Being pregnant is a time that makes most people think about family. This might be looking back at the family they grew up in, or looking to the future and the new family they are creating. Now that they are facing a future with several generations of mums and dads together in it, they might also be changing how they think about the idea of family.
The family unit in Australia evolved long ago from the traditional idea of a mum, dad and kids. These days we have all types of different family units, from single parent and same sex parent households, through to step families and households with several generations living together and sharing the caring duties.
We also know that some cultures view the notion of family differently. Especially around birth, when often female family members gather to support the baby while mum recovers. Sometimes grandparents step in. Often these arrangements are comforting and supportive, but we know they sometimes can also cause difficulties.
Expecting parents in Australia come from all types of family units, and all cultures. Regardless of what kind of family people come from, they can be affected by perinatal anxiety or depression.
Changes within the family during pregnancy
Expecting mums and dads are especially vulnerable to being impacted if there are significant changes occurring in their family, including their extended family. Some of the family changes we hear about at PANDA that can have an impact on your emotional and mental health while pregnant include:
- Your mother is absent (physically or emotionally absent, or passed away)
- Lack of support from the extended family
- Family members attempting to influence parenting or lifestyle choices
- Differences or conflict within the extended family
- Extended visits from family members.
All of these changes can add a layer of complexity to your pregnancy. If you are experiencing any of these changes within your family and they are affecting your emotional or mental health to the point of not being able to function day to day, then it’s time to seek support.