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Becoming a Parent: The Emotional Journey Through Pregnancy and Childbirth

ISBN: 978-0-470-86090-8
208 pages
August 2004
Becoming a Parent: The Emotional Journey Through Pregnancy and Childbirth (0470860901) cover image


An emotional survival guide to pregnancy and childbirth

Like the other volumes in the Family Matters series, this authoritative new book provides expert advice to ordinary people struggling with everyday challenges-in this case, the emotional trials of new mothers. Enduring the stresses of pregnancy and giving birth are only half of what it takes to become a parent. The other half involves adjusting emotionally to the reality of a newborn. With tips on getting outside help and "discussion points" useful in self-therapy, Becoming a Parent offers real-life solutions, based on actual cases, to every sort of difficulty new parents might expect.

Jackie Ganley (London, UK) works for Britain's National Health Service.
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Table of Contents

About the author.



1. Deciding on parenthood.

What are we letting ourselves in for?

What does it mean to be a family?

What does it mean to be a mother? Changes for women.

The tasks of parenting.

The needs of parents.

Isn’t the decision different for everyone?

What if I don’t become pregnant?

Who can help?

Discussion points.

2. Conception.

Conception: the other side of family planning.

Discovering you are pregnant.

When pregnancy doesn’t happen.


Taking a different path.

The emotional impact of fertility problems and treatments.

Who can help?

Discussion points.

3. The stages of pregnancy.


The first few weeks: fears and acceptance.

Morning sickness.

How to cope with morning sickness.

‘I still can’t believe I’m pregnant’: the increasing role of technology in our experience of pregnancy.

Getting rid of bad habits: drinking and smoking issues.


A time for change.

The mid-pregnancy: making plans.

‘I haven’t had a chance to think about my pregnancy’: building a relationship with the baby.

The pregnancy coming to an end.

‘I still don’t think I’m ready to be a parent’: changing roles for all.

Who can help?

Discussion points.

4. Specific psychological difficulties in pregnancy.

But don’t we all feel fed-up at some point?

Depression in pregnancy.

Anxiety and panic attacks during pregnancy.

Eating disorders and body image.

Substance use, aggression and acting out.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Looking beyond pregnancy.

Who can help?

5. Birth.

So what exactly is a domino? The choices and decisions surrounding birth.


What can I do about the pain?

Feeling involved in your labour.

Complications and loss.

Who can help?

Discussion points.

6. The first few days.

Your baby arrives at last!

Forming a relationship with your new baby.

Caring for your baby: feeding, sleeping and being held.

Babies requiring special care.

The experience of new parents.

‘Baby blues’, post-natal depression and post-partum psychosis: complicated reactions to having a baby.

Baby blues?

Those first few days!

Who can help?

Discussion points.

7. The first six weeks.

Feeding your baby.



Interacting, exploring and learning.

Changing relationships.

The recovery of the mother.

What is post-natal depression?

Getting help with post-natal problems.

Who can help?

Discussion points.

8. Managing anxiety and depression.

Understanding and coping with stress and anxiety.

How does anxiety affect people’s lives?

What causes anxiety problems?

‘How can I cope with anxiety/manage my life differently?’

Understanding and coping with depression.

Step1: ‘Why am I depressed at the moment?’ Identifying problems.

Step 2: Learning new skills.

Who can help?

9. The journey that never ends.

Looking ahead.

The new ‘me’.

Addresses of useful organizations.

Designing diaries: Anxiety, depression, drinking.



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Author Information

Jackie Ganley is a Clinical Psychologistwith the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. She has worked in primary health care with GPs, health visitors, midwives and psychiatric nurses for a number of years. She has two young children.
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“…well written…” (RCM Mid-month supplement, News and Appointments, February 2005)
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Becoming a Parent: The Emotional Journey Through Pregnancy and Childbirth (US $25.95)

-and- Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child's True Potential (US $19.95)

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