So you're going to be a parent! Or perhaps you are going to support someone who is. What an honour and privilege to have this responsibility, and perhaps it's a bit daunting and stressful as well. You are about to fall in love in a way that you never have before; with a new little being, with your partner and perhaps even with life itself! This time of change can bring on a whole range of emotions, all of which are valid and worthy of your attention. When you want to be a good support person to your partner, your emotional wellness matters!
When strong feelings are building up, are you taking the opportunity to express yourself, feel heard and process it? What you are going through is important to acknowledge.
If you feel emotions that are challenging,stressful and negative then it's really important to have support for you as well. Becoming a parent is a significant time of personal growth and change. So to embrace it with the attitude that you can help yourself then you'll become more self aware. Being more self aware means you'll be more able to care for your needs or reach out for support when necessary. In doing this you will be better able to take care of others, make that sustainable and importantly, enjoy the experience!
So what are some of the feelings you might have going on for you? Expectant partners tell me they:
- Feel overjoyed and happy with the anticipation of having a baby
- Feel more love, nurture and protection grow for their partner
- Deal with a new level of pressure and stress for taking on the primary income earner role
- Want to step up into this new responsibility but stress at times at how hard it might be
- Wonder if they will lose themselves in it all and miss the life they once had
- Are excited to discover who they are as a dad or mum
A dad shared with me his reflections after the birth of his second childbirth. It's honest and real. He talks about the good and the tough parts of the changes he went through and how that reflected in way he supported his partner. You may agree or not with his perspectives but I hope that it inspires you to explore how you want to be through this journey into life and how you can make it happen.
Matt's Birth Story
I grew up hearing stories about men not caring or wanting to be involved in pregnancy or child birth, my father & my father's father. These stories seemed so clean cut. Black and white.
The truth is, pregnancy is first and foremost a woman's 'journey' and the pragmatic, clinical nature of man's logic has no place in maternity. Our 'outcomes' definition of 'success' seems to neglect one essential part of pregnancy and often many parts of life. The 'journey'.
A woman's pregnancy takes 40 weeks, birth can take 1,2,3 days and newborn childcare is at least a 12 month process, yet the men in charge of modern pediatrics speak In minutes and the one percentile.
During my experience of child birth I found myself thinking in minutes, outcomes, cm and %. Why, well because I am a man.
I believe it is the responsibility of the mother and father to recognize and accept our primal instincts and work towards a balance during this period and hopefully during parenting.
I failed Sandy during the first birth because I gave into this 'outcomes' approach to life and allowed people with no care for Sandy's soul to make clinical decisions that totally sacrificed her mind in preference for her body and their own agendas.
I spent most part of the second pregnancy trying to think with my heart, listening patiently regardless of outcome & spent more time holding without the intention of sex.
I believe it was difficult for me and is for other men because it involves us being totally selfless and ignoring our basic primal instincts.
My son already comes to me for more masculine tasks, even though he was not taught to and my daughter will probably seek Sandy when it comes to feminine tasks. This is something set by nature from day one and It Is very hard to find a balance as a child grows into an adult and more often than not we just give in and accept the gender roles given to us.
I guess my gender roles based view of life and maternity might seem misogynist and simplistic, but I simply cannot ignore the way I feel. However, I can learn to transcend my selfish primal urges for periods of time when it is required that I be there for people other than myself.
Sandy's pregnancies have shown me that I can become a multi dimensional citizen, father, lover & partner that has evolved past primal needs and is capable of greater human sacrifice.
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