Trying to get pregnant, going through pregnancy and becoming a new parent are all emotionally charged periods of time, for everyone involved.
Feeling emotional is perfectly normal, seeking therapy or counselling at that time does not mean something is wrong with you or that you will become a worse parent. Often the opposite, by becoming more self-aware we can recognise our triggers and create an environment where our child’s mental health can thrive. The expectations of what these significant times should feel and look like are often not what the felt experience is.
- Wanting to share the first pregnancy as a surprise, as seen in so many videos shared online. Who wouldn’t want to try and recreate that? The reality of miscarriages and sometimes years of trying to conceive could make it a very painful and lonely place.
- Glowing during pregnancy and showing off the bump could be your reality. For some, sickness and feeling loss of the body they used to have. Others, a constant worry if their child will be born prematurely and strong enough for surgery.
- The “perfect” birth plan could result in a completely different outcome, which might lead to feelings of shame, guilt or sadness. Literature on birth trauma is expanding, it can be experienced by both parents and the birth can seem to others as not traumatic.
The BBC show ‘Life and Birth’ has certainly shown how different birth can look for everyone. Don’t forget to grab the tissues before you watch!
- As a couple, not being able to stay connected or support the other through emotional difficulties.
- Health worries can become obsessive during the perinatal phase and in these unprecedented times staying well and safe will be at the forefront of our minds.
During lockdown we are now facing uncertainty around hospital visits, whether we can have a birthing partner with us, additional health worries around COVID-19 and having to self-isolate and be separated from your newborn.
You should always be in touch with your midwife and physical health professionals with any and all worries that you have. As mental health professionals, one of our experienced therapists can help you to understand what your unique situation is and what you can do with the resources that you have.
Talk In The Bay can help:
Provide a safe and important space during times of isolation and loneliness
Discover a cycle or pattern that might stand in the way of your mental well being
Explore how to improve your sleep hygiene or manage expectations of this
Manage difficult feelings and thoughts that might arise
Explore what is in your control and what is not
Communication and support for each other as a couple
Clare Williams, experienced therapists at Talk in The Bay, urges pregnant women and their partners to try to enjoy pregnancy as you would without lockdown. Organise a zoom baby shower, keep up with your regular exercise or try an online pregnancy yoga/fitness class, prepare your home for the baby and utilise online shopping. The lockdown is an opportunity to move at a slower pace, keeping a healthy sleep routine to prepare for sleepless nights. You could even produce a video diary of your pregnancy to share with family and friends and as a memento of your pregnancy in lockdown.
The birth collective have created a course for a positive birthing experience and each class has a Q&A with a practicing NHS doctor, midwife or IBCLC lactation consultant. More information here: https://bit.ly/2WM1odc
If you are looking for more resources, Best beginnings have created a page for signposting and advice, from breastfeeding and formula feeding to updates for pregnant women and new parents during COVID-19 from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Read more here: https://bit.ly/2YCTJAq