Jul 16, 2024

When being a new parent gets tough.

‘Nothing shatters and reshapes your world like the arrival of your first child.

Seven months ago, I was welcomed into the world of motherhood. They are right when they say that nothing can prepare you. It feels like you are thrown into a tornado of sleepless nights, feeding, nappy changes all while trying to navigate this new normal. Having a child has been one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of my life. However, this journey from pregnancy to childbirth and beyond is overwhelming, exhausting, joyful and sometimes isolating.

There is no denying it, being a parent is a 24/7 job. There are no weekends or holidays and there is no clocking off at the end of the day. As a parent, you are always on call and your baby's needs come first. It feels like a distant memory being able to go somewhere without planning it around sleeps and feeds. This can be a shock to the system for new parents who are used to having more free time and personal space. It’s a huge adjustment and it takes time to start to feel like you have some sort of routine, but it does happen.

There is a reason they say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child'. It’s vital to find your 'village' and lean on them for support. It can be difficult to ask for help in challenging times, but it doesn’t make you less of a parent. It’s a brave thing to do and you may find that other parents are experiencing the same things you are.

Here are some ideas to build your village.

·      Attend a local mother’s group – Ask your midwife.

·      Attend Baby Classes – I have listed some at the end.

·      Join online communities - you will find a Facebook Group for the month your baby is born e.g. Babies Born in May 2023

·      Reach out to old friends who have babies.

These places can be useful, and people can offer some great advice. However, it can also be overwhelming and conflicting. Remember when filtering advice from others, trust yourself. You know your baby better than anyone else. If something doesn't feel right or you have concerns, don't be afraid to speak up and trust your gut. You don't have to follow every piece of advice you receive, just take what works for your circumstance and leave the rest. Remember that parenting is a journey and there will be ups and downs. Watchingyour little one grow, laugh, smile and reach new milestones brings immense happiness and makes it all worthwhile. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some tough days.

Becoming a new parent is a steep learning curve, after birth a woman’s body goes through a significant hormonal shift which contributes to the ‘baby blues’. This isa normal period which affects around 45– 85% of postpartum mothers. These feelings of low mood, irritability and anxiety generally happen two to five days post birth and are gone within 2 weeks. It’s when these feelings persistent beyond two weeks that you may be experiencing postnatal depression. 

Around 14 percent (one in seven) of women in Australia will experience postnatal depression. It can affect anyone, even if you have no prior history of mental health. The onset of symptoms can begin in pregnancy or within 4 weeks of delivery, they can vary from mild to severe and can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, diminished concentration, indecisiveness, or difficulty sleeping. By recognizing these signs early, you can get the help and support you need. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There’s no shame in seeking help and support for postnatal depression and it’s important to reach out to family and friends for emotional support. If you or someone you know is struggling with postnatal depression, you can contact reception to book an appointment with one of our psychologists.




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