Having both positive and negative thoughts about becoming a parent is normal. Be open, and devote time to dealing with your thoughts and feelings in order to become more confident about and prepared for the parental role.
If you think life is especially burdensome, tell somebody about it. Asking for help shows strength. You can get good support and guidance from health personnel.
Pregnancy often generates a range of thoughts and feelings. That prepares you to be flexible and provides opportunities to change. In this way, you can welcome the new baby openly and positively. It’s normal to have a variety of feelings – and not only positive expectations and joy. Some people may find that pregnancy arouses both sad and oppressive thoughts. Difficult earlier experiences could surface and take over your thoughts and feelings. These could involve, for example, incidents from your own childhood when your parents failed to give you the care you needed, or when you suffered from bullying, illness, violence, substance abuse or loneliness. Such memories may seem particularly difficult or hurtful when you’re about to become a parent yourself. Some people lack good role models from their own upbringing. They can find it demanding to see themselves in the parental role.
Some people may experience depressive thoughts and feelings – sadness, apathy and emptiness, with no sense of joy or meaning. That can also affect their sleep. People may get even more worried when this becomes associated with the thought that they’ll soon be responsible for a baby. Men and women may react slightly differently to such feelings. Women can become withdrawn and passive – perhaps a little weepy at times. With men, such thoughts and feelings can sometimes manifest themselves a little differently. They can react with irritation, frustration and anger. Being expectant or newly fledged parents can be demanding when such thoughts, feelings and reactions emerge.
But, you know, pregnancy offers good opportunities to grow and change. Many people have a range of thoughts and feelings. You’re not alone in that respect. Prenatal care gives you the chance to have positive conversations about what you – and your partner – are thinking. If you feel life has become particularly burdensome, then be open about it. Such support will be tailored to the individual’s needs. In other words, if you’re finding things a bit more difficult, your midwife can take extra time to talk with you. The midwife and doctor can also help you or put you in touch with other specialists – such as psychologists or family therapists. Sharing your experiences and working a little with yourself can make you feel more secure and better prepared for the parental role.
Support is also available after the birth. If you feel depressed or sad, become irritated more easily or have a shorter fuse over time, it could be time to ask for help.
Both men and women can suffer from depression before and after their baby is born. You may, for example, feel discouraged, angry, sad, anxious and irritated over time. How you’re feeling affects the whole family.
Innholdet på denne siden er utviklet i samarbeid med Kristin Håland, jordmor og rådgiver i Stine Sofies Stiftelse. Håland har en doktorgrad om vold i svangerskapet.