Pregnancy and parenthood are often portrayed as a fairytale. Unfortunately, the challenging aspects of pregnancy and parenthood are rarely discussed. Even women who excitedly planned for pregnancy may find themselves second guessing the decision.
What Is Pregnancy Regret?
Pregnancy regret occurs when a new mother begins to no longer desire her pregnancy. This is a complicated situation from a psychological perspective. It is not uncommon for women to be unprepared for the physical stress of pregnancy. Dealing with symptoms such as discomfort, nausea and hormonal shifts can take a toll. Additionally, some women find the changes in appearance to be particularly difficult. It can be challenging for some to embrace the physical changes that come with a growing pregnancy. In some cases, becoming a parent can impact your self-image. As an example, a “career woman” who plans to be a stay-at-home mom may resent giving up her outside employment and the status she perceives from working outside the home.
Although rarely discussed, men also experience pregnancy regret. Some women report that their partners who were originally supportive tend to pull away or shut down as the pregnancy progresses. There are many psychological reasons for this change. Many men have concerns regarding how the new baby will impact their relationship with their partner. Some report feelings of jealousy regarding the expected closeness between mother and child. Men also may feel the additional financial pressure of having to support a new baby, especially if their partner plans on staying at home to take care of the baby.
How Do I Deal with Pregnancy Regret?
Many couples find that education and open communication reduces the stress and unknown that comes with new parenthood. It is helpful for couples to discuss these concerns prior to pregnancy, if possible. Some couples find themselves planning a pregnancy due to family or societal pressure, when in fact the timing is not right. Additionally, placing yourself in a good place financially also helps alleviate money concerns that are likely to come up.
It is common for couple to regret pregnancy, even when parenthood was planned. It is important to discuss these feelings as a couple. A new baby brings about changes, so preparation is key. Couples struggling with regret should be encouraged to discuss their concerns with their provider.
Have you or your partner experienced these feelings? How did you handle pregnancy regret? Please share in the comments below.