Confusing Emotions of the New Parents

When you and your partner become new parents, you will share many positive feelings—feelings of personal gratification, challenge, and achievement; a deepened love; and a renewed appreciation of each other. You will enjoy discovering new dimensions in each other as parents and may even find the relationships with your own parents becoming closer.

Negative Feelings

The negative feelings that accompany new parenthood may come as a surprise to you, however, as may the feelings of guilt that often follow. When you have done simply everything to soothe a fussy baby and he is still crying, when you have gotten up for the third time during the night to feed him, or when the anticipated 2-hour nap lasts for only 30 minutes, you may find yourself getting upset or even hostile toward this baby who is so “ungrateful” for all that you have done for him. You are not alone! Parents are human and have feelings of anger and guilt from time to time, whether they admit it or not. The feelings are not the problem, however. Rather, the concern is over how you handle the feelings and cope with the situation at hand. Often, just talking with other new mothers who are experiencing the same feelings and difficulties will help you put the situation in perspective and arrive at a creative solution.

Don’t Only Blame the Baby

Sometimes, the baby is not the reason that these emotions surface in a mother. Instead, “cabin fever,” loss of freedom, lack of intellectual stimulation, or lowered self-confidence is the cause. If you feel upset in any way after your baby is born, try to find the reason you feel as you do. You will then be able to work toward a solution. Be sure to share your feelings with your mate. Problems seem less important when they are shared and solved together.