Planning how many children you want, as well as the age difference between them, is an important way to help create a harmonious family life. This is often a joyous experience for an individual wanting to start a family. However, you may need assistance if this has instead started to cause strain upon your wellbeing or any relationships. Examples of when this can occur include when you are struggling or unable to conceive, having disagreements with a partner or family members about having children, or other family issues.
Furthermore, unexpected events can sometimes be difficult to navigate by yourself. For example, suddenly experiencing an unexpected pregnancy or having issues during your pregnancy can cause a great deal of distress. Having long term or constant stress during pregnancy results in an ongoing release of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’, which can have dangerous and lasting effects on both yourself and the baby.
Another unexpected turn of events that can occur is in the face of family separation. This can cause great distress, both during the pregnancy or later down the track when you already have children. It can be very difficult to deal with the emotions of this and come to an agreed decision with your partner on how to share the caregiving responsibilities. If any of these issues have been ongoing and you are unable to manage them on your own, a psychologist can help you to take better control of the situation and deal with your emotions during this difficult period.
Some of the particular areas in which a psychologist can provide assistance include:
- Helping to make decisions surrounding an unplanned pregnancy, for an individual, their partner, or their family
- Giving ongoing support and information throughout the pregnancy
- Educate you on the regular experience of people going through similar issues to help normalise your emotions and ease any distress of the unknown
- Help to identify the thoughts that trigger negative responses to the situation, and change these so that you are better able to manage your emotions
- Relaxation training and stress management strategies
- Assisting in findings ways to discuss the pregnancy or any issues with others, and building up the confidence to do this