Wonderful Women Interview with Perinatal Psychiatrist Dr Rebecca Moore
Dr Rebecca Moore is a perinatal psychiatrist working in London in the NHS and privately. She is an expert in the assessment and treatment of birth trauma. Dr Moore is a holistic practitioner who believes in the power of food, exercise, social connection and kindness to heal alongside traditional medicine.
She is the co-founder of Make Birth Better, a national campaign working to raise awareness of birth trauma and a mum of two.
It is an honour to interview Rebecca here.
Describe a typical day for you?
I am really lucky in that my weeks are hugely varied and interesting, in the NHS I work three days a week in a perinatal mental health team seeing women in clinic or at home during their pregnancies and in the first year of motherhood. For the rest of the week, I work with Make Birth Better campaigning for national changes in how we educate and reduce birth trauma for both women and staff working in the NHS. I write and podcast for a variety of sources and I make sure to fit in at least two to three classes of yoga per week because that keeps me physically and mentally strong and happy.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Aside from my kids, I am really proud of the work I am doing with Make Birth Better with my colleague Dr Svanberg. I love training and teaching and we have huge plans this year to push for making training on birth trauma mandatory for all healthcare professionals working in maternity and primary care along with offering bespoke training to a host of organisations all across the UK. We also have one conference booked already as far as the US!
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
I am looking in my bag now and I have an inhaler as I am asthmatic, Oyster Card, earrings, a tiny bottle of Nuxe Oil, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, Bach Rescue Remedy Spray, Match Attack cards (my sons), a glittery pink Eiffel Tower key ring (we just got back from Paris) and my phone and headphones because I walk a lot and listening to podcasts is a form of meditation for me.
What are your ambitions in life?
I want to continue to develop Make Birth Better into a world leader in training around birth trauma for both parents and professionals. I really need to finish writing my book and plan to train to become a yoga teacher this year.
Ultimately, in the next few years I want to open a beautifully designed wellness centre for women with light airy spaces full of art and music with a garden, healing seasonal food, a gym and yoga studio and access to a huge range of world class therapists. I am longing to provide a unique space for mums and their babies to feel safe, held and listened to whilst receiving world class treatment for birth trauma and their emotional health. I can see it in my mind!
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I wish I had believed in myself more quickly and owned my expertise and worth. I think we are notoriously bad at doing this as women and often minimise ours talents. I think I have got better at this over time.
I wish I had challenged a prior manager’s care of me after having a miscarriage and made a formal complaint. Their behaviour at the time was frankly bullying and it made a difficult time even worse. I think women who have miscarriages have very little support often from colleagues or the NHS in terms of their emotional recovery.
Where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?
In my Women’s Health Centre which will be thriving and a community hub open to all hopefully practising as both a doctor and a yoga teacher!
Also travelling all over the country and the world, training around birth trauma and teaching Make Birth Better’s bespoke trauma-led model of care for women and their families.
What advice would you give a budding psychiatrist?
Psychiatry is a fabulous career to work in, it is full of amazing creative, caring and compassionate people, and you have the privilege of really knowing your patients and spending time with them. You learn about their lives in a way that often other branches of medicine don’t offer.
Psychiatry is evolving hugely at the moment with new research and focus into inflammation as a cause of many illnesses plus the exploding science around the gut microbiome which I find hugely exciting. Also the research into the use of psychedelics, mapping out the brain with pinpoint imagery and the use of the creative arts to heal.
So I would say go for it. Find a good local mentor, if you are London-based feel free to come and shadow me for a day!
What advice would you give a new parent/ someone currently suffering with perinatal (and beyond) mental health issues?
Firstly know that you can seek help and feel better, you are not alone, it is not your fault and you are not a bad mum. It can feel tremendously scary to voice that you are struggling as new mum.
Find someone you trust and try to tell them how you feel, a friend, family member, GP, peer group support, telephone line such as PANDAS or Samaritans or an online community line Twitter or Facebook. If you can’t speak it yet try writing it down in a journal and showing what you have written to someone. There are a huge range of sources of support out there now, it might be you change your diet, add in some daily 10 minute exercise, take supplements, start meditating, self-refer for therapy or take medication. Find the mix that works for you and you will get better, it takes time but it will happen.
Finally, happiness is…
Home and Family first and foremost. Increasingly saying no to stuff that brings me no joy or I don’t need or want to do. Holidays and travelling the world. Cooking and pottering with bare feet and a huge cup of coffee. Walking as much as possible. Sitting in the sun and feeling the warmth on my face. Reading papers, books, magazines. The Archers Omnibus in the bath on a Sunday afternoon. Yoga, yoga and more yoga.