Meet a Mom – Jackie Small | FairfieldMoms

Meet Jackie. A New York native, Jackie moved to Fairfield with her two daughters ten years ago. Jackie owns a solo private psychotherapy practice, Jackie Small LPC. She mainly specializes in treating postpartum depression and anxiety. When Jackie is not seeing clients, she’s attending sports events for her girls, working on her writing projects and spending time with her close knit family.

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Fairfield?

I’m originally from the North Shore of Long Island. This June will be ten years since my girls, and I moved to Fairfield.

Tell us about your Family!

I live with my two daughters, Evie who is fifteen and going into her junior year at Ludlowe High School and Colette who is thirteen and going into her Freshman year at Ludlowe High School. Evie is a goalie for the Ludlowe lax team and plays for Gold Coast club team. She’s planning on playing lacrosse in college. Colette has played
soccer for Fairfield United Soccer and participates in acting classes. Our family wouldn’t be complete without our fur babies. We have two cats, Violet and James and a Miniature Schnauzer, Roxy.

One thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m fairly handy and fix most things around my house myself. Also, my fantasy job is to be an improv actor on SNL!

One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?

I wish I had known what a spiritual, sacred journey I was embarking on and that I wasn’t meant to come out on the other side as the same woman I was before. It would be exhilarating and exhausting and profound and that I would sometimes doubt my sanity or capability of caring for this tiny creature. That I may have moments of regret and overwhelming love and fear.

In short, I wish someone had told me the truth about how it was going to be.

What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?

The people and the strong sense of community here. Fairfield is a town where people grow up and come back to raise their own families. I love that my girls are going to graduate high school with the same kids they went to nursery school with!

Best mom hack that makes your life easier?

I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it. More importantly, I’m starting to get better at accepting help when it is offered!

 

Tell us about your business and when & why you decided to start up this business?

I’m a psychotherapist in private practice. I opened my practice here in Fairfield about ten years ago. In the early years of my career a little over twenty years ago, I worked mostly for nonprofit agencies supporting women leaving abusive relationships. After having my daughters and going through postpartum depression myself, I really wanted to focus my career on supporting new mothers. The intersection of breastfeeding and postpartum mood disorders was of particular interest to me. So, I took every training I could to help mothers. I became a Certified Lactation Counselor and worked with breastfeeding mothers. Then I went on to complete an intensive training for mental health clinicians with Karen Kleiman, who is the founder of the Postpartum Stress Center in PA.

Karen is essentially the pioneer of postpartum therapy. She has written numerous books both for clinicians and mothers. I briefly worked as a Postpartum and Labor doula. Those trainings gave me the scientific background to provide women with the most up to date information about what was happening in their bodies as well as their
hearts and minds.

I started my business running new mother support groups in Fairfield. At the time, there weren’t many professionally facilitated groups for new mothers. Before I had an office, we met in the study rooms of the Fairfield Library. The groups were small, no more than five moms and babies. That created an intimacy needed for the moms to be as vulnerable as they needed to. I really look back on those days with such fondness. Occasionally I will run into the moms and hear that they are still friends with the other members of the group. So special.

My practice evolved from the groups, and I started to focus mostly on individual therapy for postpartum women. I remained a lactation counselor and for a few years worked in a pediatric practice in Greenwich while also serving as a La Leche Leader here in Fairfield. My practice is still primarily focused on new mothers. However, I also work with teens and adults facing other challenges.

Why is it important for people to see a therapist?

For people who are experiencing symptoms that go beyond normal stress and the ups and downs of life, it’s important to treat those symptoms. Therapists are trained to be objective and it’s very different from going to a friend for advice. I think people would benefit more if they started to view their mental and emotional health as a
priority. When choosing a therapist, I recommend having a consultation with a few different therapists to see who you connect most with. In my opinion, the connection between the therapist and client is the agent for change. If there isn’t warmth and trust and a feeling of validation from your therapist, it won’t be successful.

Tell us about the different specialities you have for treatment

I use a few different modalities in my treatment of clients depending on their challenges. My foundational training is in psychodynamic psychotherapy, and I do approach most clients with that lens. When working with people with anxietydisorders (OCD, phobias etc.) I use a structured approach which is part CBT and part exposure response therapy. I find it to be very effective. I am trained in the treatment of anxiety disorders, PTSD using EMDR and postpartum mood disorders. I also use a lot of humor in my work with clients. No, not a clinical technique but I
find it to be very powerful and healing to laugh. Anyone who has worked with me will
tell you that we do spend a good deal of time laughing!

Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and raising a family?

My advice about guilt is always that it is only an appropriate emotion when we’ve done something wrong. So, unless you robbed a bank, it’s not guilt, it’s shame. We are not doing anything wrong by pursuing our passions and careers. We are not hurting our children by earning a living. There is no perfect or ideal scenario for us as women. It will always be complicated and there will always be judgement. The most important thing is that we don’t judge ourselves. When we have the facts and the correct information, it is easier to tune out the noise from the misinformed people in our lives.

FACT:
There is plenty of data out there that demonstrate that to become reasonably happy, well-adjusted humans, children need one loving, attuned caregiver in their formative years. It makes no difference if that is a nanny, a father, or a grandparent if they are being loved and attuned to.

Who has most influenced you to be the mom that you are today?

My children have been my greatest teachers about who I am as a human. However, the greatest influence on my growth as a mother has been my relationship with my own mother. As I have come face to face with my own failings as a mother, I have been able to forgive her for hers and I have equally embraced my successes as I have
come to realize the gifts she gave to me. Also, it turns out she was right about most everything.

 

What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?

You are important. You don’t have to sacrifice every part of your being to raise emotionally stable children. Do what feeds your soul while caring for your children. It’s so important for them to see you laugh and smile!

We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Fairfield to…
Have Dinner with Family: Blackstone Grill
Grab a Drink with Friends: Sinclair
Have a Date Night: Artisan or Barcelona
Spend time together as a Family: Home, on the couch watching movies.
Outside Activities: Audubon trails, Paddleboarding at South Pine Creek Beach
Grab coffee: Gruel Brinnania

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