The excitement of a new baby on the way is in many cases exactly that: happiness, joy, and excitement. Those around you, even complete strangers, may happily comment on your upcoming baby’s arrival and ask you just how excited you are. And again, in many cases, an expecting mother is excited, albeit likely experiencing many other emotions, as well (especially if it is your first pregnancy or child).
The trouble is that not all expecting mom’s are in a complete state of bliss about their upcoming arrival, and when others approach them with the expectation that their answer should be that of complete excitement and joy, it is likely to make the expecting mom feel even more down about their not-so-positive emotions, thinking “something must be wrong with me.”
It is important to be aware and sensitive to the fact that expecting mother’s experience many different emotions in anticipation of their new baby’s arrival.
The reality is nothing is “wrong” with you. Expecting a new child is a life-changing event, and a tremendous one at that. Whether it is your first, second, third, etc., a new child requires much care, attention, sleepless nights, and selflessness. Particularly at the beginning of their lives, a baby requires much (if not nearly all) of your energy, and is no doubt a life-changing event. Likewise, it is no wonder that expecting mom’s have a lot of different types of emotions during this time.
Common Negative Emotions Expecting Mom’s May Feel
It’s important to discuss what is normal. Even if you are feeling excited and happy, emotions do not live in bubbles. This means you aren’t just feeling the socially expected emotions of happiness and excitement, but you are likely experiencing other emotions that range from being categorically negative to positive. These may include anxiety, fear, overwhelmed, apprehension, uncertainty, and unconfident.
The key word here is common. And frankly, if you are thinking clearly about what is about to happen (this life-changing event) and considering all realistic factors related to your baby’s upcoming arrival, you are experiencing a range of emotions such as those listed above. It is nice to live in complete bliss, but that simply isn’t taking into consideration the reality of a new baby entering your world. A more balanced approach is to self-reflect and acknowledge the range of emotions you are feeling.
More Severe Negative Emotions Expecting Mom’s May Feel
While the emotions listed above are all very common and “normal” during the expecting phase, there are certain emotions and degrees (e.g., severity) of emotions to be aware of. If you find yourself feeling more than the occasional blues, with a predominant depression or severe anxiety present, it is important to take care of yourself.
Indications of feeling more depressed than what might be expected include:
- feeling down, or sad, more often than not
- low energy, fatigue
- low motivation
- trouble falling or staying asleep (due to your mood, not related to your pregnancy)
- poor concentration
Indications of feeling more anxious than what would be expected include:
- frequent or constant worry
- trouble sleeping related to anxious thoughts or worries
- muscle tension
- poor concentration
When it’s Time to Get Help
If you find yourself feeling more down or anxious than what would be expected, it may be time to seek professional help. The question to ask yourself is “are my depressed (or anxious) feelings predominating my happy or positive emotions, or am I not even experiencing any positive emotions?” If the answer is yes to either of these questions, this is a sign that you may be experiencing more severe negative emotions and could benefit from talking to a professional.
A professional can help you to think more realistically about what’s to come, work through your fears, and help you find ways to joy in this time. While this shouldn’t be an ignorantly all positive emotional time period, it certainly does not have to be one where you live in a state of depression, anxiety, or fear. If you are interested in learning about postpartum mood disturbances, click here.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
At Tampa Therapy, we are committed to providing a relaxing, healing, and non-judgmental environment to support you on your journey to mental and emotional growth and health, and into parenthood. If you want things to be different, you have to change them. This means being open-minded, patient, committed, and understanding that therapy is an option and speaking with a professional can lead to better mental wellness during this important and truly special time.
If you are feeling more down or anxious about your upcoming arrival than you think you should be, give us a call or email us today to start the process of getting help.