The common narrative around pregnancy is that women glow and that it’s a happy and enjoyable time. However, what if you and your partner don’t feel like this? Pregnancy is a time of raging hormones and significant transitions. No wonder some couples find themselves needing emotional support.
If you are feeling worried, experiencing low mood or anxiety, know you are not alone. Talk to someone about it and keep in mind that there is help available. It can be challenging to talk to those around you about how you are feeling, especially if your and your partner’s feelings do not match the typical narrative.
Feelings as signposts:
It’s a good idea for all expectant mothers and their partners to monitor their mental health and wellbeing. Keep a lookout for signs that you may need help and be ready to act if you need to. In any partnership, it is vital that both individuals feel supported. At times the one carries more weight than the other. If you find that your ability to support your partner is diminished, it is likely that your reserves are running low, and that you need support.
Mood swings during pregnancy are absolutely normal, which impact both the expectant mother and her partner. However, if you are feeling nervous and low all the time, to the extend that these influence your day-to-day life and relationships, it’s a sign of something deeper going on.
Some future parents may experience depression or anxiety:
- Depression: is a sadness (feeling down) or irritability that lasts for weeks or months at a time. Some experience this at different times in their life. It might also start during pregnancy for many reasons.
- Anxiety: is a feeling of worry or fear about things that might or might not happen. If one is a “worry-er”, many things can add to your stress during pregnancy.
Many different things can trigger problems with low mood and anxiety.
For example, the fact that your partner might not be as available to help meet your needs paired with worries about coping with a baby (on a personal and relationship level), worries about managing different children, financial matters, feelings about the changing body, fear of birth, career concerns can all contribute to low mood and anxiety in pregnancy. These are all magnified if you find yourself being a single parent.
Some may find that previous experiences of pregnancy and/or birth trigger anxieties that are difficult to manage without help.
Some may have concerns of how their career and relationship might change due to pregnancy or having a baby.
Sometimes, one’s own experiences of childhood may lead to questions about their ability to be a good parent.
Other difficulties future parents face include and are not limited to:
- Panic attacks;
- Post traumatic stress disorder;
- Chronic pain;
- Personality disorders.
Talking to a psychologist will help in understand where these feelings come from, process them, and identify ways of coping by giving you concrete skills to rely on.
How you can get help:
It is always important to deal with psychological difficulties. The sooner treatment starts, the easier to manage your difficulties and the sooner you will start feeling better.
This is especially true during pregnancy since such difficulties can impact the development of the baby and its subsequent care.
Speak to a psychologist, so you get the help that you and/or your partner need. A woman’s physical health is carefully and consistently monitored throughout pregnancy to ensure optimal outcomes for both mother and baby. The psychological wellbeing of a mother and her partner’s should be no different.
If you experience any such difficulties, speak to your doctor so they are aware of your overall health and any mental health difficulties you’ve had in the past.