Becoming Parents

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For many new parents, there will be mixed emotions on meeting their new baby (or babies). For many parents unfortunately the birth may not have been what they imagined, or is yet another hard milestone in the ‘reproductive journey’ they have faced in becoming parents -a journey peppered by infertility struggles, perinatal loss and miscarriage and fearfulness about the baby’s survival. Or perhaps they have become parents in ways they hadn’t imagined through adoption or surrogacy. All of these steps on the reproductive journey will shape how they welcome this baby and develop an attachment relationship with him/her or them, and how they might feel about themselves as new parents.

New parents may present with a range of psychological issues they are struggling with, such as:

  • Difficulties in the couple relationship in the transition to parenthood eg conflict, roles, parental identity
  • Struggling with breastfeeding and sleeping routines
  • Parenting alone after relationship breakdown or separation
  • Postnatal depression and/or anxiety
  • Constant fears about the baby and the ability to protect or keep them safe – perinatal OCD
  • Re-emergence of negative beliefs about oneself and not feeling ‘good enough’ as a parent
  • Dealing with unresolved issues from one’s own childhood eg abuse or difficult relationship with own parents
  • Postnatal PTSD and /or birth trauma
  • Difficulty with parent-infant(s) relationship eg struggling to bond
  • Premature births and infant
  • Stays in NICU
  • Sibling rivalry – worries about other children and new baby
  • Difficulties arising in the attachment relationship with the unborn baby or infant due to gender preference
  • Managing different developmental stages eg weaning, crawling, terrible twos
  • Managing nursery and going back to work anxieties