The journey to parenthood is one of life's great adventures. In today's world, we are constantly presented with images, which we consciously and unconsciously take on as expectations about how life will be once we are a couple or a family.
Parenthood - especially early parenthood - sometimes falls short of fulfilling our hopes and dreams. It can be a time of adjustment, learning, loss, pain, sadness, worry and frustration. From the moment a pregnancy is confirmed, through to children growing into young adults, parenting offers challenges. The arrival of a new baby is a time of great joy, but also great vulnerability for women and their families.
Thousand of families each year experience grief and loss associated with miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, termination, stillbirth and neonatal deaths. Others experience unsuccessful attempts at assisted reproduction, the trauma of premature birth, feeding difficulties, illness causing separation of mum and baby, or other complications.
It is estimated that up to one in ten women experience symptoms of depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy and ten to twenty per cent are diagnosed with depression in the first year after the birth of a baby (1). Post-natal depression is also a recognised condition for some new dads, with up to one in ten dads also experiencing difficulties.
It is also evident that during pregnancy and early parenthood, women are at an increased risk of family violence (2).
Difficulties can be even more noticeable when new parents are isolated geographically from extended family, or you and your partner come with different ideas from your family of origin. There may be cultural differences between you and your partner or your family structure might mean that you do not feel that you fit in with other parents.
If you feel that you relate to any of these words or images and you are concerned that you can't talk to family and friends about scary thoughts or emotions, then my counselling can help.
(1) 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey, AIHW.
(2) 2015 Australian Institute of Family Studies.
For Help with:
Getting clear about what is bothering you and how things might change
Physical and psychological strategies for managing anxiety and depression
Exploring new ways to manage your mental health
Learning about mindfulness and meditation
Discussing your feelings about your pregnancy
Supportive counselling for pregnancy loss
Coming to terms with a birth experience that wasn't what you'd hoped for
Connecting with your baby
Learning to enjoy being with your child(ren)
Living your life based on your values
Improving communication in your relationships
Building confidence as a parent
“In giving birth to our babies, we may
find that we give birth to
new possibilities within ourselves.”
Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn