastfeeding isn’t going as planned, the process of endless feeding and changing cycles is exhausting, the list goes on! In addition, many new mums are also surprised by the complex emotions that surface regarding their relationship with their own parents and family. All of this is going on in the context of a new mum trying to find her feet with the day-to-day practicalities of having a newborn, so it is understandable that the early months can be challenging!


Our tricky brain and unhelpful emotional loops

Our brains can be tricky to manage. When challenges arise, mums can feel disappointed in themselves, thinking they have done something wrong or failed in some way. They can become self-critical in the face of their suffering, comparing themselves negatively to others and believing if they could do something differently then all would be well. Unfortunately this approach leads to further feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness and shame and can result in a vicious cycle of distressing emotional loops.


WellMum programme

Imagine if instead of responding to the day-to-day difficulties you are facing with self-criticism and anger, you were able to respond to yourself in a kind and supportive way, in the same way that you would support a good friend? What difference might this make? This is the main aim of WellMum programme.


WellMum is a six-week program aimed at promoting the emotional well-being of new mums through the cultivation of compassion. Compassion involves two components, firstly sensitivity to suffering in the self and others combined with a commitment to alleviate the suffering (Paul Gilbert). When we are able to sooth and comfort ourselves and others in the face of distress, we do not get stuck in unhelpful loops of negative thinking and emotions and are therefore more able to effectively deal with the situations we find ourselves in.

Many research studies have demonstrated the positive effects of cultivating compassion. Compassion training has been shown to build confidence, support meaningful and caring relationships as well as promoting physical and mental health. This is all great news for new mums and their babies!

The emphasis of the WellMum programme is on enhancing emotional resources to meet the emotional challenges of being a new mum in a supportive environment with other mums in the same position.

By attending the group you will learn

  • To better understand the brain, how our brains can be tricky and how we are all susceptible to unhelpful thinking loops
  • To be more aware of your emotional state and how best to help yourself in moments of distress
  • To relate to yourself and your distress with kindness and support
  • The importance of self-care and kindness and the relationship this has to bonding with your baby
  • To practice compassion towards yourself and others daily
  • Techniques to cope with difficult emotions


Who is WellMum for?

WellMum is aimed at new mums who have had a baby in the last year. The group will consist of up to 10 mums.


When is the next programme?

The next programme starts on Monday 9th May at 7.30pm. The programme runs weekly for six weeks. The cost of the programme (including individual assessment) is €250.


What to do next?

Places are limited to 10 so early booking is recommended. If you are interested in attending the group, please call the practice on (091) 727777. You will be booked in for a 30 minute individual assessment with one of the Clinical Psychologists to ensure you are suitable for the group. At that point you can secure your place by paying for the course. If the group is not believed to be suitable for you, you will be signposted to other more suitable options.


WellMum was developed by Clinical Psychologists – Dr Róisín Joyce and Dr Sheila Callinan. Róisín and Sheila are trained in a number of evidence-based therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy.