And for the Partners….Patient & Families
Therapy can also be a space for the partners who are alongside the pregnancy journey. Partners also weather the emotional journey leading up to pregnancy but their needs are often overlooked and overshadowed. The primary focus for care is for the mother and baby. Most doctors’ appointments are not even required for partners to attend. Partners may or may not be included for the celebratory preparations during the pregnancy. But what is expected of you as a partner? What has become a part of your role as a support person?
How long can you bury the grief of miscarriage and infertility? Where does the anger about no longer having time for things you used to enjoy go? Is there a financial burden on your shoulders that feels overwhelming and is causing panic symptoms? Are you acutely aware of substance use issues that are now needing to be addressed? Are you fearful of becoming a parent because of harm your own parent caused you?
Therapy can support you in verbalizing your own feelings about becoming a parent and being a participant throughout the pregnancy. Some common thoughts and feelings that come up are, “It will be fine”, “yah I’ll figure something out”, “I can’t talk about that with other guys”, “other people just wouldn’t get it”. Does any of this ring true for you? The stigma of getting help for our mental health needs has certainly made positive strides. Pregnancy illuminates cultural norms, gender roles, and expectations within relationships. Are you and your partner aware of these dynamics and do you both agree on those things? Making room in our lives for a baby is complex. How many of us are asking ourselves whether we have healthy coping skills for stress?
Lauren Pena MFT, ATR, LMFT # 130687
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