Let me introduce you to Afton Jones, a perinatal wellness therapist from Charlotte, NC. Today, we are so lucky to have her here with us to discuss the important role that therapy and support can play in helping expectant and new mothers during this incredible journey. We’ll hear from Afton to gain insight on her professional and personal experiences. So get ready to be inspired, learn something new, and gain valuable insight! Thank you for joining us today. Below is my Interview with Perinatal Wellness and Support Services Afton Jones

My interview with Afton Jones of Perinatal Wellness & Support Services in Charlotte, NC

 Transcript from our video interview:

We are meeting this morning with Afton and she’s gonna tell us a little bit about what she does and what her passion is in her business. Okay. So introduce yourself for me and Sure. Hello everyone. I’m Afton Jones. I am the owner and therapist of Perinatal Wellness and Support Services, and I am a therapist.

What I do is I help women during pregnancy and after pregnancy to navigate, any changes or challenges that come with that, with the new role of motherhood and how did you come to work in this field? Uh, so I have been in the field of like mental health therapy for, let’s see, about 11 years now. Prior to working in the perinatal mental health field, I did more like generalist work, so I did a lot of group work and substance abuse treatment, just general mental health treatment. You know depression, anxiety mainly.

And then after I had my daughter, I realized how challenging, the role of motherhood can be. And it completely changed my outlook and shifted my, my passion to wanna help other women, help other moms, to be able to navigate and deal with some of the changes and challenges that happen once you become a mom.

expecting mom studio portrait from Insley Photography for this Charlotte NC mom

I just became really passionate about helping other women to be able to, have some support in that area. 

All right. And you are on the path to becoming a lactation consultant. How did that begin? 

Yes. I am on the path to becoming a lactation consultant! I’m currently taking classes and doing clinicals for that. Breastfeeding is just something I fell in love with again, uh, experience. Funny story is I did not know that I was gonna breastfeed. I didn’t really have a plan to breastfeed. My mom breastfed and she was trying to encourage me. She’s like, you know, you should try it. I was kind of iffy about it. Fast forward, I had my daughter in the hospital. They’re like, here you go. Do you wanna try to latch her? So I go, sure, and ended up loving it.  

The beginning was challenging and I think a lot of women can agree with that, that it’s not the rainfall rainbows and, you know, butterflies that people make it out to be.

You know, you see these beautiful pictures of women who are breastfeeding and everybody says, oh, it’s so natural. And it is a natural thing, but natural doesn’t always mean easy. So over time just, you know, worked through some of those challenges and ended up loving it.  Breastfed my little girl for two and a half years.

All right. 

black and white newborn with mom portrait, Charlotte Newborn Photographer Interview with Perinatal Wellness and Support

I would love to help other women to be able to navigate breastfeeding and the things that come with it, normalize breastfeeding, and let women know there is support available. And encourage women to get the support so that they can stick with it. There’s so many great benefits of breastfeeding. Both mom and for baby, and I want women, you know, if they’re able to, to be able to experience that. Absolutely I love it.

And, can you give some tips for new moms? What, what would be your top tips for new moms? 

My number one tip for new moms would be to take care of yourself!

A lot of times, you know, it’s, it’s portrayed as, mom kind of gets pushed to the back burner. Mm-hmm, but mom needs to take care of mom because that’s how you keep going to be able to take care of your little one, so I like to think of it is like mom being the core, and if mom is in a good place, Typically, everything else is easier to have in place.

So I would say, don’t forget about you take care of yourself so that you can keep taking care of the other things in life. , and then support. Support is huge and it is so important, whatever that may look like. And we have different people that support us in different ways. So that could be a therapist, that could be friends, that could be family.

Whatever support looks like for you, I say get back to that,

and then I also like to say, to continue to enjoy life. Enjoy who you are. Sometimes we forget that, you know, I’m still me. We take on all these roles, whatever they may be, friends, sister, wife, mom, but before all of that, it was you, you know, you were you.

And so it’s important to continue to grow and maintain that relationship with yourself. Then the last couple of things I would say enjoy time with your little one, we all have different ways of how we go about doing things and stick with what feels right to you. 

Yeah. I think the best advice I was given as a new mom was to follow my instincts 

Yes! And to follow that intuition. And I, I think it’s still true. 

beautiful black and white portrait of a new mother with her newborn baby girl, Fort MIll, SC

Absolutely for moms-to-be, anything they should do to prepare themselves for the journey that’s coming, either mental health wise or lactation wise, anything they should do? 

There’s so many things you can do, I think. Doing your research is always great. Knowing what to expect, I feel like can be really helpful and make the world a difference in just having that education and awareness of what comes with pregnancy, what comes with delivery, what comes with the postpartum period. Just having some awareness and education around that is huge. There are perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that can present during pregnancy or after pregnancy, so I like to educate moms about those and what they look like and signs and symptoms to be aware of.  I also like to say be ready instead of having to get ready. So it’s a good idea to identify a therapist beforehand.

Be ready instead of having to get ready

If you don’t use a therapist, great. I think that all new moms can benefit from that support, right?  But I think it’s a good idea to already have that in place. Cuz when you’re a new mom, there’s so many things going on. You’re tired, and all the things. You forget things. So it’s good to have certain things in place.

Again, support family that, you know, can help come down, support you in whatever way that looks like. Family or friends, I would say those would be some of the main things. And then as far as with the lactation,  having an idea of where you can get lactation support. If you are a mom that plans to breastfeed, it’s a good idea, to know what resources are available. And also don’t be afraid to use that. Sometimes moms, we want to do everything ourselves and , which is great, but if there’s help out there, you can use it. 

Yeah, absolutely agree. I think, you know, with my experience, we talked about it before, my son came early, so I struggled a lot in the beginning and I think the key to our success was continuing to ask for help because I knew we needed that help. When he came five weeks early, they knew I needed the help, but continuing to ask and say, you know, how can we make this better? 

I like that you said, continue to ask for help

because.  Just, you know, if you look at years after you have a baby, it’s not just that first year that moms need support. It’s an ongoing support that you need. Not just when you, right after you have the baby, right? Continuing to ask for help. Continue to ask for support, and use that support because there’s gonna be different changes and challenges. Different stages of your child’s life. Every time you think you got it figured out, they’re gonna throw you a new curve ball.

Exactly! Something new comes and it knocks you off your feet. That’s right. 

causal maternity portrait session with the whole family Interview with Perinatal Wellness and Support

And what do you wish you had known about lactation before your daughter was born? Oh my goodness, I wish I had known that it wasn’t gonna be as easy as it is portrayed. That’s what I wish I had known. Also, It is okay to ask for help, because 

I had this idea that this is supposed to be easy and I shouldn’t know how to do this and what am I doing wrong?

But it took me a while to accept I need help. Mm-hmm.  and I got the help and things were much better, and I’m like, why didn’t I do this sooner? So yes, I think just knowing that. Yeah, it’s not easy. Ask for help and that there’s help out there and know that there is help out there. Yeah. So let’s talk about what local resources and support options you know about that might help local moms.

Where can local women get Perinatal Support?

Yeah, One great local resource is Mind, Body, Baby of North Carolina. They have a lot of resources for moms. They have a website, they have Instagram, so definitely find them. 

Also there is a website Postpartum Support International. And if you go to their website, you can search for options in your area, so therapists or other support resources that are beneficial and they’re kind of like a hub.

Okay. And we’ll link both of those to the bottom of this so you guys can find those websites real easy, and mind, body, baby, post on Mondays, all of their classes coming up for the week. So that’s a good spot too to check out if you’re on Instagram. 

And then how can folks get in touch with you for Perinatal Wellness and Support Services?

I am on social media, I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram. You can Google me or you can find my website. You can email me or call me. 

Tell us your website and your phone number. Yes. I definitely am pretty much attached to my work phone. So, that number is 980 – 322 – 6268.

And just, you know, me, gimme a call to say, Hey, this is such and such, and we’ll go from there. If I don’t answer, leave me a message, and I will get back with you, usually the same day. And like I said, if you go to Facebook or Instagram, if you look for, perinatal Wellness support, you can find me.I have it linked to my website, so you can send me a message on there.

That’s another way to get in touch with me as well. And then my website is Perinatal Wellness Support.com 

And can you tell us, about the process of working with you and what happens after we reach out?

Yes. So once you reach out, we can set up a time to do a consultation that is free. It’s a free 15-minute consultation, that way you have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about me, about the work I do, and about the process.

And then from there we can schedule the first appointment. And that is an assessment intake where I get all of your history, all of your information, and we come up with a plan to work together and move forward, so reach out to me. You can email me, like I said, you can give me a call. We can set something up and go from there.

So if you maybe experiencing anxiety or experiencing some depression, or maybe it’s just trying to adjust to this new role, or maybe it’s coming up with a plan for self-care. Anything, that you feel like you need support with, we can work together to help support you.

Well, thank you for meeting with me today. This was so much fun and I look forward to, chatting more.

Afton’s website is:

https://www.perinatalwellness-support.com/ and her Instagram @perinatalwellness_support

If you have questions for her or myself just leave them in the comment section below and we will get back to you.

Insley Photography

Perinatal Wellness and Support Interview Charlotte, NC