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You’re pregnant! Now what?
Whether your pregnancy is planned or unplanned, wanted and welcomed or unwanted and burdensome, many unexpected hopes and fears come up throughout the different stages of pregnancy. Your thoughts and feelings about all aspects of yourself and your life shift during this unique time of life. Emotional and developmental changes arise along with the physical changes. This can be a very exciting time and a very scary time.
What sort of parent do you want to be?
During this time, you start developing your identity as a mother or father. Your construction as a family, beyond just the two of you, begins to take form and relationships with extended family members begin to change. Priorities may be challenged and shift. What do you want to provide for your child?
How were you parented?
You may turn to thoughts about your relationship with your mother and father – when you were a child and now. What did you get and what didn’t get from your parents? The newly dawned grandparent, may be a helpful and welcomed source of support or intrusive and need to be “managed”. Becoming a parent yourself provides a new opportunity to repair and reshape your relationship with your parents.
How do you and your partner share this experience?
Pregnancy is a very internal, personal experience. As the pregnancy progresses, you may find yourself turning inward; you may have an increased sense of emotional and physical vulnerability – wanting to protect yourself and your baby. No matter how excited and engaged your partner is, he remains outside of your deep experience. Pregnancy may heighten differences and add to tensions between the two of you. It’s important to find positive ways to share this experience – to bring you closer together and set a foundation for future family relatedness.
Does being pregnant leave you feeling like you’ve lost part of yourself?
You may fear that you’ve lost yourself and become “only this baby’s mother”. You may believe that you must abandon the dreams and goals you have for yourself. Family, friends and strangers may start acting differently towards you. Some people may no longer see you for yourself, but rather as the carrier of your baby. Grandmothers may act as if they think it’s their baby – not yours. You may have people, even strangers, wanting to touch your belly and may do so without asking, or offering unsolicited advice. How do you get to still be you and be a mother?
What’s wrong with me? I’m pregnant and miserable. When pregnancy isn’t a happy time…
Dealing with the challenges of pregnancy is hard enough when it’s planned and wanted. It’s so much harder to cope when it’s unexpected and not wanted. Pregnancy may be experienced as a burden, an intrusion, as alien. You may feel sad, anxious, frustrated, resentful, and scared about being pregnant and having a baby. It may be hard to be happy if you don’t have enough emotional support or worry about money. It’s especially dreadful to be unhappy about being pregnant when it seems like there’s so much pressure to be happy. On top of that, you may feel guilty about having bad feelings and worried that these feelings will somehow hurt the baby.
Davida provides the opportunity for individuals and couples to explore the impact of pregnancy on their hopes and fears for the future, how this profound life change impacts relationships, and their burgeoning identity as parents and as a family.