You’re expecting! How exciting! This could be the best news you’ve ever received – something you’ve always wanted or taken some time to achieve. This may also be an unwanted or unexpected pregnancy and feel like the worst news you could receive. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle or you are vacillating between both ends of the spectrum – possibly even within the same day!
Pregnancy brings a major life change both in the present and in the future.
The changes your physical body is going through and continues to go through in the 9 or so months of pregnancy is nothing short of astounding! You will feel different, you will move differently, your eating and sleeping habits will be affected, and you will probably feel kind of lousy some (or most) of the time. Emotionally, you are also dealing with major changes in hormones and the changes in mood and perception that this can bring.
There is no question that the addition of a new baby brings a lot of changes, and for some reason, people who are already parents seem to love to tell you about all the challenges that are to come with that new baby (lack of sleep, lack of spontaneity, loss of freedom, the effect a newborn has on your relationship, and the cost of raising children).
Other individuals also like to share the detailed stories of the births of their children. Naturally, you may have a lot of fear and anxiety about labour and delivery, particularly if this is your first child or if you had a bad experience with a previous childbirth.
You may also be anxious about your ability to be a good parent – especially if you had a traumatic childhood or had poor role models, or no role models. Being a new parent is a big responsibility and wondering if you are up for that challenge can feel daunting.
Your relationship with your spouse or partner will also experience change as the two of you learn how to navigate your romantic relationship as new parents. Alternatively, if you are a single parent, you may also be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of raising a child on your own.
Symptoms & signs of the emotional stress from pregnancy
If you or your partner have recently become pregnant, you may experiencing the following symptoms:
- Extreme worry about your ability to parent
- Inability to stop worrying about your pregnancy
- Increased general anxiety
- Feelings of never-ending stress
- Feeling socially isolated or alienated from others in your life
- Disconnected from your partner
- Grief for the losses you anticipate (in your relationship with your partner, your friends, other family, your career, etc.)
When is it time to get help?
Pregnancy brings with it a grab-bag filled with many different emotions and worries, so if you are experiencing these from time to time, that’s perfectly normal. If you find though, that you are terrified of some of the things you anticipate in the future, experiencing heavy grief for the expected loss of your life as you currently know it, or are dealing with past trauma from your childhood that you fear will affect your ability to parent, then you may benefit from seeing a therapist.
You may also want to learn more about:
Pregnancy stress treatment methods
There is no specific treatment for dealing with the change that being an expectant parent can bring. Depending on what you’re experiencing (grief, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, uncertainty about your career, etc.), there are many treatment methods that can be successful – effective education, parent training, planning and resources as well as:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Solution focused therapy views people as inherently strong and resilient, and capable of creating change and discovering solutions to their everyday problem.
- Grief work therapy refers to the methods used in counselling that help people to grieve loss and understand their emotions associated with the loss in a healthy way, with the ultimate goal of moving forward.
- Mindfulness therapy is an approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves, others, and the world. The ability to be in the moment, to acknowledge and regulate your emotions helps you to break free from negative thought patterns.
Depending on your individual circumstances, your therapist will work with you to determine the most effective treatment method for you (and your partner if they are seeking support as well) and what treatment method best suits your needs and personality.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Our therapists will inform, guide, support, and empower you to get through this major change in your life. We can also share coping strategies and tools you can use to help you get through this time of transition and help you to meet the challenges that may lie ahead of you. With support, guidance, and direction, you can come out of this life-altering transition more resilient and better able to cope with all of life’s changes.