Pregnancy and Early Childhood within Psychological Therapies

We recognise that  Father and Child pregnancy and early parenthood can be both an exciting and overwhelming time. Becoming a parent is a major life change, with role changes and a mixture of emotions.

As many as 1 in 5 women can experience emotional difficulties and 1 in 3 new fathers/partners are concerned about their mental health during this time. This can happen to anyone. It is not your fault.

Asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t cope or can’t care for your child and it is very rare that children are taken away from their parents but it is the start of getting the right help to ensure you can be the parent you want to be.

"Just after 4 sessions I felt like a weight had been lifted; I was able to stop the intrusive thoughts in their tracks and as a result I felt less anxious. By the end of therapy, my anxiety had completely gone and I felt like a new person and a better mother because I was in control again’’ (Mum who accessed this service).

It is common for pregnant women or early parents to experience:

  • Low mood, sadness and tearfulness
  • Anxiety, worry and tension
  • Irritability and anger
  • Difficult or unexpected feelings towards your pregnancy or baby
  • Poor sleep even when your baby sleeps well
  • Feeling unable to cope or enjoy anything
  • Thoughts that you are not a good enough parent
  • Worrying/ intrusive thoughts about your baby
  • Anxiety about labour or struggling to come to terms with a difficult labour or loss.

GMMH Member of Staff Our services aim to keep both parents and the infant in mind, making our services as accessible as possible with appointment flexibility, locations in family friendly venues and priority for assessment and treatment. Our service welcomes and prioritises individuals who are pregnant, or parents with children under 2, including mums, dads and same sex partners.

If you feel that you’re struggling, you can self-refer or you can ask your GP to refer you via self-help services. They will talk to you, and arrange an assessment with you, to see how best we can help.  

"I was referred to this service through my health visitor, as I had high anxiety due to the health of my premature baby. The counsellor I worked with was sensitive to my needs as a new Mum, and gave me the skills I could use throughout my lifetime. I no longer suffer from anxiety and can put my energy into providing the best experience for my baby. The help I have received has been invaluable" (Mum who accessed the service).

Common myths about pregnancy and parenting

Myth 1: Pregnant women are deliriously happy and never get depressed

Myth 2: It’s just the ‘baby blues’, I’m fine

Myth 3: If I’m diagnosed with a mental health issue, my baby will be taken away from me

Myth 4: If I tell anyone about my mental health worries, they will think I’m a failure, a bad parent or that I don’t love my baby

Myth 5: Mental health problems only affect certain people

Myth 6: I will be forced to take medication

Myth 7: I’m the only one who feels this way

Myth 8: Only mums suffer from mental health issues like postnatal depression

Myth 9: There’s nothing I can do to help a parent I know experiencing mental health issues

Myth 10: I’m never going to feel better

Pregnancy and Early Childhood Resources

You may find the resources on this page a helpful start to getting the support you need: https://www.gmmh.nhs.uk/pregnancy-resources