Being a new parent is an exciting time in ones life, but we rarely here about the not-so-glamorous anxiety that accompanies it. Society imposes an idealized view of childbirth and the beginning of the parenting journey, but not everyone feels fireworks or butterfly's in the beginning. In fact, it is quite normal to want to mourn the loss of your life as a twosome before truly being able to appreciate your new identity as a parent.
The media paints a picture of love at first sight when your child is born, but that it not always the case. In fact, it can take a few months before you truly start to appreciate your child. Picture this: a tiny human pops into your life, and everything immediately changes. Your world must shift to accommodate your new addition and the freedom you once had is (temporarily) gone. Add in the stress of not sleeping, and your new life as a parent may feel much harder than expected.
If you are currently experiencing this, or if you are going to be a new parent, here are some tips to make the transition easier:
1. Talk to family members about their experience. You may find they can relate, and give you a more realistic idea of what you can expect.
2. Find support on the internet. If you aren't comfortable sharing these feelings with loved ones, try reaching out to fellow new parents on the internet. Having this shared experience may normalize your feelings.
3. Communicate with your spouse. It is important to keep your significant other in the loop, and to not be ashamed or afraid to divulge your feelings.
4. See a therapist. A systemic therapist can help you understand your feelings, and help ease the anxiety that comes with being a new parent.
All of these tips stress the importance of maintaining connection and communicating with others. Isolation during times of high anxiety can lead to depression, which can often feel like a negative spiral. If you are feeling depressed/anxious, contact Philadelphia MFT to schedule an appointment and begin taking the steps towards a happier, healthier life.
This topic of the week has been brought to you by Danielle Adinolfi, MFT