Being a brand-new parent can be an emotional rollercoaster. Read our guide to discover some top tips and support resources to help make it a little easier.
Navigating the Emotions of New Parenthood: Help and Support
Being a new parent can come with a lot of new emotional challenges. Research has found that a new parent’s emotion-processing network is particularly active, meaning that new moms and dads experience heightened emotions during the postpartum period.
While it’s an exciting and special time, it can also be emotionally draining, and some parents struggle. Let’s run through some organizations that offer specialized advice and mental health support for parents and cover some top tips you can use to cope with the emotional rollercoaster that is bringing up a baby.
First-time parent tips
It's important for new moms and dads to take little steps to look after themselves. These steps include the following:
Talking about how you’re feeling
After your baby is born, your hormones rapidly adjust to new levels and your emotions fluctuate.
Sometimes you can feel great, other times negative emotions loom. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling with others. Remember, it's normal to feel sad or stressed sometimes, especially when you’re adjusting to life with a new baby.
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.
Staying connected with others
Using the internet to connect with others is a great way to feel safe and supported. Apps like Peanut and Baby Centre are designed to make it easy to meet, chat and learn from like-minded parents, in your local area, or across the globe!
Remembering to give yourself a break
New parents need to take some time to unwind and be kind to themselves. You can do this solo or together with your partner to help you reconnect away from all the tension and tiredness of parenting – whatever works best for you!
Embracing the good times
In the early weeks and months, you may feel like you're stuck in a newborn bubble. You mustn't lose perspective. 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!
Organizations offering support for parents
As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. There're lots of organizations that offer support for parents, no matter what stage they're at.
Emotional support for pregnant mothers and new moms
- 2020 Mom's wants all moms to be able to readily access mental health care.
- Postpartum Support International aims to increase awareness about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum.
- MMHLA (Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance) is an organization dedicated to promoting the mental health of mothers and childbearing people in the United States.
- March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies.
- The Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health's aim is to foster the translation of research in perinatal and maternal mental health into better care and outcomes for women and their families.
Emotional support for new dads
The truth is it's not just expecting or new moms who struggle emotionally. Around 14% of new dads in the US experience paternal postnatal depression (PPND), a mood and anxiety disorder in new dads.
The following organizations offer support to new dads in the US:
- Help for Dads: Postpartum Support International
- gov: An OFA funded national resource for fathers, practitioners, programs/Federal grantees, states, and the public at-large who are serving or interested in supporting strong fathers and families
If this content reminds you of your own experiences or makes you think of someone you know and you feel concerned or uncomfortable, please head to the PSI website for information about perinatal mental health resources that may be able to help.