Emily Anderson has been volunteering as a guest speaker at PEPS Groups for the last two years. She believes working with PEPS is a natural fit for her with her work for the Fussy Baby Network here in Seattle. The Fussy Baby Network is designed for new moms and dads who are trying to understand (and sometimes survive!) with a baby who is hard to soothe, doesn’t sleep, has trouble eating or has other challenges in the first year of life. Emily added, “My background in infant mental health, child development and child-parent psychotherapy allows me to hold multiple perspectives in mind: the baby’s experience, the parents’ experience and the family relationships overall.”
As a PEPS guest speaker, leaders invite Emily to their group to offer a different perspective and added support. “It is an honor to be able to join these families during such a delicate time in their life. I offer some developmental guidance based on my own training and experience with babies, particularly difficult-to-soothe babies, but my main goal is to listen to each parents’ experience, and help solidify the message: You are not alone. There is support out there to help you get through this time. Even if babies are otherwise healthy, sometimes they cry — a LOT! And everyone deserves a listening ear when they are going through this period of life.”
Emily recalled a especially moving moment she had while working with a Little Peppers group, “Several moms became tearful as they shared feelings of guilt and conflict regarding the diminished attention they were giving their firstborn children. They loved their new babies, but they weren’t prepared for how conflicted they would feel about not being able to focus as much on their older children. Moms offered comfort to one another, not in the form of easy answers, but simply in the solidarity of knowing that they were in this difficult space together. It was reassuring for each to hear things like, ‘Oh, my daughter is acting out for attention, too.’ It was a powerful reminder that PEPS Groups offer a space to talk about the things that are not always emphasized in parenting books or websites: the pain and grief of transitioning to two children; the guilt that can come alongside the joy of a growing family.”
When not volunteering with PEPS or working at the Fussy Baby Network, Emily stays busy with her own three young children! They all love the outdoors, exploring and messy art projects. She recharges by reading, taking walks, writing short stories, and hanging out with friends.
Thank you, Emily, for all you do supporting PEPS families!