It is a monumental step for many people when they decide to try for a baby. However, when barriers present themselves along any part of this journey, it can be overwhelming, emotional and distressing.
For some, difficulty with fertility or falling pregnant is anxiety-provoking and over time can put an enormous strain on the couple relationship and its individuals – who often feel blame and shame.
For others, pregnancy may come as a surprise, or a step in life that is associated with uncertainties and feeling unprepared.
Complications may arise throughout the pregnancy which can add huge stress and burden.
Bringing a new life into the world engenders a huge amount of emotional investment and most people begin the process with preconceived ideas that can become quite challenged when these don’t translate into what is being experienced.
When things aren’t smooth or don’t go to plan, the immensity of invested emotion leads to overwhelm, and at times a breakdown of emotional and psychological faculties.
Many women may experience issues after their pregnancy, with up to 85% of women experiencing changes to their mood. Post-natal depression and anxiety are therefore common, due to the many changes experienced in this new chapter of life. The conflict between expectations and reality, feeling disconnected from your baby and partner, and adjusting to the demands of parenthood can all contribute to feelings of worry, guilt and stress. And when these feelings reach extreme proportions or when it becomes a consuming state of mind, it is very difficult to cope.
Counselling can provide a means for individuals to gain emotional support through the pre-natal and post-natal stages. Skills necessary for adjustment to a new family life can be explored, or the emotional difficulties of infertility and becoming a new parent can be addressed. Counselling is adapted to fit each individual’s journey to parenthood.
It has also been found that partners of those experiencing fertility and pregnancy related issues are more likely to experience negative mental health themselves. Therefore, counselling for pre and post-natal issues can be helpful for partners too. This can improve partners’ mental wellbeing whilst strengthening the support network necessary for a new life as parents.