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We know that the early days with your newborn are full of emotions and excitement, but it's not uncommon for new parents to feel isolated and overwhelmed. Emotional problems for new parents can include everything from the baby blues - around 80% of mothers experience this in the first few weeks after birth - to adjustment problems, anxiety, and depression. Although it can be difficult, there are plenty of support services out there.
To support you on your journey, we've pulled together some resources and tips to help make the emotional rollercoaster of it all a little smoother!
Here are some top tips for first-time mums and dads which could help make the ups and downs of parenthood a little easier:
Sometimes you can feel great, other times negative emotions loom. It's important that you share with others how you're feeling. Remember, it's normal to feel sad or stressed sometimes, especially when you're adjusting to life with a new baby.
Focusing on positive thoughts and times when you feel good can act as helpful pick-me-ups when things feel a little tougher.
Using the internet to connect with others is a great way to feel safe and supported. Apps like Peanut, Baby Centre and Mush are designed to make it easy to meet, chat and learn from like-minded parents, in your local area, or across the globe!
Spending some time together with your partner or on your own can give you a chance to unwind, even if it's just chatting over a nice meal or watching TV.
When you're a new parent, it's important to put your chores and responsibilities to one side from time to time - even if it's just for half an hour a night. Make sure you give yourself a break, take care of yourself, and remember that you're still the person you were before you became a parent.
In the early weeks and months, it may feel like you're stuck in a newborn bubble. You mustn't lose perspective, and try to remember that this time won't last forever. Your little one will never be as tiny as they are today again, so soak up every moment. After all, there's nothing better than newborn cuddles!
After your baby has arrived, your hormones are rapidly adjusting to new levels. This can cause your emotions to fluctuate, and you can feel all over the place, which is normal!
If you or your partner are struggling to cope, asking for help is always an option. Whether you reach out to a friend or family member, talk to your health visitor, or doctor, or get in touch with a charity for some support and advice, you should never worry about asking for support.
As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. There are so many amazing organisations that offer support for parents, no matter what stage you're at.
According to research by the Department of Health, up to 16% of women experience clinical levels of anxiety during pregnancy, with around 11% experiencing depression during pregnancy. Alongside the challenges of attaching and readjusting to life as a new parent, emotional and mental health issues can continue after birth. Up to 10% of mums experience anxiety after birth and 13% suffer with depression.
Gidget Foundation Australia: Supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant
and new parents to ensure they receive timely, appropriate and specialist care
PANDA: Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia
COPE: Providing support for the emotional challenges of becoming a parent
ForWhen: Mental health support for expecting and new parents
Children of Parents with a Mental Illness: Information for parents, their family, and friends in support of these kids and young people
Emerging Minds: Free mental health resources for families
Raising Children Network: Mental health services and resources
Dadvice for new and expectant dads: Beyond Blue Support Service
St John of God: Free or no out-of-pocket personalised counselling and support for mums, dads, and families through the emotional challenges of pregnancy and early parenthood.
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