Event Waitlist

Sorry, there are no available tickets for this event. Please sign up to the waiting list (optional).

First name is required. First name contains invalid characters.
Last name is required. Last name contains invalid characters.
Email address is required. Email address is invalid.
Phone number is required. Phone number is invalid.
Number of tickets is required. Number of tickets is invalid.

Your name has been added to the wait list for this event. The event organiser will contact you through your email address once there are available seats / slots.

This event has no dates available for booking. Please contact the event organiser.

Unleashing the Grief: Motherless Mothers in the Perinatal Period


In this presentation, I will examine the struggles particular women face when they become mothers for the first time after their own mother has died.

Many women who have lost their mothers experience an unexpected and sudden resurgence of grief in the weeks and months they transition to becoming a mother themselves. Some women describe this as an unbearable pain, amidst all the other turmoil and change they are experiencing. It is also common for women to feel that support networks, personal and professional, fail to allow space for the expression of this devastating grief.

Research shows that this can have a significant detrimental effect on women’s transition to parenthood and on their perinatal mental health.

While the focus is often understandably on the baby’s wellbeing and the mother’s attachment, this sometimes inadvertently means overlooking the depth of the woman’s loss. Women inevitably use their own mothers as a reference point in their own emerging maternal identity, asking questions like:

  • What kind of labours and births did my mother have with her children?
  • How did she cope with breastfeeding?
  • What sleep settling techniques did she use?
  • What things did she find really hard?
  • If she was here, what kind of a grandparent would she be?

When women don’t have access to this information, it creates a painful reminder of their mothers’ absence and of the gaping hole in their lives.

This presentation will provide an insight for health professionals so they can:

  • Provide a listening space to acknowledge the grief of motherless mothers
  • Understand how this might impact during the transition to parenthood
  • Be prepared to provide additional supports for a motherless mother if necessary
  • Answer any questions you may have about the difficulties motherless mothers face during the perinatal period

N.B. While my study specifically focused on women whose mothers had died, some similar themes could potentially be experienced by women who are separated from mothers due to estrangement, unsupportive relationships or other types of loss and separation.

Presenter: Rachel Kleinman is a bereavement counsellor at Red Nose Australia. Red Nose specialises in supporting families through the sudden loss of a baby or child, from pregnancy loss through to the sudden loss of a child up to the age of 18. Prior to that, she spent four years as a perinatal counsellor working on PANDA’s national anxiety and depression helpline, supporting families through a range of perinatal mental health concerns. Rachel’s first career was in writing and journalism, and she decided on a career change after having her daughter, who is now nearly 11. Rachel completed her Masters in counselling and psychotherapy with the Cairnmillar Institute. For her thesis topic, she decided to combine two areas of interest – perinatal mental health and grief and loss. She finished the thesis in early 2019 and is currently in the process of submitting it for academic publication with the Journal of Family Studies.

Who should attend
All health professionals interested in perinatal mental health.

Tuesday 19 NOVEMBER 2019 
5.45pm-7.45pm; presentation starts 6.15pm sharp

Fee: $10
light refreshments provided


Note new location

Eastland Shopping Centre, 179 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood VIC 3134

Getting to Realm

The best directional advice regarding the location of Realm is as follows:

Realm is located at Ringwood Town Square, 179 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood. Realm is adjacent to Eastland Shopping Centre and directly opposite Ringwood Station.

Meeting Rooms are located on Level 2 at Realm. Please report to the BizHub reception desk on Level 2 upon arrival and we will direct you to your meeting rooms. Access to Level 2 is available via stairs or elevator.

Car parking

The most convenient parking to Realm is the Eastland shopping centre car park.

The recommended parking is via Eastland Gate 5, located off Ringwood Street. Once you enter the gate, immediately veer left up the single lane ramp and then left again up the dual lane ramp. This will bring you to the designated undercover Town Square car park (Level 3 M, Entry Z). It is then just a short stroll across the concourse to Realm.

Eastland runs a paid car parking system. This system is clearly marked and signed with the terms & conditions. It is recommended that when parking that all visitors pay close attention these terms and conditions. More information on Eastland’s paid parking system, including fees, can be found at https://www.eastland.com.au/visit/parking/car-park


Contact Details

Centre for Perinatal Psychology
1300 852 660