What should I do to start new life
Preparing your home for a baby can be an important part of preparing yourself to be a parent. Your child-to-be, and your new role, will begin to seem more real. Whether you're pregnant or adopting, getting ready will help you pass the time until your baby arrives and will make your life easier afterward. Plus it can be a lot of fun
My own journey into pregnancy and childbirth began many years before I had children myself. As a newly qualified clinical psychologist, in my first job, I saw many women who were distressed and struggling with their life and so often their problems were to do with the struggle of being a parent. As one father said to me, 'Why doesn't someone write a rule book and just make it easier for all of us ' Well, I soon realised that there was no rule book but many common themes did emerge the juggling of responsibilities, the loneliness of women cut off from their former life, the sense of losing your identity and balancing your adult needs against the usually more immediate needs of your baby.
Some time after we have decided that we want children and anywhere from one month to one year is deemed 'normal'. Perhaps this uncertainty is in fact helpful as it makes us aware from the outset that babies don't just fit in around the rest of your life. If you do get pregnant when you wanted to, you still can't be certain exactly when the baby will arrive anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks is normal full-term but some babies arrive earlier. Many couples haven't exactly planned their pregnancy but they are happy when they discover that they are pregnant. This isn't such a bad way to 'time' a baby since it releases you from the pressure of trying to find the 'perfect time'.
Walking through a typical prenatal visit Coping with changes in mind and body Modifying your lifestyle for baby's sake Working while you're pregnant ven though you're pregnant and your body is already undergoing miraculous changes, your day-to-day life goes on. How will you need to change your lifestyle in order to make your pregnancy go as smoothly as possible What things in your life don't need to change, or need to be modified only slightly You have a lot to consider your job, the general level of stress in your life, what medications you take, whether you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, and what to do about routine things like going to the dentist or hairdresser. If you're like most normally healthy women, you'll probably find that for the most part, your life can go on largely as usual. All the issues we mention are subjects for discussion with your practitioner. But in this chapter and the next, we offer a general outline for how to plan your life during pregnancy. If you...
Most women today are working when they contemplate having a baby or find themselves pregnant unexpectedly. The issues about whether to return to work or how your working life might be different when you have a child are uppermost in the minds of most women when contemplating having a family. When the prospect of having children is some way off, then it is perhaps not clear how your life will change it is only through the experience of being pregnant and becoming a parent that one can really know how their feelings and responsibilities will change. The balancing act of work and children changes over the course of the child's or children's life too, as their needs differ and your situation evolves. Consequently it is impossible to have all the decisions made beforehand. We will return to these issues in later chapters but as well as what is right for you as an individual, women are also interested to know about the research evidence regarding women, work and the possible consequences...
As well as preparing for labour, it may also be a time for beginning to consider what changes you are to face as a couple how will your life be different It really can be difficult to imagine what it will be like when the baby arrives but this should not discourage you from beginning the discussion. Prospective parents tend to worry about the tasks of caring for a baby, for example, how often should I change a nappy Most people haven't changed a nappy before having a baby and it can seem complicated before you've tried but, rest assured by the end of first few days, you will feel like an expert after so much practice Parents don't go to health visitors in the weeks after birth saying 'I still can't change a nappy ' They are much more likely to present with problems about who is changing the nappies. Consequently it does no harm to begin now to think about how things are going to be different after the baby is born.What aspects of your life now do you particularly value and what do you...
It can be very important to spend some time with your partner, not just being taken over by thoughts of the baby, but also just enjoying being together. Sometimes couples get caught up in 'I must do that before the baby is born' and set themselves overwhelming lists of things to do. It can feel as if life begins and ends on the expected delivery date A new life for you all does start but a new sort of normality will establish itself too.
Different women will have different experiences and the same woman can have very dissimilar experiences in different pregnancies. There may have been no sickness early on and life has been ticking over as usual right through. If you are very ambivalent about being pregnant, then it may be possible to continue to ignore the pregnancy well into the second trimester. Alternatively you may continue to feel a bit 'under the weather' throughout the pregnancy. You may be dealing with significant life events that have nothing to do with pregnancy. All these experiences are common. However, this shouldn't stop you from beginning to think about the baby and how your life will change.
Doctors and scientists have yet to discover the exact mechanisms that cause a pregnancy to end and labour to begin. Many women find that as the pregnancy draws to a close their mood may begin to change, perhaps becoming more unpredictable. This is probably partly due to the physical and practical changes that are going on. Your ever-increasing size may make your everyday life more difficult and more tiring. Sleep often becomes more disturbed now as you find it more difficult to get comfortable, as the baby lies on your bladder you need to get up to go to the toilet and probably too you find some of the anxieties of early pregnancy return. It is not unusual to become increasingly nervous about being a mother (or father) and more aware, especially when you stop working, of how your life is to change. Often, however, the fears and anxieties are focused around coping with the labour and birth. Health visitors and midwives who run parenting classes often comment that it can be difficult...
The pregnancy, especially towards the end, is probably where a divergence of role begins for the couple. All of a sudden the mother-to-be is at home ready to carry out a different role, which may awaken certain expectations for both partners. Does being at home equate with assuming all the domestic tasks Often there is this expectation, although it may not always be articulated. If your mother always had the dinner on the table when dad got home, then this may be what you expect of yourself and may be what your partner imagines will happen. Consequently, late pregnancy may be a good time to sit down and discuss how you will manage the new domestic situation. It may be important to include in this discussion aspects of your life that you value and would like to retain after the baby is born. (See 'Discussion points' on p. 67.)
Person a sense of involvement in life. It can be very frightening to see this disappearing, even if only for a few months. Possibly also you may feel resentful of other work colleagues, especially if you feel they might overtake you while you are away. Often colleagues have mixed feelings when someone is leaving feeling perhaps envious that they are stuck here while your life is moving on and changing. Consequently your last weeks at work may be emotionally difficult.
Honey, I think I'm pregnant You hear the words that millions of other men before you have heard and you feel pure joy and excitement. Well, not really. You probably also feel some concern, even fear, for the future. Rest assured that these feelings are completely normal. You may be concerned about how parenthood may change your relationship with your partner. You may be concerned about how parenthood could change your life in general. You may worry that you and your partner won't be able to support a family financially, or that you won't be a good parent. Just keep in mind that your partner's feelings about having a baby aren't all that different. She's probably having a few worries herself. So talk to her about what you're both feeling.
People the opportunity to adjust and make changes before the baby arrives. The pregnancy can give a sense of urgency or new motivation to deal with old problems. Pregnancy also does have an end, so if you are not enjoying it, then you may eagerly await your labour. You may feel you have come a long way in these 40 weeks and yet you are facing another new beginning. Your labour may last only a few hours but for most it is probably the most significant transition you will ever make.
Is for those around them to talk to them, to hear their story and to offer whatever practical support might be necessary. Also they need to be given time to recover. It is this factor often that leads people to seek professional help, as they still need to go over what has happened. Parents usually feel that others don't understand and particularly don't understand how long it can take to grieve the loss of a child. A year or so after such a loss some parents do feel they are recovering but the research suggests that many are still struggling two to three years later. Recovery is also hampered by other problems, for example, if you have difficulties with your relationship, if generally you have a lack of support in your life or if you have had psychological problems in the past. Sometimes parents recognise that they need help because something is getting in the way of them moving on. Recovery can be hampered by feelings of guilt or blame that can be very difficult to discuss with a...
Women may experience any and every kind of emotion after their babies are born. The spectrum of feelings is truly infinite. Most of the time, you're completely overcome with joy when your long-awaited baby finally is born. You may be incredibly relieved to see that your baby appears healthy and obviously okay. If your baby requires extra medical attention for some reason and you can't hold her right away, you may be upset or, at the very least, disappointed. Just remember that very soon you'll have her to hold and enjoy for the rest of your life. Some women feel too scared or overwhelmed to care for their baby right away. Don't feel guilty about any such feelings they, and most others, are completely normal. Just take one moment at a time. You've come through a phenomenal event.
Baby is born early or'small-for-dates', it may be just a case of special monitoring or help with feeding or keeping warm. A Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can seem a very frightening or intimidating place at first with all its equipment and medical atmosphere. The staff, however, will encourage you to be with your baby as much as possible and to try and hold or touch the baby and feed where possible. You will need to get lots of information as every child's prognosis is unique. This can be a very upsetting start to your baby's life and to your life as a parent. Also for babies that are born very early or small-for- date, it may take some time to assess whether they are catching up with their peers or what the longer-term implications are.
Focus on making room for this baby in your life no prenatal classes c an prepare you for the days and weeks ahead. Yes, babies need feeding and changing, but all a baby really wants to do is be with its mother. Accept a pearl of wisdom from someone who has been there forget everything else for the first couple of weeks and it will pay dividends. Use your time now to sort out ways of achieving this.
Psychologically, most women feel that the first six weeks are an extreme and intense time emotionally. An enormous shift has occurred from the day that the baby was born to this point where the majority of parents are feeling a sense of life settling down to some sort of normality. That 'normality' might mean a baby that is totally unpredictable and a great deal of uncertainty but it is more the sense that you are coping with this new life, if still at the beginnings of it.
Often post-natal sadness manifests itself as extreme anxiety, particularly about the baby or about some aspect of the birth or the mother's labour or recovery. Jenny, whose story was in the last chapter, became preoccupied with Hannah's milk intake to the detriment of everything else. Clearly, for many women these issues are very real but if you become preoccupied with your labour difficulties to a point where you can't get on with your life with the baby, then perhaps there are problems to be looked at in more depth.
After a couple of months Enrique left the band and returned home. He found accommodation and Hayley joined him. Money was extremely tight but Hayley's parents did help out. Hayley said she had just become so miserable she couldn't get out of it. However, this was a turning point and gradually things improved. When Joel was a year or so old Hayley was beginning to enjoy her life again and she was reassured that Joel was 'fighting fit' now. She began to take some work doing children's parties as she had a friend who would look after Joel for an afternoon. It took time but gradually Hayley began to enjoy her new life.
The journey through pregnancy and into parenthood brings with it psychological risks. The previous chapters have outlined different types of psychological difficulties mothers might experience and why. The emphasis of this book has been about trying to prevent problems by being more aware and informed about the emotional pressures that you might experience when you embark upon having a family. However, for some women the events of pregnancy and childbirth will lead to significant levels of anxiety or depression or these may have been around for most of your life. Each chapter has tried to highlight issues specific to problems at that stage such as the reasons for depression in pregnancy what follows here are some general points about dealing with these problems whenever they occur.
In the previous chapters it has been highlighted that depression can be experienced throughout the life cycle but that becoming pregnant and having and caring for a baby may be times when women and their partners experience periods of depression. In previous chapters the experience or symptoms of depression have been looked at and there was also discussion of some of the things that might lead to depression at these times a labour that wasn't what you were expecting, a sense of loss for former aspects of your life, a poor relationship with your own parents, and so on.
Newborn babies sleep for between 16 and 20 hours a day. The fact that most babies spend much of th eir time asleep gives you a chance to recover from the birth and get used to your new life. Make sure you don't spen d all th eir sleep time cleaning, tidyin g up, washing, or shopping even spending ust h alf an hour lying on your bed, relaxin g or meditating, will help you cope.
Winter is the season of the Water Element. The energy at this time of year has descended deep within ourselves and the earth, and symbolises a time of resting and quiet contemplation. It is the time when we build our reserves, much like the wells of the earth filling as the winter rain descends deep into the ground. It is a time of year when the nights are long and we retreat from the cold and conserve what we have. The sperm and the egg formed deep within the body represent the true essence of ourselves. It is the manifest part of us that carries all information about our identity and the blueprint to produce new life. It is from the deepest part of us that a new and expansive life force will emerge. The winter is the most contracted time of the year and the energy is at its most Yin. By virtue of their extreme Yin nature, winter and Water have no choice but to turn from Yin to Yang and emerge as the spring, the Wood phase of the energetic cycle. The joining of the egg and the sperm...
Spring is the time of the Wood element. This phase of this cycle is full of promise and growth. The energy yawns and stretches from the deep sleep of winter. It opens and the hidden potential of the seed within is realised by its expanding nature. This is the time for the development of the fetus to the fully formed child. The natural laws and plans of nature combine with the inherent knowledge of the seed to create the new life and take it all the way through to maturity at the point of birth. For the mother, this is a time where nature takes over and she is simply required to follow her natural instincts to maintain her health and provide the optimum space for the baby to flourish and grow. This is the time when we talk of a mother 'blooming'.
The long-awaited child appears in the world for all to see. The mother has succeeded in producing the new life and for the first time in almost a year, is able to sit back and 'be'. There is a stillness in this maturity - not the stillness of water but a relaxed, satisfied feeling knowing the work has been done. The focus shifts from the mother to the child and the survival of the newborn is dependent on its outside support. This can be a huge relief for the mother as she now is able to share the responsibility with others. This can also be a difficult time as the attention she may have grown used to during the pregnancy will shift to the newborn child.
The mother for the first time since conception is separated from the child. Much like the flower that turns into the fruit that will fall from the tree to create the next new life, the mother will see the child as separate from her and start to experience the partial loss of that innate connection. The child will take from the mother, by suckling and soaking up her love, but the intention of the hungry baby is to feed and grow to be eventually independent of her. This relationship is not equal. The mother must be able to give to the child with generosity whilst holding on to her own centre. For some women the experience of pregnancy can be so fulfilling, they actually feel empty once the child is born. Rather than giving from the centre of their being to the child, the child becomes their centre and for this brief period of time during pregnancy, they feel for the first time complete and happy. This emptiness is often there long before the pregnancy but having felt complete and the...
Pregnancy and childbirth as stated before can be extremely taxing and traumatic. It may not be an unpleasant experience but nevertheless it is exhausting and, by virtue of that, any weakness in the person may be exposed. If we imagine we have a mother with a 'causative factor' in the Fire Element, her natural weakness may be to feel a little vulnerable, finding it hard to communicate at times - experiences associated with the Fire Element. As pregnancy takes its toll on her, this weakness may be further exposed as this part of her energetic system is stressed even further than normal. By the time she has given birth and fulfilled her role of bringing new life into the world, she may be left feeling raw and even more exposed, leading to a form of depression.
As well as trying to have some positive social experiences, it is also important to remind yourself of what you are good at. Make a list of things that give you a sense of achievement and look at trying to reintroduce some of these into your life. Again, where you have been very depressed you may feel you aren't good at anything. Your initial objective should therefore be a small easily achievable goal, even if it is just reading a magazine, so that you can look back at the end of the day and feel you have achieved your task for the day.
When you want to change something in your life such as the amount of alcohol you are drinking or if you want to monitor your experience of depression, then it can be useful to keep a 'diary'. The examples below show you how you might record this information. You really can do this any way that you find helpful. You might just want to write down a record of your day but it can be useful to divide up your page into columns and record the same information every time you feel anxious or every time you have a drink.
If you imagine your life in five years time, what would you like to see Do you have a child children Are you working Where are you living Do you and your partner both have similar ideas expectations 3. Which aspects of your life now are the most important to you (e.g. football on Sunday staying a size 10 promotion at work) Make a list of things you feel you must have or must do. How do you feel these might be affected by having a family What could you give up postpone and what must you have
The first few weeks of pregnancy may therefore have been a longer journey than you had imagined. You may have been struggling with changing your lifestyle perhaps trying to stop smoking or drinking. Sickness may have led you to telling lots of people about your pregnancy before you had planned to. You may have felt unable to do some of your usual activities and found yourself needing more sleep. Partners may have been taken aback by the changes in you and have had to take over certain tasks at home. Your life may be changing far more quickly than you had predicted. For both of you there may have been many surprises in terms of how you have reacted emotionally.
Beginning to feel better physically will clearly contribute to the feeling of having entered a new stage of the pregnancy. Therefore, if we think of there being a 'psychological' mid-phase of pregnancy, this will coincide with beginning to feel better physically and this could occur anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks. Morning sickness often begins abruptly but usually trails off, with a gradual reduction in the nausea and a feeling that you are less tired and more able to carry out your life tasks as you did before. For some women this can actually move into a stage of feeling better than they have ever done. Pregnant women are often described as 'blooming' at this time. It can be a time of feeling physically and emotionally very good. How much of this shift is due to physical changes and how much is due to the emotional fact of having accepted the pregnancy is not clear.
The end of pregnancy is the beginning of a new life but before the new can begin there are many endings to overcome. It is the end of a child-free life and a major shift of role to being a parent, a mother, and a father. There may be many aspects of your life many freedoms that you feel you are about to lose. Strangely enough too, you may start to mourn the ending of the pregnancy. For those who have not enjoyed these weeks that may seem unbelievable, but where pregnancy has been a positive and 'safe' time, its ending may be mourned. This may be acutely so for a woman who acknowledges that this is her last pregnancy. For a partner such feelings can be perplexing especially where their thoughts are clearly elsewhere such as the quickest route to the hospital
The physical changes of pregnancy can affect your mood persistent sickness and lethargy can make it hard to engage in the activities that you find pleasurable or that make your life meaningful. A poor relationship with your own mother when you were a child can underlie depression at any stage in a person's life but clearly becoming a parent yourself is often what triggers anger and sadness about your own lack of mothering.
This is when the majority of new mothers will begin to 'settle into' parenting and grow in confidence as a mother. Even though the baby may not have developed any routines, you may have established some for yourself about how you manage your life around the baby's needs. This is also a time when a small but significant number of women will start to show signs of not coping and around 10 per cent of women will have become depressed by the end of these first few weeks.
Nobody wants to be depressed or gripped by fears and panics but moving away from these symptoms can be a frightening prospect. Once you have accepted that there is no magic wand and you cannot simply have your depression or anxiety 'taken away', you will begin to realise that you need to make changes if you are to get better. These will be different for each person. This might mean recognising your role in your relationship problems or deciding that you have to confront a difficult situation. In order to tackle your anxiety problems you may need to start going back to situations that you have avoided. Sometimes with all these challenges it can seem easier to do nothing and just hope that soon it will all go away. Sometimes you need help to motivate yourself to do anything differently. Try setting yourself the task of imagining life if you do not change. Try to write a description of your life in five years' time if you continue to be depressed.What will you be doing Where will you be...
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