Transition to parenthood is one of the greatest milestones in an individual’s life. Not a single event brings as many responsibilities and changes as this one. Transition from partners to parents is the utmost salient makers of maturity and development in adults (Katz-Wise, Priess, and Hyde, 2010). It is important for individuals to be conscious of the changes, and responsibilities that come with the sense of fulfilment and enormous joy of becoming a parent. Parenthood involves more than merely the expansion of family- it is the different role changes which make individuals realize their responsibilities. The following is an exploration of the role changes related to the expansion of family towards parenthood. The transition to parenthood can be observed, but can only be truly experienced by the individual going through this phenomenon.

In this essay, a female client has been interviewed in order to highlight the transition from partners to parents. My client, Mrs. EM is a twenty four-year-old female who recently had a second baby. For her, parenthood meant surviving through nine months of pregnancy, the excitement of labour and delivery and not knowing what to do when the baby arrives including dealing with postpartum depression. Transitioning to parenthood brings revolutionize personality and relationships involving tasks that alter the existing domestic contest (Kats-Wise et al., 2010). The parents’ role is socially altered and undergoes dramatic changes following the arrival of a new baby (Kats-Wise et al., 2010). First time transition to parenthood experiences dramatic psychological changes compared to parents having another child- as the case with my client. The biological aspects of childbearing including pregnancy, child birth, and lactation make women joyful as well as overwhelmed.

Interaction with Patient

Understanding the personal needs of the clients allows nurses to build an intimate relationship with their clients. Mrs. EM already had a two-year-old boy, she describes that she had unexpected feelings of confusion, self-doubt, and anxiety. Although, she was not a first time parent, she felt a complete rollercoaster of emotions and challenges of every kind. The new baby’s excitement also brought exhaustion in her life. This description of her feelings is strongly linked to Watson’s (2006) transpersonal caring relationship. Watson (2006) explains interaction and transpersonal relationship with clients as the authentic presence of the nurse and caring for the clients’ mind, body, and spirit. In order to form a caring transpersonal relationship to ease my client’s anxiety, I tried to speak in a caring manner. I assured my client that studies have proven parents endure psychological changes according to the extent to which their collective roles are transformed. Consequently, transition to parenthood changes more dramatically as compared to couples who do not have a baby (Kats-Wise et al., 2010).

Knowledge of Individualized Care

Purpose of caring transpersonal connection between nurse and client is to ease client out of anxiety. The emotions of my client made me aware of the inner feelings and postpartum depression that new parents may experience after the birth of a new baby. Therefore, individualized care among these patients must be a caring transpersonal relationship, which reaches beyond one’s character and beyond the present situation. This accomplishes a deeper relationship between the nurse and the client which ultimately strengthens and encourages healing potential (Watson, 2006).

Nursing Knowledge

In the process of child rearing, traditional gender role such as husband as the breadwinner and mother’s homemaker role is considered distinction in power (Kats-Wise et al., 2010). This is one of the major concerns in my clients’ home. Mrs. EM believes that her family was not prepared for the birth of their second baby. As a result, at times there is frustration between the couple regarding roles each individual should be performing. I advised my client that couples share some common changes and challenges occurring during these passionate times such as roles each individual should be performing; however, parents may also differ in the concerns they identify as anxiety in the transition towards parenthood (Kats-Wise et al., 2010).  As a result, the “his” versus “hers” issues should be considered now in order for couples to maintain their love and commitment and a strong healthy marriage. It has been studied that transition to parenthood often launches couples into an ocean of many challenges and changes regarding personal and relationship issues. For men and women this transition often serves as an entrance to adulthood (Kats-Wise et al., 2010), as a result, parents’ status is altered in the eyes of friends and family (Kats-Wise et al., 2010).

Watson’s Caritas Process

According to Watson’s caritas processes number six “systematic use of a creative problem-solving caring process becomes creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process; to engage in artistry of caring-healing practices” (Watson, 2006, p. 298). Mrs. EM feels she has more responsibility and feels overwhelmed by all the housework and baby work. Transpersonal affiliation is inclined by the caring perception and intentional design of the nurse who is able to not only detect but fully understand the other persons condition (Watson, 2006). Furthermore, the transpersonal nurse has the capability for caring, healing and wholeness compared to just caring for the disease, illness and pathology (Watson, 2006).

There are many topics of consideration which may become a concern for couples during this transition. Top transition issues for parents include:

Financially being stable, lack of sleep, increased housework and chores, decline in sexual interest, disagreement about roles, change in women body figure, and postpartum depression for new mothers (Brotherson, 2007). It is essential for couples to be aware of their meticulous issues of distress and seek ways to support each other in the process of transition to parenthood. If parents are able to work together, overcoming these issues is not much of a challenge. There are many community based programs for family development which can be very useful.

Even though there is less time to spend on social activities, couples should seek opportunities for recreational activities such as walks, eating out and seeing friends. Instead of going out to the movies, bringing a movie home or just reserving time for each other can also connect couples. Communication should include topics other than baby needs.

Research & Nursing Care

Watson’s (2006) study found the following:

The nurse seeks to recognize, accurately detect, and connect with the inner condition of spirit of another through genuine presence and being centered in the caring moment. Actions, words, behaviors, cognition, body language, feelings, intuition, thought, senses, the energy field, and so on, all contribute to transpersonal; caring connection.  The nurse’s ability to connect with another at this transpersonal spirit-to-spirit level is translated via movements, gestures, facial expressions, procedures, information, touch, sound, verbal expressions, and other scientific technical, aesthetic, and human means of communication. (p. 299)

Making a healthy transition to parenthood should strengthen the couple’s relationship rather than weakening it. The following guidelines should be useful during this transition:

Share personal expectations about the transition to parenthood, schedule time for couple conversation, implement with new approaches, not ignoring sex and intimacy, talking with trusted friends, family members and community professionals. Find sense of balance between being connected as a couple and being parents and always express positive reception for one another and for the child (Brotherson, 2007). My client appreciated these guidelines during her family transition.


Evaluating Nursing Care

It is proven that for some individuals, the parental responsibility is more prominent compared to other roles in life. The developmental changes depend upon the degree of investment put forward in the parental role. However, for women, this transition might perceive more changes compared to men (Kats-Wise et al., 2010). Mrs. EM was very satisfied based upon my explanation regarding her family transition towards parenthood. As a result, the couple has discussed transition issues and adjustments with each other. Nonetheless, studies show that there is always a difference in gender roles from pregnancy to parenthood; however, these changes are slowly diminished over time with patience and experience (Brotherson, 2007). Most parents tend to become traditional during the transition from pregnancy throughout the postpartum years with regards to attitudes and behaviour (Kats-Wise et al., 2010).


Whether transition to parenthood first time, or simply have another baby, each individual experiences psychological as well as social changes in their respective roles of becoming a parent. Patience and support from family and friends is helpful during the transition to parenthood. Most importantly, it should not be forgotten that relationships of couples will change dramatically following a new baby. If parents prepare themselves to adapt to such changes, they will experience many rewards in the parental journey. Healthcare practitioners especially nurses should demonstrate a caring relationship, consciousness and intentionality. As a matter of fact, nurses must grip therapeutic arts and compassionate practices.


Brotherson, S. (2007). From Partners to Parents: Couples and the Transition to Parenthood.                      Docline , 7-12.

Katz-Wise, S., Priess, H., Hyde, J. (2010). Gender-Role Attitudes and Behavior Across the                      Transition to Parenthood. Developmental Psychology , 18-28.

Watson, J. (2006). Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. In M. Parker, Nursing Theories And               Nursing Practice (pp. 295-308). Florida: F.A. Davis Company.


These articles have been written by Nasir Ahmad BSc. (HONS) Nursing, a graduate from York University Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The writer of these articles authorize Peace In-Home Health Care Services Inc to use these articles on their website as an additional resource for their clients. However, any unauthorized copying or distribution of these articles will be dealt strictly by the laws of the state. Please contact author for any queries at 416-648-2717 or email:



Peace In-Home Health Care is a family run business based in the province of Ontario. The company was built around revolutionizing home health care so that seniors can safely and easily age at home. We care for our .... Read More
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