Thursday, February 11, 2010

Babies Trigger Life Transitions - Joy and Loss

When parents bring their much anticipated, sweet baby home, they are often focused on all the joy this little one will bring to their lives. What becomes painstakingly clear is that they are also leaving behind their old, more carefree lives.

In his book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, William Bridges describes one mom’s mixed feelings to her wonderful new baby.
"She and her husband had been married for two years before she became pregnant, and they had been very happy together. Both of them had wanted children, but each of them was startled to find a fussy new infant so intrusive and demanding. We aren’t alone together any more,"
she said sadly, after her anger had passed. "I really do love the baby, but the old freedom and easiness are gone. We can’t take off any longer whenever we please or even live by our own schedules. I feel like it isn’t even my own life I’m living."

She went on to say, "My old life has gone. How come nobody talks about that? They congratulate you on your new life, but I have to mourn the old life alone." Even happy transitions involve endings which bring feelings like sadness or anger. Anticipating these mixed feelings can help new parents process through this major life transition.


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