So you have checked the cheap pregnancy test you bought from the local pharmacy three times already. You decide to go out and three more of three different brands – just be safe ! Eventually nine home pregnancy tests later – it’s confirmed – you’re pregnant. This can mean a lot of different things for different women. Most expect a pregnancy to bring joy and celebration and there is a great deal of pressure on the pregnant woman to feel this way. Dr Anita Prag is a southern suburbs psychologist in Cape Town. Dr Prag is an experienced clinical psychologist who emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic space needing to be free of concern of judgement. Feelings are emotions that arise that we cannot control. Sure we can try bury them or hide them, but in time that doesn’t do any help. It’s extremely important for a patient or client to be able to say what they honestly feeling without being afraid that they will be judged. The magical thing about sharing your feelings, verbalizing them, is that you diminish most of their power. Sitting with a trained psychologist with whom you feel safe and sharing what you think are your most shameful feelings, is the best thing you can do – but first there must be trust between the psychologist and the patient. For the sake of anonymity, I will refer to this client as “Helen”. Helen was a beautiful thirty two year old woman doing well in her career as a financial advisor. Helen’s pregnancy was somewhat unexpected as she had been taking birth control medication. From the moment she found out that she was pregnant she felt resentful. Helen felt resentful that she was not yet ready to have a baby. Resentful that her contraceptive medication had failed. Resentful that the pregnancy would interfere with her career, resentful that her body was beginning to change and she felt less attractive. All these negative feelings were not only bringing Helen down onto the verge of a mild depression, but the feelings of guilt she had about feeling this way were eating away at her. It took a lot of courage to meet with a psychiatrist to talk through these feelings that were haunting her. But who else could she turn to, most of her friends and family were congratulating her, her husband was overjoyed. She was alone and stuck with these negative emotions. Just one initial session the psychologist set her at ease. Sure there a period of time required to develop some rapport and feel trusting in your environment, but a skilled psychologist knows how to make a new patient feel safe and comfortable in a relatively short period of time. Once she started speaking honestly about her feelings, she just couldn’t stop until it was all out. Like something that had been dammed up that needed to be released, and heard by somebody who understands the intricacies of human emotions without judgement. Without her psychologist having to say anything, Helen was already feeling a bit better, lighter almost. A psychologist can help mirror back to you what you are saying which is a great way of putting things into context. Helen learned that she was not the first woman ever to have these feelings and that it was quite normal for a woman her age with a healthy career to be disappointed with an unexpected pregnancy. Knowing that alone made Helen immediately feel much better about herself and her baby.
It is vital health of both the mother and the unborn child that the expectant mother is not just physically healthy, but emotionally content as well. It is often the unspoken feelings that grow into deep seated resentments if not shared with somebody who can help you through them. The negative emotions cause stress and hormonal changes that have direct impact on the baby in the womb. For any expectant mom who is having difficulty with negative feelings about her pregnancy, it is advised to go a chat with a psychologist. You can visit Dr Anita Prag’s southern suburbs psychologist website here. Feeling different or not necessarily overjoyed about being pregnant is not uncommon. You are not alone.