You recently found out that you are expecting. I can imagine (because I have been there) how fast the flood of emotions come in. What is even more surprising is the spectrum of emotions. It goes from joy and excitement, to realism of how things are going to be different, to fear and worry that you aren’t ready.
No one tells you about those feelings.
For a while you feel horrible. Why would you think that about such a great time in your life? What does that mean for you? What does that mean about how you will be as a parent?
But then those feelings subside.
You feel better.
You recognize that it was a moment in time, and you forgive yourself. But then more anxiety comes. What are you supposed to do next? When do you tell other people? What can you eat? What can’t you do?
More questions come. More anxiety comes.
The worst part is, you don’t know who to turn to. You don’t remember anyone telling you about feeling this way when they were pregnant. So if you admit to it and they don’t understand, what does that mean for you?
Where do you go? Who do you turn to?
To a professional. To a therapist.
Someone who understands your feelings.
Someone to tell you that NOTHING is wrong with you. Your feelings are NORMAL and YOU CAN DO THIS!
A therapist can help prepare you for what is going to come next. The good and the bad.
I know your next question is, what would we talk about? How can therapy help me do all those things? Here are a few things that therapy can help you with as you go through this transition.
1. Learning about the expectations you have for yourself – We all have this image of what we want to be as a mom. A mom who is going to be able to handle work/life balance, you can wash bottles, entertain the baby, sleep soundly, etc. Those expectations don’t meet reality. Now, I know that sounds harsh, but we all aspire to be this person. I have and sometimes I still do.
We have to learn how to manage our expectations into attainable goals that are not only good for us, but our baby. Through therapy, we can unpack what all that means and learn what “attainable” goals are.
You want to create goals for yourself throughout your pregnancy and after birth.
That is a lot to talk about, but it is an important conversation to have.
2. Learning about the expectations you have of your partner – I understand that sometimes we not might be involved romantically with the father of our child. However, it is still important to talk about how we envision life, responsibilities and roles for once the baby is here. That conversation needs to happen BEFORE the baby is born. That way, everyone has a game plan, and everyone is on the same page.
It helps to lessen the confusion later on. Plus, with therapy, if that conversation isn’t what you expected, we can help process through the disappointment and work out a system that is going to work for you and help find the support you need.
3. Learn about the expectations you have of others – Bringing a baby into the world should be for the mom and the dad, unfortunately not everyone feels that way. So, it is important to find out what you want from this experience and what boundaries you want to put in place.
Remember, this is YOUR time. It is ok to be selfish. It is ok to say, “I don’t want your grandmother in the delivery room” or “Please don’t touch my stomach.”
It is ok to have boundaries, but you need to vocalize them. Others need to understand where your line is and not to cross it.
4. Managing your fears and anxieties – At every stage of pregnancy, there comes a new fear, a new worry. Therapy can help you understand your fears and make sense of them. We can talk about what to expect and how to be prepared for the next step.
Having someone to help you through this process, someone in your corner, someone to bounce questions off of, etc. feels relieving.
A therapist who specializes in maternal mental health can help you through this process. We can answer any questions about how to manage the fear and worry, how to protect your well-being and that of your child, and anything else that comes up during your pregnancy. Plus, it helps to build your confidence so that when you have the baby, you know that you are ready and equipped to handle whatever comes next. Because you will never know what will come next, but at least you will be ready.
If you haven’t noticed by now… pregnancy is all about being prepared.
Everything else about being a parent is out of our control, so recognizing what we can control and acting on it is important.
Let me finish all this by saying CONGRATS! You GOT THIS and if you aren’t sure that YOU GOT IT, then seek therapy. Let us show you that you are going to be an AWESOME mom!
Visit Jessica Jefferson, LMFT who specializes in maternal mental health issues and giving new/expecting moms the confidence they need to rock yoga pants and a mom-bun or give me a call for your free 15 minute consultation at (954) 317 -9460.