Are You Seeking Support as You and Your Partner Prepare to Become Parents?
Are you pregnant and worried about all of the changes occurring in your body and overall life? Do you wonder if what your body is going through is normal and worry about your health, your baby’s health and the possibility of issues during birth? Maybe you feel distant from friends, family members and even your romantic partner, especially if it seems as though no one understands what it’s like to prepare to become a mother. You may fear that you are losing your individual identity, or that after the baby comes, you won’t know who you are anymore. Or, perhaps you’ve recently given birth, and you are struggling with body image issues, eating disorders, loneliness, insecurity and stress on top of all the new responsibilities that come with new parenthood. It may be that childbirth didn’t go as you’d hoped and planned, and you don’t have much time for physical and emotional healing as you care for your child. You might be a single parent worried about how you will financially and emotionally provide for your child. Maybe you swing from feeling joyful, loving and tender to feeling lonely, exhausted and frustrated. Whether you are pregnant, adopting or a new parent, you may feel constantly challenged and like no one, even your romantic partner, is able to provide the support and understanding you desperately need.
Perhaps your partner is pregnant or has recently given birth. Are you wondering how to balance preparing for a baby, supporting your new family and adjusting to all of the changes in your own life? You might feel excluded from your partner’s experience with pregnancy and unsure how to offer support. Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the pressure to bond with your baby, meet your partner’s needs and work full-time outside the home. Maybe you can’t figure out where you fit in as a parent. It may seem that every time you try, you hold the baby wrong, or feed the baby wrong, or miss out on crucial information that your partner seems to naturally possess. It may be that you feel like you can’t do anything right, causing you to avoid doing too much for your child out of the fear that you’ll mess up somehow.
Adjusting to life as a new parent can be stressful, isolating and overwhelming. You may fear that you just don’t know how to be a parent. Perhaps you are struggling with guilt and shame, especially if you sometimes long for your old life. Maybe you feel completely disconnected from your former self, as though you don’t or can’t have a rich inner life anymore. Do you wish you could feel confident in your parenting skills, support your new family and leave space to cultivate your inner world? Do you long to adapt to life as a new parent in a way that honors your authentic self and still adequately and lovingly support your family?
If You’re Worried About Life as a New Parent, You Are Not Alone
It can sometimes seem as though you’re the only one who feels lost and ill prepared to step into the role of parent. While it may feel like everyone else has some sort of magical guidebook on parenting, in reality, all parents have moments of doubt, fear and overwhelm. Babies need a lot of love and attention, and it’s a huge adjustment to add another member to your family, especially when that member cries, sleep erratically and needs constant care. On top of it all, many people are also managing physical pain and discomfort, sudden bodily changes, financial concerns and issues in romantic relationships. The world can also sometimes feel unwelcoming toward crying babies, and many new parents wonder if they belong anywhere. It’s completely normal to feel anxious about pregnancy, childbirth and how to be a parent.
It’s also normal to feel disconnected from the person you were before, especially if every interaction now revolves around pregnancy, the birthing process or newborns. When you have so much going on in your life, it can seem like your sense of self is slipping away, and you may feel guilty for wanting to be a parent and the person they were before becoming a parent. Thankfully, with the help of a therapist who specializes in parenthood preparation for individuals, you can learn more about child development and parenting strategies, stay connected to your authentic self and feel confident in your role as a parent.
Parenthood Preparation for Individuals Can Help You Feel Heard and Empowered
Individual counseling for new parents is a safe, supportive space for you to share your deepest fears, doubts, frustrations and hopes without fear of judgment. In sessions, you can express anything and everything, especially those thoughts and feelings that you might be afraid to share with your partner, friends or family members. As both a mother and a skilled therapist with experience working at an early childhood parenting center, I will listen with compassion and acceptance, all while offering you individualized tools and strategies to work through your present challenges and discover new ways to navigate the ups and downs of parenthood. You can take the time to slow down, begin to clearly identify what you are feeling and accept your thoughts and emotions without self-criticism. In time, you can shift your perspective and discover what you need to feel more grounded, confident and calm.
In sessions, we can also discuss any issues particular to your experience with pregnancy, childbirth or infant development. Even though pregnancy can seem stranger than you ever imagined, you are not alone or defective if things aren’t going or haven’t gone as planned. And, if you feel alienated from your partner’s experience of pregnancy and birth, you can share the concerns, confusion and pain that you’re personally struggling with. Regardless of your role, your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to seek support.
Even if it seems like pregnancy and parenthood are nothing like you expected, it is possible to parent with joy, balance and a sense of calm. It’s also possible to nurture your inner world and bridge the gap between your old life and your new one. It’s okay to be human, and you are not going to ruin your child’s life if you’re imperfect. Ever parent goes through challenges, and with support and guidance during this confusing and uncertain time, you can create a new, positive life for yourself and your family.
You may still have questions or concerns about new parent counseling…
I don’t have the time or the money for individual counseling.
I know how difficult it can feel to set aside the resources for self-care, especially when your baby’s needs are at the front of your mind. But, I encourage you to remember that you have to put on your own oxygen mask on before helping others. Therapy can help you refuel, calm your body and mind and become the parent you want to be. It’s okay to take time for yourself. In addition, if you don’t have childcare options, I encourage you to bring your child with you to parenthood preparation sessions. I am also willing to offer home visits in certain cases.
Parenting just seems impossible.
So many parents feel inadequate, especially if work demands mean they don’t get to spend as much time with their baby as they’d like. You are not alone, and you’re doing the best you can. Individual therapy can help you effectively problem-solve and come up with solutions for those moments when you feel helpless. You can learn to identify feelings of inadequacy or frustration and shift your focus so that you feel calmer and more capable, not matter what parenting challenge arises.
I’m afraid to admit how I feel about parenting. How could parenthood preparation counseling help?
It’s okay to feel like parenting isn’t what you thought it would be. It’s okay to feel regret, sadness and even anger. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and few of us feel completely prepared for the reality. I will never judge you for anything you share in sessions. Instead, I will help you investigate what you want parenthood to look and feel like. I can help you adapt to parenting challenges and reconcile your dreams about parenting with how you can parent in the real world. There is hope. You can develop the skills and strategies you need to find balance, honor your authentic self and discover joy and excitement in parenting.
You don’t have to bury your feelings or go through this alone. I invite you to call me at 323-539-7717 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. You can ask any questions you have about new parent counseling in Los Angeles, CA and my practice.