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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shaenor Ishmael

Navigating Parenthood: A Guide to Prioritizing Mental Health and Family Planning

Updated: Apr 8

Becoming a parent is one of the most life-changing events that can happen to anyone. It can bring joy, fulfillment, and love, but also challenges, stress, and uncertainty. That is why it is important to prepare for parenthood not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

Mental health and family planning are two key aspects of preparing for parenthood that are often overlooked or neglected. However, they can have a significant impact on your well-being, your relationship with your partner, and your future child’s development. In this article, we will discuss why and how you should address mental health and family planning before conceiving.

Why is mental health important for family planning?

Mental health is the state of your psychological and emotional well-being. It affects how you think, feel, and behave, as well as how you cope with stress, relate to others, and make decisions. Mental health can also influence your reproductive health, such as your fertility, your pregnancy outcomes, and your postpartum adjustment.

Some of the most common mental health problems during this period are depression and anxiety. These conditions can have negative consequences for both the mother and the child, such as:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight, and birth complications.

  • Impaired bonding and attachment between the mother and the child.

  • Reduced quality of life and dissatisfaction with motherhood.

  • Increased risk of child abuse and neglect

  • Delayed cognitive, emotional, and social development of the child

Therefore, it is essential to address any mental health issues before conceiving, as they can affect your ability and readiness to become a parent. You should consult with your doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist if you have any history or symptoms of mental health problems, and seek appropriate treatment and support.

You should also discuss with your partner how you can support each other’s mental health and cope with the potential challenges of parenthood.

How to explore the emotional aspects of family planning?

Family planning is the process of deciding when and how many children to have, and using contraceptive methods to prevent or achieve pregnancy. Family planning can help you and your partner to have more control over your reproductive choices, and to plan your family according to your personal, social, and economic circumstances.

However, family planning is not only a practical matter, but also an emotional one. It involves your values, beliefs, expectations, and feelings about parenthood, as well as your relationship with your partner. Family planning can also trigger various emotions, such as joy, excitement, fear, anxiety, guilt, or grief, depending on your situation and experience.

Therefore, it is important to explore the emotional aspects of family planning before conceiving, as they can affect your motivation and readiness to become a parent. You should communicate with your partner openly and honestly about your desires, concerns, and preferences regarding parenthood, and listen to their perspective as well. You should also consider the following questions:

  • Why do you want to have a child? What are your hopes and dreams for your future family?

  • How do you feel about our current family situation? Are you satisfied with your relationship, your family of origin, and your social network?

  • How do you cope with stress, uncertainty, and change? How do you handle conflict, disappointment, and loss?

  • How do you balance your personal, professional, and social roles and responsibilities? How do you manage your time, energy, and resources?

  • How do you express and regulate your emotions? How do you deal with negative or difficult emotions?

  • How do you take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally?

  • What are your self-care practices and routines?

Exploring these questions can help you to gain more insight into your emotional readiness for parenthood, and to identify any areas that need improvement or support.

You can also seek professional mental health guidance or assistance.

Share with your friends and family who are also preparing for parenthood.

Get in touch with us.

Tel. 407-494-6165

Dr. Shaenor Ishmael

Maternal Mental Health Therapist

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