Pregnancy is the most dramatic and rapid change in bodily form and body image that occurs naturally in adult life. The subsequent change of the role of the woman becoming a mother further accentuates the changing self-image through pregnancy. Pregnancy is often portrayed as a wonderful celebration of fertility, abundance and happiness. Although these feelings are still part of a wanted pregnancy, it can also be a time of perceived loss of independence, physical mobility, lifestyle, hobbies, networking, familiar diet and fitness.
Pregnancy is an important phase in a woman’s life-long task of separation and individuation from her own mother to becoming a mother herself, with the new equally strong bond. Often relationships with the mother also undergo dramatic change.
During pregnancy, it is common for a woman to become introspective, sensitive or more aware of the behaviours of others. This is evolutionarily designed to make a woman extremely responsive and attentive to the needs of a new baby who cannot speak. The accompanying feelings of such dramatic inner change are often anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, loneliness, resentment and ambivalence are often difficult to contain. These disturbances affect both partners and often result in relationship difficulties.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is designed to provide the necessary container for the intensity of these feelings as well as help you reflect on the change in the process. The element of cognitive behavioural therapy will provide the necessary emotional regulation and coping skills and the relationship therapy may highlight vicious cycles in your relationship as well as facilitate communication with your partner.
At least 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy-related problems right now. And these include:
- Miscarriage or repeated miscarriages
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Difficult choices such as an abortion
- Phantom pregnancy
- Labor related fears
Your psychotherapist will assist you in dealing with any of the above or your unique circumstances to make the transition into the new role as smooth as possible.
Fertility related difficulties
At least 1 in 7 couples have difficulty falling pregnant. Trying to conceive can be a worrying and unsettling time for a couple. From the first month, the couple decides to try for a baby, there is a constant question in the mind of one or both partners “Did it work?”. As months go by, unsuccessful attempts become harder and harder to face and growing disappointment may begin to affect partners individually or as a couple. Paradoxically, the stress hormone cortisol found to drastically reduce the couple’s conception chances. The more couple begins to worry about their ability to get pregnant the less likely they are able to achieve the result they want. Psychotherapy is extremely effective in helping couples to learn relaxation skills, prevent and deal with depression and anxiety as well as reflect on the meaning of fertility and infertility in their life.
Common difficulties that can be addressed in therapy include:
- Unsuccessful IVF
- Infertility for medical reasons
- Use of alternative conception strategies (donor eggs, sperm or embryo; surrogacy; adoption)
You are welcome to come on your own or with your partner. In both cases, your therapist will design your sessions based on the elements from cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoanalytic therapy and couples’ therapy to suit your unique needs.