Adjustment to parenthood

Adjustment to parenthood

“Being a parent is dirty and scary and beautiful and hard and miraculous and exhausting and thankless and joyful and frustrating all at once. It’s everything.”

Jill Smokler

Understanding pregnancy, birth, motherhood and beyond…

Pregnancy, childbirth and new parenthood is a special period in one’s life. For some, the months of transition are filled with hopes, dreams, anticipation and excitement. For others this transition may not be as smooth as you may undergo unexpected feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness and grief.

It is not uncommon for new parents to experience the changes and challenges of having a newborn baby as overwhelming. Issues around infertility, a previous miscarriage, traumatic birth and/or other significant losses may resurface at this time. This is often compounded by the physical strain of exhaustion and other stressors such as, financial pressure.

Individuals in their new parenting role and/or the couple may require support to navigate the many emotions and issues of being a new parent.

New fathers often feel undervalued, ignored or unsupported as they adjust to parenthood. They have their own stresses to deal with too. One of the most significant changes for new fathers is that they often have to shoulder responsibilities on their own that were previously shared with their partner like concerns about money, work and time pressures. New fathers are often just as stressed and sleep deprived as their partner.

Life as you know it changes from what you buy at the supermarket, to the conversations you find yourself having and the way you relate to your partner/husband or wife. In addition, there is physical toll on your body through loss of sleep and time that is no longer yours. These physical, emotional and mental demands require adjustment and management.  This may also be compounded by other factors including financial pressures, family challenges and the impact of the family of origin on the new family unit.

Parenting is an ongoing process of change and adjustment. Counselling and support can help empower new fathers and new mothers during these times.

YOU MAY BE ABLE TO RELATE TO
  • The fantasy of having a new baby doesn’t quite match up 
to the reality
  • Being a mother feels like one of the hardest things you have ever done
  • There are days where you feel like a failure, like you are the worst mother
  • It appears like other mums and dads are relaxed and got it together
  • You feel like it’s all too hard and don’t know how you will get through the day again
  • Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by how much you are responsible for
  • You miss your old life… and feel guilty for wishing your old life back 
Be reassured that what you may be thinking and feeling is normal!
COMMON ISSUES IN PARENTHOOD – surviving parenthood
  • Taking care of yourself
  • The importance of time out for yourself
    • Validating losses and changes – staying connected to 
your ‘old self’
    • Strategies for managing unsolicited advice
    • Embracing your strengths
    • Managing expectations of yourself
    • Learning to assert, articulate and express your feelings
    • Managing mother guilt
  • 
Attachment and connecting to your baby
  • Parenting styles
  • How to be a ‘a good enough parent’ not a perfect parent 
Dealing with negative and intrusive thoughts about your parenting skills and abilities
  • Postnatal depression & anxiety
    • Relating to your partner now that there are 3 (or more)
    • The importance of time with your partner
    • Changes in your relationship and how to manage them
    • Awareness of family of origin and impact on the ‘new’ 
family
    • Strategies for dealing with siblings and the ‘newest family 
member 
Parenting tools and strategies
    • Communication skills
    • Mindful parenting
    • Emotional regulation
    • Problem solving strategies
    • Setting boundaries and effective ways of using discipline