Anxiety in Expectant Non-Birthing Parents: Causes, Signs, and Tips

Via Peters

A 2017 study looked at posts on Reddit to identify common worries for non-birthing parents.

Common sources of anxiety found in posts from non-birthing parents included:

  • fears for the baby’s health
  • concerns for the birthing parent
  • worries about the future of the adults’ relationship
  • nervousness about the role of being a father
  • uneasiness about potential work-family conflicts

There’s a lot to unpack with these topics, so let’s dive a little deeper into some of these causes of anxiety.

1. Pregnancy or birth complications

It’s completely natural to worry about the health of the birthing parent or your unborn child. Most pregnancies proceed without any problems, but complications can sometimes happen.

Some of the more common complications in pregnancy or childbirth include:

Many potential complications during pregnancy can be managed effectively with prompt medical attention. It’s also important to keep up with prenatal visits and testing.

If you’re concerned about potential complications, you may want to attend prenatal appointments whenever possible. You can ask to speak with the birthing parent’s OB-GYN to help set your mind at ease.

You can also read books about pregnancy and labor to learn more.

2. Finances

Raising a baby can be costly. Whether your concerns are the early costs of day care and diapers or long-term costs like college, it’s natural to worry about whether you’ll have enough money for your child.

You may wish to research what free programs and resources are available for new parents in your community. Meeting with a financial advisor can also help you get a long-term plan in order.

3. Postpartum adjustment

Postpartum anxiety and depression are not only experienced by the birthing parent. A 2019 review of studies found that about 1 in 10 fathers experience postpartum depression and anxiety.

Keep in mind that although postpartum depression can occur at any point in the baby’s first year of life, the risk for non-birthing parents is highest when the baby is 3 to 6 months old.

Being a parent can bring many lifestyle changes, including sleepless nights. If you’re having a hard time managing these adjustments or feel that you might be experiencing anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek help right away.

4. Infant health

As a parent of a newborn, it’s completely natural to feel protective over your child. Medical professionals are there to help make sure your baby is healthy.

Immediately after they’re born, your baby will receive various wellness checks. Additionally, you’ll see their pediatrician frequently for the first month after your baby is born.

If you’re worried about your infant’s health, never hesitate to reach out to their pediatrician. Reading books and attending classes can also help you know what to expect and how to help your baby if they are sick.

5. Lifestyle changes

Carefree days, intimacy, and working late are all things you might fear will be long gone after the baby arrives.

It’s true that a lot of new responsibilities come with parenthood. It’s important to keep in mind that you may be able to share these with the birthing parent or other adults.

If you have an intimate relationship with the birthing parent, you may wonder how having a child will affect that.

About 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth, the birthing parent is usually medically cleared to begin having sexual intercourse, but not every individual feels physically and emotionally ready. You’ll want to talk with your partner about this.

Finally, finding a work-life balance can be tricky, especially in the first few weeks of your baby’s life. Many companies offer parental leave benefits for non-birthing parents. It can be helpful to look into what options for paid leave exist prior to your baby’s arrival.

6. Will I be a good enough parent?

It’s very common to wonder what type of parent you’ll be or even if you’ll be a good parent.

If you are experiencing feelings of doubt in this area, it can be helpful to surround yourself with other non-birthing parents at the same stage who can relate to your present day-to-day experiences.

Having a support team of fellow parents and professionals you respect can help encourage and guide you as you grow as a parent.

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