Psychology of Becoming a Parent

Growing from a couple to a family is a significant change. For one, it’s a lot more stressful. But what about the other changes soon-to-be-parents aren’t aware of? OCH Psychologist, Dr. Annie Beatty expands upon a few elements that will come to surface in your new life as you make the transition to parenthood & offers tips to make sure you maintain a sane brain throughout it all.

Parenting is rewarding and challenging, not just with the daily responsibilities involved, but also the impact it has on your relationship with your spouse. When a child is welcomed into a family, the focus shifts from your partner to the newest member.  Although this is a natural process, it potentially could leave one or both partners feeling abandoned, neglected and stressed.  Research has shown stress changes a person physiologically and emotionally; it can also impair communication patterns and interfere with intimacy.  It is important to prepare for these changes and consider the necessary adjustments in all aspects of your relationship.  A few key points to consider and prepare for include:

  • Change in  daily routine (less alone time, less sleep, less time to engage in couple-related activities, less freedom to be spontaneous)
  • Potential impact on one or both careers (mothers  may feel the need to stall their careers while fathers may feel  pressure to work harder to support the bigger family)
  • Financial considerations (daycare, medical insurance, etc.)
  • Shift from being independent to focusing on family;  shift of now being responsible for someone other than yourself
  • Less privacy
  • More time and focus will likely be spent on your child than your spouse

The key to making this transition smooth is to prepare your relationship for the addition of children before it happens. As always, communication is the key to keeping your relationship healthy.

Annie Beatty, PsyD works at Ozarks Community Hospital in Springfield and spends time at OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa. She received her education from the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology and completed her residency at Burrell Behavioral Health. To contact Dr. Beatty, call (417) 875-4682 – Specialty Office, or (417) 725-8250 –  Nixa Clinic.



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