Contemplating Parenthood

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Thinking about becoming a parent can be a very exciting, but daunting time in any individual’s life. Common worries may include having difficulties conceiving or for others, depending on their own childhood experiences, there may be fears about not being a ‘good enough’ parent. Yet others may already be aware of the obstacles to getting and staying pregnant owing to a history of perinatal loss, or long term medical issues. For same sex couples, there may be concerns about creating supportive networks in which to raise a child, or indeed how to negotiate the legal and medical processes around becoming parents.

Commonly individuals and couples may seek psychological support for a wide range of issues at this time including:

  • Planning a baby with known medical issues either for parent(s) or baby eg genetic issues such as Huntingdon’s, lupus or diabetes
  • Considering another baby after previous birth or perinatal trauma
  • Contemplating pregnancy after perinatal loss eg miscarriage, stillbirth or termination
  • Coming to terms with an unexpected or unplanned pregnancy
  • Facing pregnancy or becoming a parent alone either through choice or circumstances
  • Fear of previous psychological issues recurring in pregnancy eg depression or anxiety
  • Worries about the couple relationship and becoming parents
  • Sexual issues that may arise when attempting to get pregnant
  • Primary or secondary tokophobia eg fear of getting pregnant and giving birth
  • Ambivalence about becoming parents and stresses on the couple relationship eg attachment issues and conflict
  • Thinking about getting pregnant with a known history of severe or enduring mental health issues eg bipolar affective disorder, puerperal psychosis and medication *
  • Struggling with fertility issues and contemplating IVF
  • Coming to terms with male or female issues around infertility
  • Starting and stopping fertility treatments
  • Secondary infertility and the wish for another child
  • Becoming parents via surrogacy or donor conception including same sex couples and single parents by choice
  • Becoming a step-parent or blending families with a new partner


* Supported by a perinatal psychiatrist