Pregnancy and parenthood are often constructed as times of joy and fulfilment. However, becoming a parent (for the first or numerous time/s) can be a difficult adjustment that is often fraught with change and loss. The following video highlights the importance of parents allowing themselves ways to acknowledge and process such difficulties. Change and loss that has not been dealt with may heighten the risks for perinatal depression and anxiety (including both antenatal and postnatal elements). As many as 1 in 5 mother and 1 in 10 fathers may experience postnatal depression. This may be particularly difficult for parents with the societal expectation of "parental bliss" and hence may leave parents feeling shamed and wanting to hide what they are going through. Perinatal depression and anxiety can be pervasive both for individuals and families and it extremely important for parents not to hide difficult feelings and symptoms they may be experiencing as this may delay getting help and prolong their difficulties. Perinatal depression and anxiety are not uncommon and can be effectively treated through a combination of approaches, such as medication, support groups, education and psychotherapy (parent-infant psychotherapy, individual and family interventions).
What is intersex? Are 'male' and 'female' the only sexes? What defines sex: genitals, hormones, chromosomes, something else? Can you be intersex without knowing it? Is the surgical alteration of ambiguous genitalia in infancy a form genital mutilation? What is it like to be a parent of an intersex child in a gender-binary focussed society? What are some of the experiences of intersex persons?
The existence of multiple sexes has great implication for the way we conceptualise sex and gender as well as for the lived everyday experiences of 'sexed' persons. The following BBC documentary explores some of the above questions:
Biologists and evolutionary psychologists have frequently proposed that the male strategy to get as much of one's genetic material into next the generation as possible has centred on men maximising their number of mates and minimizing their parental investment in their young. In relation to this strategy, proposed female strategies have often centred on women securing mates that will provide them with resources to raise their young. Traditional gender roles have often complied to this view of parenting in which mothers are primarily in charge of bringing up their children ("barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen") while fathers are responsible for providing an income for their family. Gender roles, however, are constantly in flux and fathers' involvement in the parenting of their children is on the rise.
The following BBC documentary introduces some interesting research on the biological reactions fathers have to being a parent and the unique qualities that fathers bring to parenting. Some of these findings include:
These findings have interesting implications on how fatherhood is constructed and in understanding the important roles that fathers may play in their children's development (especially their early development).
Parenting can be a challenging task by itself but with constant "DOs and DON'Ts" from family members, friends, professionals and the ever increasing media parents may feel overwhelmed, pulled in multiple (often opposing) directions and find it hard to find their own unique parenting styles. In the following article psychologist Judith Ancer provides helpful suggestions on the importance of finding a balance as well as useful practical tips on how to do this:
All infants are born with different temperaments. Some babies are easier going while others may fuss a lot more. A baby's temperament may also be shaped by it's environment. Parenting any baby can be challenging but this may be especially so for high need babies. It is important for both the baby and parents' well being for parents to understand how infants relate to the world and how to keep their baby in mind. The following article provides a good introduction to this: http://www.babiesinmind.co.za/high-need-babies
I use this blog to post links to articles and videos that may relate to some of my services or interests. This content may also be useful for potential clients as well as other people interested in psychology and self development.