BYU Counseling and Psychological Services introduced a young mothers’ group to support student moms with children two and younger.
Young mothers interested in joining the group can contact the CAPS front desk and ask for a group referral. The group meets on Friday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. over Zoom.
“We have such rampant perfectionism at BYU that there are a lot of moms trying to be the perfect student, the perfect mom, the perfect wife and there’s just not enough of that 100% perfect to go around,” CAPS clinical professor Lesli Allen said.
This perfectionism leads to a lot of shame and guilt, she said. It was her goal to provide a place for people to come and talk and see that they are not alone.
Allen said she wants young mothers to recognize that there are reasons for their feelings and behaviors. For example, there are biological reasons for postpartum depression, as well as their bodies changing due to hormones.
New mom Audrey Gabrielson said she does wish she could talk with other moms that are in similar situations. She wishes the world were in a state to have playgroups so her daughter could experience playing with other kids.
Some of her motherhood struggles have been sleep training and dealing with other people’s criticisms, she said. “Even though being a mom is so hard, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
CAPS is offering 32 different therapy groups this semester in addition to the young mothers’ group, certified group leader Kristina Hansen said. Some of these groups are for specific topics and others address general mental health and relationship concerns.
Hansen said students are often less familiar with group therapy than they are with individual therapy when they come to CAPS seeking services.
“Group therapy is similar to individual therapy in that group therapists also work to create a space (whether in-person or virtual) that allows for open discussion of difficult issues and provides some safety and security for addressing those issues,” she said.
Group members reported they are experiencing similar benefits to the traditional in-person format. Some group members even like their virtual groups better than in-person groups, Hansen said.