Childbirth is one of the most significant experiences in women’s lives. A bad experience could lead to psychological distress, including severe disease. This experience has a significant impact not only on the mother’s well-being, but also on her first interactions with the baby. The present study thus had two aims: 1) investigate the association between the childbirth experience and parenting stress; and 2) analyze if this relation can be mediated by the woman’s psychological well-being (anxiety and depressive symptoms). One hundred fifty-eight Italian primiparous women, with a single pregnancy, recruited between January 2016 and December 2016, completed three months after delivery the following scales: Wijma Delivery Experience Questionnaire; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Parenting Stress Index (Short Form). Data were analyzed through path analyses. Results revealed that the birth experience was not directly associated with parenting stress. The final model confirmed that the childbirth experience was related to parenting stress through the full mediation of anxiety and depressive symptoms. These findings highlight the importance of making mothers’ childbirth experience as positive as possible, considering the crucial impact of this experience not only on their global functioning but also on their first relationships with the baby.
- childbirth experience, mother’s parenting stress, mediating role, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms