Royal Baby Blues
Kate Middleton and Prince William’s son was born on Monday 22 July at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, to a national burst of excitement, enthusiasm and rapture. TV programmes were interrupted to bring news flashes of the birth, revellers made their way down to Buckingham Palace for the official announcement and social media sites went into overload. Global media reported Prince William’s happiness, and Prince Charles said that he was ‘overjoyed’ at becoming a grandfather.
We can all confidently predict that over the next few days, weeks and maybe months much of the country will go baby-crazy. There is already talk of an impending baby boom, although we are hardly out of the last one, and shops are stocking up with all sorts of royal baby memorabilia and souvenirs. On Monday night the BT tower lit up with the words ‘it’s a boy’ while the London Eye also put on a light show, and other landmarks around the world glowed blue in order to mark the occasion of the royal arrival. Meanwhile, many companies who manufacture baby products will no doubt be jumping on the bandwagon in order to gain positive publicity: after the announcement was made on Monday evening ITV played a string of baby-themed commercials, advertising more than just baby products, while the national channel changed their TV landing page to a cake with ‘it’s a boy’ piped onto it in blue icing. It seems there will be little escape from the long-anticipated baby mania.
But this ostensibly joyous occasion can be a painful time for many. At The Grove we understand that becoming a mother or a father can prove very difficult. It’s exhausting, stressful and anxiety-provoking, and it can be hard to adjust to the new order. The Baby Blues, which affects upwards of 50% of new mothers, can develop into a more serious post-natal depression. Mothers who are affected may also experience intense feelings of shame at not feeling the joy and euphoria that they were expecting, or that others tell them they ‘should’ be feeling, after giving birth. Mothers may feel guilty at not being able to bond with, or feel love for, their child. Equally, post-birth disillusionment and depression can affect men as they struggle to manage the new arrival, work, possibly other children, and try to support their partner. Again, new fathers may feel ashamed by their depressed mood, and may feel guilty at struggling to cope with the changes. If you are finding it difficult to handle becoming a mother or a father, or if you are feeling unable to cope after the birth of your child, let’s talk. At The Grove our counsellors can provide a quiet, non-judgemental space, where you can start to come to grips with your experiences in a supportive and compassionate environment.
The arrival of the royal baby may also trigger some heightened emotions in both women and men who, for whatever reason, desire a family but don’t, or can’t, have children. It may be that you haven’t found a suitable partner with whom to start a family, or that there is a biological reason why you can’t conceive. Maybe you are thinking about adoption, fostering or IVF. We understand that theses are huge decisions to make and need to be thoroughly discussed and considered before you proceed. If the birth of the heir to the throne has affected you and touched on your personal struggles it may help to talk things through with a therapist who understands. If you are thinking about taking the next step towards becoming a mother or a father, or if you are feeling low in the wake of the royal birth, let’s talk first before making any decisions, to ensure that the choices you make are best for you and that you feel supported in your current situation.