Family counselling – how it helps

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The Family Law Act provides for family counselling to help people experiencing relationship difficulties to manage interpersonal or personal issues concerning family and children during marriage, divorce or separation.

Family counselling can address hurt feelings, problems between partners or another individual in the family, issues related to the care of children, new financial and living arrangements and adjustments etc.

When family counselling may be needed

It is not easy at all times to keep relationships on a healthy wicket and problems can surface at varying points across our lives. When you experience a shaky moment in your relationship, it may not spell immediate trouble, but potentially could be a sign that you need some help. Family counselling is tuned to provide support and guide couples in meeting one or more challenges they are facing in life.

Family counselling can help in maintaining valued family relationships even in the event of a separation. The focus of the parents on such instances is on what best could be done for their children. Children will have their own emotions and feelings and may not comprehend the situation or have the ability to deal with it.

Adults, young individuals, couples and their kids can all benefit from family counselling, or perhaps a whole family when needed. There can also be situations where one or more individuals are concerned about their own safety as well as the safety of others in the family, such as the children or the elders. The best option is to keep the Service staff at the counselling centre informed of these concerns as soon as possible.

Can family counselling help when a point of no return has been reached

Even in situations where the relationship has been strained to the point of no return, family counselling can be helpful, particularly for the parents in deciding about arrangements for the kids and how parenting would be shared post-separation.

Under the Family Law Act, parents are encouraged to sort out any difference they may have over the kids rather than seek the intervention by a Court. Similarly, there can also be issues concerning dividing the properties, and family counselling can help the couples arrive at an amicable settlement.

Going to court will be not only expensive but also time-consuming. Even when you take your differences to court, you may still be required to see your family counsellor or consultant.

At any point during your legal action, the courts can direct the parties to see a family counsellor to discuss with the objective of resolving the differences concerning the welfare, care and development of the children. Generally, the courts make a parenting order only after the parties have seen a family counsellor. However, this requirement may be waived in some instances, such as in situations where an urgent decision is sought on grounds acceptable to the court.

Family counselling for children

Under the Family Law Act, when a divorce or separation affects children, a family counsellor can counsel children too. However, in such instances, the counsellor is required to have special skills in dealing with children. Depending on individual circumstances, the counsellor may also provide comprehensive counselling for the whole family.

When to see a family counsellor

There is no specific time frame for seeing the family counsellor. However, seeing your family counsellor early on can give the counsellor a better opportunity for the counsellor to help you. Thus, you can see a family counsellor before a proposed marriage, during the marriage, a live-in relationship, after divorce or separation or when you decide to re-marry. You can also see a family counsellor on issues impacting your children irrespective of whether you have ever been married or had a live-in relationship.

In instances of separation, you can seek help from a family counsellor regardless of whether you started a court action or not. A family counsellor can help you wade through emotional problems with your partner or spouse or help you reach an agreement on parental responsibilities.

The information you can expect from a family counsellor

A family counsellor can provide you with referrals to services that could be of help in your situation. This would, however, depend on your position in the relationship such as building up the relationship, creating a new relationship, you are trying to separate or reconcile, you are a blended family etc.

When you are considering divorce, the family counsellor is required to provide you information that can be helpful in reconciliation (except when you feel that reconciliation is a remote possibility).

When you are already separated and need to address issues regarding children, the family counsellor is required to provide you with information regarding parenting plans and related services like family dispute resolution that are available for your help.


Generally speaking, all your conversations with the family counsellor under the Family Law Act are confidential barring certain specific circumstances and can include prevention of a severe threat to the life of someone or preventing a potential crime. However, you should speak to your counsellor on confidentiality and gain a thorough understanding of how the provisions apply in your case.

Cost of family counselling

A fee is prescribed for family counselling and will be guided by your financial abilities to pay. If you are experiencing financial difficulties or have a low income, you should let the counsellor know of this, and he can activate arrangements to ensure that you can still access family counselling.

The underlying objective of family counselling is to explore the tiniest possibility of bringing the warring parties to vent their feelings, and through that, evolve a method/s to reconcile the differences. An absence of quality communication has often been seen to be the primary impediment in reconciliation.

Brochures and Publications (Australian Government)

Family Relationship Counselling

Counselling certificate for applicants married less than two years

Family Court Counselling

How to choose active maternity wear during pregnancy?

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Your pregnancy is to be enjoyed and celebrated and therefore there is no reason why you should not be looking at adding some active pregnancy wear to your wardrobe. In other words, you are absolutely entitled to continue with your moderate exercise that you were used to before you became pregnant. One word of caution though is that you should always give an ear to what your body says and never try to push it far. If you have doubts, the best way is to speak to your obstetrician or midwife to confirm the best type of exercises and the time you spend on them during your pregnancy. This way, you will be playing it safe for you and your baby.

Many women today, are happy showing off the growing bump and embrace it, rather than try to hide it. Choosing active pregnancy wear is thus more a matter of focusing on comfort while not sacrificing on your lifestyle needs. For most women, the first trimester passes off without much concern on what to wear or with minor fixes to available clothes. However, things start changing rapidly once you step into the second trimester and all the pretty dreams associated with pregnancy start becoming real. Flowing dresses, silky and loose tops with embellished sandals going with them become essential. Moving on to the third trimester, comfort takes precedence over everything else, and styles become less of a concern.

Go shopping for active pregnancy wear

When you have made up your mind to enjoy a comfortable and yet stylish pregnancy wardrobe, the best that you can do is to start scouting early in the first trimester itself unless you are bogged down by morning sickness and associated challenges.
You can start with some active leggings for prenatal yoga or the loose shirt and boots for a weekend stroll. Once this is taken care of, the next item to focus on is sleepwear or nightwear. If you have moved into the second trimester or closer to that, you will realise that adequate and quality sleep is more like a battleground and it can get even more challenging as the days roll on. Focusing on nightwear (cotton fabric is healthier compared to synthetic fabric all through your pregnancy and postnatal days) that is comfortable while being gorgeous too is the way to go. Also remember that you are shopping for something that can last you for a year or more so that you save the hassle of going shopping in the last trimester or post-delivery, both of which can be physically demanding.

Clothes to move around places, go partying, or stroll on the beach

You know only too well that pregnancy does not demand your huddling in the corner of your home until the baby arrives. Mobility is not only great but also essential to keep you and your baby in good health. Nice looking and yet comfortable outfitting, therefore, becomes a necessity rather than a luxury during this phase. Jumpsuits are reckoned as your best option since they can grow with the bump and can also be worn throughout your pregnancy.

Good jeans

If you are keen on shopping for jeans, then ensure that they are the figure-hugging style with a great feel. It will let you use loose tops and yet look polished. Remember that the jeans you buy can be used beyond your pregnancy and post-natal period.

Bassike tops

These tops are strictly speaking not among maternity wear but fabulous as an investment to cater to the early days of pregnancy. They mesh well with nearly everything and loose enough for the growing bump, looking good at all times. Just make sure that you buy one size higher than usual to add comfort.

Maternity bras

Now we come to the most important item in your pregnancy-related shopping list. Every pregnant woman will need two or more maternity bras to make it comfortable for you through the pregnancy and postnatal days.

Why maternity bras?

If you had the impression that you can do with your regular bras, you should consider the following:

Your breasts will experience tenderness and hypersensitivity beginning the second trimester and several weeks after the baby is delivered and you continue breastfeeding. You will also need to factor in growth and enlargement of the breasts. Similarly, the nipples will tend to protrude while the areolas will grow larger. However, these changes may vary from one individual to the other, but the underwire bras which most women tend to use before pregnancy is best put aside for future use.

Choosing your maternity bras

When you go shopping for your maternity bras, you are better off being an informed customer. Focus on deep band beneath the cup and wide straps for the shoulders for excellent support and adjustable closure. For instance, back fastening bras offer greater flexibility.

Addressing sensitivity and tenderness

As your body gets ready for lactation, hormonal action lends your breasts sensitive and tender. As you approach the end of the second trimester, the milk ducts usually start growing and get filled with milk. A regular bra can be pretty uncomfortable for you during this period. One thing that you cannot ignore is getting your maternity bras professionally fitted. It is a lot more sense to spend a few more dollars on getting a professional fitting than suffer potential discomfort later.

Maternity bras for the postnatal period

Remember that the maternity bras you buy now will serve you at the time that you breastfeed your baby. Therefore, you can pick up cup specific bras after you have weaned your child from breastfeeding or about eight weeks after the baby is delivered so that fluctuation in your breast size can stabilise. However, till then a seamless bra is considered your best choice since it keeps pace with all the changes your body undergoes during pregnancy and beyond. Your breasts getting compressed or restricted or compressed during the lactation phase can have undesirable consequences too.

Reason To Choose The Best Obstetricians For Your Pregnancy

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Gynecology and Obstetrics are two medical specialities that deal with the human body of females. While the practitioners of both specialities broadly deal with the same branch of medicine, they are distinct in more ways than one.  Both these medical specialities have also have undergone numerous changes with time, and in modern times, they are even trained together. Therefore, often, you can notice that the both the specialities are merged to make a single hobby.  You may also have seen abbreviations like O&G, OBG, OB/GYN, etc.  Although both disciplines are combined, differences do exist.


In short, Obstetrics deals with the care needed by pregnant women right from the start of the pregnancy through childbirth and postnatal care. Further, it also includes pre-natal health care for the fetus and postnatal care for the mother to help her recover well.  On the other hand, Gynecology can be understood as an umbrella term to deal with the reproductive system in women.  Thus issues related to the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina, etc. can be placed under gynaecology.  But, since these organs are again part of the overall anatomy, other organs like the bladder, bowel and urinary systems, etc. also form part of a gynecologist’s functions.

Obstetrician vs. Gynecologist

A doctor specialised in gynaecology is known as a gynaecologist, and one who specialises in obstetrics is called obstetrician. As we mentioned earlier, in modern times, both these specialities go hand in hand, and therefore doctors specialising in gynaecology also tend to specialise in obstetrics. For example, female obstetrician like Dr Shelley Rowlands is also specialised in gynaecology. 

Procedures performed by the two specialities differ too. An obstetrician takes care of complications arising during childbirth. These methods can involve the mother to-be as well as the child. Major procedures under this speciality include:-

Correcting the position of the baby in the mother’s womb. This is particularly applicable when the mother is keen on attempting a vaginal delivery.

C-Section or Caesarean – In instances where vaginal delivery is not the option, surgery is performed by the obstetrician to take the baby out from the womb.

Cervical cerclage:  This procedure deals with strengthening the cervix of the mother to-be to prevent miscarriage. In this procedure, a suture is placed through the cervix so that it remains closed.

Gynecological procedures

Obstetrician & GynecologistThe reproductive tract falls under gynaecological procedures and includes modifying a part of it or removing it altogether. Some of the specific procedures under this branch are:-

Hysterectomy:  This involves removing the womb of a woman. There are many ways to this like robotics, laparoscopy, abdominal, vaginal, etc.

Laparoscopy:  Diagnosing and treating with the aid of a camera and special instruments is known as Laparoscopy.  The scars resulting from this procedure are smaller, and recovery is easier compared to an open surgery called a laparotomy.

Cone biopsies: This relates to removing precancerous cells found in the cervix. This may be done either in the doctor’s office or a hospital and may also be termed as LEEP.

As you would have noticed by now, the reproductive system in females is pretty complex, and therefore the study of this scheme has been bifurcated into two. Most doctors tend to practice gynaecology and obstetrics together. However, some may choose to confine themselves to only one branch and refer cases meriting the attention of the other branch to another doctor. In recent times, the third branch of a practice known as laborist has also emerged. A doctor practising this branch attends only to calls in the labour unions and often is specialised in obstetrics alone.

Having examined the core differences between a gynaecologist and an obstetrician, let us know consider why you should choose the best obstetrician for your pregnancy.

In the first place, an obstetrician is one with specialised training and knowledge in all matters concerning pregnancy and childbirth. On a relative plane, she/he is more competent to look after both the fetus and the mother to-be.

The World over, pregnancy is an important facet of any woman’s life.  From the day one learns about the pregnancy to the day she sees the face of her little darling, the entire period is punctuated with loads of emotion, fond hopes, love, expectation, ecstasy, joy and more.  It is a unique distinction given by the creator only to the female.  This is also the period when the pregnant woman’s body goes through a series of hormonal changes though most of it is familiar to every woman under the sun. At the same time, getting pregnant and safely delivering the baby is a divine gift and often considered a rebirth for the mother.Obstetrician & Gynecologist

Your obstetrician is therefore expected to be very friendly and patient while dealing with every single issue, big or small related to your pregnancy.  Apart from his/her medical expertise, the general disposition and a gentle touch can do loads of good for the mother and her pregnancy.

Many obstetricians also offer pre-pregnancy counselling. This will involve assessing the women’s general health, her mental readiness to accept the pregnancy and nurture it through to delivering the baby safely, educating the woman on potential health issues related to pregnancy, particularly for a woman who is wanting to get pregnant for the first time in life, etc.

Pre-Pregnancy workshops

This, by far takes things a couple of notches above the pre-pregnancy counselling. These workshops tend to educate pregnant woman on precautions to be taken, handling various issues related to pregnancy, enjoying the pregnancy, measures to keep body and mind safe and healthy, dietary habits and precautions, an importance of regular checkups, etc.  When you are choosing the best obstetrician for you, you should ensure that she can provide access to such workshops or educate you on these lines.

Careful and approachable services

With the specialised training that she/he has, your obstetrician can provide more available and attentive service throughout your pregnancy and postnatal period.

Pregnancy workshops

Some Obstetricians also offer pregnancy workshops which are immensely useful for the pregnant women. These workshops walk you through 3 trimesters and post-natal care. For women who get pregnant for the first time, there can be hundreds of questions. Even though they can search online or get related information on women cares, it may be difficult to find answers for all of them. But, when you sit through these workshops, not only will most of your questions be answered, but you will also gain loads of information that can make your pregnancy a more pleasurable experience.

Make A Better Life! --Irine