Finding out you are pregnant is the first step on a journey that will mean that your life will never be the same again. Depending on your situation this can be an incredibly joyous occasion, or an emotional rollercoaster.
There is no right or wrong way to feel when you discover you are pregnant. A little fear or apprehension is perfectly normal.
For a lot of people, especially if they have been trying for a while, this is the best thing ever.
If however, finding out you are pregnant can be a bit of a shock especially if it is unplanned or you are single, young or not quite ready.
If it doesn’t feel like you are ready and you are feeling confused or unhappy, talk to someone you trust about your feelings. This can be a friend or your GP who may be able to put you in touch with a counsellor. It will help to share your feelings at this early stage and talk things through.
PANDA is a dedicated organisation specialising in Perinatal anxiety and depression and offer support for women, men and families - https://www.panda.org.au/
It’s quite normal for both parents to experience a wide range of emotions at the news, from joy and excitement to worry and fear. You might be concerned about the impact being a new parent will have on your work & financial arrangements, your social habits and lifestyle or whether you are ready for the added responsibility of parenthood.
Go easy on yourself, it’s a lot to take in and it’s important to take care of your emotional and physical wellbeing at this time.
You might be thinking is this the right time for us to be parents, will I be a good parent, can we afford it, how will I cope with childbirth, what will it be like to be a parent, how will it affect our lives. These are all normal reactions and nothing to be worried or anxious about.
Connecting with other expectant mothers at this time is invaluable and there are a lot of blogs and information available for expectant mothers.
Once your baby arrives, unless you are incredibly lucky, you can expect major disruptions in your sleep and daily routine. Dirty nappies that need changing at all hours. If it’s not coming out of one end, it’s coming out the other. Then there is trying to get your head around how such a tiny body can make so much noise.
Being a new parent is incredibly rewarding but also incredibly hard work. You’ll have good days and bad days and days when you just won’t know what to do.
No two babies are the same and it will be trial and error to work things out and feel confident and comfortable in your new role.
It’s a good idea to accept any help you are offered. Having offers of help from family or friends is a blessing, especially in the early stages. Even if it’s just helping with household chores, cooking a meal, watching the baby while you have a break, or having some emotional support.
Having someone there to listen to any worries or concerns is important in the early stages. All babies are unique and don’t come with an instruction manual, so talking to people about any concerns you have, even if it’s just related to feeding, sleep patterns or how to stop your baby crying, every little bit helps.
If you are offered support from family, friends or neighbours, don’t think it reflects badly on you as a parent if you accept. Be sure to accept offers if they are given as they don’t hand out medals for going it alone.
Sometimes the stress and upheaval of a new baby can get on top of you. If you are experiencing distress or anxiety that hangs around for more than a couple of weeks and these feelings start to affect your ability to function, or leave you feeling not close or disconnected from your baby, then it is important to talk to a health professional.
This may be a sign that you have postnatal depression or anxiety that you need to work through with a professional. It is quite normal to experience mixed feelings post childbirth and you may be questioning whether you are cut out for parenthood or up to the job.
There are a number of options if you are in a bad place mentally after childbirth.
Speak to your GP and they will be able to help with a plan to manage any depression or anxiety brought on by being a new parent.
You can also talk to any of the counsellors you will find on our “local contacts” page.